The Greatness of Our God – 2 Samuel 6:2

“And David arose and went with all the people who were with him from Baale-judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the name of the LORD of hosts who sits enthroned on the cherubim.”
2 Samuel 6:2

The narrator’s description in this verse strongly emphasizes the greatness of this God and the holiness of the ark of His covenant.

This God is not small, and His ark and His covenant are not light matters.

He is the LORD of hosts. The LORD of the living creatures, elders, and myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands of angels spoken of in Revelation 5:11-12, worshiping the Lamb.

He is enthroned on the cherubim. He reigns over all as the Most High, far above every authority and power and dominion in heaven and on earth and under the earth. None other even comes close to His great power and sovereignty.

This is the God spoken of here.

And this is the God of whom the psalmist so personally writes:
“Who is the man who fears the LORD?
Him will He instruct in the way that he should choose.
His soul shall abide in well-being,
and his offspring shall inherit the land.
The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear Him,
and He makes known to them His covenant.” Psalm 25:12-14

This is the God whose new covenant was established through the blood of His beloved Son as Jesus took on the wrath of God for us, for all who do not reject this great sacrifice, this great gift of freedom and salvation that can be purchased no other way. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life…Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:16, 36).

For those who trust in Jesus, the Lamb of God, and surrender to Him as Lord, this is the new covenant declared:

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
Jeremiah 31:31-34

“And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul.”
Jeremiah 32:38-41

“Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, ‘Take, eat; this is my body.’ And He took a cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
Matthew 26:26-28

The LORD of hosts who sits enthroned on the cherubim is He who gave His Son for our sakes and who draws us to Himself. He desires our freedom, our healing, our restoration to Him in relationship. A relationship characterized by personal closeness and rejoicing in doing good to us as beloved children. A relationship established not out of any need that God has, but out of mercy because of great love for us (Ephesians 2:4-7). He is the living God whose faithfulness is great and everlasting, who cannot lie, who will never change, and who will never forsake His own.

This is our God, the God who came to earth to save us and who fights for us. Nothing is impossible for Him and nothing can stop His purposes from being accomplished or His goodness from pouring out over our lives as we follow Him.

“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken,
and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”
Hebrews 12:28-29

“Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep,
by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do His will,
working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”
Hebrews 13:20-21

“Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name;
worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness.

The voice of the LORD is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the LORD, over many waters.
The voice of the LORD is powerful;
the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.

The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars;
the LORD breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf,
and Sirion like a young wild ox.

The voice of the LORD flashes forth flames of fire.
The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness;
the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the LORD makes the deer give birth
and strips the forests bare,
and in His temple all cry, ‘Glory!’

The LORD sits enthroned over the flood;
the LORD sits enthroned as king forever.
May the LORD give strength to His people!
May the LORD bless His people with peace!”
Psalm 29

Advertisements

Refusing to Listen – Jeremiah 16:10-12

“And when you tell this people all these words, and they say to you, ‘Why has the LORD pronounced all this great evil against us? What is our iniquity? What is the sin that we have committed against the LORD our God?’ then you shall say to them: ‘Because your fathers have forsaken me, declares the LORD, and have gone after other gods and have served and worshiped them, and have forsaken me and have not kept my law, and because you have done worse than your fathers, for behold, every one of you follows his stubborn, evil will, refusing to listen to me.’”
Jeremiah 16:10-12

Two things strike me as I read these verses. First, the blindness of unbelievers to their own sin. That they can be steeped in it and yet not able to comprehend how God could possibly hold anything against them. And how very reflective that is of our culture, where so many are entirely blinded to their sins against a just, holy, righteous God who sent His Son to redeem them in mercy at great cost to Himself, if they will only see and believe and turn to Him. This state of unbelievers should break our hearts and drive us to our knees in prayers characterized by humility, grace, and love.

The second aspect that stands out is the one I want to focus on today. The fathers of those who questioned the Lord had turned against Him to other (false and lifeless) gods. Yet the sin of these people was stated as worse. And that sin? Following their own “stubborn, evil will, refusing to listen” to the Lord. Refusing to listen. This is what the Lord highlights in this passage as grievous. A very serious offense.

And that’s convicting to process.

Oh, may we never be in this camp. Those refusing to listen to the Lord and instead following their own stubborn, evil will. Because a will stubbornly set on one’s own course in refusal to listen to the God of wisdom and love and grace and all authority is a will that is evil.

Strong words. But to refuse to listen to the Lord – whether a disregard of how His Word commands us to act, speak, and live or a silencing of the movement of His Spirit in our hearts when we know He is leading us to a certain path or conversation – this refusal places us on dark, dangerous ground. Ground that makes us very, very vulnerable to other temptations to sin. Because we are choosing to silence the voice of God within us as we set ourselves above Him.

Let us not take this lightly. It is true that if we have chosen to believe and trust in Christ for salvation, repenting of our sin and being made alive in Him, we cannot lose that, because “God will not let us lose Him.” That phrase is one my brother once wrote, and I love the hope in it, grounded in John 10:28-29. But assurance of salvation does not free us to then go our own way. It frees us to walk joyfully in the path of light and beauty, the path of righteous obedience down which God will lead us.

May we determine to be those who declare with the Promised One of whom Isaiah wrote, “The Lord GOD has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious; I turned not backward…the Lord GOD helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame” (Isaiah 50:5, 7).

The Lord’s commands, the way He outlines us to live and give of ourselves in humility and grace, the directions He may lead us in this life, and how He calls us to respond to trial and offenses against us can be very difficult to hear and obey in faith.

But oh, let us trust Him here. Let us trust that His way is not just life, but life abundant. His way is joy. His way is peace. We will not find those elsewhere. Only in Him. Only by opening ourselves up to hear Him, receive His Word, and follow faithfully. He will not let us down. We will not be put to shame. Because we are not alone here.

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose trust is the LORD.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
Jeremiah 17:7-8

“Seek the LORD while He may be found;
call upon Him while He is near;
let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the LORD, that He may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.
For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways My ways, declares the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are My ways higher than your ways
and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
Isaiah 55:6-9

Trading Anxiety for Joy – 1 Samuel 26:8-11

“Then said Abishai to David, ‘God has given your enemy into your hand this day. Now please let me pin him to the earth with one stroke of the spear, and I will not strike him twice.’ But David said to Abishai, ‘Do not destroy him, for who can put out his hand against the LORD’s anointed and be guiltless?’ And David said, ‘As the LORD lives, the LORD will strike him, or his day will come to die, or he will go down into battle and perish. The LORD forbid that I should put out my hand against the LORD’s anointed. But take now the spear that is at his head and the jar of water, and let us go.’”
1 Samuel 26:8-11

Reading through this passage, I was struck by David’s faith in the Lord’s timing of events and His faithfulness to fulfill His word as He chooses. David knew he would be king one day. But we see here that he was not going to forcibly take the throne; doing so would require killing the man first anointed to be king, and David honored and feared the Lord too much to dare raise his hand against Saul or to order his men to do so.

I have been focusing lately on trusting the Lord’s timing and orchestration. Sometimes more successfully than others. This morning is one of the more difficult times to fully release the details and rest in His sovereign grace, which clearly God knew when He led me to this chapter in 1 Samuel. To show me David’s faith and remind me of His faithfulness to accomplish His plan in David’s life, and also to highlight how God was glorified in the faith David displayed.

Because David honored the Lord, and that is clear. That’s what our faith does. So when I sit and become anxious over details I can’t control, it does not honor God. It reveals doubt. The doubt can be various things: God’s ability, His willingness, His care, His attention. I think this morning, for me, it’s fear that He will overlook the situation. And since my writing tends to be a pouring out of my heart and what God is speaking to me onto the page, I’m inviting you into this space, in hopes that as the Lord speaks to my heart, He includes pieces that speak to you as well in whatever you’re facing today. I trust that He will, because He would not lead me to write otherwise.

My thoughts are drawn to 1 Peter 5:7. Which I mentioned in my writing yesterday. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7). Verse 6 brings a crucial piece into the picture. Humbling self as we approach the Lord. Acknowledging who He is, His strength, power, wisdom, authority. And what a beautiful result Peter is compelled by the Spirit to write: “so that at the proper time he may exalt you.” We humble ourselves, not to be left wanting, but so God may lift us up at His properly, perfectly appointed time.

God cares for you, specifically. He cares for me. So we can trust Him here as we throw our anxieties away from ourselves and cast them all upon Him. He can take it. He can handle every detail, everything we can’t see coming together. He already knows it all, so none of our concerns contain things He hasn’t thought of yet. He is a detail-oriented God. From the beginning of creation to His plan of salvation, to the creation of you and the orchestration of the details and circumstances in your life, to the very way He leads you and affirms His will, all is perfectly ordered to bring Him glory and show the beauty and steadfastness of His character.

The steadfastness of His character. The perfection of His love. The personal nature of His care for each one of His own. And the wisdom and power that characterize His plans for us.

The Lord saw David. He knew every movement of His plan. He knew everything Saul would try, the efforts of all of Saul’s men and everyone else who sought to harm David or prevent the fulfillment of the Lord’s plan. David had far from an easy road, but His God was faithful in every moment and the Lord’s purposes were accomplished. His word was fulfilled.

Our God is faithful in our every moment as well. As He told the prophet Jeremiah, “I am watching over my word to perform it” (Jeremiah 1:12). God is watching over His word, aware of all that occurs. He knows every movement of His plan for your life and mine. And it will bring Him great glory. We will be able to stand with the cloud of witnesses to declare that our God is faithful and that following Him in resolute faith and throwing off every sin and hindrance is entirely worth it, because there is joy before us (Hebrews 12:1-2).

Let us pursue joy today. The joy of knowing our God is with us. The joy of knowing He is faithful. The joy of knowing we don’t have to know it all, because we are kept and our steps established by the God who has everything figured out already and who acts for those who wait for Him.

“From of old no one has heard
or perceived by the ear,
no eye has seen a God besides you,
who acts for those who wait for him.”
Isaiah 64:4

“For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth,
to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.”
2 Chronicles 16:9a

“Walk about Zion, go around her,
number her towers,
consider well her ramparts,
go through her citadels,
that you may tell the next generation
that this is God,
our God forever and ever.
He will guide us forever.”
Psalm 48:12-14

The Personal Love of God – Psalm 116:1

“I love the LORD, because he has heard
my voice and my pleas for mercy.”

Psalm 116:1

I read a devotion this morning by Charles Stanley that focused on this verse and the beautiful reality that God hears us and cares about the small things in our lives, not just “big” prayer requests. And I’d like to spend some more time contemplating that dynamic in our relationship with the God of the universe.

Because He is great and mighty and glorious. As Hebrews 1:3 describes, “[Jesus] is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.” The entire universe, all the stars and planets and galaxies and more within it, it is all upheld with a word. It was all simply spoken into existence. The creation of it all and the intricacies of how everything would fit and work together, it wasn’t even hard. That is how powerful He is.

“Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it” (Isaiah 46:8-11). All that God purposes will come to pass. He is the only God and no power or authority can even compare to Him. It is certain enough that when He speaks a word, it will without question come to pass exactly as He desires.

This is a great God. And reflecting on this, beholding His greatness, could intimidate us to wonder why He would listen to us. Why, when He rules over all things and coordinates plans and purposes on more than even a global scale – He coordinates creation on a universal scale – would He hear me and respond to miniscule details? In light of this, who are we? Small compared to the nation we live in, let alone the continent in which it is located or the planet we inhabit, the solar system and galaxy and beyond.

“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?”
Psalm 8:3-4

“So [Hagar] called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, ‘You are a God of seeing,’
for she said, ‘Truly I have seen him who looks after me.’”
Genesis 16:13

“My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.”
Psalm 139:15-18

Hagar was merely a slave woman in a difficult situation. She had no power, no options, nothing to offer to the Lord. Yet God saw her. And responded to her need. He came to her, spoke to her, and she experienced Him as a God “who looks after me.” Not people in general. Me. Even in our mother’s womb, God saw us. Intricately weaving together our personal details. Involved on a personal level before we had a chance to do anything to deserve His notice. Writing each one of our days before one of them had occurred. Very aware of every moment. Thinking of us more than we can even fathom. And with us through it all.

Even in Isaiah 46, where those earlier verses were located, we find this very personal nature of God. Shortly before the verses written above declaring His authority to accomplish His purposes, the Lord makes the statement, “even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save” (Isaiah 46:4). And those verses themselves lead into this conclusion: “Listen to me, you stubborn of heart, you who are far from righteousness: I will bring near my righteousness; it is not far off, and my salvation will not delay; I will put salvation in Zion, for Israel my glory” (Isaiah 46:12-13). For those who are stubborn and far from righteousness, God will bring His righteousness near and put His salvation in play. Righteousness brought near not to condemn (though He could rightly do so), but to save.

This sets up perfectly the clearest display of God’s personal nature. The sending of Jesus, the Son, to live, and die, and rise again for our salvation. Our hope could only come from God Himself, at great personal cost to Him. And for the sake of unrighteous sinners, He paid the price of our redemption. “‘And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:15-17).

This is the personal love of Almighty God. For you. For me. As we behold His might, may it sweep us away in awe that this is the God who sees us, the God who is Immanuel, God with us. This is the God who wants you to lift up your every care and burden, all of your anxieties however small they feel compared to Him, so He can fill you with the peace of knowing He cares for you and is working with His great power in every detail, faithful to sustain you and provide your every need (Philippians 4:5-7, 19; 1 Peter 5:7; Psalm 55:22). If you are His, if you look to His Son for the salvation so painfully and lovingly bought, surrendering to the Lord and receiving the love and mercy He freely offers, this is the relationship He joyfully restores. This is abundant, eternal life: knowing Him and the freedom this relationship brings.

“Lift up your eyes on high and see:
who created these?
He who brings out their host by number,
calling them all by name,
by the greatness of his might,
and because he is strong in power
not one is missing.
Why do you say, O Jacob,
and speak, O Israel,
‘My way is hidden from the LORD,
and my right is disregarded by my God’?
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall grow faint and weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up on wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.”

Isaiah 40:26-31

Delighting to Come Through – Jeremiah 32:40-41

“I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them.
And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me.
I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness,
with all my heart and all my soul.”

Jeremiah 32:40-41

A devotion I read this morning, drawing from Joshua 10:9-15, focused on the phrase “But God.” A situation appears impossible, but God intervenes. Things look hopeless, but God steps in.

This focus is very applicable for me in more than one current circumstance, so I want to spend a few moments settling its truth into my heart.

“But God.”

This is how our God loves to write stories. We can see that throughout Scripture. So many accounts of a situation that looked entirely impossible, an enemy that was so much bigger or more powerful, but God’s people turn to Him and He comes through and defeats the enemy without question. This, of course, includes His salvation of us. “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world…and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:1-5).

Both in our salvation and in countless circumstances as we follow Him in faith and obedience, our God loves to write our stories in such a way that His work and faithfulness are obvious. Shining the light of His glory as He comes through powerfully for His people, for this one beloved child whom He has declared is His. As He delights to come through for them.

A devotion by John Piper yesterday (found here) touched on this. That our God is not begrudging in His provision and care for His people. He delights in this.

We can see that truth conveyed in God’s words in Jeremiah 32:41:
“I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul.”

Our God rejoices in doing us good. We can trust Him here, even if “here” looks overwhelming or dark or impossible. We can trust Him, because He is the God who sees us, the God who hears us, the God who has made us His own and has committed Himself to our salvation and deliverance and care. We can rest, knowing our God will come through, in power and glory and love and perfection. We will see His goodness and our spiritual enemies will know His unceasing love for us, because He will not fail. We know all of this because He has promised it.

What it will look like, how our stories will each play out to showcase His faithfulness, we don’t know yet. But we will not be ashamed, because the Lord is our God and He is victorious and faithful. He will be glorified and we will be made more like Christ, bringing us fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore at His right hand.

Anguish and Joy – Isaiah 53:11

“Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.”

Isaiah 53:11

This is one of my favorite verses in all of Scripture. Capturing so powerfully Jesus’ perspective of His sacrifice on the cross. I’m sure I have written on it before, but its impact on me is renewed each time I read it, reflecting on the love of our Savior and the love of God the Father to send Jesus for our salvation, knowing all it would require.

As Isaiah 53:5 says, Jesus was wounded for our transgressions, our offenses against the law established by the sovereign God of the universe. He was crushed for our iniquities, our immoral and wicked behavior. Jesus took the chastisement, the punishment due for the choices we made, to bring us peace with God. And with His stripes – a picture that brings me to the severe lashes on His back from His scourging – we are healed, every crevice of our heart, to the very depths of our soul.

Jesus endured all of this. Sorrow upon sorrow, abandoned by those closest to Him, mocked and scorned by crowds. Unimaginable physical pain. The darkness and heavy weight of all sin, laid on this One who is light. An agonizing break in relationship as Jesus took our place on the cross as forsaken, willingly taking the wrath of Holy God for us and experiencing for the first time in all eternity a separation from God the Father.

But out of this, through the anguish of His soul – the soul of the beautiful, perfect, infinite and holy Son and Word of God – He sees and is satisfied.

Because through this knowledge of grief and pain, Jesus makes many to be regarded as righteous. All who believe in Him, who previously had no hope of righteousness because unrighteousness filled our souls. Jesus fully and successfully bore our iniquities, that we would bear them no longer and be set free from sin. He is satisfied because He can silence our accuser, remove our filthy rags stained with our sin, and personally adorn us with pure vestments (Zechariah 3:1-4).

Ever our intercessor and good shepherd. Caring for each of His own and not losing one of them (John 10:28).

Ensuring, through the perfect fullness of His sacrifice, that no condemnation or accusation can touch us, because we are His. Sealed with His Spirit who lives and works within us, whose presence is revealed and affirmed by the evident renewal of our minds and hearts as we become more and more like Christ, day by day, until we stand blameless before the throne of His glory as He presents us to Himself with great joy. To the praise of His glorious grace.

“Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.
Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died
– more than that, who was raised –
who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.”
Romans 8:33-34

“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling
and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy,
to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord,
be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”
Jude 24-25

Provision for Every Promise – Genesis 22:13-14

“And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked,
and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns.
And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son.
So Abraham called the name of that place, ‘The LORD will provide’;
as it is said to this day, ‘On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.”

Genesis 22:13-14

Our church is going through an Easter devotional together in these weeks leading up to the celebration. Today focused on the foreshadowing in this passage, pointing to the sacrifice of Jesus, the substitution that offers us salvation from the death to which our sin leads. The devotion ends with this prayer: “Lord, what You promise You are faithful to provide. Like Abraham, I wait in faith, believing You to do ‘exceeding abundantly above all’ I might ask or think.”

It is the words of this prayer I want to spend a few moments dwelling on.

What the Lord promises, He is faithful to provide, to do.

Throughout the Old Testament, we see promises of a coming Savior, a Deliverer. Not only for the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but to all the ends of the earth. In Isaiah 45:22, we read the words of God, calling out, “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.” God is calling out, promising salvation to all who will turn to Him. In John 6:40, we hear from Jesus more clearly how this is accomplished: “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

The Lord promises salvation to all who look to Him, to all who look on Jesus the Son who was lifted up on the cross, enduring the wrath and death that were our due, and who was then raised to life in victory. All who look to Him, turning from their sin and believing He is enough to save, are promised new, abundant, eternal life. The Lord promised it, and He was faithful to provide. He promises it now, and is faithful to give salvation to all who look to Him in faith and surrender. It is through the fulfillment of this promise that we are able to take hold of all others.

In Isaiah 45:19, the Lord says, “I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, ‘seek me in vain.’ I the LORD speak the truth; I declare what is right.” In this, we see a promise of truth spoken, of right declared. A promise that our Lord can be trusted in what He says, that He will not lead us astray or speak wrongly. And when we seek Him, it is not in vain. There are times He seems silent and we have difficulty sensing His presence or seeing His hand in our circumstances, but He does not leave us and He will not remain hidden or silent forever (Job 23:8-10). We keep seeking, and He remains faithful and constant in it all.

In John 10, Jesus reveals Himself as our Good Shepherd who calls to us, leading us each by name (John 10:3). Promising that He knows us (John 10:14) and that, as His own, we can recognize the voice of our Shepherd (John 10:27).

Our Lord is faithful to provide salvation.

He is faithful to provide truth and light.

He is faithful to be found by those who truly seek Him.

He is faithful to call us and guide us clearly in relationship.

My thoughts are drawn to another promise, another provision, that I think we often neglect to realize – myself included. Perhaps because it seems impossible to truly take hold of and experience.

As the Lord has provided salvation, freeing us from the captivity and darkness and eternal death of sin – a provision at great cost to Him – so He also promises and provides all that is needed to walk in this freedom fully.

Because His Spirit is here, inside me. Inside each one who has chosen to turn to Christ.

A Spirit of love, and power, and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7).

Love to eradicate fear, because God’s seal is upon us, declaring us His forever so that we know we will not be lost from His grasp (1 John 4:18; John 10:28-29). A wonderful, hope-filled promise. How often, though, do we stop there? Recognizing the Spirit of God within us as a seal and a comforting, steadfast presence, then continuing on with life mostly in our own strength? Saying to ourselves we’re “only human” and “not perfect” and accepting our sins as just what happens here on earth and, while there might be some measure of felt guilt, not really thinking they’re all that bad?

Do we really comprehend the Spirit of God within us and what that power, the power of Almighty God that raised Jesus from the dead, can mean for our daily lives?

Yes, we are still a work in progress. A work that will ultimately be complete when we stand before the throne of the God who has made us holy and blameless. That work is not yet finished; our brokenness and weakness still show themselves.

But let us not just accept this of ourselves – let us fight! Because we are not just “ourselves” anymore; we have the Spirit of God Himself within us, actively at work to perfect our character, convict us to turn us fully away from sin, and provide us ways of escape from temptation!

O believer, may we each take hold of the power within us that is God’s Spirit and strive toward that goal of becoming like Christ with everything we have. Employing that Spirit of self-control to make our thoughts, our actions, the inclinations of our heart obedient to Christ, because we are His, bought with a very high price, and He gives us the strength and ability to do so.

If we really believe Jesus came to bring salvation, freedom, and abundant life, let us pursue that freedom wholeheartedly and determine to walk in His abundant life throughout our days. Because that is where joy and peace are found most fully: abiding in Him, in His presence, knowing the power of His Spirit as we are made more and more like Christ, as we experience Him working in us to will and to work for His good pleasure (John 15:9-11; Philippians 2:12-13).

He has promised to give us everything we need for this, and what He promises, He is faithful to provide.

“Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:
May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.”
2 Peter 1:1-10