1 Samuel 14:6 NIV
During the early days of Saul’s kingship, the Philistines controlled the western border of Israel, and battle lines were drawn at the pass called Michmash. Saul seemed content to sit on the sidelines, but Jonathan wanted to be on the front line. “Come, let’s go over to the Philistine outpost on the other side” (v. 1 NIV). There was only Jonathan and his armor bearer, so the odds didn’t look good. But when you make a move that is motivated by God’s glory, it moves the heart and hand of God. What it requires is a step of faith. And often it’s the longest, hardest, and scariest step you’ve ever taken. Usually when Israel’s kings went into battle it was because they had received a word from the Lord assuring their victory. Jonathan had received no such word. He simply said, “Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf.” Most people operate out of the opposite mentality: “Perhaps the Lord won’t act in our behalf.” They let fear dictate their decisions instead of faith. So they end up with Saul, sitting on the sidelines. And how did the battle turn out for Jonathan and his armor bearer? “So the Lord rescued Israel that day” (v. 23 NIV). All it took was one daring decision! That’s all it ever takes. When you move, God will move on your behalf. And if you don’t move, you’ll always wonder “what if?” Our longest regrets are our inaction regrets – the things we would have, could have, or should have done but did not do. So the word for you today is: Trust God, and act!
Soul food: Num 25-26; Matt 13:1-9; Ps 120; Prov 3:33-35
1 Samuel 14:6 NIV
Back in the early days of Saul being king, battle lines were drawn. The Philistines controlled the western border of Israel. Saul was happy enough lounging on the sidelines, but Jonathan wanted to get at that front line: ‘Come, let’s go over to the Philistine outpost on the other side’ (v. 1 NIV). Jonathan and his armour bearer were the only ones keen to go, so the odds didn’t look fantastic. But when we make a move that’s motivated by God’s glory, it moves the heart and hand of God. What it requires is a step of faith. And often it’s the longest, hardest, and scariest step we’ve ever taken. Usually when Israel’s kings went into battle, it was because they’d got a word from the Lord telling them they’d win. Jonathan hadn’t heard anything like that. He just said, ‘Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf.’ Most people operate out of the opposite mentality: ‘Perhaps the Lord won’t act in our behalf.’ They let fear drive their decisions instead of faith. So they end up like Saul, lounging on the sidelines. But God wants us in a place where we know who He is, and that He’ll back us if we step out in faith. So our ‘why should I bother?’ becomes ‘well, why not try?’ And how did the battle end up for Jonathan and his armour bearer? ‘So the Lord rescued Israel that day’ (v. 23 NIV). All it took was one daring risk. That’s all it ever takes. When we move, knowing God’s heart, God will move on our behalf. And if we don’t move, we’ll always wonder ‘what if?’ Our longest, saddest regrets are our inaction regrets – the things we would’ve, could’ve, or should’ve done, but just didn’t do.
Num 25-26; Matt 13:1-9; Ps 120; Prov 3:33-35
Jeremiah 31:16 NKJV
When we’re facing a tough situation, or a hard time in our lives that doesn’t seem to be ending, we can sometimes start to lose hope. We feel like things will always be this way and that there’s no possibility of anything changing. We may have been praying for years and not seen any change. It can be discouraging. When we lose our hope, we lose our ability to see beyond our circumstances. We can become consumed by fear, disappointment and resentment that our situation isn’t changing. But God says He ‘will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope’ (Hosea 2:15 NIV). Achor means trouble. So here God is saying that He’ll turn trouble into hope. And the Bible says that ‘those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint’ (Isaiah 40:31 NIV). When the Israelites were in exile, there must have been days when many of them doubted whether they would ever be allowed to return to the Promised Land. They may have even thought that God had abandoned and forgotten about them. But Jeremiah prophesied: ‘They shall come back from the land of the enemy.’ The word ‘shall’ is a definite; that was what was going to happen – and it did. And we can have that same expectancy. When God promises us something, He’ll always come through. He is faithful and always keeps His promises. He has the power to completely change our situations and turn our trouble into hope.
Num 22-24; Matt 12:38-50; Ps 108; Prov 3:31-32
Ephesians 1:11 NLT
The Bible says, ‘The LORD will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right’ (Psalm 84:11 NLT). Sometimes we pray for a certain thing, thinking it’s good for us, or simply because it’s what we’d like. But God, who has a plan for each of our lives, knows what’s right for us and what will keep us on the path He’s chosen for us. That means He’ll sometimes say to us, ‘Not that way. If you trust Me, I’ve got something better for you.’ We can get upset when God says no to us, not realising we might have been even more upset if He’d said yes, and we’d got exactly what we asked for. That’s why it’s so important for us to pray that we’ll be in line with His will. Even if it’s not what we think we want, and even if it’s uncomfortable for a while, we need to trust Him. Trusting God and following His plan can be like walking down a misty lane. The mist hides whatever’s at the end, and you can only see a couple of steps ahead of you. But as you go further along that lane and venture into the mist, more of the goal is revealed and comes into focus. When Paul was in prison, he said, ‘I have learned to be satisfied with the things I have and with everything that happens’ (Philippians 4:11 NCV). His contentment didn’t come from his surroundings – he was in prison during most of his ministry. His contentment came from trusting God and knowing that He ‘makes everything work out according to his plan.’ Paul didn’t understand every detail of God’s plan, but he trusted God with every step he took. And that’s what we need to do too.
Col 1-2; Mark 11:1-11; Ps 78:9-16; Prov 23:22-25
Ephesians 1:11 NLT
The Bible says, “The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right” (Psalm 84:11 NLT). Sometimes we pray for a certain thing, believing it’s good for us. But God, who has a plan for your life, knows what would be “good” and what wouldn’t be. Billy Graham’s wife, Ruth, said if God had answered all her prayers when she was young, she’d have married the wrong man – several times. Two teardrops were floating down the river of life. One asked the other, “Who are you?” The second replied, “I’m the teardrop from the girl who loved a man and lost him. Who are you?” The first teardrop replied, “I am the teardrop of the girl who got him.” That’s the way life goes, isn’t it? We cry over what we don’t have, not realizing we might have cried twice as hard if God had given it to us. The expression “walking by faith” means trusting the plan God has already worked out, and will reveal to you on a need-to-know basis. Paul said, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content” (Philippians 4:11 NKJV). Clearly his contentment didn’t come from his surroundings, since he spent all but seven years of his ministry in prison. So where did it come from? The knowledge that God “makes everything work out according to his plan.” Does that mean Paul understood every detail of God’s plan? No, but when he didn’t understand the plan, he trusted the Planner! And that’s where Paul’s peace, joy, and contentment came from. The same goes for you.
Soul food: Col 1-2; Mark 11:1-11; Ps 78:9-16; Prov 23:22-25