Providence

“…they were all asleep, because a deep sleep from the Lord had fallen on them.” 1 Samuel 26:12 (NKJV)

No one prayed. Nobody sought wisdom. They just did. They acted. How did they know they were going to succeed? How did they know that God was with them?

David was being pursued by the king of Israel. Saul wanted David dead and was doing everything he could to make it happen. But David kept slipping out of his hands. At last, Saul and his armies had found David hiding in the Wilderness of Ziph and were ready to pounce the next day. 

That night David has a plan. He wants to go into the camp, steal king Saul’s spear and a water jug sitting next to his head. Why? To show that at any point, if he wanted, he could kill the king. How was this accomplished? The Lord put every warrior in the camp in a deep sleep. It could not have been accomplished without God’s help. But he didn’t and wouldn’t because, although Saul was David’s enemy, David was not the King’s.

How could David be sure that he could pull off this dangerous covert operation without injury or death? Because of God’s promise. David would be king one day, that was sure. He took that promise to the bank and cashed it in. 

How can we know we are making good, godly, decisions? When we rest upon the promises that God has given. We don’t have to worry. There is no anxiety with the people of God because we know that He who promised is faithful. 

In chapter 27, David is weary and forgets his promise and heads to the Philistines for over a year. This puts him in a precarious position but does not make the promise of non-effect. After lying and cheating and even almost losing everything—David once again encourages himself in the Lord and is set back on the promises of God. He eventually realizes that promise and becomes the king of Israel. 

Are you wrestling with a choice you must make? Look for God’s promises to you and act accordingly. You may already possess the answer you’ve been looking for. 

D. V. 

Eleven Days Equals Forty Years

“…It is eleven days’ journey from Horeb by way of Mount Seir to Kadesh Barnea.”

Deuteronomy 1:2 NKJV

Every time I read this it makes me laugh, but then, I realize that many times in my life this has been me. God has a plan. He has a streamlined, fast way to get there, then I do something stupid to ruin the plan and then I have to take the long road. 

An 11-day trip took them 40 YEARS! They didn’t enter because they didn’t trust the Lord.

Praise God that today we don’t have to be worried about being kept out of the promised land. Our sin has been forgiven on the cross. But I must tell you that I am tired of having to take another lap around the mountain. Yes. It gets tiring. 

My prayer is to get so in-tune with God’s plan that no matter what crazy thing He tells me to do, I immediately obey. I want to arrive in under two weeks, not in 40 years. God has been so gracious. 

Where are you on this journey? Have you missed God’s plan? Are you walking on the dark side of the mountain ready to see the same sights and eat the same food and wear the same clothes for the next 40 years, or are you ready to repent and look for God’s Grace in your life? Are you ready to come to Him as a child that you would be counted as one who gets to enter heaven? He loves you and He died for you. Receive Him as your Savior and trust Him with your life. Let the short journey begin into the family of God and all the blessings that come with it. 

Amen!

The Lord Has Kept Me Alive

Caleb was a man on a mission. Along with his compatriot, Joshua, he wanted to take the land immediately, when Moses was still alive. But now, it was forty-five years later. Surely he was too weak, as an eighty-five-year-old man to fight, right? Absolutely not. He was the same.

“And now, behold, the Lord has kept me alive, as He said, these forty-five years, ever since the Lord spoke this word to Moses while Israel wandered in the wilderness; and now, here I am this day, eighty-five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war, both for going out and for coming in.“

Joshua 14:10–11 NKJV

He never lost heart, which meant that he never lost his zeal for the promise of God. He knew that God would be faithful and would fulfill his promise to Caleb and that Caleb would possess the land. He never lost heart.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory…”

2 Corinthians 4:16–17 NKJV

We fight the spiritual battle like Caleb. We take ground and refuse to give it up. If we need help, we ask for it, but we keep our eye on the prize.

The goal is to be the means by which the Spirit uses to free as many hearts as possible before we hear the trumpet sound or are called home a little early. Looking forward to that day; looking forward to that rest.

But not yet.

Overwhelmed or Exhilaration?

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones.”

Proverbs 3:5-8

While making the surfing movie, “Mavericks”, actor Gerard Butler almost died in what was described as a “two-wave hold down.” It is when the first wave takes you down, then, before you have a chance to get back up, the second wave keeps you under.

Butler said, “‘I was down for that wave and I was down for a long time just turning and turning and then the next wave came over and I began to think ‘Wow, I’m going to die making a movie.’” He continued, “It was like a Tsunami coming in and I was down and I just didn’t come back up really,” The actor described it by saying that it wasn’t a place he wanted to be.

In Streams in the Desert, a beloved devotional, there is a haunting poem. Here is a somewhat related excerpt:

“Who would dare the choice, neither or both to know, the finest quiver of joy or the agony thrill of woe! Never the exquisite pain, then never the exquisite bliss, for the heart that is dull to that can never be strung to this.”

Streams in the Desert, January 28th, selected poem


Waves can also come in life. One after the other. An example of this is the story of Job. Who could read that book and ever forget the “As he was still speaking…” moments when servants came to tell Job of the great losses he had incurred. It was wave after wave of woe. What do we do when life brings this “tsunami” on us? If a surfer is to ride the waves, he must first journey through those that are breaking in front of them. They do this in various ways. Sometimes they are able to float over them before they break. Other times, they dive under the wave and come out the other side. Then there are those times that they misjudge and are caught in what we used to call, in my younger surfing days, as “the washing machine.” You just turn and turn and turn and are at the mercy of the wave and whitewash until you can come up for air. Those are scary times, as Butler can attest.

Have you ever felt this way? Do you feel as though life is hitting you again and again and all you can do is come up for air and go immediately down again? You need strength to overcome. You need help. Gerard Buttler was helped by two surfers with years of experience at Mavericks. We need help as well. Later Butler said he wanted to go back out and surf again. As believers in Jesus, we need His help to overcome. Once we figure out how to dodge the breaking waves in front of us, soon we’ll be out in the perfect point break, where, instead of being destroyed by the waves, we’ll ride them to victory in this life, and into eternity with Jesus.