“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5 KJV. As human beings we have a natural desire to understand things. We go to great lengths to try to understand, to make sense of things. And we are thankful that God has given us an understanding of all things that are necessary for us to experience this great salvation. But then, there are times we face troubling circumstances that are impossible to understand on a human level. We go through difficult situations that make no sense and we cannot see how any good could come from them. In these times it is very important for us not to lean on our own understanding, but to trust in our Heavenly Father with all of our heart. Many people have tried to figure everything out and became very damaged in their souls. And sadly, for some, their faith has failed because they would not trust God with the things that are impossible to understand. But let us have the heart of a little child, who simply looks to and trusts his father to deal with the things he cannot understand. And one day, as the songwriter expressed, ‘We will understand it better by and by’.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4 KJV. At some point in life, most everyone will have to walk through this valley. It is a place we, as human beings, dread and it is never easy for us. Sometimes it is the death of close friends and loved ones. Other times it is the death of relationships and career dreams. And certainly, there is much we do not understand about this valley of the shadow of death. But this we do know, that God’s presence with us is able to hold us up and sustain us. Because He is with us we do not have to fear the unknown things of this valley. Because we have the comfort of His abiding presence we can be sure that we can walk through this valley rather than remain in it. No matter how dark the valley may be, we have God’s own promise, “I will be with you always”. So when the valley seems dark and we can’t understand, let us find comfort in knowing that our God is always with us and He is sufficient for all of our needs. Let us keep faith in our Good Shepherd, and we will make it.
“Yea, the Lord shall give that which is good…” Psalms 85:12 KJV. We talk a lot about God being a good God. We sing about His goodness. We know that every good thing that comes to us, comes from our Heavenly Father. And certainly we could never praise God enough for His goodness! But do we also realize, that everything He gives us is good? In fact, everything that comes from His hand is good. Even those things that we don’t yet understand, and that may seem confusing or bad to us right now, are ultimately for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. The difficulty we have in understanding ‘good’ from God’s perspective is that we can’t see the big picture as God does. We often value things more on a material level while God measures things according to their spiritual and eternal worth. So in our limited wisdom there is only one way to know that all these things God gives are good, and that is through faith. There are many times that faith alone can see the good in the difficulties of life. So even when we can’t see or understand, let us choose to have faith that God always gives what is good.
“For ever, O LORD, Thy Word Is settled in heaven.” Psalm 119:89 KJV. When we consider God’s Word, we think of the things God has spoken to us. And how blessed we are to know His Word never changes! What He has said always will be. And we each should remember, when we first came to Christ, it was His Word we trusted. It was His Word we depended on. In that moment, God’s Word was settled in our heart and mind. We believed what God said to us and our lives were changed! But as life goes on, one of the spiritual dangers we face is, that doubt will creep into our minds about God’s Word. When this happens, we should immediately recognize, this is an attack of satan. This was how the tempter first came against Eve in the garden. He tempted her to doubt what God had said. This is how he tempted Jesus in the wilderness, by saying: “If You are Who God said You are”. And we can be sure, we all will be tempted in this way. In many ways the enemy tries to use doubt to cause us to question what God has said. When troubles and heartaches come, we will be tempted to doubt that this can ever work for good. When we can’t see how our need will be supplied, we will be tempted to doubt that God will supply our needs. But let us have God’s Word forever settled in our hearts! Let us trust and never doubt, because God’s Word cannot fail. It is forever settled.
“For with God nothing shall be impossible.” Luke 1:37 KJV. When the angel spoke these words to Mary, it was because what he said seemed impossible to her mind. She did not yet have the blessed words Jesus would soon speak, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” (Luke 18:27) For many of God’s children, there still are many things that seem impossible. And yet, the things impossible to us are commonplace with God! But do we realize how often these thoughts hinders us today? How often do we think “But that seems impossible”? We read of the wonderful possibilities through prayer and we sometimes think “How can it be possible?” We read the many commands about living holy and Godly in this present world and most religious people say “That’s just not possible”. We learn of the great miracles of healing in God’s Word, and we question if it is still possible. We read of God’s plan to bring this world to a glorious end, where His glory will cover the earth, and we wonder how that can be possible. But may God help us to quit judging what is possible by our human limitations! May we have the faith to believe that NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE with our God! Let us pray for true revival, believing that with God nothing is impossible. Let us plead for lost souls and bodies to be healed with the confidence, that with God, all things are possible.
“And Jethro rejoiced for all the goodness which the Lord had done to Israel, whom He had delivered out of the hand of the Egyptians.” Exodus 18:9 KJV. We all know how easy it is to murmur and complain about the troubles of this life. At times we become almost obsessed with the negative things of this world. And as we do, we tend to take on a very negative attitude. We become downcast, discouraged and lose our peace and joy. But let us follow the example of Moses’ father in law, Jethro, who chose to rejoice for all the goodness which God had shown! The fact is, we can choose to focus on God’s goodness, if we will. We can decide that we are going to think upon the good things as Paul describes in Phil. 4:8. And as we make a conscious effort do that, we will soon be rejoicing in our soul. The dark clouds will pass away. We will have a joyful and encouraging spirit which will be a help to those around us. May God help us to be those people who choose to rejoice in God’s goodness.
“The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under Whose wings thou art come to trust.” Ruth 2:12 KJV. These words Boaz spoke to Ruth have come to hold great spiritual meaning for all who place their trust in God. When we come to Christ in saving faith, we truly are placing our lives under His wings. That means we are like little chicks who find refuge and safety under their mother’s wings. There, they trust her to protect and provide for them. And what great rewards there are to those who walk with God in this relationship. Under His wings means that we are walking in close, personal relationship, abiding in Him. It means we are walking in His favor and in His will. And in that secure place we have many spiritual rewards even in this present world. We have His peace that passes understanding and the joy of the Lord in our hearts. We have the great and precious promises of God’s Word to rest on. We have the privilege to be a part of the family of God and so many more! But one day, if we are faithful to the end, we will receive the full reward, which is the inheritance of the saints. On that great day, we will enter in to the eternal joys of the Lord in Heaven! There our rewards will far exceed anything we have done. May God help us to keep our eyes on the goal.
“Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger?” Ruth 2:10 KJV. This verse was written of Ruth when she was overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of Boaz. His actions towards Ruth are a ‘Type’ of Christ, in how kind and gracious He has been to each of us, in our unworthy condition. Certainly Ruth’s attitude should also be the attitude we express to our Lord and Saviour. When we take time to consider Who He is and what we are, it will overwhelm our hearts in grateful adoration. And we will ask, “Who am I, that You, the God of all glory, would be mindful of me?” The reality is, we were all strangers and outcasts spiritually. By our sin, we had made ourselves rebels and enemies of God. But thank God, when we sinned against Him, He loved us still! When we rejected Him, He still demonstrated great mercy and kindness to us! Oh how we should thank God for His amazing grace! Several years ago the songwriter expressed this thought in the song: ‘Who am I?’ The chorus: “Who am I that a King would bleed and die for? Who am I that He would pray not my will, Thine Lord? The answer I may never know, why He ever loved me so, but to an old rugged cross He’d go, for who am I?”
“In Thee, O Lord, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion.” Psalms 71:1 KJV. We all know that there are many things that happen in our lives and in the world around us that are very difficult to understand. We will never fully understand things like suffering and sorrow, while we are in this world. But the desire of the psalmist here is not about trying to figure out all of these things. What David is asking God for is this: “Lord don’t let me ever be ashamed of my trust in You. Don’t let me be confused about how trustworthy You are”. And so it should be with each of us today. We sing the song, ‘I don’t need to understand’ and yet, at times, we still struggle so much trying to understand and to make some sense of things. But God wants to help us to leave those things in His hands, because He is God and we are not. A little child who is walking with a strong father doesn’t have to figure out all the complexities of life. Because when his trust is in his father that is enough. Our Heavenly Father wants us to simply hold His hand and keep our faith and trust in Him in spite of all the confusion of things around us. And as we do, we will walk in the perfect peace that trust brings. It is so sweet to trust in Jesus.
“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise Him, Who is the health of my countenance, and my God.”Psalms 43:5 KJV. Several times in these 2 Psalms (42 & 43) David asks this and other questions that reveal he was in a very low place emotionally. And we all know what it’s like to feel downhearted. We have low places that we go through. But do we ever pause to ask ourselves “Why? Why am I feeling so down? Why do the clouds seem to hang so low?” In asking this question honestly we can begin to encourage ourselves in God. Because, no matter what we give as our answer (or excuse), we can always have the reply that God is still God! He is still my God. He is still the same Unfailing God that I have placed my hope and trust in. We can begin to rejoice, that He has not changed! No matter what has happened to me, He is still the Almighty God Who lives in me. No matter who rejects me, He is still the God Who loves me and accepts me as His own. No matter what happens in the world around me, He is still the same Sovereign God Who promises to work it all for good to those who love Him. So in our discouraging days, let us lift our eyes of faith, to our Unchanging God and keep all our hope in Him.