One Christian radio personality loves to ask his guests one particular question. It’s a daunting question, but one which allows you to summarize your life. The question: What is the most courageous moment in your life?
It is a crucial question because most western Christian’s have grown comfortable with the “inhabitants” in their heart. For a time they fought valiantly to eradicate the enemy, but they grew weary of the fight. Once upon a time, they were vigilant, but now they have grown satisfied because they are better than their friends. They halt just shy of total possession.
Possession is an interesting concept. We look to possess all of God’s blessings and yet we do not offer ourselves in toto. With God, it is all for all. You possess all His blessings once He possesses all of you. No other arrangement will satisfy. This is the reason Joshua challenges the people to be courageous. “Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book” (Joshua 23:6). These people have fought the enemy. What could be more courageous? The tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh left their families unprotected across Jordan. What could trump their courage?
The most courageous thing you can do is to commit to doing all of God’s command. Complete obedience requires you to empty yourself of pride and self-proclaimed wisdom. It requires turning your back to the gods of worldly wisdom, pragmatism, indulgence, and satisfaction. It requires a choice. Choose this day whom you will serve! As for you and your house, the most courageous decision you will ever make is to serve the Lord.
Late last year, the nightmare for all who love liberty upset the world’s romance with technology. China endeavors to develop facial-recognition software which can identify any of it’s 1.3 billion people in three seconds! It grows worse because it is reported they plan to establish a loyalty monitoring system which will estimate a citizen’s trustworthiness based on their obedience, attitude, and patriotism.
Quite disturbing isn’t it? We are mortified with the very idea of such invasive research. People with that much power will certainly use the technology for an ignoble reason.
In Genesis 16, Hagar flees her abusive employer but is confronted by the angel of the Lord. She realizes she is not alone. The Lord heard her cry and chose to bless her. She calls the place where she encounters this truth Beer-lahai-roi which means “God who sees me.”
Later, Abraham falls upon his face in a posture of worship, but says in his heart, “Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? And shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear” (Genesis 17:17)? He said all this in his heart while everything else about him was “worshiping.” Did he fool God? Not for a moment. “Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed,” God said (Genesis 17:19).
We live in a culture where we are accustomed to hiding. We disguise who we really are and what we really think. We take cover behind positions, platforms, and personalities. We conceal the parts of our lives that cause us shame or embarrass us. We hide behind social media posts and pictures, attempting to show the world the identity we want them to see.
Are you genuine? Do you have all the right motions and postures of worship, but in your heart cords of doubt hold you down? We might be able to disguise portions of ourselves from the world around us, but we have no masks when it comes to God and how He sees us. We can’t hide from God or convince Him we are something we’re really not.
Do not fear the Lord’s watchful eye. Already knowing everything about you, He still chooses to love you. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). He sees your obedience, attitude, and loyalty, but not for some twisted purpose. Instead, He wishes to reward those who are faithful.
Many of us at some point in our lives have spent at least a little bit of time on some type of an assembly line. During my college years, I worked for awhile for a printing company. This company employed hundreds of people who worked on different stages of an assembly line. Some oversaw the printing, some the cutting and stapling, while others worked with the stacking and storage of these printed materials. In our passage for consideration today, we see an “assembly-line” of sorts that culminates in someone calling upon the Lord for salvation.
Romans 10:13-15 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”
This passage starts with someone calling upon the Lord for salvation and then takes us back one step at a time for us to see how that moment calling was even made possible. Paul starts in verse 14 by asking how someone can call upon the Lord if he first doesn’t believe in Him in one’s heart. This truth is mentioned again in vs 10, “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness”. These verses indicate that saving faith takes place in someone’s heart even before the expressing of that desire in the form of the words of a prayer.
Paul then asks how someone can believe in Christ if they have not heard of Him; which then leads to the next obvious question of how someone can hear without a preacher. Clearly, this “preacher” needs not be a pastor, but instead anyone who takes it upon themselves to share the gospel.
Next, this preacher needs to be sent, as we see in vs. 15. This sending could be in the sense of a church sending out missionaries or evangelists or it could be in the sense of God doing a work in someone’s life as to cause them to be an active witness, i.e. God doing the sending. This idea is mentioned in Matthew 9:38. “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth laborers into his harvest.”
This assembly line ends with high praise for those who are actively doing their part to spread the Gospel, symbolically the “beautiful feet” of those who are out preaching the gospel. May we be looking for opportunities to do just that this week!
My wife has an eye for treasure. For two years we lived in an area where people left things on the street for garbage which were nicer than what you might find at the second-hand store! She could spot was was a treasure in the midst of everything else on the street which was trash. What at a passing glance would have been missed, she found saw value and had me bring home.
Job feels like trash at this point. He says, “My flesh is clothed with worms and clods of dust; My skin is broken, and become loathsome” (Job 7:5). His friends are the only ones paying any attention to him, and right now he wishes they would take their “encouragement” elsewhere. Job does ask some very interesting questions, and, in the end, you will see the transformation from trash to treasure.
He pleads his insignificance: “Am I a sea, or a whale, That thou settest a watch over me” (Job 7:12)? This is a very insightful question. How do we compare? We are more reckless than the sea and less responsive than the whale. As unpredictable as the sea might be, it can be tamed by the Master’s bidding. The command, “Peace, be still,” silences the fury and stops the raging power of the sea (Mark 4:39)! The whale comes when beckoned. The Lord can prepare a great fish to swallow his messenger and three days later vomit him upon dry land (Jonah 1). Such a behemoth is as docile as a child’s pet in the Creator’s hand.
The will and whim of man is the wild frontier. The heart of man requires the firm hand of the Lord to cultivate it’s potential, to untangle the vines of defiance. In pure frustration, Job asks, “What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him? And that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him” (Job 7:17)? In effect, Job is asking, “Why won’t you leave me alone?” The answer is God sees a treasure, not trash. If the value is measured by capacity, the sea is more valuable than a man. If the value is measured by capability, the whale is more valuable than you or me.
However, God measures value by companionship. He desires a relationship with the crown of His creation which for a little while has been made a little lower than the angels. He has set his heart upon man with such devotion, He moved heaven and earth to pursue him. He visits him with the daily and divine measure of mercy that He might preserve him forever (Job 7:18; Lamentations 3:22-23). The only thing standing between God’s desire is your determination. God has pardoned your transgressions and taken away your iniquities (Job 7:21)! Jesus faced the rejection Job felt here. Jesus was crushed by the weight of your sin so you may find the pleasure of His companionship for all eternity.
God sees you as a treasure.
After many years as a peace officer, I became very disillusioned with the justice system. I was tired of watching criminals get away with literal murder. I was shocked to see drug dealers back on the street a day after their arrest and murderers walking the street while out on bail. They would yell out profanities and taunt as I patrolled them. I thought that some Texas justice might solve the problem, but then I would be no better than them.
Our justice system, with its many faults, is still the best in the world. In its current state, it is not what our founding fathers intended. After all, it was founded upon the principles of the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:1-17). I was raised to respect the law and be a decent citizen. These mockers of justice broke my heart, as they whittled away at the sanctity of our society. I felt as if I were fighting a losing battle. As if I was draining Lake Erie with a thimble.
Then came the day I accepted Jesus as my personal Savior and started reading the Bible. I soon discovered a man with similar feelings of frustration, His name was King David. Through reading the Bible, my hope was restored. I learned that God was the Supreme Justice and nobody can escape His justice. They could mock and taunt all they want. “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?” (Ps 2:1).
Take a look at the readings today (Ps. 9, 10, and 11) where David is expressing his feelings of injustice. However, he correctly funnels it toward the only One who can rightly justify or judge. It is important to realize that God will cure all of the world’s injustices in His time. I do not understand God’s time, but we have no right to question the Creator (Is. 40:28).
Sooner or later we all realize that justice on earth is not always fair. But we must constantly remember, and rely on Him – the Supreme, Righteous Judge. We are all guilty before God (Rom. 3:10) and our final verdict will be one of two according to Rom. 6:23, either death or life (guilty/not guilty). His justice will be fair. Because of Christ’s sacrificial death, as a believer, I will get what I do not deserve-eternal life with God. The scoffers (those who have not accepted Christ’s forgiveness) will get what they deserve – eternal life in a Devil’s Hell.
With this said, we cannot plead the scoffer’s case to God. We each have to come to Him on our own. But we should all the more present the evidence (the Gospel) to them in hopes of changing their eternal address. So fret not with worldly injustices. Hear ye, hear ye, this court is now in session with the Honorable Judge Jesus presiding. There will be justice for all!