Friday, March 6, 2009

Trust God's Good Intentions

In today's reading, I can't help but notice how God's people doubted his good intentions.

The people of Israel wandered in the wilderness when they could have possessed the Promised Land simply because of their bitter doubts. See Deuteronomy 1:27-33, where Moses recounts the heart-struggles of God's people.

That's why I pray for your HEART -- and mine! I pray that the Lord will help us to fully trust his good intentions today, and that our trust will work itself out in our walk.

I love this definition of trust: "to put our full weight on," like sitting on a chair. May the Lord help us to trust him the way we trust that we can plop down on a favorite chair, knowing it will hold us. May we trust God the way we trust that the light will turn on when we flip the switch.

May the Lord work in your heart and mine, to give us grace to trust in his good intentions for us today:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will
make straight your paths. - Prov. 3:5-6

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


What a scary thought, and yet how true, that my sins will and often do find me out! In the time of Moses, as the people were beginning to settle the Promised Land, some of the Hebrews struck a deal to claim a certain parcel of land. Moses agreed, but knew he would not be live long enough to see that they kept their end of the bargain. Moses' words sent a chill down my spine, as he warned of their accountability to God in case the agreement fell through:

“ . . . be sure your sin will find you out.” - from Numbers 32:23

Nowadays, it seems that if one person - or even a whole group or corporate entity - does something amiss, it is like a drop in the bucket or a needle in a haystack, with all that's going on in our society and economy. Misdeeds seem to be swept under the rug, yet Moses assured the people under his leadership that the record of their wrongs would by no means fall through the cracks.

It is the same for God's people today, or at least it holds true in my case. I can't get by with anything! It seems God has his watchful eye on me, and holds me to a very personal standard of conduct. That's why it is especially chilling to see what God said of the specific ramifications if the people of Israel failed to do what they had agreed to:

“ . . . But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then those of them whom you let remain shall be as barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall trouble you in the land where you dwell. And I will do to you as I thought to do to them.” (Numbers 33:55-56)

That's creepy, especially since I can really relate! Just as in the case of the Israelites under the direction of Moses, I have agreed to follow through with a few things, and only God can know for certain whether I comply. I'm referring to my personal obedience to Christ, things God has asked me to do for my own benefit (such as read and study the word). These little details of life I have willingly agreed to, yet they become a daily challenge.

I'm accountable to God in a personal way, and day-to-day obedience is what is called for. Jesus' words in the New Testament provide help for my daily challenge; an attitude of simple trust toward the Lord and his promises is all I really need. Jesus said:

“Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” (Mark 10:15)

If you're like me, that's a challenge, in and of itself! It's hard to think like a child, and yet it is imperative. The Bible describes a very good man who went away from the Lord dejected because although he did everything right, he just couldn't trust Jesus. He was sure that he had way too much to lose. The disciples watched this model citizen walk away, and asked Jesus, “Then who can be saved?” (Mark 10:26)

I am eternally thankful for the reply:

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” - Mark 10:27

There is no way I can unravel all the doubt which has entangled me over the years against simple faith and obedience. Yet God can, by his grace, free me to trust him like a child. My prayer for me - and for you - is that day by day we will take one baby step at a time into transforming trust:

. . . be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. - Romans 12:2 (DARBY, paraphrase)

Sunday, March 1, 2009


Jesus was not able to do many miracles in his hometown (see Mark 6:5-6) where people knew Him before he was famous. Lack of faith wasn't a new problem, though. In the days when Moses led the Hebrews through the wilderness, God's people stubbornly doubted His promises.

Moses sent twelve spies to see what the Promised Land had to offer -- which was plenty -- but of the twelve, only two believed God would give them the land, just as He said He would. The two who believed (Joshua and Caleb) tried to convince the others to trust God's promise:

“If the Lord delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not fear the people of the land . . . the Lord is with us; do not fear them.” - from Numbers 14: 8-9

Later, even those who lived and worked close with Jesus Christ suffered an acute lack of faith. Doesn't that surprise you? Wouldn't you think if you had daily contact with a person who routinely did the impossible, you might come to expect the unexpected? But no! An everyday miracle did more than surprise the disciples; it scared them half to death:

. . . [Jesus] came to them, walking on the sea . . . when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, for . . . their hearts were hardened. - from Mark 6:48-52

I, too, have trouble believing God's promises, and I know I'm not alone in my lack of faith. I'm thankful God understands our small-mindedness. He even addressed our frailty of faith in scripture when He made a promise about His promises. Let's mull this over until we are brave enough to believe what it says:

God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? - Numbers 23:19