“I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” Psalm 27:13 KJV. When we think about the goodness of God, it is easy for us to think more on a material level than it is spiritual. We want to see and feel His goodness in the physical things of life. In this verse, the psalmist was struggling with this thought as well. At first, he looked around at this present world, trying to see and measure God’s goodness. The previous verse reveals there were enemies rising against him. Lies and false accusations were told on him. He was receiving the cruel treatment that men so often give to their fellow man. It was a very difficult time for him on a human level. But then he understood, that it takes faith to truly see the goodness of God! And he chose to believe, that no matter what happened around him or to him, he would lift his eyes Heavenward and see the goodness of God! And it is still that way today when we go through the valleys of life. Maybe it is difficult to see much goodness as we look around in this fallen world. Maybe it is hard to feel good about our situation. But if we will look to Jesus and believe what He has done for us, then we will see how very good God is to us.
“For I will set Mine eyes upon them for good…And I will give them an heart to know Me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be My people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto Me with their whole heart.”
Jeremiah 24:6-7 KJV. When God promised those Jews that He was bringing correction for their good, they could not comprehend the measure of God’s goodness. They were thinking like most do today, only of physical and material things. But in these words we begin to see that the very best thing God could ever do for anyone, is to give them the privilege to know Him! What an awesome thing it is, for us as fallen individuals, to be able to know the Living God in personal relationship. When we could never do enough or become good enough to be worthy of such a relationship, God Himself chose to give us a heart to know Him. Today, we know that this is part of the miracle of true salvation and the new birth. We are not the same old, sinful people we used to be! Thank God we are new creatures because God has given us a new heart! Oh how great is His goodness to us! Dear ones, even when we walk through the valleys, may we remember that the eyes of our Heavenly Father look upon us for our good.
“Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good.”Jeremiah 24:5 KJV. In this chapter of Jeremiah, God showed the prophet a picture of 2 different groups of people among those Jews. The first, though having gone astray, were willing to humble themselves and receive the correction God was sending. But the second group, hardened their hearts against God, would not receive His correction, and ultimately perished in a backslidden condition. For the first group, certainly it seemed like a harsh punishment, to be sent away as captives to a foreign land. To be sure, there was much they could not understand about God’s ways of humbling and helping them. But the key is, they accepted that God’s way is best! They were willing to take the humble path and receive the correction of a loving Father Who promised this would be ‘For their Good’. May God help us today, to always be willing to receive His correction and take the humble path, even when that means things will not be easy or comfortable. We can trust the heart of our Father Who always is working for our good.
“I spake unto thee in thy prosperity; but thou saidst, I will not hear. This hath been thy manner from thy youth, that thou obeyedst not my voice.” Jeremiah 22:21 KJV. Many times in the history of Old Test. Israel, God sent His Word of correction through the prophets. But as long as the people were comfortable physically and prospering on a material level, they hardened themselves in pride and refused His correction. Like many in this generation, they had the wrong idea, that because things are good physically and materially, everything must be ok. They would not accept that they were spiritually poor and in trouble with God. Their own prosperity had closed their ears to God’s voice and blinded their eyes to their true spiritual need. We should understand when God said to them ‘Thy prosperity’, He was talking only about material things. It was not the same as the spiritual prosperity which God desires for us as His children, which comes as we obey His Word. In this day, where so many have so much, it is very difficult for people to humbly receive the correction God sends. In most places, their ears are being tickled with nice religious words that cause them to become comfortable in their sinful and selfish ways. Their ears are closed to the true Word of God. But we can be sure, our faithful God still has a way to get the attention of those who refuse to hear.
“…My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, Nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him: For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth…” Hebrews 12:5-6 KJV. One of the signs of spiritual maturity is when we become able to receive correction in the right way, with a proper attitude. In this day, spiritual correction has almost become a lost cause in the professing church. It is sad, that most people take offense and become lifted up in pride when God tries to send correction through His Word. On a human level, we all like to think that our opinion is as good as the next person’s, and we have the right to go our own way. But do we realize, as children of God, that we have surrendered our rights to Him, that we are not our own because we have been bought with a price? And as His children, we can rest assured that we have a loving Father Who always corrects us for our good? As children of God, it is not our own will that we are to be doing. The will of our Father should always be our first priority. As we open our hearts and our ears to the Word of God, let us humble ourselves to receive all the correction that our Father knows we need. Only God knows, how many precious souls will be lost, because they harden their hearts against spiritual correction.
“Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” 2 Timothy 2:19 KJV. David asked the question long ago, (Psa. 11:3) “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” And certainly that is a concern, when it comes to the foundations of societies and governments. We are in such a time, when the very foundations of this nation and many others, are crumbling, because we have turned our backs on God and opened the floodgates of iniquity. But when it comes to God’s church, and the Christian faith, and the message of the Gospel, may we understand that the foundation of God will forever stand sure and steadfast! May our faith in God be such that we know, beyond all shadow of doubt, that whatever God does, it is going to stand sure. The key for us personally is, that we do not anchor our souls on any other foundation. We do not rest on the foundations of men, or religious ideas and feelings. Our souls must be anchored on this one Foundation which stands safe and secure forever. We must rest on the foundation of Jesus Christ crucified and risen, Saviour and Lord of all. As the song says, “My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus Christ… On Christ the Solid Rock I stand, All other ground is sinking sand!”
“If we believe not, yet He abideth faithful: He cannot deny Himself.” 2 Timothy 2:13 KJV. Jesus Christ Abides Faithful. There are times in our lives when we question and wonder about the stability and security of many things. In these days many are concerned about the stability of our nation and way of life. We wonder what kind of world the next generation will be left with. We see the collapse of large corporations and the terrible transition our society is making to a more liberal and ungodly place. And yet, in the midst of all of this decay, we see One Who never changes, Who always abides faithful. We see Jesus, Who is the same yesterday, today and forever! And God help us to believe, that He is forever faithful! He cannot fail. He is faithful to His Word and promises. His love and mercy abides faithful. And for all who will keep their eyes on Him and their faith in Him, we will be able to endure all that life brings our way, because He is faithful to our souls. He does not rise and fall according to how strong our belief is. We may struggle to keep our faith. We may even cease to believe. But HE will always be faithful and true! Thank God, in the midst of this ever-changing world, we have a Saviour and Lord Who abides faithful.
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
2 Timothy 2:15 KJV. Imagine how different the lives of most believers would be if we all lived each day with this desire foremost in our hearts and minds, to be ‘Approved unto God’. To often when this passage is read, most people skim over it because they think it is only advice for preachers. But may we realize, that this should be a personal longing for every true child of God! While we should do our best in whatever task God has called us to, (for His glory) we should always keep in mind that we are not living to gain the approval of those around us. If we are employed, we should want to be a good employee, not to please the boss, but to be approved into God! Young people should strive to be good students, not for the teacher or parents, but to be approved of God. Every parent, every gospel worker, every Christian, should do their very best, not for human recognition, but to please our Father in Heaven and to have His approval. Let this be the measure of our every choice and activity, “Is this approved by God?”. As we do this, we will not be ashamed when we stand before Him.
“The stone which the builders refused Is become the head stone of the corner. This is the LORD ‘s doing; It is marvellous in our eyes.” Psalm 118:22-23 KJV. This amazing work that God did in Christ for our salvation, is truly a marvelous thing. That He would send His only Begotten Son, to be rejected of men, to be ridiculed and scorned, and then to suffer and die as the propitiation for our sins, what a profound plan that was! And He said this ‘Rejected Stone’, Who is Jesus Christ, would become the Head Stone, the Chief Corner Stone, the One upon which all the church would be founded! Surely the plan of God was confusing to the minds of religious men. They could not comprehend a Suffering Saviour, Who was rejected by His own people, becoming the Rock of our Salvation. And yet that is exactly what God has done! He has confounded the wisdom of men. But today, we must ask ourselves, “Is this Divine Plan of a Suffering, Rejected Saviour a marvelous thing to me?” Am I willing to be identified with Him and be a partaker of His suffering? Am I willing to be rejected by this world because I stand with Jesus Christ? Can we honestly say, that the Lord’s work is a marvelous thing to us?
“Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 2:1 KJV. Be strong in grace. As we read these words in the context of Paul’s writing, we realize that he is not telling Timothy simply to remember God’s ‘undeserved favor’ to you. That is the very limited definition used by modern religion to describe this profound word ‘grace’. But here and many places in God’s Word we realize, that ‘grace’ also means that divine, supernatural ability to do, what cannot be done in human strength. This is what Jesus meant, when He said to Paul, (2 Cor. 12:9) “My grace is sufficient for you: for My strength is made perfect in your weakness”. It is the divine ability God gives that enables us to overcome things that are not possible to us on a human level. It is very clear as Paul writes this letter to Timothy, that he was encouraging him to rely upon the divine strength and ability (grace) that comes only from Jesus Christ. When we begin to understand God’s grace in this light, we will realize that everything God calls us to, He gives the ability (grace) for us to do it! So we have this same encouragement that Timothy received. We can be strong because we rely upon the unfailing grace of God.