You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good. Genesis 50:20
When chess masters play, they sometimes take a long time between moves. Why? In part, because they are planning three, four, five, or more moves ahead. One might question why a master makes a particular move until he sees, later in the game, how that move set in motion a series of events that resulted in a win.
For example: God allowed a teenaged Joseph to boast self-centeredly. He then allowed Joseph’s brothers to sell him into slavery in Egypt. He allowed Joseph to be falsely accused and imprisoned. Then He allowed a Hebrew to become second in command of a pagan nation. Why? To prepare a safe harbor for Jacob’s family during a famine in Canaan. God even allowed Jacob’s family to be enslaved in Egypt so they could grow into a nation-sized body, God’s Chosen People. God was working many moves ahead in order to create a people for Himself.
If you don’t understand one of God’s moves in your life, be patient while you pray and wait for the purpose to be revealed.
God never foreordains an evil event without a good purpose. John Frame
Evil Happens…but God – Genesis 50:15-21 – Skip Heitzig
. . . He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. 40:26
In Love Letters from God, Glenys Nellist invites children to interact with the Lord in a deeply personal way. These children’s books include a note from God with a space for the child’s name to be inserted after each Bible story. Personalizing scriptural truth helps her young readers understand that the Bible isn’t just a storybook. They’re being taught that the Lord wants a relationship with them and that He speaks to His greatly loved children through the Scriptures.
I bought the book for my nephew and filled in the blanks in the beginning of every note from God. Delighted when he recognized his name, my nephew said, “God loves me too!” What a comfort to know the deeply and completely personal love of our loving Creator.
When God spoke to the Israelites directly through the prophet Isaiah, He called their attention to the heavens. The Lord affirmed that He controls “the starry host” (Isaiah 40:26), determines each star’s individual value, and directs each one with love. He assured His people that He won’t forget or lose one star . . . or one beloved child that He’s sculpted with deliberate purpose and endless love.
As we celebrate our Almighty God’s intimate promises and proclamations of love within Scripture, we can fill in our names. We can trust and declare with childlike delight, “God loves me too!”
Reflect & Pray
How does it feel when you realize God loves you and knows your needs? What Bible verse could you remember that’s a personal promise to you?
God, thank You for affirming that Your love is a personal gift for each and every one of us. Thank You for assuring us that You know our names and can handle all of our needs.
Anyone who’s struggled with fear and anxiety understands the difficulty of overcoming these emotions. Gideon was a man who experienced great apprehension because he lived when Israel was being oppressed by the Midianites as a result of their rebellion against God.
Conditions had become so desperate that Gideon was threshing grain in a wine press so the enemy wouldn’t think to steal it. It was at this low point in his life that the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon and told him to deliver Israel from the Midianites. Imagine his stress! He didn’t see himself as a great warrior and felt totally inadequate for the task.
Gideon’s problem was his focus. Despite being reassured that God was with him, Gideon observed the situation through human eyes and concluded that the Lord had abandoned Israel. Then he looked at himself from that same perspective and listed all the reasons why he was not the one to deliver Israel. But the Lord again responded by saying, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one man” (Judg. 6:16).
Like Gideon, we too are prone to focus on our own weakness and inability rather than count on what we know to be true about the Lord. We can think of a thousand things to worry about instead of remembering God’s past faithfulness and the certainty of His future promises.
Persevering through anxiety is easier when we know God intimately, believe His Word, and trust Him explicitly. In the process, we’ll discover that our anxiety is outweighed by His peace.
“And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment.” (1 Kings 3:28)
Although God’s wisdom is expounded in depth in the Scriptures, there are only seven times that the specific phrase “the wisdom of God” is used as such. The above text is indicating that God’s wisdom can actually be manifested in men through divine inspiration. The Persian king recognized this also in Ezra. “And thou, Ezra, after the wisdom of thy God, that is in thine hand, set magistrates and judges . . . all such as know the laws of thy God; and teach ye them that know them not” (Ezra 7:25). The wisdom of God thus is always consistent with the laws of God—that is, with the Scriptures.
The first New Testament reference is from Christ. “Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles” (Luke 11:49). Here the Lord is applying a scriptural principle from 2 Chronicles 36:15-16, in effect calling the Scriptures themselves “the wisdom of God.”
Then Paul three times uses the same phrase: “In the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God.” Human wisdom can never, by itself, discover God, but this very fact is bound up in the divine wisdom, revealed only through the Word of God. “We preach . . . Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” That is, through both the written word and the living Word, we can proclaim true wisdom. “We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery . . . which God ordained before the world unto our glory” (1 Corinthians 1:21, 23-24; 2:7).
Finally, with God’s wisdom manifested through chosen men of God, we also can preach true wisdom in Christ, “to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God” (Ephesians 3:10). HMM
…not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: and whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.
Any serious-minded Christian may at some time find himself wondering whether the service he is giving to God is the best it could be. He may even have times of doubting, and fear that his toil is fruitless and his life empty….
The church has marked out certain work and approved it as service acceptable to God, and for the most part the church has been right. But it should be kept in mind that it is not the kind or quantity of work that makes it true service—it is the quality.
Before the judgment seat of Christ, very little will be heard of numbers or size; moral quality is about all that will matter then….
It would be a shock to most of us to learn just what God thinks of our breathless activity, and a greater shock to many to find out the true quality of our service as God sees it. For not all religious activity is accepted of God, not even when it appears to produce results and get things done. The Lord seeth not as man seeth….
In Christian service motive is everything, for it is motive that gives to every moral act its final quality. NCA069-070
Lord, remind me that “Before the judgment seat of Christ, very little will be heard of numbers or size; moral quality is about all that will matter then.” Amen.
Ye said also Behold, what a weariness is it.—Malachi 1:13.
My soul cleaveth unto the dust; quicken Thou me according to Thy word.—Psalm 119:25.
Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead and Christ shall give thee light.—Ephesians 5:14.
There are some who give up their prayers because they have so little feeling in their prayers—so little warmth of feeling. But who told us that feeling was to be a test of prayer? The work of prayer is a far too noble and necessary work to be laid aside for any lack of feeling. Press on, you who are dry and cold in your prayers press on as a work and as a duty, and the Holy Spirit will, in His good time, refresh your prayers Himself.
Arthur F. Winnington Ingram.
You do not feel in the spirit of prayer; you have no spiritual uplift; you are simply indifferent. Give that unhappy mood no heed. You know very well what you ought to do. You ought to; present yourself before God; you ought to say your prayers. Do that, and the devout attitude, the bended knees, the folded hands, the quiet and the silence, the lips busied with holy words, will induce the consciousness of the divine presence, and help you to pray in spirit and in truth.
Joy and Strength for the Pilgrim’s Day.
And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.” Deut. 30:6
Here we read of the true circumcision.
Note the author of it: “The Lord thy God.” He alone can deal effectually with our heart, and take away its carnality and pollution. To make us love God with all our heart and soul is a miracle of grace which only the Holy Ghost can work. We must look to the Lord alone for this and never be satisfied with anything short of it.
Note where this circumcision is wrought. It is not of the flesh, but of the spirit. It is the essential mark of the covenant of grace. Love to God is the indelible token of the chosen seed; by this secret seal the election of grace is certified to the believer. We must see to it that we trust in no outward ritual, but are sealed in heart by the operation of the Holy Ghost.
Note what the result is — “that thou mayest live.” To be carnally minded is death. In the overcoming of the flesh we find life and peace. If we mind the things of the Spirit, we shall live. Oh, that Jehovah, our God, may complete His gracious work upon our inner natures, that in the fullest and highest sense we may live unto the Lord.