The Same – Numbers 23:19-20

“God is not a man, that he might lie,
or a son of man, that he might change his mind.
Does he speak and not act,
or promise and not fulfill?
I have indeed received a command to bless;
since he has blessed, I cannot change it.”

Numbers 23:19-20

In this passage, we’re able to see a stark contrast between the God of Israel – our God, the true and living and active One – and the false gods perceived by other nations. And to me, somehow seeing the contrast further emphasizes what these verses declare: Our God does not change and He does not change His mind. He is steadfast and faithful to His Word.

A king, Balak, had hired Balaam to curse the Israelites. Balaam is brought out, sacrifices offered, and he speaks a blessing (rather than a curse) toward Israel, as the Lord had commanded him. So the king takes him elsewhere, offers more sacrifices, and when Balaam speaks again, further blessing is given to Israel along with these words of the character and nature of God.

Then, despite the clarity of that declaration, Balak says, “Please come. I will take you to another place. Maybe it will be agreeable to God that you can put a curse on them for me there” (v. 27). He didn’t get it. His whole perception was of a god that is changeable. A god who, if you do the right thing, say the right words, offer enough sacrifices, will do as you ask. Balak was seeking that right combination so he would get what he wanted: a curse on his enemies. So maybe, since the other two locations didn’t work, this new one would change the response. He thought that regardless of this God’s previous words and promises, things could change.

Really, this makes sense when you consider that the false gods of other nations were set up the same way faulty humans are. They lie. They change their mind. They can be bought by the highest bidder. They have their favorites, although those can change if those favorites mess up or if someone else does better. They might even get it wrong. So here, in Balak’s response, it’s clear that he isn’t comprehending that this God is entirely different from their human-like conceptualization.

By this time, though, Balaam realizes that God isn’t going to change His answer. So while he goes with the king to the new place, he doesn’t bother to inquire of the Lord; he simply declares further blessing over Israel as well as a warning against their enemies.

This unchanging God is the God who is ours. The God who declares we are His. He has chosen us, saved us, and made us alive in Christ. He has set His love on us and has said that He is for us and acts for our good, our healing, and our ultimate joy as He forms us to be like Himself.

His promises, His declarations of who we are in Him: they do not change. Because He does not change. “Does he speak and not act, or promise and not fulfill?”

In painful seasons, it can be hard to see Him or feel His presence. So the enemy’s whispered questions of where He is, and the lies that counter God’s promises, can start to settle in. We feel hurt and fear. We feel alone. But God is here. He is with you. He is watching over you and knows the way that you take (Job 23:9-10). He is guiding you on this path in great love, faithfully fulfilling His every promise – because His promises apply to you. And throughout the ages, we will see that not one word has failed of all He has promised (Joshua 21:45). Not one, of all God has declared. He is that powerful. He is that faithful. He is that great.

Our God’s word proves true because it is grounded in His power, His faithfulness, His wisdom, and His righteousness. He knew what He was saying when He said it. He knew what He was doing when He chose us. Nothing will make Him change His mind. To do so would alter His entire character. And He never changes. The God who is always the same is the God who has chosen to love you, to draw you to Himself, and to present you blameless before His throne with great joy. The end of your story is already written, and His faithfulness to you every step of the way there is entirely sure. He will not leave, He will not fail, and He will not change.

“Of old you laid the foundation of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
They will perish, but you will remain;
they will all wear out like a garment.
You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away,
but you are the same, and your years have no end.
The children of your servants shall dwell secure;
their offspring shall be established before you.”
Psalm 102:25-28

“It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers…Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations.”
Deuteronomy 7:7-9

Showing Us the Way – Matthew 12:41-42

“The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at Jonah’s preaching; and look – something greater than Jonah is here. The queen of the south will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and look – something greater than Solomon is here.”
Matthew 12:41-42

Do I value the wisdom and truth found in the Word of God as the queen of the south valued Solomon’s wisdom? Am I seeking out and studying the Word, pressing in with intentionality and time as I ask for God’s wisdom in prayer?

Do I repent? Is my heart one of repentance, of hearing and teachability and moldability? Am I gentle and humble in heart, as my Lord is? Do I hear and respond to His teaching and correction, not giving an inch to the fleshly resistance that rises?

I have tended to read this passage without much thought, simply taking note of the warning Jesus was giving to the Jewish leaders who demanded a sign. Confident in my stance with the Lord, thinking to myself that I am not like them; I have not rejected the Messiah. I have believed in Him, I have seen my sin and need, I have repented, I have heard His words and believed them, I have looked to Him and been saved through faith by His grace, believing that His sacrifice and resurrection are salvation for me – for all who look to Him.

But perhaps there is more that can be learned here. More than a warning to the Jewish leaders at the time, or to unbelievers.

I can become complacent. I can know intellectually that God’s Word is living and active, but neglect to invest the time and study and heart-seeking to experience it as living and active in me. I can walk through my days without its power and life-giving and life-correcting effects. Failing to take the opportunity for the Holy Spirit to open my eyes to see as He sees, within and around me, and to store up treasures of His truth in my heart and mind.

I can harden my heart. I can feed that inner resistance instead of turning my ear and heart and will toward the Lord, instead of opening myself to His leading and correction. God doesn’t stop teaching us. His Gospel never stops changing us, manifesting in us more clearly the image of Christ. His work in me isn’t done yet. So repentance is still needed, as well as a continual openness and searching, asking the Lord for His clarity on those things in me that fall short: actions, words, perceptions, mindsets, opinions, reactions, thought patterns, dangerous emotions cultivated instead of healed.

Am I responsive when His Word reveals things in me that are sinful, harmful, or holding me back from His light? Things that do not build me up, or fail to build up those around me? Things that keep me from contributing to the growth and maturity of fellow believers, as we are to work together to grow all of us up in the church in love, into Christ? Things that distract me from the Gospel, from sharing it, from living it out in my home or as I go about in my community? Am I responsive to confess, to mourn, to repent, to make the shift back into the light of His righteous path? Am I even listening to receive His faithful, powerful guidance?

There is a fullness of joy, abundant life, and overflowing peace God has for us. All grounded in Him, as we press in to get as much of Him as possible. Am I pressing in? And am I not holding back? May God give each of us grace for this. And the steady hope that even if we feel very far from where we should be, His grace meets us here – right here, where we are. It is the Lord who will faithfully get us all the way home. He is the one at work here, and He is a compassionate, strong, wise guide, convicting us to get us back onto the path of abundant life, and rejoicing in our freedom as we respond to Him in faith.

“The LORD is good and upright;
therefore he shows sinners the way.
He leads the humble in what is right
and teaches them his way.”
Psalm 25:8-9

“I will instruct you and show you the way to go;
with my eye on you, I will give counsel.
Do not be like a horse or mule,
without understanding,
that must be controlled with bit and bridle
or else it will not come near you.
Many pains come to the wicked,
but the one who trusts in the LORD
will have faithful love surrounding him.”
Psalm 32:8-10

“Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith. For the joy that lay before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God…No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your tired hands and weakened knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated but healed instead.”
Hebrews 12:1-2, 11-13

The God of Abraham – Exodus 3:6

“Then he continued, ‘I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ Moses hid his face because he was afraid to look at God.”
Exodus 3:6

The God of my father. The God of Abraham. The God of Isaac. The God of Jacob. The God of Israel. The God of Charles Spurgeon. The God of Charles Stanley. The God of Billy Graham.

It feels wrong, presumptuous, to consider putting my name there. As if it’s taking God’s declarations lightly, or elevating me to a position I do not hold. But what is stirring in my heart isn’t about me. It isn’t about a status or a rank. As Paul indicates in 1 Corinthians 3:5-7, none of us are anything – only the Lord.

What I’m processing this morning is the personal association our Lord chooses to have with us. Not just on a grand scale, but on an individual one as well. He is present in the great congregation, and as we walk along our way.

He is faithful to each one who is His. He has chosen each of us as His inheritance, sealed with His Spirit at the time of our receiving through faith the new covenant established by the blood that Jesus shed on the cross, and He holds fast to us in faithfulness and rejoices at our coming home, at our being His.

In this faithfulness to us, He establishes Himself as our God. As He has established Himself throughout the generations: the God of Abraham, of Isaac, of Jacob, of Moses, of Joshua, of Elijah, of David, of Daniel, of Isaiah, of Paul. He is their God, for they are His chosen.

There is another application here as well: He is their God because they have looked to Him. There is a choice on our part, that He is our God. We are associating ourselves with Him, choosing to orient our lives around this God who is ours. Declaring with Jehoshaphat, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you” (2 Chronicles 20:12b).

Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness, and God fulfilled every promise to him in His faithful love and power.

There is relationship conveyed here on both sides: The God of Abraham. The God of Isaac. The God of Jacob. And this relationship is not isolated to the great patriarchs of the faith. It is for each one of us who have received Jesus through faith and have been given the right to become children of God. Great or small. 50 years of knowing Christ, or 5 minutes. Our God’s declaration over us is the same.

We are His. He is ours. And this holds fast and forever.

The God of my father. The God of Abraham. The God of Isaac. The God of Jacob. The God of Moses. The God of Rahab. The God of Ruth. The God of Mary. The God of Peter. The God who is mine. And believer, the God who is yours.

Take each step of your path in peace and rejoicing, praising His great faithfulness, grace, and salvation, for He is your God.

“Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.”
Joshua 1:5b

All Who Seek You – Psalm 70:4-5

“Let all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you;
let those who love your salvation
continually say, ‘God is great!’
I am oppressed and needy;
hurry to me, God.
You are my help and my deliverer;
LORD, do not delay.”

Psalm 70:4-5

There is an expectation here, a faith that seeking the Lord brings rejoicing. From this writer’s desperate cry for God to respond to his need, for God to hurry and not delay, comes a spark of light as we see his belief that those who seek the Lord will not turn away disappointed or ashamed, but will rejoice and be glad, declaring, “God is great!” For He is faithful and mighty to save, and He does not neglect His own.

Hebrews 11:6, speaking of faith, says, “Now without faith it is impossible to please God, since the one who draws near to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Our God exists. He is the Living One who was, and is, and is to come. He is real and He is here, active in our lives and calling us to Himself in grace and wisdom. And He rewards those who seek Him. When we seek Him, when we draw near to Him, we will not be ashamed. He will meet us here in faithfulness, drawing near to us in response (James 4:8).

“Those who look to him are radiant with joy;
their faces will never be ashamed.” Psalm 34:5

“How great is your goodness
that you have stored up for those who fear you
and accomplished in the sight of everyone
for those who take refuge in you.” Psalm 31:19

“Indeed, none who wait for you will be ashamed.” Psalm 25:3a

Our God has accomplished our salvation in Christ, to the uttermost (Hebrews 7:25). All those He calls to Himself will come to Him, and He will uphold and keep them in faithfulness. Our seeking Him above all else, our choice to draw near to Him through Christ, to invest our lives here and pour ourselves out for the sake of the Gospel and His glory, for the sake of building up those with us in the body of Christ as we love Him more and more with our whole lives – it is not in vain. He gives us the strength and the faith for it all, He bears His fruit within us, and He meets us here, to provide for us here, to reward us in faithful love.

May our eyes be open to “the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ” (2 Thessalonians 3:5), that we may rejoice and be glad in Him, and that we may love Him and His great salvation all the more, continually declaring, “Our God is great!”

We are poor and needy here. We are afflicted. And our God is so, so faithful. Look to Him. Seek Him and draw near, believing with the faith He gives you that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him – He will not let you down, and He will not let you go.

“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 48:13-14

Day After Day – Psalm 68:19-20

“Blessed be the Lord!
Day after day he bears our burdens;
God is our salvation.
Our God is a God of salvation,
and escape from death belongs to the LORD my Lord.”

Psalm 68:19-20

Something about these verses is pulling at my heart this morning, drawing me in.

There is a constancy here. Day after day, never failing. Never tiring, physically, emotionally, or relationally. Day after day, our Lord bears our burdens. So whatever I face, He is always here, bearing me up. Giving me the grace I need in each moment, not so I can bear myself up with the grace He gives me, but so I can experience Him bearing me up as the good Shepherd and good Father He is. The One who is faithful and true, who always has been, always is, and always will be.

These verses also highlight for me the combination of how great and mighty, and how near and personal my God is. That He is great and almighty, and He is mine.

Because day after day He bears my burdens. Whether large or comparatively small, He sees them and bears them in faithful love, compassion, and sufficient grace. He is near, and He is intimately involved. Nothing is too small to escape His care.

And escape from death belongs to Him, the God of our salvation. Our God of might and power. Our sovereign God who reigns over all and has conquered death itself. He is mighty to save, and nothing is too great for Him. He created all things and upholds it all simply by the word of His power; there is nothing He cannot do, and no enemy against whom He cannot prevail.

This is the God I find rest in. This is the God I am wholly dependent on, and I can rejoice in that dependence because this is how faithful He is to each one of His own, including me. Including you.

He is the God of salvation, the God who is our salvation, and to Him belongs deliverance from death. He bears our burdens without tiring, in faithful love, day after day. Just as day after day the heavens and all creation pour forth speech of His greatness and wonder – this is how constant He is to us.

“Listen to me, O house of Jacob,
all the remnant of the house of Israel,
who have been borne by me from before your birth,
carried from the womb;
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 46:3-4

“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 faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.”
Isaiah 40:26-31

Faithful – Revelation 3:8

“I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.”
Revelation 3:8

Considering this passage, Charles Spurgeon wrote, “The Philadelphian church was not great, but it was good. It was not powerful, but it was faithful…The Philadelphian saints, like a limpet, which has but little strength, stuck firmly to the rock, and they are commended for it.”

Jesus is honoring the faithfulness of this church. He is encouraging them that He sees them, and He has set before them an open door – whether open to opportunities for ministry, or open to the promise of heaven and reward, He is assuring them He will be faithful to them and no one can shut the door He has opened.

From Jesus’ words about the church, it seems theirs is a quiet faithfulness. Perhaps not powerful or significant in the eyes of the world, but significant to the Lord because it is true.

What I do doesn’t have to be great; it simply needs to be faithful.

To be faithful in small things, and later to be faithful in big things. Whether those “big things” will be here in this life or measured by worldly standards isn’t for me to know. I am to simply be faithful and to know that He who holds me is faithful and is supplying what I need – including my faith itself.

What contentment and peace can be experienced here. I don’t need to do great things. My name doesn’t need to be known…The “heroes of the faith” don’t only include people everyone has heard of. It’s those who live lives of faithfulness, in the strength and faithfulness of the Lord. Those who look to Him, in weakness and temptation and struggling and wrestling with the gap between what we cognitively know and what we’re feeling in a moment, and find Him to be a refuge and fortress for us.

The size of our circle of influence doesn’t matter. Each of us has a carefully, lovingly, wisely selected role in the body of Christ. I just need to be faithful in mine, knowing the strength to do so comes from the Almighty One who is faithful to me, and who holds before me an open door that no one can shut…because “My Father…is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch [me] out of the Father’s hand” (John 10:29).

I am His, and He is faithful, and He sees and rewards my quiet faithfulness – faithfulness that He has worked in me.

“I am coming soon. Hold fast to what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.”
Revelation 3:11-12

My Faithful God – Psalm 59:16-17

“But I will sing of your strength
and will joyfully proclaim
your faithful love in the morning.
For you have been a stronghold for me,
a refuge in my day of trouble.
To you, my strength, I sing praises,
because God is my stronghold —
my faithful God.”

Psalm 59:16-17

God has been a stronghold for me. He has made Himself known as a fortress for me, and as my faithful God. Not just a faithful God, but as mine.

Sometimes it’s so much easier to believe God’s promises and faithfulness for other people than it is to really believe it for ourselves. To feel the truth that He sees us, He hears us, He is working all things for our good, and He will not let us down. To feel the truth of how greatly and deeply He loves us and how intensely He cares about our circumstances, our hurts, our confusion.

We might feel like Job, crying out, “Behold, I go forward, but he is not there, and backward, but I do not perceive him; on the left hand when he is working, I do not behold him; he turns to the right hand, but I do not see him.” But oh, believer, Job goes on to speak the truth to which we can hold: “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold” (Job 23:9-10).

He knows the way that you take. He knows it because He has gone before you here. And He goes behind you as your rear guard, hemming you in with His loving, protective hand. And He is here, right here where you are, in compassion and love and power as your stronghold.

I have struggled to believe this, sensing our spiritual enemy’s lies whispered to me, telling me that whatever promise I am considering isn’t true for me, not here. But those are lies. So we turn again to God’s Scriptures and cling to the truth He tells us, the truth about who He is and what He declares for us. We turn our hearts toward Him and we fall on His grace, resting in the knowledge that when we are faithless, He remains faithful – that His faithfulness is grounded in His unchanging character and is not dependent on our own steadfastness (2 Timothy 2:13). He is faithful regardless to all who are His. And when we come to Him for refuge, He will prove Himself strong and faithful and enough for us, even if our faith is wavering as we approach.

“I will keep watch for you, my strength, because God is my stronghold. My faithful God will come to meet me; God will let me look down on my adversaries” (Psalm 59:9-10). Reading through these verses reminded me of Jesus’ words to one of the churches in Revelation, “Note this: I will make those from the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews and are not, but are lying — I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and they will know that I have loved you” (Revelation 3:9). This strikes me as such a powerful picture. Our spiritual enemy is strong and fierce, but he and his lies will not win, and they do not determine our story or the truth that holds us. Jesus has already declared that in the end, He will make our enemies come and bow down at our feet, and they will know that He has loved us. They will know that He has loved you.

Because in the end, all will see that God has never let you down. He has remained steadfast and faithful through it all. Through every moment, He has seen and heard and sustained. He has been your very present help, your light, your strength, your stronghold. He has loved you. With a love that does not waver.

Abide in Him, believer, and in His love. His Word, His truth will abide in you. And no matter what you face, you will be able to sing these words with the psalmist, because His promises prove true for you as well:

“But I will sing of your strength
and will joyfully proclaim
your faithful love in the morning.
For you have been a stronghold for me,
a refuge in my day of trouble.
To you, my strength, I sing praises,
because God is my stronghold —
my faithful God.”
Psalm 59:16-17

“This God—his way is perfect;
the word of the LORD proves true;
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.”
Psalm 18:30

Our Faith – 1 John 5:4

“For this is what love for God is: to keep his commands. And his commands are not a burden, because everyone who has been born of God conquers the world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith. Who is the one who conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”
1 John 5:3-5

A song was playing as I was getting ready yesterday morning, and it referenced our shield of faith. And I believe that’s what brought the verse above to mind, in which the apostle John writes that it is our faith that conquers, or overcomes, the world.

What became so interesting to me is that my mind was then drawn to two other verses that perhaps can further develop our understanding here. Or mine, at least. Because the sense I have generally gotten from 1 John 5:4 has been that with a strong enough faith, the world and its temptations are overcome. If I can just bolster my beliefs and remember to raise that shield of faith and belt of truth, I can perceive that the Lord’s commands are not burdensome but are for my good, and I can overcome.

Let’s look at the 3 passages that seemed to suddenly connect to each other yesterday:

“And his commands are not a burden, because everyone who has been born of God conquers the world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith.” (1 John 5:3b-4)

“Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race set before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith. For the joy that lay before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

“Indeed, an hour is coming, and has come, when each of you will be scattered to his own home, and you will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” John 16:32-33

It is our faith that conquers the world (1 John 5).
Jesus is the source and perfecter of our faith – beginning it and completing it within us, bringing it faithfully to fullness (Hebrews 12).
Jesus said to take heart, to be courageous; He has conquered the world (John 16).

The reason we stand in hope that our faith conquers the world isn’t because we’re strong in ourselves, but because the One who begins, holds, and completes our faith is the One who Himself has conquered the world, enduring all temptations, all darkness, and all agony and shame, and sat down in victory on His throne. He is upholding us now.

The phrase “our faith” can be misleading to my perspective. But what is being impressed on me lately is that it is our faith because the Lord has given it to us in love and power, not because we created it or mustered it or sustain it within ourselves. And oh, how that frees us from the weight of trying to carry it on our own, and from the pride that can so easily take hold.

He gives us the faith we need. He gives us the strength – His strength – that we need, as we look to and lean heavily on Him, knowing the strength is not our own. We conquer because Jesus has conquered. We can obey because He has fulfilled the law and has given us (is giving us) all we need for a life of godliness, a life of joy and freedom and abundance as we walk by His strength in the light of His righteousness and truth.

So we can look to Him and walk forward in confidence, knowing He establishes our steps on His path of righteousness and His power and strength are made perfect in our weakness as He faithfully perfects our faith and conquers the world.

“His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. By these he has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire.”
2 Peter 1:3-4

“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of his nature, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
Hebrews 1:3

Many Will Come – Matthew 8:11

“I tell you that many will come from east and west to share the banquet with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 8:11

Something about this verse caused it to resonate with me this morning, and to wonder at the grace of God in His calling of people from all places, nationalities, backgrounds, histories, that they – that I – would come to Himself.

Jesus makes this statement after seeing the faith of a Roman centurion. Faith that amazed Him. And these words of verse 11 highlight that the centurion would not be the last to believe, to demonstrate this faith in Him; many would come, from east and west and all over, and be welcomed to share in the banquet with the patriarchs of the faith. Included, brought into God’s people, God’s children, alongside even these.

I’m reminded of Peter’s words that begin his second letter to the early Christians: “Simeon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ: To those who have received a faith equal to ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 2:1). Another translation phrases it, “a faith of equal standing.” Whether Jew or Gentile, apostle or new believer, male or female, slave or free, former Pharisee or former prostitute; all who have received Christ have received a faith of equal standing. Our roles vary according to the particular grace given to us to fulfill God’s placement of us in His body, but the standing of our faith, our value and belonging in the family of God and as members of Christ’s body are equal. None are above us in this, and none are below us in this, because all of us are saved solely by the grace of God.

And isn’t this a beautiful truth? To rest in the reality that no matter where any of us come from, and no matter what our gifts and roles are, we are immeasurably valuable to our Lord and we belong here. We are so greatly loved.

“Many will come from east and west to share the banquet.” Our God came through the Israelite people, with promises for His people throughout the Old Testament. This nation was set apart as His, the God of Israel. Then He came, in the flesh, Jesus the Promised One. And revealed what had been kept as a mystery throughout the ages: that God’s plan and desire is and always has been to unite all things in Him (Ephesians 2:9-10). That those who are His people are not defined by nationality but by faith in the Lord and His salvation (Romans 4:16). Israel was set apart as a light to the nations, and Jesus fulfills that role – He is the light of the world, the promise of the Israelites and the hope of the Gentiles (Romans 15:12). Salvation for us all, excluding none who come to Him.

The door is opened, that if our hearts cry out, like the Greeks’ words in John 12:21 approaching the disciples, “We want to see Jesus,” we will not be cast aside. As Jesus said to those with Him, “I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself” (John 12:32).

The door of salvation, of hope, of belonging is opened for you, whatever your family or personal background, and wherever you are right now. “For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself” (Acts 2:39). “Come, everyone who is thirsty, come to the water; and you without silver, come, buy, and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without silver and without cost!” (Isaiah 55:1). All who are thirsty – Come. Those who have nothing – Come. Relationship is here, fullness of life and restoration through the One who makes us whole.

To close out, I’m linking another song, “O Come, All You Unfaithful” by Sovereign Grace Music. This was new to me this past Christmas season, and it’s one that has stuck with me with its emphasis on the gift that Jesus is for us, a free gift that is given to us no matter where we are, as God beckons us to Himself:


Rescue – Psalm 50:15

“Call on me in a day of trouble;
I will rescue you, and you will honor me.”

Psalm 50:15

What a comfort it is to my heart to know that when I call to the Lord, He hears and He answers. To know I am heard, and seen, and loved wherever I am.

This verse is written in the midst of rebuke and instruction regarding the worship of God, and is highlighted as an element of our proper worship: to call to the Lord and know He will come to our rescue, and to honor Him with our thanksgiving, our dependence on Him (not ourselves), and our trust that He hears us.

“I love you, LORD, my strength.
The LORD is my rock,
my fortress, and my deliverer,
my God, my rock where I seek refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation,
my stronghold.
I called to the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
and I was saved from my enemies.”
Psalm 18:1-3

“There is none like God, O Jeshurun,
who rides through the heavens to your help,
through the skies in his majesty.”
Deuteronomy 33:26

“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

“In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.”
John 16:26-27

“You have kept count of my tossings;
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your book?
Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call.
This I know, that God is for me.”
Psalm 56:8-9

“He delivers the afflicted by their affliction
and opens their ear by adversity.”
Job 36:15

“Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us.”
Psalm 62:8

We can cry out to our God and know He hears us and He will rescue. It may be a rescue out of our circumstances, a rescue of ourselves through our circumstances, or a rescue from a powerful spiritual enemy – whatever form His rescue takes, the Lord will rescue in perfect love, wisdom, and grace.

“This God—his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all who take refuge in him” (Psalm 18:30). Our God loves you and will not fail. He will uphold, He will strengthen, He will sustain, He will save. He is meeting you here with greater love than we can comprehend.

“The beloved of the LORD dwells in safety.
The High God surrounds him all day long,
and dwells between his shoulders.”
Deuteronomy 33:12b