It is clearly evident in Scripture that God takes care of those who believe in Him. There is a key word in Ps.65:5 and that word is confidence, “By terrible things in righteousness wilt thou answer us, O God of our salvation; who art the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of them that are afar off upon the sea” (Italics mine). Confidence is defined as trust, certainty, assurance and hopefulness in a person or something. Sitting down in a chair requires confidence that it will hold you. But what about confidence in God? How does one build confidence in God?
First and foremost, we must have trust. Putting our faith in God will provide the confident assurance we need to live in this world. God is not a rickety bridge over a roaring river. He is someone we can fully trust for He will never let us down.
A key in developing confidence is exercising trust. Most young men are daring, bullet-proof and ten feet tall (so we think). However, when faced with obstacles we become quickly humbled. During boot camp at the “University of Parris Island” a recruit is treated to an obstacle course referred to as the “Gauntlet”. It is a tortuous course one must complete to obtain the title “Marine”. There is so much buildup that by the time it arrives (seventh week) you are scared to death for lack of confidence. They tell you that running with rifle and full gear through the swamps, in blistering heat for miles only to face the crucible at the end, is a confidence builder (I think). Once done, each successive time gets easier because one’s confidence is being built.
Likewise, with God. We must trust Him and exercise our faith (confidence) in Him. “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Prov. 3:5-6). In essence, lay back in the arms of God. “O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him” (Ps. 34:8).
The Bible is packed with confidence building stories and verses there for the finding. It would be a great personal study; moreover, start journaling. Set aside a book (a diary) just for God. Daily record verses of confidence found in the Bible, write down what you pray to God and record His responses. After time, this journal will become a tremendous confidence builder as you look back on the mighty things He has done for you. As you start this journey, save the first few pages to record things God has already done in your life. It will make for a great reminder and become a cherished read (and confidence builder) for generations to come. Would it not be great if someone were to be saved from reading about our confidence in God? To God be the glory, great things He has done…
Roger Goodell is paid more than $34 million a year as the commissioner of the National Football League. You would think he understands the game. When he was questioned as to why Colin Kaepernick as a free agent had not been picked up by any other team, Mr. Goodell said, “I’m not a football expert.” Curious minds would like to know why he holds the position and enjoys the salary.
The press cram into the throne room. They’ve heard a special case will be presented to King Solomon. Two women silently step front and center before the King and present their case. Both women had recently given birth to newborns. The one had accidentally “overlaid” her newborn, so she secretly traded her dead newborn for the other woman’s living newborn. The squabble gets heated like a Judge Judy courtroom, “And the other woman said, Nay; but the living is my son, and the dead is thy son. And this said, No; but the dead is thy son, and the living is my son” (1 Kings 3:22).
And Solomon said, “I’m not a baby expert.” Of course, he didn’t! Solomon had been given a divine resource to help him rule over the people. A few verses earlier, we see Solomon did not get all the details right, but God recognized his heart of devotion. “Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father” (1 Kings 3:3). So God offers Solomon, “Ask what I shall give thee” (1 Kings 3:5). Solomon asked for wisdom, but notice how Solomon asked.
Solomon’s request was humble. He recognized his limitations and he was not too prideful to honestly confess those to God. Solomon extols God’s “great kindness” because He has continued David’s dynasty by crowning him king. If we recognize how great God is and how insignificant we are, then we will ask for wisdom. If we recognize how noble a responsibility God has entrusted to us—whether leading a group spiritually, parenting your children, or running a business—if we approach the responsibility with a sober-mindedness, then we will desperately desire wisdom. If we regard as precious the lives which we influence, then we will beg for wisdom for “whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:6).
Do you desire wisdom? How much do you desire wisdom? The psalmist wrote about his desire for wisdom. Picture your desperation as you are trying to swim to the surface of the water. Your lungs are burning. You can’t hold your breath much longer. As your head breaks through the water into the atmosphere, you gasp for breath. “I opened my mouth, and panted: For I longed for thy commandments” (Psalm 119:131).
You may not be an expert on much of anything, but if you pant for wisdom like you need air, God will honor such a request
Many believers have faced great trials. They have faced financial uncertainty, failing health, or even fatal loss. This is the unfortunate consequence of living in a world cursed with man’s own rebellion. As severe as those trials are, often the most difficult tests to pass are not when something is taken from us, but when something is given to us.
It may defy reason to say Psalm 68:19 presents the greatest test. “Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation.” Let us use the Israelites as our example. As they were evacuating Egypt, the people spoiled the earthly treasures of the Egyptians. In an attempt to appease the Lord of Israel, the Egyptians gladly parted with ornate gifts. This was something God designed to happen and he even included it in His detailed plan to Moses. The Israelites were going to leave with Egypt’s riches. Why? There are two passages which illuminate the reason.
In Exodus 32, the impatience of the people translated into idolatry and the “benefits” from God were wasted on a golden calf. God’s blessings were inappropriately lavished upon their own idolatrous imaginations instead of waiting for the opportunity to worship God through their offering. They indulged their own fancies. Then in Exodus 25, we learn of God’s intention for His blessing. “Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering” (Exodus 25:2). Once the people realized the joy of giving and the reason for God’s blessing, they could not give enough. The people gave so willingly, Moses gave a commandment to restrain the people from giving (Exodus 36:6)!
Hence, the greatest test is not a matter of losing something, but of giving everything. In order to pass this test, we must remind ourselves of the reason God blesses us. Your value of salvation is reflected in your stewardship of God’s daily blessing.
Memorial Day. The official kick-off of summer brings with it for many a 3 day weekend, barbeques and for some a trip to the lake or ocean. Many of us as well will take at least a few minutes to remind ourselves of the purpose of the holiday: a day in which to honor the men and women who died while serving our country. Often if part of my Memorial Day is spent at home I will watch some war documentary on the History Channel to help further stress the importance of this holiday.
Certainly time spent with family and friends is a good thing and we certainly should pause to remember those who have given their lives for our country. Thank God for them! But our reading today causes us to pause and remember the ultimate sacrifice that was made for us. The book of Galatians is written to early believers who were starting to lose their understanding of the gospel based on a faith in Christ but were instead slipping back into legalism, thinking they had to do something to help or add to Christ’s work on the cross for their salvation. Their background in trying to obey the law was muddying their understanding of the gospel. Paul then gives some pointed teaching of the purpose of the law, that it serves as a “schoolmaster” (vs 24) to bring us to Christ. In other words, the law was given to show us God’s standard of right and wrong so that we could see how sinful we really are, which should then result in us coming to Christ for salvation. The word schoolmaster has the idea of someone who would come alongside the children and make sure they got safely to and from school. He was a guide, a helper.
In addition to Paul’s reminder of the purpose of the law, he also reminds these Galatians of the necessity of Christ’s work on the cross, stating in verse 13 that “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us”. So while the law served to condemn us and show us the wickedness of our hearts, Christ’s dying on the cross redeems us from the condemnation that breaking the law would bring. So, while we spend some time today in memorial of those who have died for our country, may we also spend some time of reflection thanking the One who also gave His life for us, saving us from the curse of the law. We have much to be thankful for today!
Psalm 61 is a favorite of mine. The first thing that enters my mind is the rock of Gibraltar as a symbol of strength and safety, I get that same feeling when I read about the “Rock” that is higher than me. There is something about a rock. Throughout my travels I have parked myself upon many a rock in many a different spot.
While hunting I look for a nice rock to park on. When I was younger, if I saw a rock, or knew of one, I had to climb that mountain to witness the view it offered. I felt safe (from things that crept in the wooded underlay) and secure as I knew the ground I was resting on would not give way. Is this not a description of our Lord Jesus Christ? “In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah” (Ps. 62:7-8).
We simply must remember there is no rock like “The Rock”. Psalm 61 says He is a rock higher than we. God goes on to describe Himself as a strong tower, a shelter, our defense and our salvation (a veritable Gibraltar).
Man has climbed the highest peaks on Earth; all the while enduring the pain doing so. We attain a sense of satisfaction, but this is merely temporal. Often the rocks we climb lead to false summits. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
One day while living in Jackson, Wyoming, I set off with some provisions and climb I did. As I ascended, God’s glory was present all around. At about 9000 feet elevation I came upon bighorn sheep. Just witnessing that was worth the trek, but I had to go on. I reached the snow line and could go no further because of its depth. With that, I descended some, found a beautiful large rock and settled down. The view was magnificent as I surveyed the Gros Ventre Wilderness. Off in another direction was the majestic Teton Range. I thought I was on top of the world; however, I realized the Tetons at 13800 some feet were at least another 4000 feet above me. As high as I had climbed, I realized I could never attain the loftiness of Heaven through my feeble efforts.
So, what is my point? No matter where we find ourselves in this life, there is always a “Rock” that is higher than we. We may climb physically, but we are limited. However, with Jesus we can obtain that “Rock” in this life and eternally (Rm. 10:9-11,13). Cling to the “Rock” and savor the view. On Christ the solid Rock we stand!