Monday, March 26, 2012

Up with Candy Wrappers

Promises, promises! We Christians eat God's promises like candy, but what about the wrappers? We can't enjoy sweet promises until we unwrap them by heeding the commands which accompany them. The words around God's promises can't be ignored; before we can get to the sweetness, we have to do what God says.

Deborah delivers God's promise of victory to Barak, "Up! For this is the day in which the Lord has given Sisera into your hand . . ."  (Judges 4:14). God called the warrior Barak to lead his nation against a powerful enemy. God promised they would win, but the promise was accompanied by the command to get "Up!"

Later, Gideon heard an old, familiar promise, "'And I said to you, 'I am the Lord your God; you shall not fear . . .'" (Judges 6:10). The promise that God is theirs was accompanied by the command not to fear. In verse16 God told Gideon, ". . . I will be with you, and you shall strike . . . as one man.'" This is a double-header! God will be with Gideon, and he'll win.

The passage goes on to describe, step-by-step, how Gideon took action on God's specific instructions in spite of much fear and doubt. The result was that:
 ", , , the Spirit of the Lord clothed Gideon . . ." (verse 34
Gideon had to throw himself into gear and take action (albeit with fear and great trembling) before he was clothed with the Spirit of the Lord.

Unwrapping God's promises involves step-by-step obedience to God's straightforward commands. Like Gideon, we have to take action in spite of our fears in order to be clothed in the Spirit of the Lord. What would have happened if Barak or Gideon had "rested in God's promises" without taking action on his commands? 

Lord, I want to be clothed with your Spirit.
Please help me unwrap the sweetness of your promises 
by taking action on your commands.

Today's Old Testament reading was Judges 4, 5, and 6. The New Testament reading contains a couple of interesting promises as well, but I'll let you find them for yourself!

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