Monday, August 17, 2015
God Our Only Hope
18 “Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the LORD,
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.
19 If you are willing and obedient,
You shall eat the good of the land;
20 But if you refuse and rebel,
You shall be devo.ured by the sword”;
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken."
I have reached a point in my life where I find I must run to the Word in times of disappointment, frustration, or brokenness. And it is miraculous how God is so faithful to bring me to just the right Scriptures to carry on and not quit.
This morning was one of those times. I need quiet when I read, and so I went to the front porch. Although the day is slated to be a hot one, there were still cool breezes blowing and the mourning dove said hello by her constant cooing. I felt like I wanted to cry, but I asked the Lord, "Please, encourage me once again through Your Scriptures of truth."
Sometimes it seems that the enemy whispers to me that I am reading the Word out of a sense of obligation, and that I will get no blessing from it, or that I am just being a goody-goody. But he is such a liar. For the past year or so, I have been doing my Bible readings in a different way. One day, I searched on the net for a Bible reading schedule that was different than just reading it through in one or two years. I wanted something different, and this is what I found:
It appears that there are online programs now to go along with this system, but I don't use them. I just read 1 chapter from ten different sections of the Bible each day. It sounds like a lot, but it really isn't. The point of this blog today is not so much to talk about the system, which I heartily encourage anyone to try, but about how God is so faithful to bring me just what I need when I need it.
I knew I could not get myself out of the sense of despair, but specific Scriptures did just that. I took out my journal along with my Bible and even wrote how upset I felt inside it. I wrote, "Oh God, You must rescue me again from this crushing disappointment, from feeling sorry for myself, from my own self-induced misery."
One of my readings today was in I John, chapter 2. Suddenly this verse popped out at me:
25 "And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life."
I thought to myself, "I have eternal life, right now." I am not waiting for it as some pie in the sky in the future, but right as I sit here on my front porch with my Bible and my morning coffee. That thought in itself started to lift my head. I read on:
28 "And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming."
I thought to myself, "I do not want to be ashamed on that Day when He comes." All I need do is to continue to abide in Him. And how do I abide in Him? By meditating on His Word.
I continued on with my readings and found this gem in Proverbs 13:7
7 "There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing;
And one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches."
I immediately thought of what Jesus said in the first Beatitude: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:3
I felt even more encouragement. If I realize that in and of myself I am poor and needy, and cannot even lift my own head, then the Lord is faithful to come in with His great empathy in my situation. He is not against me. He is for me, right here, right now!
I also read in Psalms, and in II Samuel, David weeping over the death of his son Absalom. In Jeremiah 17, I could not believe how the Spirit reminded me that it is impossible for me to pull myself out of my condition in my own strength. Jeremiah wrote:
5 "Thus says the LORD:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
And makes flesh his strength,
Whose heart departs from the LORD.
6 For he shall be like a shrub in the desert,
And shall not see when good comes,
But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness,
In a salt land which is not inhabited.
7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
And whose hope is the LORD.
8 For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit."
I cannot trust myself but I can trust Him, that He is good, and that He lives inside me as I abide in His Word.
Finally, I came upon what I thought was the clincher for the day. Jeremiah struggled, just as we all do, and he wept as he saw his beloved nation going into captivity. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that our own country is in terrible trouble, and sometimes I want to weep just like Jeremiah did, for we are certain to face God's judgment soon. But Jeremiah said:
17 "Do not be a terror to me;
You are my hope in the day of doom."
How is it I have not seen that before? If I am living near to the day of doom, I still have God, err, He has me. In His Word, today, I will hope.