THE STEADFAST LOVE OF GOD
“When I said, My foot slippeth;
thy mercy, O LORD, held me up”
The common denominator for all of God’s people is Mercy; by it alone do we stand. We are held by the unseen hand of God at every turn. His loving-kindness is the strength of our walk and the source of our strength. In this Psalm the Hebrew Word for “held” is in the imperfect tense; the action is not completed but it is an ever ongoing one. It is used in the imperfect tense so that we may know that the Mercy that held me yesterday is sufficient for my today. As He has been so will He be. Blessed be His Holy Name!
This steadfast love of God is what enables us to continue to grow in the faith and that ever beckons us to walk into the unknown resources of Him. We see Peter stepping out of the boat to walk unto Jesus in the midst of the stormy sea. We see that Faith stirring within Peter the desire and the ability to walk and identify with its author. With every new impartation of Faith for us to move into a deeper walk with Him we must have that assurance that His steadfast love will be there to hold us up. Even in Peter taking his eyes off of Jesus and sinking into the waves there was the mercies of God to hold him. Faith will always press us into the walk of a greater identification with Him. Our ability to step into the opportunities that are presented to us will be according to the trust we have in Him to hold us.
“By faith Abraham, when he was tried,
offered up Isaac…
Accounting that God was able to raise him up,
even from the dead”
Abraham offered up Isaac, because he trusted God. Every act of true obedience is based upon our accounting God faithful to hold us up. Obedience is the highest expression of faith and that faith grows in its depth and its trust of God because we learn that His Mercy will hold us up in the doing of His Will. We can count on Him in our circumstances to hold our steps as we follow Him.
Let us not linger when we feel the stirrings of His call to greater things. Let us not sit when we need to step out for our God is faithful. HE IS COME and He is ever inviting us to leave the shallow shores of safety and to launch ourselves into the great depths of His Call.
“Launch out into the deep,
and let down your nets for a draught”
Let us grow in the knowledge
that His Mercy will hold us where His grace calls us.
TO MAKE US STRONG
“Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me,
Write: for these words are true and faithful”
Whatever our lot, our circumstances and our present day experiences, let the promise of God ring within our hearts. “Behold, I make all things NEW…” is the hope that we have and the surety of things to come. The weariness of the way, the shallowness of much of what we hear and see today, must and will give way to the WILL and PURPOSE of God. Things will not remain the same. We have this promise from a God who cannot lie; the God who paid for the NEW by the very sacrifice and death of His own Son. This is not an idle religious promise by which we try to encourage ourselves. Rather it is a living hope that beats within our hearts; a hope founded and sustained by a living faith. A faith that is the very substance of the hope we have and the things that we do not see…
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not seen”
We sense the eternal heartbeat of a longing and a cry that resides within our own hearts; a yearning for something greater, deeper and fuller. This same call of the eternal resonated in the lives of all those who longed for a City whose builder and maker is GOD. Abraham did not look for an earthly city, his eyes were not upon some sliver of land; his hope was higher. He “looked for a City… whose builder and maker is GOD”!
Shall not we, who are the true offspring of Abraham (Gal. 3:7), have that same living hope pressing us on to stay the course, to run the race with the same Holy zeal and the same faithfulness of spirit and trust in a God whose name is “faithful and true”?
Let us even today allow the hope and vitality of the promise of God that speaks of a “New heavens and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness” be the anchor in our daily life.
“Live in the presence of God and you too will have the eyes of Abraham.
Eyes that are always alert to the unexpected.
Eyes that see God’s actions in petty annoyances and even in tragedies.
Eyes that trust.
And eyes that continue seeking
whenever they are tempted to turn inwards”
THE WILLINGNESS OF GOD
“…a man who was full of leprosy saw Jesus;
and he fell on his face and implored Him, saying,
“Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean”
We read here of a man with a good measure of FAITH. It was a faith that had moved beyond the fact that Jesus was not only ABLE to heal into the simplicity of knowing that if Jesus was WILLING he would be healed. Faith is ever progressive and in this man’s life he begins to explore God’s character and willingness. So must we also move from not only knowing His ability but also knowing the very core of God’s heart for us. Is HE willing to reach down into the leprosy of our own hearts to heal and cleanse us from that stain of what we are?
The wonder here of God’s response is one that communicates the heart and purpose of the New Testament…
“Then He put out His hand and touched him, saying,
“I AM WILLING; be cleansed.”
Let the words of this HEART ring loud and clear within the recesses of our own needs. Let it drive away the condemnation of the enemy and the inner fears of our own sense of unworthiness.
“I AM WILLING”
May we arise today with the surety of HOPE that HE has not changed. That willingness coupled with the Almighty Power of the Living God is our anchor. Not only is HE ABLE but HE is WILLING! We are not left to our own devices to limp through life weighted down with our untold needs. The wonder of His Love and His Heart enables us to draw from Him His answer for the issues of our heart. Real answers for real needs because a real faith is touching a real God.
“When the even was come,
they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils:
and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick:
That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,
Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses…”
MATTHEW 8:16 – 17
OF THE SHADOW
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…”
Throughout this Psalm we read of Him leading us to places of quiet waters and green pastures, in paths of righteousness and yet in the midst of all this we read here of walking “through the valley of the shadow of death…”! How can these things be? Is He not our Shepherd? Is He not in charge and in control of all the things going on around us? We are so struck with the contrast and the suddenness of this verse that we rarely embrace its context within this Psalm. We often hear it quoted because we see all around us God’s precious people walking in, enduring and experiencing this valley that is to them the very dark and real “shadow of death”. How difficult it is to relate this to the purposes of God, to relate this to “Our Shepherd” in whom we are to place our absolute trust. We question, we struggle and we wrestle with the “whys” and the “purposes” of such suffering and often in these experiences we know silence and a seeming sense of aloneness. It is here that we must draw upon HIS character and discover that the “Valley of the shadow of death” is really an extension of the “paths of righteousness” and that HE who loves us most is not deterred in His purpose to MAKE us sons of God by causing us to walk in the same paths that HIS only begotten Son walked. HE walked in them to “become” the Captain of our salvation (Hebrews 2:10); we walk in them to “attain” the reality of HIS life and salvation!
“…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection,
and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,
if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead”
The “power of HIS resurrection” is the life that springs forth from identification with HIM in HIS death. May God work in us the growing realization that the “valley of the shadow of death” is the door way into the knowing of HIM and the power of HIS resurrection! It is the means by which we experience the greatest depth of fellowship with and in HIM! The life of the true Christian is one filled with contrast and contradiction; strength OUT of weakness, beauty FOR ashes, the oil of Joy FOR mourning, light shining OUT of darkness, victory OUT of seeming defeat, love IN the midst of hatred, forgiveness IN the face atrocity and hate, and resurrection life OUT of death! Who is sufficient for all these things? ONLY JESUS the RISEN CHRIST! It is HIS life in us that gives us hope for the dawn. It is HIS life that is the resurrection life and as we walk in the “paths of righteousness” we are found walking in the way of the discovery that HE is in fact “our hope of Glory”.
The “valley of the shadow of death” is the way by which we come to know and trust in HIM in all things. Such knowledge is not learned quickly, it is not learned by sermons and teachings, it can only be known in personal identification with HIM as we WALK with HIM who is “the WAY, the Truth and THE LIFE”.
We (if we have “tasted of the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come”) are all pilgrims and fellow heirs of this life and this walk and as such we must discover the need for greater depths of fellowship and relationship than what we see around us today. For if we are truly in fellowship with HIM it must be revealed in fellowship with those who are walking in this way! “If we walk in the light in the light AS HE is in the light we HAVE fellowship one with another”. The verity of one is revealed in the reality of the other.