You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Isaiah 26:3
“Ruthlessly eliminate hurry.” When two friends repeated that adage by the wise Dallas Willard to me, I knew I needed to consider it. Where was I spinning my wheels, wasting time and energy? More important, where was I rushing ahead and not looking to God for guidance and help? In the weeks and months that followed, I remembered those words and reoriented myself back to the Lord and His wisdom. I reminded myself to trust in Him, rather than leaning on my own ways.
After all, rushing around frantically seems to be the opposite of the “perfect peace” the prophet Isaiah speaks of. The Lord gives this gift to “those whose minds are steadfast,” because they trust in Him (v. 3). And He is worthy of being trusted today, tomorrow, and forever, for “the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal” (v. 4). Trusting God with our minds fixed on Him is the antidote to a hurried life.
How about us? Do we sense that we’re hurried or even hasty? Maybe, in contrast, we often experience a sense of peace. Or perhaps we’re somewhere in between the two extremes.
Wherever we may be, I pray today that we’ll be able to put aside any hurry as we trust the Lord, who will never fail us and who gives us His peace.
Lord God, You give the peace that passes all understanding, which is a gift I don’t want to take for granted. Thank You.
God’s peace helps us not to hurry.
Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord” (Exod. 14:13).
These words contain God’s command to the believer when he is reduced to great straits and brought into extraordinary difficulties. He cannot retreat; he cannot go forward; he is shut upon the right hand and on the left. What is he now to do?
The Master’s word to him is “stand still.” It will be well for him if, at such times, he listens only to his Master’s word, for other and evil advisers come with their suggestions. Despair whispers, “Lie down and die; give it all up.” But God would have us put on a cheerful courage, and even in our worst times, rejoice in His love and faithfulness.
Cowardice says, “Retreat; go back to the worldling’s way of action; you cannot play the Christian’s part; it is too difficult. Relinquish your principles.”
But, however much Satan may urge this course upon you, you cannot follow it, if you are a child of God. His Divine fiat has bid thee go from strength to strength, and so thou shalt, and neither death nor hell shall turn thee from thy course. What if for a while thou art called to stand still; yet this is but to renew thy strength for some greater advance in due time.
Precipitancy cries, “Do something; stir yourself; to stand still and wait is sheer idleness.” We must be doing something at once–we must do it, so we think–instead of looking to the Lord, who will not only do something, but will do everything.
Presumption boasts, “If the sea be before you, march into it, and expect a miracle.” But faith listens neither to Presumption, nor to Despair, nor to Cowardice, nor to Precipitancy, but it hears God say, “Stand still,” and immovable as a rock it stands.
“Stand still”–keep the posture of an upright man, ready for action, expecting further orders, cheerfully and patiently awaiting the directing voice; and it will not be long ere God shall say to you, as distinctly as Moses said it to the people of Israel, “Go forward.’
“Be quiet! why this anxious heed
About thy tangled ways?
God knows them all. He giveth speed
And He allows delays.
‘Tis good for thee to walk by faith
And not by sight.
Take it on trust a little while.
Soon shalt thou read the mystery aright
In the full sunshine of His smile.”
In times of uncertainty, wait. Always, if you have any doubt, wait. Do not force yourself to any action. If you have a restraint in your spirit, wait until all is clear, and do not go against it.
|April 19, 2018|
God Wants Our Whole Heart
“Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you.” Hosea 10:12 (NIV)
God wants us to get some things settled in our heart. One of the most crucial is deciding whether we are all-in when it comes to our relationship with Him. Do we want to walk in the fullness of His love and His plans? Or, do we want to spend our lives chasing after the world’s empty pleasures?
Why not push the limits, live for the now and worry about eternity later?
The enemy is very strategic with his plans to derail and distract us. He’s clever by making his temptations seem so harmless.
The problem is that we miss the whole point of our existence, the very purpose for which we were created. God made us for the relationship of His perfect love. But if we’re always chasing after other things, we’ll never experience the fullness of that love. There’s a big difference between a half-hearted approach to God and whole-hearted devotion.
That half-hearted approach is where we find God’s people in a passage of Scripture I have been studying recently.
Hosea 10 opens with the initial appearance that all is well for the Israelites. They’re flourishing and in a season of plenty. (Hosea 10:1) Anyone looking at them from the outside would probably assume God is pleased with them and greatly blessing them. But Hosea lets the Israelites know God is anything but pleased with them, and their season of plenty and fruitfulness is about to be replaced with one of destruction and barrenness.
Hosea 10:2 explains the reason, “Their heart is deceitful, and now they must bear their guilt. The LORD will demolish their altars and destroy their sacred stones.”
The Hebrew word for “deceit” is חָלַק, ḥālaq (pronunced “Ha ‒ Lack”) and means “divided, smooth, or slippery.”
God didn’t have their whole heart.
Their hearts were deceived and divided. Instead of worshipping God with their whole heart, the Israelites turned to their pagan altars. (Hosea 10:1) Instead of trusting in the Lord, they put their faith in their rebellious and evil kings. (Hosea 10:3-4, 7)
They ignored God’s warnings to tear down their altars — failing to realize that divided affections will always be detrimental to their life of devotion. And as they chased after their idols, they wandered away from their covenant relationship with the Lord.
Thankfully, God is gracious in the midst of our wandering — beckoning us back home, calling us to repentance, offering us the chance to begin again.
He holds out hope to the Israelites and to us in Hosea 10:12: “Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers righteousness on you.”
I don’t want us to miss the original Hebrew meaning of the word “seek” in this verse. The word is דָּרַשׁ, dāraš (pronounced “Da ‒ Rash”) is translated as “turning to the Lord.” I love that! Can’t you just hear the Father’s voice calling out to His people? Calling out to us?
As if He’s saying … “My wayward and wandering children, turn back! Turn to Me! The path you are on is one that leads to destruction. One I cannot bless. But it’s not too late! You haven’t wandered too far. You can stop right now, right where you are, and return to Me. You can make wise and holy choices. Starting now. You can sow better seed. Today. Draw near to Me once again, and I will draw near to you. Repent of your sins and receive the fullness of My mercy, grace and forgiveness. Welcome Me even into the parts of your heart that have perhaps been hard and resistant to Me. Turn to Me. Seek Me. You will find Me waiting and ready to move in your life with amazing grace, unending love and incredible power.”
Oh how I pray we will answer His call today. Let’s seek God like never before. Let’s turn to Him, follow Him and offer Him all that we are and all that we have.
Father God, please forgive me. You know how my heart can get so divided and stretched and pulled in a million directions. Thank You for reminding me that You want every single piece of my heart. Please reveal anything I have been turning to instead of You. Teach me to rely on Your strength and power in the areas where I am weak. My deepest desire is to follow hard after You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.