Mar 15, 2014
Find out why Hazem chose to follow and serve Jesus
Mar 15, 2014
Find out why Hazem chose to follow and serve Jesus
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed. Psalm 57:1
Marc recalls a moment from his childhood when his father called the family together. Their car had broken down, and the family would run out of money by the end of the month. Marc’s dad paused and prayed. Then he asked the family to expect God’s answer.
Today Marc recalls how God’s help arrived in surprising ways. A friend repaired their car; unexpected checks arrived; food showed up at the door. Praising God came easily. But the family’s gratitude had been forged in a crisis.
Psalm 57 has long provided rich inspiration for worship songs. When David declared, “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens” (v. 11), we might imagine him gazing up at a magnificent Middle Eastern night sky or perhaps singing in a tabernacle worship service. But in reality David, fearful for his life, was hiding in a cave.
“I am in the midst of lions,” David said in the psalm. These “ravenous beasts” were “men whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords” (v. 4). David’s praise was conceived in crisis. Although he was cornered by enemies who wanted him dead, David could write these amazing words: “My heart, O God, is steadfast . . . . I will sing and make music” (v. 7).
Whatever crisis we face today, we can run to God for help. Then, we can praise Him as we wait expectantly, confident in His infinitely creative care for us.
Share with others on Facebook.com/ourdailybread about when God delivered you from a crisis.
Your next crisis is your next opportunity to trust our unfailing God.
Scripture often uses the image of wings to speak of God’s strength and protection. The image of a chick hiding under the wings of its mother helps us understand the refuge that David seeks in God (Ps. 57). When chicks take refuge under the hen’s wings, they are not simply sheltered but are completely hidden—totally covered in the feathers of their mother, out of sight and out of the way of danger. Whatever danger comes must come to the parent first. Like David, we can “take refuge in the shadow of [God’s] wings” (v. 1).
How does this image encourage you to trust God during your trials?
The world’s way is to choose the strongest and smartest individuals to accomplish tasks. In contrast, the Lord often selects the weakest, who have nothing to offer except total reliance upon Him. This dependency on God is what characterizes the mature in faith.
Such maturity isn’t automatic. Our Father patiently meets people where they are but lovingly refuses to let His children stagnate. Instead, He helps us to grow more and more like His Son (2 Corinthians 3:18). As followers of Christ, we must let go of old ways, ideas, and motivations. The Holy Spirit illuminates our understanding and lets us see from God’s perspective. Then, the Lord can build in us a dependence on Himself and a submission to His Spirit. Transformation is often gradual, but God sometimes will allow difficulty and pain to develop our reliance upon Him.
Consider biblical models of faith. Sarah and Abraham dealt with infertility for many years prior to receiving the promised child (Gen. 21:1-2). Joseph was sold into slavery and wrongly imprisoned before he spared his nation from the effects of famine (Gen. 45:5). To take on God’s assignment of raising the baby Jesus, Mary risked accusations of immorality (Matt. 1:18-19), and her husband Joseph followed God’s inconvenient command to flee areas of danger (Matt. 2:13, Matt. 2:22). These people all faced hardships and brokenness, which allowed them to recognize both their own inability and God’s ability.
What’s standing in your way of full submission to the Lord? His desire for you is to learn to depend on Him so that in your weakness, He will be strong.
“Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” (Ephesians 4:26)
There are many occasions when a Christian may be rightly angered by some ugly word or incident and thus be strongly tempted to respond in kind. Our text, however, reminds us that such a reaction for a Christian is sin, and it urges us to get control of our anger before sundown. We are not to let our anger fester until it breaks out in action.
A very similar command was given long ago to Old Testament believers also. “Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah” (Psalm 4:4). When angry, it is far better to wait and communicate with God about it in bed than to bring recriminations in the street (or, perhaps, in the home) against the ones who have angered us.
The Lord Jesus Himself is always our example, “Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously” (1 Peter 2:23).
Anger is often one of the most difficult areas to overcome in the Christian life. As James says, “The tongue can no man tame . . . Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God . . . . My brethren, these things ought not so to be” (James 3:8-10). Nevertheless, what man cannot tame, God can!
“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20). “Avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Romans 12:19). Anger may come, but to act in anger is sin. HMM
The counsel of Hushai, the Archite, was accepted by Absalom instead of that of Ahithophel, whereupon Ahithophel put an end to his own life. Absalom with a great army pursued his father, and a decisive battle was the consequence.
2 Samuel 18:1
But when all were counted, his troops were not one half so numerous as those of his rebellious son.
2 Samuel 18:5
This tender charge showed that David expected to gain the victory, but hoped that it would not prove fatal to his son. We have here a type of that gracious King, who, even while his persecutors were scorning and killing him, yet prayed, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”
2 Samuel 18:6-9
The very trees of the wood are in arms against the ungodly: Absalom had made his hair his pride, and it became his ruin; men often perish through that which they idolise. What must have been the thoughts of this unnatural young prince when he found himself caught in the forked branch of the oak, and suspended between heaven and earth to die the death of the accursed! Let children beware of ingratitude to parents, for it is a sin which peculiarly provokes the wrath of the Most High.
2 Samuel 18:10-17
An old writer says, “One death was not enough for Absalom, he was at once hanged, shot, mangled and stoned. Justly was he lifted up by the oak, for he had lifted himself against his father and sovereign; justly was he pierced with darts, for he had pierced his fathers heart with many sorrows; justly was he mangled, for he had dismembered and divided all Israel; and justly was he stoned, for he had not only cursed, but pursued his own parent.”
2 Samuel 18:18
Absalom’s pillar is still pointed out to travellers, but its only purpose is to immortalise the infamy of the unnatural son. Children, love and obey your parents, lest you fall into Absalom’s sin and doom.
1 Peter 3:1
When the apostle Peter wrote about the needs of husbands and wives in First Peter 3, he knew exactly what he was writing about. Peter had been married for a very long time when he wrote these famous words about marriage. That means Peter was speaking from many years of being successfully married to a wife who traveled with him in the ministry (see 1 Corinthians 9:5).
As Peter addresses wives about how to be a blessing to their husbands, he begins by telling them, “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands….” The word “subjection” is the Greek word hupotasso, a compound of the words hupo and tasso. The word hupo means under, and the word tasso means to arrange or to put something in order. It was often used in a military sense to describe soldiers who were expected to fall in line and submit to their commanding officers. Every time the word hupotasso is used, it describes the relationship of someone who is submitted to some type of authority and who is expected to act according to that order of authority.
There are many other examples where the word hupotasso is used in the New Testament. For instance, Paul uses this word in First Timothy 3:4, where he gives the instruction that children are to be “in subjection” to their parents. The word “subjection” in this verse is also the word hupotasso, which emphatically means that God has given parents the authority to lead their children and that children are to respectfully submit to their parents’ authority.
When Luke writes of Jesus’ relationship to Joseph and Mary in Luke 2:51, he uses the word hupotasso to describe this parent-child relationship. You see, Jesus was the Son of God and Creator of the universe. But while He was in the flesh, He followed God’s pattern, respectfully submitting to and following His parents’ God-given authority.
This example in Jesus’ life shows the extent to which God respects the order He has set in the home. Although Jesus is God and could have done what He wished while He walked on this earth, He voluntarily submitted to the authority God had entrusted to His parents, thus setting an example for all children to follow.
The word hupotasso was most frequently used in a military sense to describe a soldier’s submission to military authority. This tells us that just as the army has a specific order of authority, so has God designed a certain order for the home that He expects to be followed. Because Peter uses the word hupotasso when writing to wives, he leaves no doubt from a linguistic point of view that God has set the husband as the head of the home and the wife is to respectfully fall in line and submit to his authority.
Because Peter uses the Greek word hupotasso in this verse, it means he is encouraging wives in this way:
“Likewise, wives, you need to position yourself under your husband’s authority. This is God’s order for your home, so do all you can to become supportive of your husband….”
Peter knew that one of the greatest needs of a husband is to have a wife with a supportive attitude. You see, a man fights at his job all day long, struggling to pay the bills and trying to overcome his own insecurities and self-image problems. If he then comes home to a wife who nags, complains, and gripes about everything he doesn’t do right, her behavior has a very negative effect on him. He’s already fought the devil all day long; he certainly doesn’t need to come home to a wife who is ready to fight with him!
As a result, the husband often responds to a nagging and critical wife by hardening and insulating his heart against her. Instead of drawing closer to his wife, he withdraws from her emotionally.
Now, it’s important to understand that when Peter commands a woman to be in subjection to her own husband, he is not recommending that she become a “doormat” whom the husband takes advantage of. Rather, Peter is urging each wife to take her place as her husband’s chief supporter and helper.
When a husband comes home from a hard day at work, he needs to be greeted by a loving, caring, kind, understanding, and supportive wife. This kind of wife makes a husband feel as if he’s found a place where he can find rest and solace for his soul. Her supportive attitude makes him want to run to her, for she has fulfilled her role as his best friend and partner.
Although we do find one New Testament scripture where the older women are told to teach the younger women how to love their husbands (Titus 2:4), it is very interesting to note that nowhere in the New Testament are women directly commanded to love their husbands. Instead, wives are told to be “in subjection” to their husbands. Why is this? Because a husband perceives his wife’s love when he senses her support.
Nothing communicates a wife’s love to her husband better than a supportive attitude. It is when a wife gets out of that supportive role and attempts to become the husband’s authority and head, constantly rebuking and correcting him for what he isn’t doing right, that her actions cause him to emotionally push away from her.
Wife, God never designed you to assume authority over your husband. It will therefore bring disruption to your marital relationship whenever you attempt to do so. So if you want your husband to know how much you love him, look for ways to show him your support. In this case, your attitude and actions really do speak louder than words.
Writing by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and from many years of personal experience, Peter urges wives to be submissive to their husbands and thus demonstrate their love and respect to them. Now, it is important to understand that submission is not just an outward action; it is a condition of the heart. It is possible for a wife to outwardly comply but still be inwardly unsubmissive and resentful.
Thus, there are two ways a wife can respond to her husband’s authority:
If a wife follows her husband with resentment in her heart, he will feel this resentment. A man can sense whether his wife is complying because she must or submitting with a joyful and supportive heart.
When the wife takes the second approach and follows him with a thankful and happy heart—even if she has to deny her own desires or pleasures to do so—she sends a loud signal to the husband that causes him to want to love her. This is an important result of willing submission, for being loved is the primary thing every wife needs to receive from her husband. This is also the reason God commands men to love their wives (see Ephesians 5:25).
Wife, have you been assuming a corrective role toward your husband? Does it seem like he is becoming more and more distant from you? If so, I urge you to take a new approach in your relationship with your husband on the basis of Peter’s instruction in First Peter 3:1. Rather than constantly correcting him and pointing out all his flaws, go to God with the things that disturb you about him. Meanwhile, work on becoming the most significant supporter and friend your husband has ever known.
If you respond correctly to your husband’s God-given authority in the home, God will work on his heart. The end result will be a growing desire in your husband to shower you with all the love, tenderness, and affection that you need!
Lord, I ask You to please forgive me for complaining to my husband about everything he does that I don’t like. He needs me to be his friend and supporter, and I now realize how often he must perceive me as another enemy he has to fight. Please help me to come to You with all my complaints while maintaining a helpful and supportive attitude toward my husband. I am sorry for the damage I’ve done, and I now ask You to help me turn things around in my marriage relationship. Teach me how to respond in every situation with a respectful and supportive attitude toward my husband. I know I need Your help, Lord, so I am looking to You for the grace and the strength I need to do this right.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
I confess that I am a supportive wife who demonstrates love in the way I approach my husband. He doesn’t see me as a nagging and complaining wife but as a friend to confide in and to look to for strength. God is able to speak to my husband without my interference. I trust God to speak to him, and I trust God to deal with my heart and to help me take on a supportive role in our home.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
I. MEMORIZE IT
But why? As a newly born again teenager, I got started on consistent Scripture memory. Nothing has so powerfully affected me spiritually as this difficult but life-changing discipline. Here are three reasons for doing it:
1. To transform your mind in order to live out God’s will: “Do not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God‘s will is, his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)
2. To help you win the spiritual battle over sin and Satan: After 40 days of fasting and prayer, Jesus was tempted by Satan. In all three instances, He won over the Enemy by quoting Scripture that was appropriate to the situation, “Jesus answered, ‘It is written… it is written… it is written… ‘” (Matthew 4:4, 6, 7) If Jesus deemed it necessary to utilize the Scriptures in this manner for spiritual victory, how about you and me?!
3. To equip you to help others spiritually: Ever have the experience of fumbling with your Bible in trying to find a verse? Memorizing key Scriptures supplies you with the tools to intelligently and powerfully minister God’s Word to others. “The Scriptures are the comprehensive equipment of the man of God, and fit him fully for all branches of his work.” (2 Timothy 3:17 — Phillips Translation)
II. ANALYZE IT
Years ago, I remember reviewing a pre-med student’s memory verses. He had them down cold! Boy, was I impressed! Then I began asking him what the verses meant, and he didn’t have a clue! So, as you are in the process of memorizing a verse or passage, ponder and mull over its meaning in your mind. Dig out its definition by studying it in its context.
While you are memorizing Scripture, ask God where and how He wants you to change in applying its truths to your life. Someone once said, “God did not give us the Scriptures to increase our knowledge, but to change our lives.”
Every person I know who is dead-serious about his walk with God has made an earnest effort to memorize God’s Word.
QUESTION: Just how serious are you?