Jason took a trip to New York during spring break. One afternoon he and some friends piled into a cab and headed for the Empire State Building. To Jason, the ride on the ground seemed chaotic and dangerous. But when he got to the observation deck of the skyscraper and looked down on the city streets, to his amazement he saw order and design. What a difference a change in perspective made!
Habakkuk learned a similar lesson. When he looked at life from his earthly vantage point, it seemed that God was indifferent to the evil permeating society (Hab. 1:2-4). But God gave him a divine perspective and showed him that life is more than what it seems. The deeds of men cannot thwart the purposes of God (2:3).
Those who don’t show any regard for God may seem to prosper at the moment, but God will ultimately right all wrong. God acts sovereignly in all that comes to pass so that everything works toward His good purpose. God’s plan will surely take place and be on schedule (v.3).
We can’t sort out the whole picture from where we are in life; only God can. So let us continue to live by faith and not by sight. From His perspective, all things are working together for the believer’s good and for His honor.
Ever gracious, ever wise,
All my times are in Your hand,
All events at Your command. —Ryland
From: Through the Bible
1 Chronicles 21:22-24 (NIV) 22David said to him, “Let me have the site of your threshing floor so I can build an altar to the LORD, that the plague on the people may be stopped. Sell it to me at the full price.” 23Araunah said to David, “Take it! Let my lord the king do whatever pleases him. Look, I will give the oxen for the burnt offerings, the threshing sledges for the wood, and the wheat for the grain offering. I will give all this.” 24But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the LORD what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.”
Because of David’s sin in numbering the people, he had chosen between three possible curses. He chose three days of plague. When the angel stood over Jerusalem with his sword drawn, David knew he must act. 70,000 had already died. He interceded for the people and asked that the curse fall on him and his family since he had committed the sin. The LORD told David, through the prophet Gad, to build an altar on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.
This was the same place that Abraham had offered Isaac. It is the same ridge upon which the Lamb of God would be offered for the sins of the world. It is where the chaff is blown away, and what is of value remains. For Abraham, the hope in his son was “blown away” and trust in God remained. For Jesus, the sins of the world were blown away with his blood, and redeemed children of God remained. For David, the guilt was about to be blown away, and a forgiven man would remain.
David wanted to purchase the ground upon which to build the altar and later the Temple. Araunah offered to give it to him. You might say he was generous, but remember that he is standing in the shadow of an angel with a sword. David insisted on paying full price. Though Jesus paid our sin debt, it was not as if it was inexpensive. He paid the full price in our place. Offerings cost. It cost God the greatest price that could be paid. When we give to God our own hearts, we too, should be willing to pay with lives of service.
Consider: Will you sacrifice to God what costs you nothing or will you give Him your all?
by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions
1 Kings 8:27 But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?
Perhaps you’ve seen pictures or have even visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem, what many believe to be the last standing Wall of the Second Temple. But people come from all over the world to pray there and put their prayer notes into the cracks between its stones. Believe it or not, I’ve actually come across a few websites which advertise their desire to receive your faxed prayer requests — and for a low, low fee of 29.99, will take and put them into the cracks of the wall for you!
This is a very nice gesture and all —- but who needs it? God is ALIVE! He hears us whenever and wherever we call!
When Solomon set out to build the first temple, the Lord told Him that He cannot be contained in a manmade structure. He is infinite and all-encompassing! He’s not in a wall or any other man-made object! And amazingly, infinite as He is, He promises to draw near to us as we draw near to Him!
God wants to have a deep and intimate relationship with us. He wants us to experience the life-changing power of His healing and deliverance in our lives.
Let’s not get distracted by the man-made ways people try to connect with God – let’s cry out for intimacy with Him right here and right now. And let’s also not forget pray for revelation for all who seek Him – that they would see the truth of the Messiah Yeshua (Jesus).
by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions
Jonah 1:6 So the captain came to him, and said to him, “What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God; perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish.”
At this point the captain (who probably worshiped Baal and Yamm, god of the sea) has more faith than Jonah.
Frantic in the midst of impending catastrophe, he jolts Jonah back to life and intercession. They say there are no “foxhole atheists”; when great danger comes God somehow bursts into existence. But these sailors were polytheists, and desperation led them to implore the local god of every man in the boat for mercy and salvation. Even these idol worshipers knew that prayer is the only recourse in the hour of desperation.
It’s something to remember and apply in our day to day encounters with people. So many these days are dealing with serious and even desperate situations, while they’re waiting there at the checkout counter…and while they don’t much care to hear a sermon, they might really appreciate our prayers.
We’ve been in situations, with hardly a clue whom we were speaking with, and simply said, “Do you mind if I pray for you?” Suddenly eyes light up, “Yes, please do!” Prayer brings people back into direct relationship with God and reminds them of their dependance on Him, and whether we’re on a ship in a storm, or facing some other potential catastrophe, we all desperately need His grace and favor. And connecting with people this way is actually easier than you might think.
The times are coming, and are already here, when more and more people facing desperation may turn and cry to us, “Call on Your God to save us!” They may even wake us up from our spiritual slumber to do it. Rather than rubbing our eyes and groaning, “Duh, what?” we ought to be already awake, looking for them now.
by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions
Jonah 1:14, 16 Therefore they cried out to the Lord and said, “We pray, O Lord, please do not let us perish for this man’s life, and do not charge us with innocent blood; for You, O Lord, have done as it pleased You.”
Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice to the Lord and took vows.
While most read the story of Jonah focusing on Jonah’s journey, I want to pause and examine the lives of the pagan sailors. What a journey they were on! We see the hand of God touching them providentially through Jonah’s disobedience. Talk about God bringing good from evil. Here He draws them into a desperate sea voyage and almost incidentally reveals to them the impotence of their gods, who have no power whatsoever to stop the deadly storm. In their total helplessness the God of Heaven then introduces Himself through his runaway prophet. And suddenly, the sailors are crying out to YHVH.
They are not crying out to their gods any longer – but now are crying to the true God of Israel.
And God performs a miracle for them, when Jonah is tossed into the sea, the storm suddenly calmed… and the amazing miracle evokes what sounds like prophesying, as they offer sacrifices and vows in worship to YHVH. “For You, O Lord, have done as you pleased!” The whole crew is converted. So, while Jonah is fish food – there’s a revival happening on board.
And now these wonder struck sailors have quite a fish story to tell in all their subsequent travels concerning the wayward prophet who disappeared beneath the waves as his God stilled the perfect storm. And the Lord has a boat full of newborn missionaries heading to Tarshish…
Our God desires all people throughout the world to hear His message. His providence is such that anywhere His servants find themselves becomes a place and a moment of opportunity for Him. The apostle Paul writes to Timothy “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; [2 Timothy 4:2] Even Jonah’s gross disobedience didn’t stop the Lord from using him as a testimony. We need to be aware of who we are and what we carry for Yeshua (Jesus). His love and faithfulness to us is such that even our discipline can become a vehicle for expressing His love to the world.