These scriptures beg the question…”What are You asking of me Lord?” Foremost, Jesus is asking for commitment. Not just lip service, or Sunday only acknowledgement… No, He’s asking for sold-out, unwavering determination to follow Him no matter the cost. Jesus is also asking for conviction. That’s a gut belief that He died on the Cross and rose again for me so that I may have eternal life. Then too, Jesus is asking for conformity. He wants me to become more like Him. Finally, Jesus is asking that I give up control. Now this is probably the most frightening but the most freeing request of His…For to go deeper with Jesus means releasing command of myself and trusting Him more.
Take a moment to re-read the scripture above and allow it to sink in. If God is for you…what can possibly oppose you? If the Lord is over you, coming to your defense, protecting you, helping and comforting you in times of trouble…what evil can stand before Him? Isaiah 41:10 states, “So do not fear, for I am with you…I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” God is greater than any of your fears today…and greater than the evil in this world.
We’ve spent several days constructing a retaining wall in the back yard…and I don’t mind saying that strenuous manual labor in the oppressive heat of a Illinois Summer is hard! But now that it’s done, it was well worth all the sweat. Genesis 1:1 tells us that, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Where we had cement pavers to build with, God called the universe into being…creating everything we see, smell, and hear out of nothing. For He is the author and architect of it all…bringing into existence that which was not.
The Israelites had gathered together and asked Ezra to read the Law. Many had never heard the reading of the Word, for they had been born and raised in Babylonian captivity. The Lord had been faithful in rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem…He had miraculously aided them in rebuilding the crumbled walls…but now it was time to rebuild His people. The Lord is wanting to rebuild His people again…to reclaim, restore, and re-establish Believers for His glory. Now is the time for you to break off the chains of captivity and allow God to begin a new rebuilding project in you.
In only 52 days the wall around Jerusalem was rebuilt, securing it from enemy attack. Despite everything their enemies attempted to do to dissuade and intimidate them, the wall was made strong. In less than 2 months time, the people of Jerusalem had done something of super-human ability… and their enemies realized this. Nothing will ever stand in the way of God’s plan…not people…not circumstances…not anything. And this will render the enemy fearful and in awe of God’s great power.
At just the right time, God works the impossible. It’s known as a “but God ” moment…a great reversal in a dire situation . Over 40 times in the Bible it’s stated…things are going one way, but then at the most definitive moment, God intervenes, and the inconceivable happens. There have been “but God” moments in all our lives if we just think about it…times when we were at our bleakest, only to have the Lord intercede on our behalf… doing the unimaginable.
Yielding our will to God is not easy…for compliance never comes without internal struggle. But if we listen to Him…understanding that it’s for our own good that He’s directing us that way…and then obey the message we’ve heard…God will work all things out for our good. Along this same line, Job 36:11 says, “If they obey and serve Him, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment.” Simple obedience…sometimes hard to do, but oh so beneficial.