Choose the Right Keys
He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure. Isaiah 33:6 (NIV)
With a new season making an appearance, I wanted to take inventory of lawn chairs and garden supplies. I fumbled with the lock on my shed, using a key I thought would work. Not so. I tried a second key. The lock didn’t open. I walked back to the house to look. Ten minutes later, I found a key on a ring marked “shed”.
Using the wrong key to unlock the shed provided more than frustration, wasted time, and exercise walking back to the house. It reminded me of the times I used wrong keys in life experiences.
In decision making, we often choose knowledge instead of the key of wisdom. We think we have all the facts—and we might–but reason and facts may not lead us to a wise decision. Wisdom asks, “How does that knowledge apply to me and what God wants me to do? James 1:5 (NLT) extends an invitation,
“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.”
Sometimes we choose the keys of anxiety and impatience. We may work with a difficult person, wonder how to pay an unusual medical bill, or get held up in heavy traffic. The apostle Paul cautions us,
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV).
The key of prayer leads to unlocking peace.
Or perhaps our vision for a project, a job, or a relationship didn’t turn out as we expected. We clutch the key of disappointment in our hand, even though it won’t change the situation. It’s time to walk back to the house and look for the key of contentment. Scripture points out the apostle Paul’s resolution in struggles,
“… for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. (Philippians 4:11 NIV)
Think about the keys you’ve tried to use, only to be met with a lock that won’t budge. There’s more waiting for us when we choose the right keys. Isaiah said knowing the fear of the Lord is the key that leads to a sure foundation, and the apostle Paul adds another outcome,
“a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.” (1 Timothy 6:19 NLT)
Stable foundation, security, peace, true life. Let’s find and use the right keys.
Psalms 42:1-3 1As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. 2My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? 3My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”
The words of the first verse became a popular chorus in the church. In the song it is used as an expression of desire to know God more intimately, but in the psalm it is a cry for deliverance from the psalmist’s situation. It is reminiscent of Job when he pleaded to present his case before God. We don’t know the cause of David’s distress. It may have been when he fled from Saul, or Absalom, or an illness. There are dark valleys, through which God takes us, that increase our desire for God. No one likes to go down them, but oh the maturing of our soul that comes from the pain. We long for the presence of God to be our hiding place from the troubles of life, but sometimes He even withholds that from us.
The dark night of the soul takes us from our apathetic level back up to climbing the heights of life in God. The pain draws us past our complacency and onward to heights of intimacy. The brokenhearted reading this can instantly relate to these words. Those who have not yet gone down this road, remember this, do not harden your heart in this place. If you do, you will come out bitter instead of better. The enemy of your soul will have won a double victory. He inflicted the pain, and it will have borne the results that he desired. Instead, defeat him by allowing yourself to be even more tender and allowing your heart to break. The LORD is near the brokenhearted. It is a place where all your trust is in the faithfulness of God, though you cannot see any evidence. Those you have shared Christ with, who know you as a Christian, will mock saying, “Where is your God?” He has promised to be near.
Remember: Weeping will endure for a season, but the joy will return. You will come out with a greater desire for God, for intimacy with Him.
Streams in the Desert – October 9
- 20219 Oct
Therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you (Isa. 30:18).
Where showers fall most, there the grass is greenest. I suppose the fogs and mists of Ireland make it “the Emerald Isle”; and whenever you find great fogs of trouble, and mists of sorrow, you always find emerald green hearts; full of the beautiful verdure of the comfort and love of God.
O Christian, do not thou be saying, “Where are the swallows gone? They are gone; they are dead.” They are not dead; they have skimmed the purple sea, and gone to a far-off land; but they will be back again by and by.
Child of God, say not the flowers are dead; say not the winter has killed them, and they are gone. Ah, no! though winter hath coated them with the ermine of its snow; they will put up their heads again, and will be alive very soon.
Say not, child of God, that the sun is quenched, because the cloud hath hidden it. Ah, no; he is behind there, brewing summer for thee; for when he cometh out again, he will have made the clouds fit to drop in April showers, all of them mothers of the sweet May flowers.
And oh! above all, when thy God hides His face, say not that He hath forgotten thee. He is but tarrying a little while to make thee love Him better; and when He cometh, thou shalt have joy in the Lord, and shalt rejoice with joy unspeakable. Waiting exercises our grace; waiting tries our faith; therefore, wait on in hope; for though the promise tarry, it can never come too late.
–C. H. Spurgeon
“Oh, every year hath its winter,
And every year hath its rain–
But a day is always coming
When the birds go north again.
“When new leaves swell in the forest,
And grass springs green on the plain,
And alders’ veins turn crimson–
And the birds go north again.
“Oh, every heart hath its sorrow,
And every heart hath its pain–
But a day is always coming
When the birds go north again.
“‘Tis the sweetest thing to remember,
If courage be on the wane,
When the cold, dark days are over–
Why, the birds go north again.”
Always Ready to Serve
“David lived with Achish at Gath … Achish believed David, saying, ‘He has surely made himself odious among his people Israel; therefore he will become my servant forever.'” – 1 Samuel 27:3, 12 NASB
David spent a lifetime as a servant. He served his father, his country, his king, and God. Perhaps the ultimate test came when, escaping Saul’s relentless pursuit, he went to live among the Philistines. It was a great challenge. After all, David gained fame fighting against the Philistines. Yet, he needed their confidence to live in peace.
Amazingly, David succeeded. So completely was he trusted that the Philistine king believed David would be his “servant forever.” David seemed willing to go into battle against his own people and only was spared when other Philistine leaders objected.
It can be easy to serve people who are generous and kind with whom we agree. But God wants us to serve in every situation. We need to submit to our masters, “not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are harsh.” (1 Peter 2:18). This attitude demonstrates that we have been changed and are committed to serving.
Jesus said that those wanting to be first should be last and “servant of all” (Mark 9:35). Seek to serve in everything you do. Have the attitude of a servant all the time. Serve God in every situation. Commit your way to Him and know He will guide and bless you. He can cause you to receive favor with everyone, even those who have been enemies. Remember, He is looking at your heart.