Imagine, if you will, this picture. You are on one side of this deep abyss, and God is on the other, and there is no physical way for you to get across to Him. But now imagine a bridge spanning between the two sides so that you may reach God. The Cross of Jesus is that bridge, giving all of us access to God the Father. For it is only by the saving faith of Jesus we can approach the Throne of grace with confidence. (Hebrews 4:16) But we must continue to hold firmly to our trust in Jesus Christ…”so that when He appears we may be confident and unashamed before Him at His coming.” (I John 2:28)
As I studied this verse I discovered that the Hebrew word for afraid, Yare, has two separate meanings. The first is the negative emotion of fearful…while the second is the positive emotion of reverence and awe for God. So what David is explaining here is that in the time of fear he consciously shifted his mind from one meaning to the other… from dwelling on a negative emotion to focusing on a positive one. So instead of standing on the shifting sands of fear and anxiety David planted his feet firmly and confidently on the solid rock of Christ.
Sometimes it’s just a matter of holding on for the day. Holding on to our courage and the hope of which we boast, (Hebrews 3:6) and remaining steady in our sense of confidence that God is truly in control of the chaos around us. And as long as we can affirm to ourselves His goodness and love…we can hold on for another day.
It’s only by our belief and trust in Jesus Christ that we have access to God the Father. For the chasm between us and God is too deep…the sin-created abyss too wide for us by ourselves to reach Him. But Jesus came to save us from our sins, and remove the guilt and shame by His blood. So now we can stand and pray with confidence before our Heavenly Father…knowing He hears us.
Peter sent the mourners and doubters out of the room much like Jesus did when He brought the dead little girl back to life in Matthew 9:25. Both didn’t allow negativity and unbelief to remain in the room. Nor did either permit skepticism and scoffing to change their confidence in what God could do. So what can we take from this when praying for someone seriously ill? First is to get rid of all distractions and those who can’t believe for a miracle. Instead, gather around those who have faith for a healing, (remember, it can be as small as a mustard seed). Next speak life and not death into the person and ask God to heal them. Finally, continue to speak life into the person and watch God work.
The biggest trap Believers fall into is complacency…especially if we’ve been a Christian for years. Our spiritual life has become very comfortable because we’ve picked and chosen bits and pieces of the Gospel that suit us. Our life in Christ has slowly become all about us – not others. We’ve become self-satisfied, tepid Christians with no enthusiasm to reach the lost…no thirst to get into His Word…no eagerness to share the Gospel. Complacency means we’re satisfied with the status quo, confident in our own salvation, but not really interested in anyone else. No wonder in this Scripture God is ready to spit lukewarm Christians out of His mouth…they have lost their first love…their zeal…their spiritual fervor. And to Him, they are worthless.
We hope that we’re honoring God during the Church Service, or when we’re praying for someone in the hospital. But this Scripture tells us that we need to be showing respect to God in everything we do. For if you think about it…all aspects of our lives are ordained by His hand. That includes the mundane and boring, and the simple day-to-day tasks we take for granted. That’s because we never know when He’ll take a practical chore and turn it into a divinely assigned God moment.
Earlier in this Chapter, Jesus told Peter what the future held for him. But Peter wouldn’t let well enough alone…He now wanted to know what was in store for John also. This is when Jesus firmly reminded him that it was none of his business and Peter must focus his attention his own personal walk…not meddle into other’s. Sometimes we like to “help” God, when in fact, we’re actually interfering with His plan for other people’s lives. We think we know more than Him…but that’s when we usually get into trouble! From that fateful day at the Sea of Galilee when Jesus walked up to Peter and his brother Andrew casting their fishing nets…Jesus’s directive to Peter had not changed…”Follow Me!” He said. “Keep your eyes focused on Me and not others.”
Eliphaz was one of Job’s three friends that had come to comfort him after the devastating loss of his children and all his livestock. In this Scripture he is telling Job trouble is part of life. When everything is going along smoothly in our lives…Life is good. We’re happy, healthy, and prone to take God for granted. But when trouble hits…when we’re stricken with illness, or touched by loss…we change. We become frustrated and weary when illness strikes. We become bewildered and fearful of our lack of control during times of loss. It’s our attitude that changes…not God. For God remains the same…whether in good times or in bad. He’s right there beside you…offering comfort and hope no matter what you’re going through today.
King Hezekiah became ill to the point of death when Isaiah went and said to him, “Put your house in order, you’re going to die.” But it then says that Hezekiah prayed and wept before the Lord and the Lord relented. The human mind would look at this as God yielding, changing His mind, or just being fickle. But to God, relenting is grounded in compassion not whimsy. Psalm 106:45 says, “…and out of His great love He relented.” Though it may appear to us that God was changing His plan… according to His divine perspective…nothing changed.