The foreign peoples will lose heart… Are we where we’re supposed to be? How can we truly know, if instead we’ve become “displaced”, completely out of our confort zone? If in our understanding we believe every place on this earth belongs to God, it’s not about our own comfort. It’s about the will of God being carried forward in to those places that seem out of place for us. As children of God we are not foreign people. We are where God intends us to be, connected by faith. Gracious God help me to remember that not every place nor every experience is designed for my comfort but given so that your glory may be revealed before those who may be aliens to your Word.
And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. John 17:1-11 Let Go and Let God. We say that a lot don’t we? We say it both to our selves and to one another to keep us from being bound up. Yet sometimes no matter how much we try to convince ourselves to let something go, occasionally – something reminds us that we haven’t totally left a painful or discouraging situation behind. Interestingly, it is also difficult to let go of good situations as well, for example when someone with which we come to have a special relationship, moves or passes away. This is what the disciples are faced with during this discourse with Jesus before he is taken away by the authorities. Letting go is difficult! Anything that has an effect on our lives, good or bad – we have a hard time letting it go. No one understands this more than God. In terms of the body, all physical relationships are temporary. So too Jesus relationship with his disciples was temporary, but not without purpose. We still live that relationship today because of the evangelical Spirit of the Gospel which the disciples received – now falling on us. The process of letting go is allowing the human relationship to be replaced with the divine. Letting Go isn’t so much about releasing something as it is about replacing it with the consciousness of the Spirit of God and who God has called us to be and do, in order that we may move forward in times of loss, pain or opportunities for growth.
…the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 4:12-14, 5:6-11
Why do you keep looking at one another? There is grain in Egypt; go down and buy grain for us there, that we may live… Genesis 42:1-17 You wait as long as you can but inevitably you have to make that trip to the food cupboard because there is little food in the house. If it was just you, perhaps you could bear it and make something from the few staples you have left, but there are other mouths to feed who fall under your responsibility. I’ve managed a food cupboard or two and it’s not easy. Most of the people who show up at the doors aren’t there because the food is free, but rather because they need it or someone they know needs it but are unable (or unwilling) to make the trip. It’s a humbling experience to say the least. For me the Joseph story is one of the most powerful – using humility to glorify God’s forgiveness in each of our lives. Joseph remembers his dreams and no doubt he remembers how his brothers treated him. His faith however, was not in his brothers, whose power years ago was simply in numbers. He also remembers his faith is in God, now recognizing the full manifestation of his dreams during his youth. As Joseph’s brothers humbly stand before him, the only thing that stands between him and God’s authority in his life is his own arrogance. Arrogance caused him to be enslaved. Obedience to God’s will brought him out. He would not make the same mistake twice. We have been given that same authority to forgive. How will we use it today?
We know that King David is anointed by God in every physical way, yet he becomes a bit over- zealous in his rise to the throne, and in 2 Samuel we find he is now wanting to build a house for the ark of God which at the time merely dwelled in a tent. David didn’t want to build any house but a house of cedar as elaborate as his won. Cedar is an aromatic wood that is found in varieties all around the world. Perhaps primarily due to its fragrance, cedar was known to the ancient Israelites in their places and practices of worship. Apparently, this was David’s idea of bringing God’s standard of living up to meet his own. What I find amusing and which brings me back to my own self-perceived rise, was God’s “child please!” response to David’s newly self-proclaimed status and place in God’s plan for his people. Perhaps David believed, that he somehow had been elevated to a place of glory that was higher than God! I believe this is one of David’s first real encounters with the physical, which can be seen (a beautiful dwelling place), challenging the spirit of God (measure of faith) that was within him. I believe what David and we particularly today, quickly forget, is that the tabernacle and tent are physical reminders of God’s presence. His spirit makes its dwelling place in the heart of those who believe in him as he did with David, and us also, who in turn responds according to God’s spirit. Can you imagine the Israelites carrying around a house of cedar? Is it even possible for us today to build walls to hold the spirit of God?
… have faith; will travel
We can’t control the actions of others by repaying a wrong for a wrong (Lev. 19:18a; Rom. 12:14-21). I believe our faith is tested and measured by how we respond to both stressful and joyous events in our lives. Do we bless the Lord at all times (Psalm 34) or do we wane at the first sign of discomfort (Job 4:1-11)? Our ability to see God’s purpose and will in difficult times takes faith and faith like any other gift takes practice. It is not enough to say that we have faith (James. 2:14-26), because God gives some measure of faith to each of us (Rom. 12:3-8). Thus the opportunity to build our faith comes along not only with the hearing of the word (Romans 10:17) but also by responding in the word of God with every trial (James. 1:3) and every victory. Let us pray that our love for the Lord’s commandment to love God and love neighbor as self (Deut. 6:4-5; Matt. 22:35-40; Gal. 5:13-15) is always greater than our anger or frustration for one another because God’s love for us will always be greater than our greatest fears or our greatest victories (Ephesians 3:20).
2 Samuel 16:1-23 Let him alone, and let him curse; for the Lord has bidden (commanded) him. It may be that the Lord will look on my distress, and the Lord will repay me with good for this cursing of me today.
Psalm 108 Give victory with your right hand, and answer me, so that those whom you love may be rescued. With God we shall do valiantly; it is he who will tread down our foes.