Living on Promises

If you’re like most people nowadays, your head is probably spinning, and maybe your heart is even sinking as you try to understand the times we’re living in.  It’s easy to be shaken when when you discover that the ground that you thought was so firm under your feet turns out – not to be.  We’re looking for something to hold on to, and maybe even someone to explain the seeming unfairness of our circumstances.

In Psalm 73, Asaph was shaken as he wrestled with similar questions.  As he tried to understand the world he saw, it became too painful for him…until he went into the Sanctuary of God.  Interestingly, God didn’t give Asaph an explanation, He instead reminded him of His promises.  The Lord knew that Asaph wouldn’t find peace simply in an explanation, but he would find it when he rested in Him.  Isaiah put his trust in God when he wrote: “You will keep him in perfect peace, who’s mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”

Less Than a Nickel’s Worth of Free Advice

The bible has a lot to say about giving as an act of worship.  But seldom has so much been said by saying so little, as when Jesus took a moment to point out an unsuspecting, poor widow as an example to be gleaned from (Luke 21:1-4). Three things come immediately to mind…

She was a widow.  Where some might turn away from God as a response to the kind of loss she’d suffered, this woman clung to the Lord (Cp. Job 1:21).  I wonder if she might also have clung to the knowledge that, though she may have become a widow, she still had a Husband (Hosea 2:16)?

She was poor. Yet in spite of her poverty, she desired to bring an offering to the Lord.  Enlightening us to heaven’s perspective, Jesus declared her offering, though the least in amount, the most costly of any of the gifts offered (meditate upon 2 Sam. 24:24).  Only the Lord noticed, but, as it was an act of worship, it was only for the Lord to notice anyway.

Much more could be said on this, but I’m humbled by the way that this woman simply put her two cents in and said it all…without saying a word!

God Speaks

An old puritan preacher once asked two very profound questions: “Does God speak?  And if so, what does God say?”  Profound indeed!

As Isaiah opens his prophecy, we’re told that his ministry spanned the reigns of 4 kings of Judah.  During this period of time, no doubt many proclamations were given, letters dictated and delivered and speeches given (God knows politicians like to give speeches!)

Isaiah himself had a lot to say during these many years as well (His is the longest prophetic book in the Bible).  He was a prophet of God with a tremendous calling to bring the hearts of God’s people back to the Lord.

All that said, it becomes immediately obvious who’s voice is preeminent:

vs. 2: “Hear, oh heavens, and give ear, O earth!  For the Lord has spoken…”

I am amazed at how often, and how clearly the Lord spoke to His people in Scripture; leading them, teaching them, instructing some in such minute detail as to leave us with the impression that these followers of old were hearing from the Almighty as we would hear someone across the table.  How can it be that we seem to hear Him so little?

I’m reminded of the scene at the mount of Jesus’ Transfiguration; how in the presence of Moses and Elijah, three of Jesus’ disciples (Peter, James and John) were so awestruck as to be speechless – almost.  One spoke up (you can guess), calling for monuments to be erected for Jesus, and His two guests (who represented the Law and the Prophets).  Well intentioned as they may have been, Peter’s words can’t truly capture the meaning of the moment, and even carry a caviat, declaring that: ”…he did not know what to say.” (Mark 9:6).  In that moment, the Lord spoke from heaven, encouraging Jesus’ followers not to speak, but to listen (vs. 7): ”…hear Him” the Father would say, referring to the Son – as if to say: ”Listen…and listen to the voice that matters most.” After all, it was His word that brought about the creation (Jn. 1:1-3/Gen. 1:3-30), and opened the door for our re-creation (Jn. 19:30).  That being the case, isn’t it worth hearing what else He has to say?

Does God speak?  The answer is a resounding “Yes.”  The answer to the old puritan preacher’s second question is a treasure to be discovered by those who can heed the words of another prophet, who said: “The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before Him.”