Exodus 14:13 NIV
Yesterday we started looking at Jehovah-Nissi: The Lord my banner. Let’s explore it a bit more. It’s important to remember that just because God fights our battles, it doesn’t mean we’re not involved. We’re still given an instruction: ‘Stand firm’. It’s not easy to hand control over to God and let Him fight on our behalf. We can feel like we’re giving up or being irresponsible. We’re often told that we should be proactive and try and sort things out for ourselves. So it can be hard to let go and let God take over. Fear makes us think that we need to do something, faith says, ‘Stand in faith. Let God do it!’ It may seem counter-intuitive to just stand there while facing a battle. But we don’t have to stand there unprotected. We can put on God’s armour so that we’re defended. Paul says, ‘Put on the full armour of God, so…you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes’ (Ephesians 6:11 NIV). Even with the armour of God on, it can seem hard to just let the battle rage on around us while waiting for God to do something. It requires a lot of trust that God will come through for us. But we can completely trust Him. He’s always faithful. He’s always been there for us, and He’s not about to stop now. The Bible says: ‘But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one’ (2 Thessalonians 3:3 NIV). So what do we need to do? We need to wear God’s armour – not ours. We need to stand – not fight. Instead of living by effort, we need to live by trusting in, and relying on, Jehovah-Nissi.
Josh 11-13; Luke 19:41-48; Ps 111; Prov 23:4-6
Exodus 14:13 KJV
Let’s continue with Jehovah-Nissi: The Lord my banner. Because God fights your battles doesn’t mean you’re not involved. It’s not easy to hand control over to the Lord and let Him fight on your behalf. You may feel like you’re copping out, being irresponsible. You’re programmed to think, “Don’t just sit there – do something!” You’re like a drowning man who can’t stop grabbling for his rescuer, thereby making his job almost impossible. In essence, you become your rescuer’s worst nightmare! The hardest part about the order to “stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord” is that most of us mistake standing still for doing nothing. Fear says, “Do something – anything!” Faith says, “Stand in faith. Let God do it!” That’s about as far from doing nothing as you can get! It’s faith at its highest. “Why do I need armor if I’m not fighting?” Paul says, “Put on the full armor of God, so… you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:11 NIV). You’re to wear God’s armor – not yours. You’re to stand – not fight. “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal” (2 Corinthians 10:4 KJV). Our human methods get in God’s way. Natural powers are useless against spiritual forces. The grub of the dragonfly that lives at the bottom of the pond may be a finely developed, vigorous grub. But when it becomes a dragonfly, the strengths and abilities of its grub-life won’t help it to live an airborne life. Once you lived by effort, now you live by trusting in and relying on Jehovah-Nissi!
Soul food: Josh 11-13; Luke 19:41-48; Ps 111; Prov 23:4-6
Mark 12:37 NIV
On one of the occasions when Jesus was teaching, the Bible tells us that ‘the large crowd listened to him with delight’ (Mark 12:37 NIV). And there were lots of other times when Jesus drew a large crowd; we know that He had to feed 5,000 people who had come to hear Him speak. And John 12:9 tells us that ‘when all the people heard of Jesus’ arrival, they flocked to see him and also to see Lazarus, the man Jesus had raised from the dead’ (NLT). Something about what Jesus was saying resonated with the people, and made them want to hear more. Maybe they were just curious at first, but when they listened to what He had to say, they began to recognise and respond to the truth that Jesus was teaching. Telling others about God is something we often find very difficult. Even if we’re not speaking to a large crowd like Jesus did, just telling one person can be hard. We might fear being judged, or worry about being asked a tricky question that we can’t answer. There are all kinds of excuses we could come up with. But one of Jesus’ last commands was: ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation’ (Mark 16:15 NIV). It’s something we are all called to do. So if we are nervous about it, and not sure where to start, what can we do? The most important thing is to tell the truth. Tell people about what you’ve learned from the Bible. Tell them about Jesus and what He means to you. Don’t set out to convince people – just tell them what you know about God, and trust Him to work on their hearts. When you tell the truth, people will respond to it, just like they did to Jesus.
Eph 4:17-6:24; Luke 6:27-36; Ps 79; Prov 17:24-26
Proverbs 22:29 NIV
Here’s a prayer for success at work: “Lord, I thank You for the way You’ve made me, for the many gifts and talents You’ve placed within me, and I trust that I’m the best person for this job. I am grateful for each and every one of the personalities I work with, even the ones I don’t particularly like or understand. I ask that my focus would be on accomplishing the goals You have set forth for me to perform during my time in this position. Give me wisdom and discernment on the job, even in the midst of a hostile environment. Help me to learn what You want to teach me here, and give me patience as You prepare me for the future. Help me to do my best, and to always remain positive and hopeful. Please quiet the complaints and disappointments of my heart with Your perfect peace, and allow me to trust You with my job. Dress me in the garments of praise and the righteousness of Christ that I may bring You glory where I work. Allow me to know my true identity, to walk in Your favor, and to seek to please You more than those with whom I work. Where there is contention, let me be a peacemaker. Where there is deceit, let me speak truth. Where there is despair, let me bring hope. Where there is fear, let me bring faith. Where there is darkness, let me bring light. Where there is sadness, let me bring joy. These things I ask in Jesus’ name, amen.”
Soul food: Judg 9:34-11:40; Mark 10:35-52; Ps 129; Prov 20:25; Ecc 5:4-6
Proverbs 22:29 NIV
We should all want to be successful for God. His idea of success isn’t the same as the world’s idea of success, so it’s important that we take time to pray about our work and the tasks He’s assigned to us, so we can stay focused and on track. Here’s a prayer we can all pray, whatever our task is: ‘Lord, I thank You for the way You’ve made me, for all the gifts and talents You’ve given me, and I trust that I’m the best person for the task You’ve assigned to me. I’m grateful for all the people I work with and connect with, even the ones I don’t really like or understand. Please help me keep my focus on accomplishing the goals You’ve set for me. Give me wisdom and discernment, especially if I’m in a difficult situation. Help me to learn what You want to teach me through this task, and give me patience as You prepare me for the future. Help me to do my best, and to always remain positive and hopeful. Please soothe the complaints and disappointments of my heart with Your perfect peace. Help me to bring You glory and share Your love through the work I’m doing. Allow me to know my true identity, to walk in Your favour, and help me seek to please You. Keep me on the path You’ve laid out for me. Help me to be a peacemaker in times of conflict or argument. When others around me are being deceitful or untrustworthy, help me speak only the truth. Help me bring hope, faith and joy to places where there is despair, fear and sadness. Help me be a light in the darkness. I ask these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.’
Judg 9:34-11:40; Mark 10:35-52; Ps 129; Prov 20:25; Ecc 5:4-6