[F]ollowing Jesus’ direction to “seek first the kingdom of God” is challenging. Our flesh cries out that THIS world is the most important. We want security, we want significance, we want to be loved no matter how we behave.
It’s surprising to some people to find that all these are things God gives us and yet we reject Him and rebel against Him because to enjoy these things that He gives us we must also humble ourselves (Proverbs 3:34, James 4:6). We don’t like that we must humble ourselves before God.
Some people make cutting remarks,
but the words of the wise bring healing. Proverbs 12:18, NLT
Our words are gifted with the power to praise the living God who created the universe or to curse people who are made in His image.
… no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! James 3:8 – 10, NLT
Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had come to Shechem to make him king. And as soon as Jeroboam the son of Nebat heard of it (for he was still in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon), then Jeroboam returned from Egypt. And they sent and called him, and Jeroboam and all the assembly of Israel came and said to Rehoboam, “Your father made our yoke heavy. Now therefore lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke on us, and we will serve you.” He said to them, “Go away for three days, then come again to me.” So the people went away.
[W]hile reading through Ruth I was struck by several things about Ruth’s story and a parallel between her and her best-known great grandson, King David.
Firstly, Ruth was not noted for her beauty. That’s not to say she was homely but when Ruth asked Boaz why she’d found favor with him he answered that it was “All that you have done for your mother-in-law ….”
In a recent small group session we discussed ways we can see how David fit into God’s greater plan, including some of David’s Psalms. King David is credited with over 70 psalms, almost half of the psalms in the Bible. In one of his first, Psalm 59, David tucks a clause in that struck me.
O my Strength, I will watch for you, for you, O God, are my fortress. Psalm 59:9 ESV
But [God] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV
Sometimes I’m tired. Sometimes I want to blog, to write something encouraging; my heart wants to express things but I get tired from the mental work and the things that pull at me and chip at me. None of it is overwhelming, individually, but collectively it can be wit-dulling and energy-sapping.
“But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.” Luke 21:34 ESV
Jesus’ admonition for His disciples is important for us today.
We are locked in battle with being more powerful and knowledgeable than we. Their experience is many lifetimes longer than ours and yet it is through the power of Jesus’ name and His Holy Spirit that we fight. We encourage one another with testimony, telling of what He promises and how He delivers. It is through prayer and walking in the Spirit that we endure and work for His kingdom.
“I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn’t have to destroy the land, but I found no one.” Ezekiel 22:30 NLT
God does not need anything from humans. He doesn’t need help with things, He doesn’t need praise from us; He doesn’t need our money in the offering plate.
He allows us to join Him as He brings about His plan.