In this story, a Gentile Roman Centurion had approached Jesus asking Him to heal his servant. This commanding officer not only knew who Jesus was, but had witnessed and then understood the authority by which Jesus taught and healed the sick. For it was by this powerful authority he saw in Jesus that he related. It says that Jesus was astonished and commended him for his great faith and understanding of authority…and his servant was healed that day.
In this prayer, King David was acknowledging that it was only from God – the source of everything – that he possessed abilities and achievements. David was also acknowledging the sovereignty and authorship of God as he viewed the world around him. Later, his son Solomon would write in Ecclesiastes 5:19-20, ” When God gives any man wealth and possessions,and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work – this is a gift of God. He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart.” Recognizing and thanking God for His benevolence in our lives gives rise to one of the greatest gifts we can ever receive…it’s peace and contentment.
No matter how spiritually strong we are, anyone of us can stray from the will of God. Here Simon Peter, nicknamed the Rock, of which Jesus had said, “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church,” caved under man’s pressure. Peter had been fellowshipping with Christian Gentiles until a group of Jews showed up and started pressuring him to stop. He was afraid that his reputation and standing might be questioned…fearful of what they might think of him…so he separated himself from the Gentiles…taking everyone with him, including Barnabas. Isaiah 51:12-13 asks this question, “Who are you that you fear mortal men, the sons of men, who are but grass, that you forget the Lord your Maker?” It’s a dangerous slippery slope when we start fearing man rather than God…afraid of what people may think of us rather than doing God’s will. Peer pressure can be tremendous, for we all want to fit in and be liked…but when it causes us to deviate from God’s plan…it effects everyone around us.
The king of the Moabites, Balak, had attempted to hire Balaam, (a soothsayer who used divination and sorcery for personal gain), to pronounce a curse on the tribes of Israel. But every time Balaam tried, out came a blessing instead. Try as he might, Balaam was forced to conform to God’s will and he realized that nothing he did would change that…no matter how much King Balak offered him. We may think evil is running amuck on the earth…unimpeded by anything. But God is still in control, ruling and reigning over every situation, every detail, every person.
Everyday we have to make the decision to either accept the world’s view or to trust God with His vision. We can either be driven by fear, gloom and doom in a world of pessimism and distrust, or we can stand on God’s Word with hope and confidence, knowing He’s still in control. It all boils down to asking yourself one question, “Whose report do you believe today?” Is your faith and trust in the world or the Creator of it?
How many times have I put God in a little box…expecting Him to behave in a certain manner, showing up and fulfilling His duties, only to see Him move in a completely unexpected and surprising way. That’s when all my welled planned out intentions are blown out of the water and I have to admit again…He is God and I am not. God’s Will isn’t up to me, nor do I have any control over it. It’s God that chooses when, where and how to move…not me. My job is only to be flexible and submissive when He throws me a curve ball.
Job couldn’t understand what had happened to him…he had just lost all his children and his livelihood. Yet here, he acknowledges God’s total sovereignty. We also will go through tragic times…times when we shake our head in utter bewilderment at the senseless acts we see and hear about. So we need to be reminded here that our Lord’s power has not diminished…His authority and supremacy has not waned in light of the increasing evilness in the world. God’s rule is still absolute…His dominion still remains established and true. We may not be able to understand…but we can echo Job’s words, “May the name of the Lord be praised.”