In perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago. Isaiah 25:1
Since she suffered with cancer several years ago, Ruth has been unable to eat, drink, or even swallow properly. She has also lost a lot of her physical strength, and numerous operations and treatments have left her a shadow of what she used to be.
Yet Ruth is still able to praise God; her faith remains strong, and her joy is infectious. She relies on God daily, and holds on to the hope that she will recover fully one day. She prays for healing and is confident that God will answer—sooner or later. What an awesome faith!
Ruth explained that what keeps her faith strong is the secure knowledge that God will not only fulfill His promises in His time, but will also sustain her until that happens. This was the same hope that God’s people had as they waited for Him to complete His plans (Isaiah 25:1), deliver them from their enemies (v. 2), wipe away their tears, remove their disgrace, and “swallow up death forever” (v. 8).
In the meantime, God gave His people refuge and shelter (v. 4) as they waited. He comforted them in their ordeals, gave them strength to endure, and gave them assurance that He was there with them.
This is the double promise we have—the hope of deliverance one day, plus the provision of His comfort, strength, and shelter throughout our lives.
Thank You, Lord, for Your wonderful gift of hope. You have promised to save me and to walk with me every day of my life.
Trusting God’s faithfulness can dispel our fearfulness.
The Death of Unbelief
By: Ken Barnes, Author
“So give me the hill country that the Lord promised me. You will remember that as scouts we found the descendants of Anak living there in great, walled towns. But if the Lord is with me, I will drive them out of the land, just as the Lord said.” (Joshua 14:12 NLT)
Caleb was 85 years old and still had not received his promised inheritance. He asked for the land of the descendants of Anak, the giants, who had put fear and unbelief in the hearts of all Israel, save Joshua and himself. The fulfillment of the promise of God would not be complete if he did not conquer this part of the land and unbelief would remain in Israel.
The hill country, more than any other area, was the place that caused the ten spies to give their bad report. All the spies except Joshua and Caleb said, “We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next, to them, we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!” (Numbers 13:33 NLT) Unbelief had made them small in their own eyes. This negative mental state was disastrous — all the Israelites died in the wilderness except for the two who gave a good report. Remember they were spies; they probably did not know what the giants were thinking.
You may not be what you think you are, but what you think, you are. What you believe others think about you is dependent on how you feel about yourself. But the strange thing is that neither one of them may be true. Only what God says about us is true. Caleb believed he would drive out the giants, “just as the Lord said.” (v.12)
Joshua had already captured the city of Hebron (Joshua 10-36-37 NLT) except the mountainous area within it. It was considered unconquerable, too fortified for any man to take, but not so for God. Caleb could have taken the lowland and lived securely off of the fruits of someone else’s conquests, but he said, “Give me the hill country” (v. 12). If Caleb could not take what God wanted to give him, he would take nothing at all. Why? It was all about the integrity of the promises of God. Caleb knew that what God had promised, he would do. If God had said it was his, then that settled it, whether he was 40 or 85-years-old.
Has God promised you your hill country? Are you getting older or is there an immovable object in your way? Over and over God told his people that he was giving them the land, now go in and fight for it. We like to think about receiving the land, but not so much about having to fight for it. In taking your inheritance, the battle is between faith and unbelief and the battleground is mainly in your mind. If God has spoken to you, take the inheritance that God is giving you, and put to death unbelief. If the Lord is with you, you cannot fail.
The natural man, or unbeliever, knows nothing about carnality. The desires of the flesh warring against the Spirit, and the Spirit warring against the flesh, which began at rebirth, are what produce carnality and the awareness of it. But Paul said, “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). In other words, carnality will disappear.
Are you quarrelsome and easily upset over small things? Do you think that no one who is a Christian is ever like that? Paul said they are, and he connected these attitudes with carnality. Is there a truth in the Bible that instantly awakens a spirit of malice or resentment in you? If so, that is proof that you are still carnal. If the process of sanctification is continuing in your life, there will be no trace of that kind of spirit remaining.
If the Spirit of God detects anything in you that is wrong, He doesn’t ask you to make it right; He only asks you to accept the light of truth, and then He will make it right. A child of the light will confess sin instantly and stand completely open before God. But a child of the darkness will say, “Oh, I can explain that.” When the light shines and the Spirit brings conviction of sin, be a child of the light. Confess your wrongdoing, and God will deal with it. If, however, you try to vindicate yourself, you prove yourself to be a child of the darkness.
What is the proof that carnality has gone? Never deceive yourself; when carnality is gone you will know it— it is the most real thing you can imagine. And God will see to it that you have a number of opportunities to prove to yourself the miracle of His grace. The proof is in a very practical test. You will find yourself saying, “If this had happened before, I would have had the spirit of resentment!” And you will never cease to be the most amazed person on earth at what God has done for you on the inside.