The Blessing of Protection – Psalm 147:13-14

God Blesses Through Protection As Well As Provision

13 He strengthens the bars of your gates
and blesses your people within you.
14 He grants peace to your borders
and satisfies you with the finest of wheat.

Sovereign Safety

God delights in sovereignly protecting His people.  He is greatly concerned with and involved in securing the national borders of Israel, and considers national borders to be of vital importance to a nation.  It is God who watches over the city (and, by inference, the nations):

Unless the Lord builds the house,
the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the guards stand watch in vain.

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

God is very involved in the raising up of leaders and nations (for His sovereign purposes):

5 “Look at the nations and watch-
and be utterly amazed.
For I am going to do something in your days
that you would not believe,
even if you were told.
6 I am raising up the Babylonians,
that ruthless and impetuous people,
who sweep across the whole earth
to seize dwellings not their own.”

Bountiful Blessing

God is the author of all provision and blessing.  He provides for our physical blessings as well as our spiritual blessings.  God provides us with great blessings, as well as plentiful blessings:

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

God desires to bless us in abundance with everything that we could every need or desire.  He greatly desires that we desire Him; for when we desire Him, He will provide Himself in even greater measure:

Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Protected in Peace

The traditional greeting in Hebrew is “shalom“.  This is a blessing upon either an individual or a group of people.  It is a blessing of peace to another.  God greatly desires to protect us in peace:

When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way,
he causes their enemies to make peace with them.

Here is another translation:

When a man’s ways please the Lord,
he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

God desires is that we live in peace with everyone.  When we are being obedient to Him, and pleasing Him with our ways, even our foulest, most despicable, war-like, offensive, murderous, odious, and otherwise ill-willed enemies will be forced to be at peace with us.  How great a blessing is that!

Finest Food

God provides richly for his children, and greatly desires to provide the finest goods for them.  This is not a “name it and claim it” blessing, but rather an indication that when God’s favor is upon us, we will have the opportunity to partake of the finest goods that the land has to offer.

The United States of America, in previous years, had been greatly blessed by God.  The standard of living of the people in her borders was far and above that of just about every other nation on Earth.  The finest goods and services were both produced and consumed in her by her citizens.  God’s blessing upon her was abundantly apparent, and she was the envy of the nations.  People willingly forsook their countries of birth for the mere chance at the opportunity to come to her shores and partake in the opportunity and blessing afforded in righteousness before God.

But as her people turned their hearts away from God, banishing Him from her schools, government, businesses, laws, and every other nook and cranny within her, God, being the gentleman that He is, politely nodded His head in acknowledgement of her people’s collective decision, and has withdrawn both Himself and His blessing from her people.  And as her people indulge themselves in wickedness and self-centeredness, they are reaping what they have sown.  For although her people still have a significantly higher standard of living than most of the world, her people are now, in comparison, poor and living in wretchedness as a result of their wickedness.

Providential Protection

God greatly desires to protect and provide for those who would seek Him out in righteousness.  This is not a bribe to people, but rather the way that He seeks to display His mercy and glory.  Not everyone who seeks the Lord will become well-off financially.  Rather, they will reap a reward of abundance in righteousness.  And God, who is sovereign, will secure their future with Him in salvation purchased through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ, as it washes those who have sought Him clean of their stain of sin.  Being reconciled to God, they can now live in freedom from sin and in peace with God and man.  Regardless of whether monetary and/or Earthly riches are provided in this life, God has abundantly provided riches in spiritual blessings for all eternity to those who would kiss the Son.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I partaking of the abundant blessing that God offers in His Son?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, Thank You for Your protection and blessing.  Thank You for watching over my household, my city, and my nation.  Thank You for your abundant provision through the blood of Your Son, Jesus Christ, that I have been blessed with every spiritual blessing.  I know, Father that you know of my needs, and I confess them to you now.  Help me that I may seek first Your kingdom and Your righteousness that all of these may be added unto me.  Help me to treasure my inheritance, and to look forward to the future when my present circumstances appear bleak.  Reveal to me Your glory, power, presence and peace so that I may have the strength to endure the trials that I face.  Forgive my nation for its many sins.  I confess them to you now, for we have forsaken You, My Lord and My God.  Help change the hearts of those who have indulged in the pleasures of this world so that they would seek the beauty and peace that only You can provide in relationship with You.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Provision From God – Psalm 146:6-10

God Is The One Who Supplies All Of Our Needs And The Needs Of Others

6 He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them-
he remains faithful forever.
7 He upholds the cause of the oppressed
and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free,
8 the Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
the Lord loves the righteous.
9 The Lord watches over the foreigner
and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.

10 The Lord reigns forever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations.

Praise the Lord.

Capable Creator

God is a most wonderful creator.  He created the heavens and the Earth.  Every day he paints the sky with clouds and the light of the Sun.  He continually creates as life abounds of every type, knitting together children in their mother’s wombs, causing seeds to burst forth from the ground to grow into plants, and eggs hatching to become other creatures.  There is no aspect of life that God is not intimately involved.

Faithful Forever

God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  And He has shown Himself faithful in every aspect of His character.  Because God is love, He cannot be unfaithful in anything.  God’s love always seeks out the betterment of others, and His word will never pass away.  His faithfulness is a sign that He can be trusted, and that His character is rooted in goodness and righteousness.

Compassionate Caregiver

As creator, God is also compassionate towards His creation.  He especially shows this aspect of His character in how He upholds the cause of the oppressed.  When men (and women) seemingly abandon others, God rises up to defend their cause.  God created ALL men and women in HIS image, and He assists the oppressed among us, as well as feeds the hungry.

Freedom Fighter

God desires that no one be a prisoner to sin.  He sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to come and free the captives.  Even those who have been wrongfully imprisoned by men can have their souls freed by God.  Physical imprisonment cannot stop God from freeing men for eternal relationship with Him.  God will go to great lengths to set the captives free, bending Heaven and Earth to do so when someone seeks Him out with all their heart, mind, soul, and strength.  And if God so chooses, He can free them physically as well.

Rejoicing in Righteousness

Part of God’s very nature is righteousness.  He is greatly pleased when He sees it, because His very existence is bathed in it.  It resonates true with Him, and He rejoices when He sees His children walking in righteousness.  Just as a parent is proud of their child when they are being polite towards others and living a life of serving others in joy, so does God when we do the same.

Helpful Hospitality

The Psalmist reminds us that God has a special place in His heart for the foreigner among us.  To be sure, God is referring to the foreigners who are among us lawfully.  God gives the sword to rulers to punish those who refuse to obey the law.  Civil disobedience is only tolerated by God when the rulers of a nation are using laws to oppress the people, obfuscate the truth, and deny lawful image-bearers of God their freedom.

God provides great hospitality towards the foreigners among us, as well as the fatherless and widows.  God does not forget those people who are unable to provide for themselves.  He fully expects the righteous among us, whom He has blessed with plenty, to help those in need.  And while He expects this of us, He does not expect us to give out free food and cash to lazy, indignant, self-righteous, and discontent people purveying a victim mentality:

For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.

Just Judge

God is not indifferent to the suffering of people.  Neither will He put up with wickedness:

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.

God is righteous, and although wicked people may be allowed to continue on in their wickedness for what appears to humans to be an eternity, God is giving them every opportunity to change their mind and be saved.  Although it is a burden upon us when wicked people oppress us, and may even cost us our livelihoods, the material possessions that God has provided to us to manage, and perhaps our very lives, we are sheep being led to the slaughter, witness for God, so that the wicked might turn towards God.

And if they do not, let your heart be at rest.  For in death, they will surely pay in full for what they have done here on Earth.  Jesus came to pay our fine, but in refusing payment, they will endure for all eternity the punishment that is justly received since they cannot pay the price to redeem themselves.

Righteous Ruler

The Lord God Almighty reigns forevermore in Heaven upon His throne, rightfully in His play of power and glory, overseeing all that He created and ruling in righteousness as He pleases.  Let us not forget the sovereignty of God, and the wonderfully good implications that His righteous rule entail.  For nothing can happen in the universe without the express prior knowledge and permission of Almighty God, who is righteous, protector, provider, overseer, and master over all.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Where do I go first when I am in need?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You show Yourself to be righteous in all that You do, even in allowing the wicked to prosper.  Help me to have a perspective that places You in Your proper role in all things.  Give me the wisdom to recognize in my darkest situations that You are right in the center of them.  Help me to be Your eyes, ears, hands, and mouth as other struggle in their daily lives.  May Your light show through me that people will be drawn to the light and seek freedom from darkness.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Wisdom and God – Psalm 111:10

Wisdom Is The Practical Application Of Knowledge In Truth To Determine The Right Course Of Action To Take

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.

Awakening to the Almighty

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  When we come to realize that there is a God, and He is not us, we begin on a journey of developing wisdom – the practical application of knowledge in truth.  Obtaining wisdom should not merely be an academic pursuit; it should guide us into a greater understanding of ourselves, God’s creation, and God’s character so that we can be more fruitful in His service.

God gives us faith so that we would recognize that He exists and is working in our lives.  Fear, in this sense, is not merely relegated to the dread of reaping the consequences of our actions, but moving from a clear understanding of God’s Holiness to God’s Faithfulness.  Wisdom teaches us that God is not ONLY holy, not ONLY just, but also that He is love, and full of grace and mercy.  His perfect holiness is tempered in love through mercy and grace, and is evidenced by His willingness to allow His one and only Son to die on the cross for sins so that we could be reconciled to Him.

When we fear God, we begin to trust God.  And as we trust God, He joyfully moves in our lives to bring about His plan and display the beauty of His character through His wisdom in how He made everything and interacts with His creation.

Spiritual Strength

Wisdom is greatly to be desired.  Knowledge without wisdom is a trophy on a shelf.  A savant may be able to recite every fact known to man, but without the ability to collate that information into practical, useful direction, it is merely an interesting aside.

Spiritual growth and strength occur when we practically apply our knowledge of God’s word in wisdom in our actions.  As we being begin to be obedient, God reveals the reasons behind why He does what He does.  It helps us to better discern what actions to take when faced with difficulties, and to choose rightly in the moment of action.  Wisdom tells us that God knows everything, so we should FIRST go to Him if we need it.  Wisdom tells us to how and why to avoid evil, and how to embrace and engage in truth and righteousness.  And it is only as we are willing to apply wisdom in our own lives that we being begin to truly understand the benefit of it as we reap her rewards.

Wealth of Wisdom

As we grow in Godly wisdom, we are able to honor God in a way that pleases Him.  It has been said that we have two beasts within us.  And whichever one we feed will grow stronger, and the one we don’t feed will grow weaker, yet will grow more desperate in its cries in our life until it grows so weak that it quiets down.  We choose which beast to feed.

We can feed the evil nature within us, or we can feed the godly nature within us.   As we spiritually mature, God gives us not only the wisdom and knowledge to act, but also provides us with the strength to ignore the cries of our sin nature and our cursed bodies as we strive to walk more closely with God.  Paul likened this to an athlete’s training:

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

We are to use what we learn so that we are not being hypocrites before the world.  Who wants a doctor who weighs 350 pounds, has a terrible cough, drinks alcohol on the job, smokes in the office, and then tells someone who weighs 200 pounds that they need to lose weight and exercise more so that they can become healthier?

Wisdom has great practical application in what is truly important – our spiritual growth and intimacy with our Creator.  But is also has wonderful application in other areas of our lives that appear more practical and have more immediate consequences.

Practical Protection

Wisdom tells us that we should lock our doors in areas with high crime.  Wisdom tells us that we should avoid physical intimacy with people other than our spouses (and to avoid it until we have a spouse).  Wisdom tells us that we should drive sober.

Why?

The answers seem obvious to people who have wisdom, but to those who do not, these general statements of conduct may seem genuinely odd, but make perfect sense once a person who has gleaned wisdom explains it:

  • Those who grew up in areas where there was great trust in their neighbors because they helped one another, and who don’t pay attention to the news, may find that living in Chicago or New York City or Baltimore to be a new experience…
  • Ask anyone who has AIDS, HIV, or any other number of terrible diseases that have a tendency to spread through physical relations with others, and they will tell you their wisdom in the matters of physical intimacy with others
  • Ask the man who lost his job, his family, his car, his home, and everything else he found dear in this life after he has taken the life of another human being while drinking and driving

It has been said that good judgment comes from experience; and experience comes from bad judgment.

Potential for Prosperity

When we apply wisdom to our finances, we may stop spending money on unnecessary items (or re-prioritize what is necessary and what is not) so that we have more money to save or invest.  Proverbs 31 tells of a woman who has great wisdom in many areas of her life.  She applies that wisdom in how she conducts the household while her husband is off at the city gates being an elder (the modern equivalent is being on City Council and the local Judge)

The practical application of knowledge in how life works helps us to make important decisions concerning how we conduct ourselves.  It is only valuable when we are willing to put the lessons that wisdom teaches us into practice.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I willing to make the necessary sacrifices to employ all of the wisdom that God has provided for me in daily living?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You know the beginning from the end.  Nothing is hidden from You.  Even before a word is on my lips You already know what it will be.  With all knowledge, and Your perfect character, You are all-wise as well.  Father, help me to navigate through this day so that I honor Your name in all that I do.  Help me to make the necessary changes to how I act, think, and speak so that I can grow in wisdom and knowledge.  Show me how to better conduct myself through Your word so that it would benefit me, my family, and everyone around me.  Provide for my every need, and guard me against all influences that would seek to derail my efforts living for You.  This I ask in the precious name of Your One and Only Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Want more? Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?


This blog has been edited for spelling and grammatical errors.

The Sovereignty of God – Psalm 104:10-16

God’s Love Is Displayed In His Sovereign Provision

10 He makes springs pour water into the ravines;
it flows between the mountains.
11 They give water to all the beasts of the field;
the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
12 The birds of the sky nest by the waters;
they sing among the branches.
13 He waters the mountains from his upper chambers;
the land is satisfied by the fruit of his work.
14He makes grass grow for the cattle,
and plants for people to cultivate-
bringing forth food from the earth:
15 wine that gladdens human hearts,
oil to make their faces shine,
and bread that sustains their hearts.
16 The trees of the Lord are well watered,
the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.

Sprouting Springs

Water is an interesting substance.  It sustains life through hydration.  When heated, it can be used to generate electricity, and when frozen, it is the only substance known to mankind that expands in size, rather than contract into a smaller space.  By forming ice, God protects the creatures beneath the seas and oceans from being crushed beneath the very fluid that enables them to survive.  Ice also protects the waters beneath from the ravages of cold weather.  Even the Eskimos use ice to protect themselves from the harsh winter winds.

Water apparently has a mind of its own.  In Genesis, we see the waters covering the face of the Earth.  It is not until the Lord God Almighty tells it that it must recede that it goes where it should underground.  It is the Lord who determines where the boundaries of the waters are by saying where they can go and go no farther.  Wisdom bears witness to the sovereign creation of God, and that God has set boundaries on the waters of the Earth.

And it is God who brings forth water from the Earth to provide for all of creation.

Creatures Content

The beasts of the field are provided with the liquid that keeps them alive.  The birds above build their nests around water to ensure that they have easy access to the life-sustaining liquid.  God shows his love by providing for the needs of every creature on Earth.  He does not withhold his blessing upon them, except when He is rebuking man through drought.

Even creatures in the desert, where water is scarce, are provided for by Almighty God.  He has given them the ability to survive in these areas and even to thrive.  His provision continually demonstrates His love for all that He created.  He shows wisdom in the careful planning that went into the design of all creatures that live during their appointed times and at their appointed places and provides for their every need.

Sovereignly Satiated

The Psalmist also indicates that the land itself is satisfied with the sovereign provision of the Lord God Almighty.  The mountains are watered by His hand and command.  The land is satisfied with water.  If you ever doubt this, go somewhere after an intense drought has ravaged the land.  The land forms deep cracks and looks terrible.  But once the Lord waters the land again, it softens and gives up its nourishment to the plants that God had placed upon it.  And when God continually provides for the land, the plants thrive, and the creatures abound.

Furnish Food

It is the Lord God Almighty that provides the grass for the cattle.  He continually provides the water that allows the plants to survive and thrive.  It is He who gives them their sustenance.   But God is the one who also provides us with plants for our food.  Prior to the flood (say, where did all that water come from, anyway?), God had given all of the seed bearing plants as food for man.  He is the one who provides for our every need and desire.  It is God who furnishes us our food, and satisfies us with nourishment from His Earth.

Supplying Sustenance

God does not only provide for our minimal needs of existence; He also provides for those things that make our hearts glad.  In the picture provided here, the Psalmist shows that it is God who provides us with wine to gladden our hearts, and oil to protect and soften our skin.  He also provides bread that fills our stomachs and noses with aromas and flavors that far exceed the minimum required to sustain life.

Imagine that the only thing available to eat was gruel with no salt (now imagine the Israelites eating manna for forty years without spices or herbs…).  Imagine eating that for every meal, day in and day out.  It is God who provides the seasonings for us to make wonderful meals.  The flavors and aromas of the vast cornucopia of produce and grains, let alone the spices and herbs, can provide a potential plethora of palatable provision.  And it is God who shows us how to make all of these different variations of meals to satisfy our hunger and thirst.

God does not merely want us to survive; He wants us to thrive, and to experience the majesty of all that He created so that we, in wonder of the work of His hands, would give Him all of the glory and praise that He so rightly deserves.

Provision for Plants

God not only provides for the land, and all of the creatures on it, He also provides for the plants.  Every time it rains, especially when we have more rain that we think we need, and while we long for the weather to break, and the sun to shine upon us again, God is providing the vital liquid that sustains the life of every plant.  And every time we see rain, we are seeing the supernatural provision of Almighty God for His plants, His creatures, and His land.  God waters His plants just as we do when they are thirsty.  And God replenishes the water in the rivers and lakes for all of the teeming life that He placed in them.

In everything, God is constantly providing for the needs and desires of all that He created.  He does not turn His back on us, His land, His creatures, nor His plants.  He continually refreshes them with the fruit of His labors, and watches in contentment as His creation thanks Him and returns praise for the mighty works of His hands.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Do I see the mighty provision of God in all that He does?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, the heavens declare Your glory, power, infinite wisdom and knowledge.  And I praise and rejoice in You that You have provided so much for me to have.  Even when I am destitute in money and worldly possessions, I have You, and with You I am rich beyond blessing.  Help me to recognize, as I contemplate the workings of Your creation, just how much You love me and all that You have made.  Help me to gain deeper insight into the greatest aspect of Your character that You display for everyone to see – that You love all that You have made, and rejoice in it.  Help me to remember that You and You alone are sovereign over all You have made, and that You do not abandon that which You start, but rather see everything through to its very end.  Give me wisdom that my eyes might see, and ears might hear, all that You are communicating to me through Your word and Your world.  This I ask in the mighty name of Jesus, Amen.

Want more? Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

 

 

National Sovereignty and God – Nehemiah 2:2-6

God Approves Of Walls Built To Establish The Sovereignty Of Nations

2 so the king asked me, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.”

I was very much afraid, 3 but I said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?”

4 The king said to me, “What is it you want?”

Then I prayed to the God of heaven, 5 and I answered the king, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my ancestors are buried so that I can rebuild it.”

6 Then the king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked me, “How long will your journey take, and when will you get back?” It pleased the king to send me; so I set a time.

A Terrifying Truth

At that time in history, no one dared enter the king’s presence with a sad face.  Everyone was required to smile.  To do otherwise could possibly result in a person’s immediate and very public execution.  God had placed Nehemiah in his position in the king’s service to further His purposes.  He has done this with many others, including Joseph, Daniel, and Esther, to name a few.  Even though Nehemiah tried, he could not hide his distress from the king.

Facing Fear

Over three hundred and sixty times in the Bible, God’s people are told, with differing words and the same message, “fear not”.  Nehemiah had just heard from Hanani, one of his brothers, that the wall of Jerusalem was broken down, and the gates were burned by fire.  Nehemiah was the cup-bearer to the king.  He had immediate access to the highest human authority in the land.  God was placing a very heavy burden upon Nehemiah’s heart.  It so distressed him that he had sat down and wept, then mourned, fasted, and prayed to God for days.

So when the king noticed Nehemiah’s glum appearance and brought it to his attention, Nehemiah faced his fear and told the king of the burden that he felt upon his shoulders and his heart.  It should be noted that just prior to telling the king everything that was on his heart, the Bible records that Nehemiah prayed.  This is a great pattern for all of us to follow.  When we have fear in our hearts, our first (not last!) resort should be to consult and petition the highest authority possible – The Lord God Almighty.  We should do this even (and especially) when faced with the possibility of certain death, for this is the correct path to follow.

A Royal Request

Nehemiah, burdened by God with crushed heart concerning the situation that his people found themselves in concerning the land which God had sovereignly gave to them after the Exodus from Egypt, prayed to God and asked the king for a personal leave of absence to go to Jerusalem, his homeland, to rebuild the wall.

Not only did he request the time from the king, the Bible shows us that he was even more bold.  He had asked for the king to give him letters of passage across all of his lands so that no one would stop him or impede his progress – he needed safe passage.  He also asked the king to provide him, from the royal park, the necessary timber to both rebuild the gates of the city as well as the house that he would need to build once he arrived to stay in.  Now that takes courage!

Granted by God

Nehemiah notes that the gracious hand of his God was upon him.  And he was absolutely correct. Not only did king Artaxerxes provide him with the time off, lumber, and letters of safe passage, God sovereignly placed it upon the king’s heart to provide Nehemiah with a royal escort – something Nehemiah had not asked for.  This would absolutely guarantee that everyone would believe and comply with all of the requests that Nehemiah would make of them on behalf of the king through his written orders.

When we are burdened by God to do something, God will absolutely ensure that we have everything that we need to do what He has sovereignly assigned for us to do.  And sometimes when we forget to ask for something that is critical to our mission, God will provide what is necessary to ensure that His will is accomplished.

And in this case, God sovereignly approved of a wall that established as sovereign the city of Jerusalem.  God approves of national borders, and the right of nations to determine who is permitted to enter their sovereign soil.  If God believed that everyone should have the right to enter any place on Earth anytime they wanted to, He would have stopped Nehemiah in his quest to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem.  Those who believe God and His Son, and whose faith is credited as righteousness, should take careful note of God’s view on the sovereignty of nations and His approval of walls to regulate the flow of people into their lands.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  When faced with certain danger, what is the first thing that I do?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, there is nothing that surprises You.  You are the one who sets up kings and rulers in authority.  All authority in Heaven and on Earth is Yours and Yours alone to delegate to whomever You choose.  Grant my heart wisdom and discernment as I read Your word so that I would know and understand Your position on national sovereignty.  Help me to reconcile any thoughts, attitudes, or opinions that differ from Your thoughts, attitudes, and opinions.  Help me to align my heart to Yours, and to accept, regardless of how I feel, that Your ways are above my ways, and Your thoughts are above my thoughts.  Father, I do not have the proper perspective of seeing the end from the beginning, nor knowing the disposition of every bit of matter in the universe at any point in time.  Help me to accept what I don’t understand, and give me peace in my heart when You do not desire to provide me with answers so that my heart may be at peace when my emotions are trying to overrule Your divinely inspired word.  Thank You Father for all things.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more? Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Obedience to God – Psalm 81:11-16

Victory Comes Through Obedience

11 “But my people would not listen to me;
Israel would not submit to me.
12 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts
to follow their own devices.

13 “If my people would only listen to me,
if Israel would only follow my ways,
14 how quickly I would subdue their enemies
and turn my hand against their foes!
15 Those who hate the Lord would cringe before him,
and their punishment would last forever.
16 But you would be fed with the finest of wheat;
with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”

Learning to Listen

Listening to God is not one of the stronger qualities of mankind.  For millennia, we have ignored the commands of God and have gone our own ways.  For us, obedience seems to be a fleeting concept, just out of the reach of men, beckoning to us yet remaining elusive with the draw of every other manner of pleasure, satisfaction, and fulfillment.  The flesh, the world, and the devil intentionally sabotage every effort at obedience through their incessant cries for attention.  Their efforts are like delicious chocolate dangled in front of the faces of children with obedience like plates of broccoli, brussel sprouts, and kale in warm butter and garlic just outside their reach.  As children, we know what we like, and we grab what we can, not realizing the error of our ways until it is too late.

God beckons to us to listen to Him and obey Him.  Obedience and faithfulness of our hearts have been two of His primary tasks since Adam and Eve.  They were given only one command, yet even then they could not even be obedient in that.  Given the option to partake in the forbidden fruit, we often give in to our desires in a moment of weakness, unable to resist the sumptuous and easy bait lying in front of us.  But God desires that we ignore the bait, and desire Him more.

Choices have Consequences

And when we continually fail to develop self-restraint and self-control, we spiral out of control and allow our desires to control us, rather than the opposite.  Cain, in a fit of rage when his offering was rejected by God, lashed out at the only one he could – he murdered his brother Able, who provided the accepted offering.  And so murder was born into the world of men.  As we mature, we learn more and more that there are consequences with our actions.  We may ignore them, or emotionlessly calculate the risks versus the rewards of them.  And when we do so repeatedly, without seeking God, He gives us over to our stubborn hearts.

How terrible is it to be ruled by our every desire.  When people are ruled by their emotions, they make horrible decisions.  They injure and kill their neighbors.  They burn down their neighborhoods.  They steal and rob from others.  The strong quickly overpower the weak and lord their power over their victims.  And as they continually allow themselves to be fueled by their emotions, there is no end to the depth of their depravity.

Veritable Victory

God gives us hope in the form of a promise.  When we are obedience, we will experience victory.  We will have victory over our sin.  We will have victory over our enemies.  And our enemies – also the enemies of God – will experience the punishment in the form of judgment by God for what they have done.  We cannot expect God to punish our enemies while we are participating in the exact same behavior that they are.  God does not show favoritism among men.  Victory can only come through obedience and submission to God.

Do you want your enemies to be brought to justice?  Do you want an end to your torment?  Do you want to have victory regardless of our your circumstances?  Be obedient to God who gives victory not only over our enemies by also over our own sin nature.  It is only then that we can live in a way that truly glorifies God and brings Him honor.  No matter the end result of our circumstances, obedience and submission to God are the only way to ensure our victory over our own nature.

Lest we forget, Jesus Christ was completely obedient to God and fully submitted to His Spirit, yet even He had to suffer on the cross for us.  But his victory was OVER death, and his reward was to sit at the right hand of God, given the world as His footstool, to reign in everlasting glory.

Rich Reward

God also promises to reward us for obedience and submission to Him.  When we, AS A PEOPLE, submit ourselves to God in obedience, He brings peace and prosperity to our nation:

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

No longer will we suffer under economic duress.  No longer will we be pursued by our enemies.  God will bring peace and prosperity:

When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way, he causes their enemies to make peace with them.

And as mentioned in this Psalm, He will also do the following:

But you would be fed with the finest of wheat; with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I allowing my stubborn heart to overpower my desire to be obedient to God in submission to His Spirit?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You have shown me in Your word the importance of obedience and submission, and the nature of my heart.  You have given me a heart of flesh for a heart of stone when I believed You and your word.  Help me to keep my heart from hardening in this time of great trial and tribulation.  Soften it so that it would be more receptive to Your gentle nudging.  Give me the desire, patience, and ability to carefully listen to Your voice.  And when I hear You through Your word and Your still small voice, give me a heart like Abraham so that on that very day I would be completely obedient to Your will and desire.  Strengthen me and keep my heart from going cold due to the increase of lawlessness in the world.  Protect me from my enemies and from myself, for each day it becomes harder and harder to do what is right.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Sovereignty of God – Joshua 10:12-14

God Is Sovereign Over All The Universe

12 On the day the Lord gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the Lord in the presence of Israel:

“Sun, stand still over Gibeon,
and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.”
13 So the sun stood still,
and the moon stopped,
till the nation avenged itself on its enemies,

as it is written in the Book of Jashar.

The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. 14 There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a human being. Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel!

Celestial Commotion

In these latter days, it takes a lot to get our attention.  We are constantly surrounded by the miraculous with technology.  People are so overwhelmed, they often fail to react when something truly amazing happens.  Each new iteration of technology brings awe and wonder to us as we are dazzled by the seemingly impossibility of it.  Robots performing automated surgery?  That was the stuff of science fiction 30 years ago.  How about cars that drive themselves?  That again was Sci-Fi relegated to movies like “Minority Report“.  Smart bombs, drones, gene therapy, missions to mars – just fifty years ago, these were mere dreams.  But now they assault us every day, as we wait for the next great thing to happen.

So what if the Sun and the Moon stopped in their tracks in the sky?  Would that capture your attention?  It should.  This type of thing just doesn’t happen every day.  It would cause people to fear for their lives that the end of the world was at hand.  People would flock to churches, hoping that God’s wrath was not upon them.  And those who were on the other side of Planet Earth, would be plunged into a much longer darkness than before, wondering if the Sun would every shine again.  Our concept of how the Universe worked would be severely shaken.  What we have taken for granted for generations -millennia – would be thrown out the window.

Powerful Prayer

It is recorded here that this was the only time, EVER, in the Old Testament, that the Lord God Almighty listened to the command of a man.  Joshua, in the power of the Holy Spirit of God, in the presence of God and man, commanded the Sun and Moon to stop until Israel had avenged itself on its enemies.  Never before, nor after, had God listened to the command of a man.  Until Jesus:

He [Jesus] replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” [Caption added for clarification]

We must remember that faith is closely tied to submission and obedience.  Submission and obedience is the outward sign of our faith.  For if we did not believe, we would not be foolish enough to wait upon God for action.

God would not honor a person who desired to be fabulously wealthy and who said to a pile of rocks, “turn into gold!” for personal gain.  It is the power of God in faith through submission and obedience that would cause these things to happen.  Greed, envy, and every other base and vile attitude of the heart would prevent such a thing from happening.  However, if it is the will of God, for His glory, and for  His purposes, surely it would come to pass.  We are not to abuse the wonderful gift that we have been given:

1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

Intervention for Israel

God, in causing the heavenly bodies to behave in a nature contrary to what the laws of physics would dictate, would certainly have caused fear and horror in the eyes of Israel’s enemies.  God surely fought for Israel that day.  God surely fights for Israel today.  And God will surely fight for Israel for all eternity, for Israel is the chosen people of God.  He will not abandon them, or allow them to be scattered ever again to the four winds.

God has fulfilled His prophesy, and no one and nothing will ever prevail against her again.  And when she turns her heart fully towards God, those who seek to rob her of her land, her sovereignty, and her lifeblood, will surely be punished in a manner that will strike fear into the heart of every human being alive.  Centuries ago, it might have taken months or years for the world to know what happened in lands far away.  But now, technology gives us instant access to events that transpire in real-time and vividly, soon to be with live 3D visual effects and perhaps even 4D realism.  The destruction of the enemies of Israel will be available to be watched by nearly everyone on this planet with access to a television or the Internet.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I trusting in the sovereignty of God?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You have shown us Your mercy and grace, and provided us with these wonderful accounts of what You have done in the past so that we may know who You are.  Give me the strength to wait upon You for Your timing in all my circumstances.  Help me to remain faithful in affliction and times of difficulty.  Uphold me and carry me when my body and spirit are too weak to continue.  Help me to always look to You for my help.  Father, You have done miraculous things for Your people in the past, and You are the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  You have adopted me into Your family, and I pray dear God that You would help me.  Amen.

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Perspective of God – Genesis 9:1-3

Overpopulation Is A Myth

Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands. Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.

Divine Decree

To set the stage, Noah and his family has just survived the planetary flood that God used to destroy the rest of the human race.  This is what scientists refer to as an E.L.E., an Extinction Level Event.  Nearly all life has perished.  And once Noah was on dry ground, God gave him some interesting instructions.

The first instruction was to be fruitful and multiply, and fill the Earth.  Culture has this concern that we have somehow overpopulated the Earth.  It believes that the resources on this planet will not sustain life as it is, and that we need to somehow reduce the number of people on the planet to get to a “sustainable” number.  But God gave Noah a holy, divine decree – to fill the Earth with people.

Notice that God did not say,”You know, you need to be careful when you procreate, because you might become so numerous that you will strip every resource from the planet.”  Also notice that God did not say, “And when you become so numerous that you think there are too many of you, begin to back off of my decree to be fruitful and increase, for you will surely cause your own destruction through resource depletion, because I won’t provide for you anymore.”

God does desire us to manage the Earth – His creation – and all that is on it and in it.   We have a responsibility as stewards of God’s creation to effectively use what has been provided to us.  But God has not abandoned us, nor will He forsake us.  It is only those who do not believe that there is a God that have come to the conclusion that we are overpopulated.

It is greed, punishing governmental control, and other self-serving factors that limit human beings in their life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.  The restraint of creativity and production by powerful people who seek to control others, and serve money rather than God, is one of the greatest limiting factors in economic and resource suppression.

If everyone on Earth were submitted to Almighty God, do you think for even a second that He would refuse to bless their efforts at honoring Him through all that they did?  Did he refuse to provide manna to the Israelites in the desert for forty years?  Did he refuse to provide Elijah food when he was sequestered during the drought that he proclaimed?  It is folly to believe that God would abandon us as we seek Him and submit to Him.  Did Jesus starve to death during His ministry?  It is our own evil intentions and conclusions about the state of reality that prevent us, as a people, from enjoying the grace, mercy, and abundant prosperity of Almighty God.  And yet He still gives all of us rain and sunshine.

Change in Cooperation

From this passage, and from what we know about the original intent of the relationship between Adam and the animals of the Earth,  this was the first God-authorized decree in allowing the creatures to be food for man.  Prior to this, righteous men ate the fruit of plants and grains.  Adam was a vegetarian.  Noah, until after the flood, was a vegetarian as well.

But God then provided the animals and gave them to man as food.  This changed the dynamic of the relationship between man and animals.  We can infer that up to this time, man and animals were able to peacefully coexist.  But with this change, the animals no longer would be at ease with man.  After all, man had just become their predator.

Fleeing Food

And as any prey knows, when the predator is around, you flee.  This made it difficult for man, chasing down and domesticating animals who would then be in servitude to man.  Prior to the flood, was there cooperation between man and animal?  The Bible doesn’t say.  But we see in Genesis that the serpent talked to Eve.  God opened the mouth of Balaam’s donkey to talk to him.  And no one thought this was strange…

Why did no one think this was strange?  Was it because the animals could indeed communicate with man, and peacefully coexisted with man, as was established by God?  We can only speculate; but soon we will have the opportunity to ask the One who created all things that very question.  In the meantime, let us fulfill the command that God Himself gave to us to be fruitful and increase in number, to fill the Earth, and to take care of it.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Are my conclusions based on God’s word or the words of men?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, I thank You for providing me life this day.  Thank You for Your word, and the redemption of sin through the blood of Your Son, Jesus Christ.  Thank You for showing me Your will through Your word.  Help me to always look to Your word when people declare anything to be true about the past, the present, or the future, for You and You alone know all these things.  Help me to not be led astray by the foolishness of man, but be strengthened in Your truth, power and presence.  Guide and guard my heart, Oh God, that I would be kept from the deception of sin.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Promises of God – Psalm 145:14-16

The Lord Provides For His People

14 The Lord upholds all who fall
and lifts up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food at the proper time.
16 You open your hand
and satisfy the desires of every living thing.

Helping Hands

God promises to never leave us nor forsake us.  And in doing so, He is the lifter of our heads.  He upholds us when we are weak, and carries us when we are weary.  God becomes our strength, and shows us His love.  He ensures that when we stumble, we are able to get back up.  God greatly desires to see us succeed in Him.

Proper Provision

God provides for the needs of the least and the greatest of all His creatures.  He feeds the sparrows in the morning, and feeds us as well.  We can depend upon the Lord God Almighty to provide for our needs in His timing and in His way.  Care should be taken when it seems that God is slow in providing, for it is often a test of trust.  And even should we faint, we can trust in God’s provision of righteousness, for this physical life is fleeting, and we will be in His presence in Eternity.

Desires Delighted

God fulfills the desires of every living creature.  He provides for our deepest desire.  And when we have filled ourselves with the things of this world, He still waits to fulfill the desire for Himself that He has placed in each and every heart.  God calls us to re-evaluate our desires and align them with His heart.  Unlike the instinct of creatures, we can choose what we desire.  And when we desire God and His word, He will fulfill our every desire.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I desiring God above all?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, my heart cries out for You and greatly desires You.  I seek You with all of my heart and strength and soul and mind.  Help me to have more of You and to experience Your character in my everyday life experiences.  Help me to rely completely and solely upon You for all things, for You are the one who provides them all.  Teach me to be patient and to trust You more.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Faithfulness to God – Acts 14:19-20

Never Stop Doing What Is Right In The Eyes Of God

19 Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. 20 But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.

Difficult Days

Most people have a really bad day every now and again.  But Paul had it a little harder than most people.  Even God said (about Paul’s life):

15 …”Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”

Paul had some interesting trials to undergo:

23 …I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.

Most of us have not had to face the threat of death even once for the cause of Christ.  We do not yet know the difficulties that Paul encountered.  But even if that should change, we should take heart; Paul has shown us the way to overcome.  He was stoned near to death at least once.

Faithful Friends

Paul had very good friends.  After he was nearly stoned to death, they surrounded him.  They too could have faced stoning as well.  When a mob begins to act in emotion, it is difficult to dissuade them from their course of action.  Look at the recent mob activity in the United States of America.  Once the mob engages in violence, then comes the fires, and the looting, the beatings of innocent people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.  It takes faithful friends to join you when the mob turns its full wrath upon you.

Continue to Contend

Most people, facing a near-death experience at the hands of an angry, murderous mob, would “take a hint” and go elsewhere.  Scripture shows us Paul’s reaction: he went right back into the city to preach.  That takes great faith and trust in God.  In speaking about hardship, Paul said:

9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Regardless of our circumstances, we should continue to contend for the faith.  God will provide our strength as we are faithful in His service.  We have no fear of this: whatever God calls you to, he will provide the means and resources for you to complete your tasks.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I being faithful even when I experience great trial?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You are faithful in all that You do.  You keep every promise that You make, and do so in perfect timing and in Your methods.  We know that we can count upon You to always be faithful.  Strengthen me this day, Father, that I would show that same faithfulness to You, regardless of my circumstances.  Help me to rely upon You totally and without reservation as trials come into my life.  Help me in my weakness that You would be strong for me.  Carry me when I cannot walk, and protect me from my adversaries.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Trust in God – Psalm 62:5-8

Our Souls Can Rest in God When We Trust Him.

5 Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.
6 Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
7 My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
8 Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.

Reasoned Rest

David, the author of this Psalm, encourages himself, and us as well, to allow our souls to find rest in God.  He states he can do this because David, without a doubt in his heart, knows that his hope and salvation come from God.

When we truly take to heart that God is sovereign, and desires for us to be saved, and that He wants to protect us, we can find reassurance and peace in knowing that we are being well cared for by God.

Formidable Fortress

David refers to God as his Rock, Salvation, and Fortress.  God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  He does not change like shifting shadows.  He is perfect in all His ways.  David can depend upon the steadfastness of the character of God.

As a picture of this, David uses a rock to signify how strong, durable, and trustworthy God is to him.  He likens God to a fortress, a well designed structure that is still used today to keep out evil and protect what is inside (think Fort Knox).  In the case of God, He is an impregnable fortress – no one and nothing can penetrate the defenses to attack or corrupt God.  God is immutable, and is able to stay that way because:

  • God is all-powerful: omnipotent
  • God is all-knowing: omniscient
  • God is ever-present: omnipresent

We can depend upon God not only because He is sovereign, but also because it is impossible for Him to not be sovereign.

Sturdy Salvation

David reminds us here that our salvation and honor rest in God.  God and God alone is the only one who can rescue us from our sin.  Our identity is to be found in Jesus Christ.  He is the one who provides us with His righteousness.  He is the one who provides us His honor.

Since God is sovereign, David recognizes that any honor that he has been provided has been given to Him by God.  No one can claim honor, because anything that they have done or accomplished was provided by God.  God has given us our bodies, minds, and souls.  He has provided all of the physical universe.  Even the very breath we are taking right now is because God is gracious to us and is providing it.  Because of this, David is confident in his salvation, as God is the author of it and is able to sustain and protect him.

Treasured Trust

David implores us to place our trust in God and, by implication, not in ourselves, anyone, or anything else.  David can say this with great confidence, as his heart is firmly convinced in the strength, character, and ability of God to do all things needed to protect and provide for us.  David both reasons these things in his mind, and recounts from personal experience how God has been at work in his life.  We can look back on the life of David, and see how David was treated by God and through that, trust in the Living God as David did.

Prayerful Petition

David also exhorts us to pour out our hearts to God.  David implies that he has a two-way relationship with God.  God not only provides for our physical and spiritual needs, he also engages us in EVERY aspect of our lives.  The Lord God Almighty’s very name, YHWH, means “I am he who exists and is dynamically involved in your life.”

God seeks to have the very deepest level of relationship with us.  We can not only trust God with our protection and provision, but also with our innermost desires and concerns.  God waits with anticipation for us to really open up to Him and engage Him as we would our most intimate and best friend.  He delights in us pouring out our hearts to Him.  And while we can bring praises and petitions to Him, we can also share ourselves with Him – even though He already knows us!  It is for OUR benefit, not God’s, that we share ourselves at that deepest level.  God is a jealous God (in the good meaning of jealous) – there is no part of us that God does not declare – “You are MINE!”  Give yourself to Him totally and completely.  And God will satisfy the deepest, innermost part of your soul.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask ourselves a question:  Are we trusting God not only with our protection and provision, but also with our deepest and most hidden inner being?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, it is a glorious thing to know how trustworthy and faithful You are.  You reveal Yourself to us through Your word and Your creation.  You constantly pour out Your love for us in all that You do.  You seek us as a shepherd seeks lost sheep, and care for us with an everlasting love.  Help me to give myself to You in every way, shape, and form, that even my innermost being would be shared with You.  You have earned my trust, and it is my honor to share myself as fully as I can with You.  Help me when I am in need.  Care and provide for me.  And help me to release the parts of myself that I hold on to, that I cling to, and never reveal to anyone.  Help me to bring all of them out into Your glorious and beautiful light, that they would be displayed as precious jewels.  Remove the dross from my life, and if anything in my innermost being is not desirable, help me to bring it out and leave it at the foot of the cross.  This I ask and pray in the precious and mighty name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

A Promise of God – Deuteronomy 6:8

When God makes promises, circumstances change.

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Not Just for Joshua

The author of Hebrews took to heart that this promise was not just for Joshua, son of Nun, but reiterated it in Hebrews 13:5

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,

“Never will I leave you;
    never will I forsake you.”

A Promise Provided

This promise is fulfilled with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  He is a down-deposit for our inheritance.  He won’t just go away when we sin, or are in need, or feel lonely, or scared, or depressed.  He is ALWAYS there – comforting us, guiding us, leading us, empowering us, and encouraging us in our walk with God.

Light Leads through Love

Ephesians 5:18, showing us that the Holy Spirit leads us, saying:

Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit,

The word “filled” is plErousthe in the Greek.  It means “to be controlled by.”  Just as wine controls us in drunkenness (who can honestly say that they are in their right mind and in control when they are drunk?), we are to be controlled by the Holy Spirit in all that we do.  It is an imperative command – not a suggestion!  We are expected to do this!

Since God is love, everything that The Holy Spirit does is in love – even if it is to refine our character and test our hearts through trialseven when we sleep!  We can be confident that when God is leading, we are in good hands.

Provision of Power

God doesn’t just give us an empty promise.  He promises not to forsake us.  To do that, He empowers us through The Holy Spirit:

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

God provides us with the source of the power of the resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ.  He doesn’t just dwell in us; He provides power for all that we are to do.  We can take comfort and strength knowing that He is not just accompanying us through our journey, but providing for us as well.

The Fear Factor

Satan prowls about like a roaring lion, looking for prey to devour.  Lions are not creatures that we should confront without appropriate protection or weaponry.  It is easy to be frightened when confronting a force that can easily overwhelm and destroy you.  Have you noticed that just about every time an angel visits someone in the Bible, the very first words out of their mouth is “do not fear”?  There is a very good reason for that.  When confronted with the power of angelic beings, we are immediately aware of our fragile nature.

But God has provided us with the Spiritual Armor of God.  And we have an offensive weapon as well – the Sword of the Spirit, which IS the scriptures.  And God’s Word says that there is no fear in perfect love.  Since God is love, and we are in Christ, we no longer need to fear.  Fear is predicated on consequences, and ALL of our sins – past, present and future – have been forgiven.  God has chosen not to forsake us, and even in our incapacity to live life perfectly because of our sin nature, God still provides for our future sins, having known about them from before time began.

The Qualifying Question

So, let’s ask the question:  given this wonderful promise, are we allowing the Holy Spirit of God free rein to lead and empower our lives as we walk with God to the extent that we should?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You have made us this wonderful promise.  Give me the strength today to let go of those things that interfere in Your guidance of my life.  Rid me of my own evil desires, and place within me the desires of Your heart.  Help me to yield myself to you completely as a living sacrifice.  Remove the dross from my heart, and help me to submit completely to the Holy Spirit.  Father, I recognize that in submission to You there is freedom.  Set me free from myself that I may be free in You.  Bless Your Holy Name, for You give Your children wonderful gifts and promises.  Knowing that I am never alone, and always in Your care comforts me through my trials.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?