This morning I was reading a very insightful blog from a dear friend about truth. Her Website is called Cantstealmyjoy.com by author Bekah Bowman, and the title of the blog was “Put on Truth.” But how difficult has it become now a days to discern truth, especially in these past chaotic months of the COVID 19 pandemic and world-wide protests? The voices are very loud, coming at us from all sides, each claiming to hold the truth…but who do we believe? As Bekah’s blog points out, we need to go back to the foundational truths of God, and that means getting back into His word. For without knowing His revealed word, we are left open and vulnerable to confusion and deception. But when we have a solid knowledge of God’s word, the outside noise isn’t nearly as loud, for we have the certainty and trustworthiness of the emphatic word of God to guide us. Or as Psalm 25:10 says, “All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful for those who keep the demands of His covenant.” So, if you’re searching for the truth today amidst all those voices vying for your attention… first start in the bedrock of God’s word, the Bible, to learn for yourself what is genuine and true.
Jeremiah was not popular among the people of Judah! His message from the Lord was primarily one of judgment, which lead to his life often being threatened. During his over 40 years of ministry Jeremiah often implored God to protect him…”Remember me, O Lord; remember me and care for me.” (Jeremiah 15:15) and “Let my persecutors be put to shame, but keep me from shame; let them be terrified, but keep me from terror.” (Jeremiah 17:18) Jeremiah had learned to put his absolute trust in God regardless of what the circumstances looked like around him…for he had discovered there’s no safer place to be than in the very center of God’s Will.
“For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods.” (Psalm 95:3) I added the emphasis to make us all think for a moment of just how glorious and awesome God is. He is deserving of our praise and worship… He is God (capitol G)… not all the “little” gods we allow in our life. For when we put our trust in idols (little gods), we’re putting our confidence in worthless and vain man-made objects…not the God that created the heavens and earth. He is the one and only great God above all, and is so worthy of our praise.
King David knew where his strength and confidence came from…it was in his relationship with the one true God and His unchanging kindness and mercy. David relied on God’s wisdom rather than his own in making decisions…confident yet humble, knowing God’s Will was perfect every time, in every situation. Yes, David messed up some, but he was also called a man after God’s own heart for good reason.
I’m quick to say, “I trust in the Lord!” I really have no qualm about putting my faith in Him…it’s just myself I can’t trust. For I believe I know what I can’t do…but am I really trusting in the Lord then? That’s because every time I say to myself, “I can’t do that.” I’m denying and discounting what the Lord can do through me. Now I know I can’t save myself…I can only depend upon God for deliverance. So then I need to take that same trusting dependence and apply it to my “I can’t do that.” statements. For the bottom line is, my dependence can never be on myself, but on God alone.
In II Chronicles 32, the king of Assyria had invaded Judah and laid siege…empowered by his massive army of horses, chariots, and soldiers. However, King Hezekiah stood his ground and encouraged the people by saying, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the King of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him.” (II Chronicles 32:7) So anytime when our circumstances look overwhelming… we need to remember that we too have that greater power with us.
Later in this same Chapter, Jesus repeats these words again, “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27) In both verses Jesus is telling us that we have control over doubt, fear, and confusion…”Do not allow (or permit) your hearts (or minds) to be troubled. (confused and/or terrified) ” He wouldn’t be telling us to do something if it wasn’t possible for us to achieve it. Now stop and read that last sentence again please! Jesus is telling us that we all have the direct influence within us to rein in and exercise restraint over fear…but it’s contingent on our trust in Him. In other words, a troubled heart is an unbelieving heart. So our success over doubt and fear lies largely in how we build our faith in God. And this confidence in Him only comes by reading the Bible and praying daily…for you can never fully trust a stranger.
In all our lives we will go through darkness…not the kind caused by sin or disobedience…but darkness that comes out of fear and confusion in this broken world. But while we are crouched down in the Valley of Despair, we need to listen…for the Lord will be speaking life-bringing truths into our soul. Precious truths of encouragement, and exhortation that will sustain us during illness, pain, and loss. Isaiah 50:10 tells us, ” Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.”
King Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah were desperate. Enemy armies were fast approaching and they didn’t know what to do. They found themselves in a dark valley of desperation, discouragement, and fear with no way out…but they resolved to trust God. And it’s in that same valley that God worked a mighty miracle…giving them victory over their enemies. That valley of their suffering was changed into the Valley of Beracah…the Valley of Praise. With God’s help, we can grow during those hard times. Our faith can increase and be strengthened in the midst of turmoil, loss, and strife…if we trust God. It’s then that our valley of the shadow of death can also become a Valley of Praise.
Habakkuk is asking, “Where are You God? And why aren’t You doing something about this situation? Our most basic needs aren’t being met. Don’t You care about us?” This is a very common response when anyone is in the midst of troubles…our vision is very myopic, only seeing what’s right in front of us, not any further. But it’s not until we can look beyond and see God’s “Big Picture” that we, like Habakkuk, can say, “In spite of what I see around me…regardless of this present situation, I will put my trust in You God! I will place my faith in You for I know You will provide.”