Anything and Everything
A very troubled Elijah went into a cave, and the word of the Lord came to him saying, “What are you doing here Elijah?” Elijah then began to explain to the Lord how difficult his life was.
This is how the Lord responded, He sent a great and strong wind which tore into the mountain, breaking the rocks into pieces. Then He sent an earthquake. Then He sent a fire.
Nowhere in the text do we see or hear that any of it frightened Elijah. Elijah never expresses any surprise or excitement about what God just did. He does not become unsettled. He is not moved. He does not run away or respond to these displays of God’s power with any outward expressions.
Afterward, the Lord speaks again in a still small voice and says, “What are you doing here Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:8-13)
Can the tearing of rocks from a mountain be done without a great clamor? Can an earthquake occur without a great shaking taking place? Can a sudden fire burn from nothing nearby without causing a stir? Yet Elijah is unmoved.
I have been through several shakings in my life from God and I have never managed it well. Sometimes my anxieties go through the roof. Sometimes I react with anger or an increasingly smaller faith.
Often when I am going to go to work somewhere, I will pick up my work shoes and turn them over and shake them roughly. I am getting ready to go to work in them and I don’t want anything to be in them that will distract me from my purpose, so I shake them, often more than once.
God is shaking our world today. We are learning to do without. Perhaps our anxieties are flaring up and our minds are burdened with many fears, like the disciples on the sea rowing their little boat and terrified that at any moment they are going to drown; but Jesus is just walking. He is just walking!
He does not rush to their rescue; He does not make a big fuss over them or their hapless situation. He just walks into their lives and tells them not to be afraid (Matthew 14:22-27); and to the world around them He says, “Peace, be still.”
God must shake things, and we will see Him do so increasingly in the days ahead. The only thing that will not shake, when God shakes things, is His presence within us. And for that reason, we can focus more quickly and more precisely upon it.
At that point, we become shoes worth wearing as He takes us to do His will, whether it is in the mountains or on the sea.
Through The Bible Devotions
Genesis 22:7-8,14 (NIV) 7Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” 8Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
14So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”
And God did provide Himself as the lamb, the lamb of atonement that took away the sins of the world. For almost two millenniums the Jewish people asked the same question. Where is the lamb? Where is the One who will satisfy God? Shepherds could not provide the lamb; He had to come from the Great Shepherd. And in the fullness of time, God did provide the Lamb. God the Father and God the Son went together, the two of them, to Mount Moriah.
Abraham looked forward through time and saw the LORD providing the Lamb of God in that same spot. “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”
On that mountain, atonement for you and me was provided. In father Abraham’s case, the knife was stopped mid-air, but Father God allowed the knife to fall on the Son He so greatly loved, to bring many sons to glory. God knew the grave could not hold the One who is Life, but that did not lessen the pain of the Son or the Father in that torturous death on the cross. It did not lessen the separation that took place when the sins of the world were placed upon Jesus and the forces of hell were unleashed upon Him. Child of God, God has provided for you a lamb.
Consider: Am I living a life of thankfulness for that provision?
The treasure of grace
By: Charles Spurgeon
“The forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” Ephesians 1:7
Suggested Further Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:5-11
Paul proclaimed the grace of God—free, full, sovereign, eternal grace—beyond all the glorious company of the apostles. Sometimes he soared to such amazing heights, or dived into unsearchable depths, that even Peter could not follow him. He was ready to confess that “our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given unto him,” had written “some things hard to be understood.” Jude could write of the judgments of God, and reprove with terrible words, “ungodly men, who turned the grace of God into lasciviousness.” But he could not tell out the purpose of grace as it was planned in the eternal mind, or the experience of grace as it is felt and realized in the human heart, like Paul. There is James again: he, as a faithful minister, could deal very closely with the practical evidences of Christian character. And yet he seems to keep very much on the surface; he does not bore down deep into the substratum on which must rest the visible soil of all spiritual graces. Even John, most favoured of all those apostles who were companions of our Lord on earth—sweetly as the beloved disciple writes of fellowship with the Father and his Son Jesus Christ—even John does not speak of grace so richly as Paul, in whom God first showed forth “all long-suffering as a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.” Not, indeed, that we are at liberty to prefer one apostle above another. We may not divide the Church, saying, I am of Paul, I of Peter, I of Apollos; but we may acknowledge the instrument which God was pleased to use; we may admire the way in which the Holy Ghost fitted him for his work; we may, with the churches of Judea, glorify God in Paul.
For meditation: Paul always looked back with amazement when he recalled God’s grace to him, the chief of sinners, who so persecuted the Church (1 Corinthians 15:9-10; Galatians 1:13,15; Ephesians 3:7,8; 1 Timothy 1:13-15). Our gratitude and love to God can sadly be limited by our failure to realise how sinful we really are and how much he has forgiven us (Luke 7:41-47).
It can be difficult to let go of resentment towards those who have hurt us. But that is exactly what God asks us to do—not only for their good but also for our own. Unforgiveness causes stress and unhappiness that can creep into our relationships with co-workers, friends, and family. But when we choose to forgive, we will find freedom. Here are things to do if you have noticed bitterness in your heart:
• Assume full responsibility for your unforgiving spirit. The other person may be responsible for wrongful actions toward us, but we are nonetheless responsible for the sin of harboring bitterness.
• Confess honestly. It’s appropriate to admit to God when we harbor resentment or wish for someone’s punishment. But since an unforgiving spirit will return unless we can permanently lay down our anger, this is a choice many people must make repeatedly.
• Pray for your wrongdoer. We may not feel like talking to God on behalf of someone who’s hurt us, but doing so is the way to break the hold bitterness has on us.
Even after we have done these things, resentment may still crop up in our hearts. When that happens, we can thank God that we have, in fact, forgiven. We can also refuse Satan’s invitation to rehash the past.