Fill ‘Er Up
You’ve got to know something’s wrong when you pass numerous broken-down cars on your usually smooth commute. In July 2018, a delivery truck pumped the wrong fuel in underground tanks at several gas stations. Many Virginia motorists who thought they had filled their tanks with regular gas got diesel fuel instead. Some cars sputtered down the highway and others seized up entirely.
I’ve often thought about these drivers. It seemed so right to them, filling their cars that day. The pump was labeled “Regular.” Why would they expect anything else?
King Solomon was one of Israel’s greatest leaders and revered for godly wisdom. He wrote about assuming we’re getting the right thing in the book of Proverbs:
There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death (Proverbs 14:12 NLT).
I recognize that path. It’s the avenue society says is best for me, too. The one where I figure out what makes me happy and how to get it—the “all-about-me” road. I spend my time doing things I enjoy, buying things I like, and seeking a safe, comfortable life. I decide what’s right and wrong, what’s fair and unfair. It does seem right. It seems normal.
What could be wrong with it? I’m not hurting anyone else. We all think this way sometimes. Problem is, that kind of thinking can lead us down a dark path.
Solomon said that it ends in death—spiritual death. Sputtering away from the path God intended. Dying, separated from the abundant life God planned for us.
The first commandment given to Moses says, “You must not have any other god but me” (Exodus 20:3 NLT).
That includes us. We can’t spend our lives chasing pleasures, living by our own code of ethics, always putting ourselves first. That’s placing us before God—making little gods of ourselves. When we trust and obey God, we put Him in the rightful place as Lord of our lives. We align our wants with what He wants. We respect His authority in our lives as our heavenly Father.
Jesus Christ is the perfect example of the proper relationship to the Father. He sought time alone with Him, counsel from Him, and He totally surrendered to God’s plan. Even in the face of crucifixion, Jesus said,
“I want your will to be done, not mine” (Luke 22:42 NLT).
When Jehovah God delivered the Ten Commandments to Moses for His people (Exodus 20:1-20), it was not to be taken as a list of dos and don’ts, as some might interpret. It was God’s plumb line for humanity. He wants us to walk in abundant life, not death. To fill our tanks with His Holy Spirit and walk in Father God’s purpose for our lives.
The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you” (Psalm 32:8 NLT).
Our Final Redemption
While life after salvation still has challenges, the Holy Spirit gives believers direction, peace, and joy.
Have you discovered that your expectations do not match the realities of your existence? We sometimes have the mistaken idea that God is going to make life easier after salvation. In some ways, this certainly is true: As believers, we have the Holy Spirit, who transforms us into Christ’s likeness, enabling us to handle struggles with peace, contentment, and even joy. But being a Christian does not spare us from troubles and hardships. (See John 16:33.)
As Paul explains, our present sufferings cannot be compared to the glories we will one day know. So for now, we “groan within ourselves” (Rom. 8:23) while awaiting Christ’s coming kingdom and the redemption of our bodies. When Jesus died on the cross, He paid the price, redeemed us, and brought us into His kingdom. However, we are still in a fallen state—that’s why we continue to struggle with sin. Our full redemption will become reality upon Christ’s return, when our bodies will be resurrected into their glorified state.
Do you groan within yourself for that day, knowing that the world is not your home—or have you allowed your affections and interests to be dominated by this earthly life?
Streams in the Desert – January 28
- 202228 Jan
I am jealous over you with God’s own jealousy (2 Corinthians 11:2) Weymouth
How an old harper dotes on his harp! How he fondles and caresses it, as a child resting on his bosom! His life is bound up in it. But, see him tuning it. He grasps it firmly, strikes a chord with a sharp, quick blow; and while it quivers as if in pain, he leans over intently to catch the first note that rises. The note, as he feared, is false and harsh. He strains the chord with the torturing thumb-screw; and though it seems ready to snap with the tension, he strikes it again, bending down to listen softly as before, till at length you see a smile on his face as the first true tone trembles upward.
So it may be that God is dealing with you. Loving you better than any harper loves his harp, He finds you a mass of jarring discords. He wrings your heartstrings with some torturing anguish; He bends over you tenderly, striking and listening; and, hearing only a harsh murmur, strikes you again, while His heart bleeds for you, anxiously waiting for that strain–“Not my will, but thine be done” — which is melody sweet to His ear as angels’ songs. Nor will He cease to strike until your chastened soul shall blend with all the pure and infinite harmonies of His own being.
Oh, the sweetness that dwells in a harp of many strings,
While each, all vocal with love in a tuneful harmony rings!
But, oh, the wail and the discord, when one and another is rent,
Tensionless, broken and lost, from the cherished instrument.
For rapture of love is linked with the pain or fear of loss,
And the hand that takes the crown, must ache with many a cross;
Exodus 2:5-9 5Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the river bank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her slave girl to get it. 6She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. “This is one of the Hebrew babies,” she said. 7Then his sister asked Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?” 8“Yes, go,” she answered. And the girl went and got the baby’s mother. 9Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you.”
God kept His promise and made Israel a great nation during their 400-year stay in Egypt. In fact, they became so great that the Pharaoh ordered all newborn baby boys thrown into the Nile to keep them from becoming too powerful. There was a spiritual war taking place. The time had come for the LORD to raise up a deliverer, and Satan knew it. He planted fear in Pharaoh’s mind so that he would kill the male babies being born. He used the same tactic when Jesus, the Great Deliverer, was born. But the Divine hand of God works even through the evil of men to save lives, just as we saw in the account of Joseph.
The mother of Moses put him in a basket, and Providence guided the basket to the place where the Princess of Egypt had come to bathe. Baby Moses cried, and her heart melted. God will use the most powerful of nations to give His deliverer an education in all the world’s wisdom. He would have to make a choice between the world and his God.
Who was hired to nurse and care for him but Moses’ own mother. I love the way God so utterly turns Satan’s tactics around to bless the children of God. It may seem like the enemy has brought defeat into your life. Remember that the enemy fights the most vehemently when he senses deliverance is at hand.
Encouragement: Hold on, and trust in the wonderful ability of God to turn your circumstances into a mighty victory.