Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Comfort in Our Father's Arms

[On Monday we began a short study into God the Father, Tuesday we looked into His chastening, and today into the comfort to be found with Him.]

There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. (Joshua 1:5, emphasis mine)

This sounds like something an earthly father would tell his frightened child, but we know that this simply is not possible for a man to fulfill. We all fail each other, even the most reliable of people cannot always be with their child. But our heavenly Father? Oh how we can take comfort in knowing this is true, that this is more reliable than anything we could ever imagine. When God says He will go before you, that He will guide you, that He will not forsake you, you can bet your last dollar that He is true. Oh the comfort that we can find in these words!

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
(Isaiah 26:3)

Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away. Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. (Isaiah 41:9-10)

For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.(Isaiah 41:13)

I’ve seen God’s hand in my life, I’ve experienced the amazing provision that comes from trusting and following Him. And yet I have let these experiences, and the countless times of provision in Scripture get away from me. A new trial comes along and I sit wondering, “God where are You in this?!” I see myself in the Israelites a lot during their journey through the wilderness. It is sad, and part of me is ashamed to admit it, but it is very true. God’s hand was with them in such a tremendous way and yet they were constantly grumbling and questioning God’s wisdom. Granted they always slanted their objections at Moses and Aaron, but God saw through it.

And Moses said, This shall be, when the LORD shall give you in the evening flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full; for that the LORD heareth your murmurings which ye murmur against him: and what are we? your murmurings are not against us, but against the LORD. (Exodus 16:8)

He brought the plauges, crippiling devistation came because the pharoah did not heed God’s words through Moses and Aaron. The Israelites saw all of this, they experienced God’s hand and His mercy as the death angel passed over their bloody doorways and headed to the Egyptians. They saw the grace of God upon them as their first born children were spared and the Egyptians were not. They saw Him part the Red Sea so they could make a safe journey through it, they saw it come crashing down on the pursuing Egyptian army. They saw the very things we only read about in Sunday school, these people lived it! And yet they questioned, they doubted, they caused trouble to be stirred up against the very men God had chosen to lead them out of Egypt. “Where’s our food, Moses? Where’s our water, Aaron? Are you trying to kill us?!”

The doubt! The distrust. It is easy to read these accounts and become self-righteous about it. Surely if I saw God’s hand move in such a way I wouldn’t doubt, I wouldn’t question His motives, I would trust Him. Right? Hardly. How often have I seemingly forgotten all the amazing things God has done in my life at the first sign of trouble? How often have I began to doubt God’s provision as I feel a slight pang of hunger? Too often! And this is something that I believe is in each of us. Our hearts are truly wicked, it is only through Christ that we can be changed. I long to trust God, but if I’m not doing it in His strength I will fail. I long for change, but if it is not led by God’s hand, if God is not the one molding me then it is all for naught. I cannot change myself without Him, I can not learn to trust outside of His grace. And so He allows things to come into my life so that my faith might be tried, tested, and refined.

I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye salve, that thou mayest see. (Revelation 3:18)

But even in the midst of our trials, in the midst of being refined He calls us to reflect upon His Word and rest in His loving arms.

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