trust

God reverses fortunes.

God reverses fortunes.

Esther 6

No wonder King Solomon wrote: "Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall. Better to live humbly with the poor than to share plunder with the proud." (Prov 16:18-19) This chapter begins the demise of Haman, which has to be one of the most ironic stories in the Bible—perhaps in all of literature! By this time, Haman is so blinded by his own pride that he is completely taken in by its trap and, unfortunately for him, will not escape.

God's timing is perfect.

God's timing is perfect.

Esther 4

There is a verse from this chapter that has stuck with me ever since I read it for the first time: "And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?" (vs 14) A couple days ago, I confessed that I no longer believe in coincidences, and it seems obvious to me that Mordecai didn’t believe in coincidences either. He knew that someone else was in charge of the events that had led Esther to be in the right place at the right time.

God wants us to surrender.

God wants us to surrender.

Nehemiah 13

For Nehemiah, this must have been a shocking end to his story. He had devoted his life to overseeing the rebuilding of the Jerusalem walls and ushering in a new era of spiritual revival for the Israelites. The dramatic rebuilding of the wall—which had survived numerous attacks and intended detours by political enemies—had been topped off by a spiritual celebration in the temple, culminating in a signed covenant made by the people.

God gives us strength.

God gives us strength.

Nehemiah 10

So, the people had returned from exile. They had rebuilt the temple and the Jerusalem wall. They had heard the law proclaimed from the temple steps and been appalled that they had fallen so far from God’s ideal. They resolved to do better. And so they entered into a covenant, a signed contract with God. They promised to obey everything God had asked them to do:

God dissolves fear.

God dissolves fear.

Nehemiah 4

Well, some people just didn’t want that Jerusalem wall rebuilt! "When Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the people of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem’s walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry." (vs 7) First, they had tried to intimidate the people with insults and threats. When that didn’t stop the work, they plotted to attack the people who were rebuilding the wall.

God has a reputation.

God has a reputation.

Ezra 8

Have you ever given much thought to God’s reputation? I guess if you asked ten different people what they thought of God, you would probably get ten different answers. But the fact that there are so many atheists in the world might suggest that, with some, God’s reputation isn’t a very good one. Many would rather believe that there is no God as opposed to believing in the kind of God they’ve been introduced to by some Christians. Makes me think of that bumper sticker I see from time to time: Please, Lord, save me from your followers!

God is our strength.

God is our strength.

Ezra 7

Seven chapters into his book, Ezra finally arrives on-scene, and the first thing he does is conduct a massive undertaking. It’s a huge task, including making a great journey across a large desert, transporting sacred items and gold and silver for the temple, and appointing judges to rule over the land. With such a monumental list of responsibilities at hand, Ezra was definitely going to need a lot of strength.

The Executioner of Darkness {ex27:20}

exodus-light-the-executioner-of-darkness-poem.png

Darkness does not exist
It has no properties
no matter
no makeup

Darkness does not exist
It cannot be measured
or observed
or heard

Darkness does not exist
It functions only as a corollary
It's a symptom
a condition
/and a temporary one at that/

Darkness does not exist
It's just the absence of something else
a ghost quantity
a negative integer

Light obliterates darkness.
Every time.
It's not even a contest.
There's never a doubt.

When darkness presses in around you,
you need only remember the Lampstand.
Let the tiniest, flickering flame appear—
the darkness must obey
and immediately poof away.

 

God can give us more.

God can give us more.

2 Chronicles 25

Amaziah—like his father—started out well as king. Later, he too strayed from the ways of the Lord, but as kings of Judah went, he was a pretty good one. (Which is, I think, a sad commentary on the kings of Judah!) Before he went astray, however, he had a habit of listening whenever the Lord talked to him. One such occasion was recorded in this chapter:

God doesn't always protect us.

God doesn't always protect us.

2 Chronicles 24

I heard a very good sermon recently about how God sometimes protects us in an ultimate, eternal sense by not protecting us physically in the here and now. This, of course, can be a very difficult concept for us to understand and grasp. We tend to want that "instant gratification" sort of protection, and quite often, we’re shocked and grieved when we don’t get it.

God knows what to do.

God knows what to do.

2 Chronicles 20

This chapter contains what has to be one of the most moving expressions of trust in God to be found in the Bible, contained in the middle of Jehoshaphat’s prayer: "But now here are men from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, whose territory you [God] would not allow Israel to invade when they came from Egypt; so they turned away from them and did not destroy them. See how they are repaying us by coming to drive us out of the possession you gave us as an inheritance. Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you." (vs 10-12)

God helps those who seek Him.

God helps those who seek Him.

2 Chronicles 16

I’m sure you’ve heard this famous saying: God helps those who help themselves. A popular idea, but is it true? King Asa’s experience in 2 Chronicles 16 would seem to contradict the idea. For what was Asa doing, but helping himself? "In the thirty-sixth year of Asa’s reign Baasha king of Israel went up against Judah and fortified Ramah to prevent anyone from leaving or entering the territory of Asa king of Judah. Asa then took the silver and gold out of the treasuries of the Lord’s temple and of his own palace and sent it to Ben-Hadad king of Aram, who was ruling in Damascus. 'Let there be a treaty between me and you,' he said, 'as there was between my father and your father. See, I am sending you silver and gold. Now break your treaty with Baasha king of Israel so he will withdraw from me.'" (vs 1-3)

God gives us rest.

God gives us rest.

2 Chronicles 14

I loved this verse from chapter 14: "Let us build up these towns," [Asa] said to Judah, "and put walls around them, with towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours, because we have sought the Lord our God; we sought him and he has given us rest on every side." (vs 7) The Israelites in Judah had not yet forsaken what they had learned in Egyptian captivity—that God is the very best King there is.

God can be trusted with the details of our lives.

God can be trusted with the details of our lives.

1 Chronicles 24

In this chapter, we encounter once again the Hebrew practice of casting lots. This time, it was used to create the divisions of priests who would work in the temple: "A larger number of leaders were found among Eleazar’s descendants than among Ithamar’s, and they were divided accordingly: sixteen heads of families from Eleazar’s descendants and eight heads of families from Ithamar’s descendants. They divided them impartially by casting lots, for there were officials of the sanctuary and officials of God among the descendants of both Eleazar and Ithamar." (vs 4-5)

God is to be praised.

God is to be praised.

1 Chronicles 23

Of everything written in this chapter of 1 Chronicles, this stuck out to me the most: "[The Levites] were also to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord. They were to do the same in the evening and whenever burnt offerings were presented to the Lord on the Sabbaths, at the New Moon feasts and at the appointed festivals." (vs 30-31)

God wants us to trust Him.

God wants us to trust Him.

1 Chronicles 22

Just before Solomon ascended to the throne, his father made all the necessary preparations for the building of the temple. David had wanted to build the temple himself, but God had decided that Solomon would build it instead. This was because Solomon would not be a warring king, as his father had been. In fact, Solomon’s very name was related to the Hebrew word for peace. It seems that God wanted the idea of peace to be an integral part of His dwelling place on Earth.

God is strong.

God is strong.

1 Chronicles 16

Do you ever feel weak? Powerless? Insecure? Quite honestly, with the world we live in, I can’t imagine how people don’t feel this way. There seems to be little solid ground to stand on. What can we count on these days? It seems that everywhere you turn, you find unrest, violence, hard times, and despair. The economy may be currently booming in America, but it feels like that could turn around at any time. Is there any true security? What can we really count on?

God wants us to be fearless.

God wants us to be fearless.

1 Chronicles 14

"Perfect love casts out fear." (1 Jn 4:18) This is so true. It was in distrusting God (who is perfect Love) in the Garden of Eden that led to the first human beings feeling fear. And the more we come to know God and trust in Him again, the further we will be separated from fear. We see a premium example of that in this chapter of 1 Chronicles: