It is difficult to trust people. I see young children with so much trust of their parents. Like this past weekend, I saw photos of children holding sparklers with their father or mother guiding their hands. The kids trust their parents. They have confidence that their parents want their best and that they are looking out for them. They do not fear the sparklers because of this trust.
Something happens with age. We are let down. We experience loss. We experience failure. We come to realize that no one is perfect. The trust we once had is not like it was when we were young and innocent. We find ourselves doubting even our closest friends and family, sometimes even doubting God.
In Colossians, the Apostle Paul writes about faith in Jesus. This type of faith in Christ Jesus that he describes is absolute trust and confidence. This trust and confidence is in His power, His wisdom, and His goodness. It is the strong faith that will move mountains in life. This is the faith we have when we claim God’s Word, when we recognize His Word as truth. When we do this, it is then that we have absolute trust in our Lord.
For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus [the leaning of your entire human personality on Him in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness] and of the love which you [have and show] for all the saints (God’s consecrated ones). – Colossians 1:4 [AMP]
Life can be tough. There are times when we can feel a bit overwhelmed and discouraged. Fear and doubt can creep in and we may sink lower into despair. I’ve been there and I will surely be there again.
We all have moments like these; however, we do not have to sink downward. We need to remind ourselves of the great power that we have through Christ. Remember that you have “the same mighty power,” – God’s power within you.
Don’t limit yourself by trying to do life alone. God gave you His Spirit to dwell within so that you can get through each day and accomplish what He has called you to do in life. He didn’t give you His Spirit to simply reside within you, but to be this “incredible greatness” that will help you to rise above and press onward to finish the race.
“I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power.” – Ephesians 1:19 [NLT]
I always remind the kids to shut the door behind them as they are heading outside on the cold days. By doing this, they keep the cold air outside where it belongs. There are two times in 2 Kings 4 where we read “shut the door behind.”
First there is the widow who is instructed by Elisha to take her two sons and enter their house and “shut the door.” Then they were to pour olive oil into empty jars they collected from neighbors and continue that process until there were no jars left so that they could pay for their debts. Then later, when Elisha went to raise the Shunammite’s son, “he went in alone and shut the door behind him.”
Both of these instances they shut the door behind them. Both of these instances included miracles. Sometimes we need to shut things out so we have no distractions and can watch as God performs a great miracle. Everything from the world was shut out so all focus was on God and what He was doing for this widow and her sons and this son of the Shunammmite woman. Today, perhaps you need to shut the door and see what God has waiting for you.
“Then go into your house with your sons and shut the door behind you. Pour olive oil from your flask into the jars, setting each one aside when it is filled.” – 2 Kings 4:4 [NLT]
“He went in alone and shut the door behind him and prayed to the LORD.” – 2 Kings 4:33 [NLT]
The exchanges between Moses and Pharaoh are interesting. Again and again, Moses approaches Pharaoh to ask for the people to be released to worship God. Pharaoh continues to refuse or to add stipulations that were unacceptable, and then when the plague would come, it would cause him to ask for removal of the plague. Pharaoh continued to consider himself and his power. He continued to see himself in charge.
Now in today’s verse, we see Pharaoh doing something he didn’t do previously. He sent for Moses and Aaron. No longer were they coming and requesting permission to take the Israelites and worship God. Pharaoh was now sending for Moses and Aaron during the night. After the Passover, he saw this great power from God and no longer were the brothers approaching him. He was sending for them. He was telling them to leave—all of them—to get out and do what they requested.
Pharaoh may have later reconsidered, but for this one moment he saw the power of God. He might not have wanted to accept it—rather he wanted to put it out of sight—but he felt it and he didn’t like it. This same power is still at work today. We have a choice—we can accept it or we can try to put it out of sight. We can consider the greatness of God—or we can choose to look away. Just remember the power of God does not cease to be simply because we do not recognize it. God is God no matter what we decide to believe.
“Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron during the night. ‘Get out!’ he ordered. ‘Leave my people–and take the rest of the Israelites with you! Go and worship the LORD as you have requested.’” – Exodus 12:31 [NLT]
This weekend I had the opportunity to teach two classes, one on trusting God and another on the power of God. These two topics are so vital to each of our lives, and yet we all have some difficulties in these areas. Recently, the husband of a friend of mine was in dire need of a liver transplant. With a congenital liver disease weakening his body, many people would have considered that hope was lost. Family and friends joined together in prayer. The Bible says that we must ask and believe, and then we will receive (Mark 11:24, James 1:6). The family organized a group, continued to stand firm in their faith, and clung to God during the storm. As family and friends trusted God, uniting together in prayer, they were able to see the power of God at work. He received a new liver and doctors were amazed at the miraculous transition they witnessed, something that couldn’t be explained except as the power of God.
These people trusted God to provide, but we all have moments when we have a problem with trusting God. To trust God, it means that we abide and rest in His goodness—that we trust that He protects, embraces, and surrounds us with His compassion and His favor. It is important to understand that if we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us (James 4:8). It is important to remember the many promises of God—promises we can only know about if we read His Word. Psalm 34:10 says that those who seek God will “lack no good thing.” Yet, why are we so tempted to seek elsewhere, to try our own methods, to think that we could have something better doing things another way?
In the wilderness, Jesus was tempted three times. Each of these temptations represents temptations that we each face, temptations of: power, prestige, and possessions. Each time, He responded to the devil by saying, “It is written.” It is so clear to see the power of God’s Word at work. In Ephesians 6, we are told to stand firm and put on our spiritual armor, which includes the “sword of the Spirit, which is word of God” (v. 17). Do you have your armor on? Are you daily arming yourself with this sword? See each of us has the ability to tap into the power of God. We have His Word. We as believers have His Spirit. Yet it is apparent that so many people do not use what is right before them.
Is it a trust issue? Do we not trust the character and promises of God? Do we think we know better? Do we not have the time to read God’s Word? Do we believe we are fine as we are? There are so many possibilities, but each answer is simply an excuse—an excuse to not accept the love, grace, mercy, protection, favor, direction, comfort, and will of God. As we make these excuses, complaints and grumbling follow. When will we get it? When will we reach forward to the hand that God extends to us?
I told my students this weekend that we must not simply remember “it is written,” but we must also remember another short and powerful statement made by our Lord and Savior. We must remember “it is finished.” We have victory thru Christ, “for everyone born of God overcomes the world” (1 John 5:4). We need to live right now as if we have this victory. We need to stop allowing the world to get the best of us, and cling to this victory that we already have in Christ. We need to trust Him and trust in this victory. In doing so, we would live very differently. We need to learn not only to trust God’s character and the promises in His Word, but also to live by them each day of our lives. As Burl Ives sang, “O victory in Jesus, My Savior forever. He sought me and bought me with His redeeming blood.” The song goes on to speak of singing a song of victory one day in heaven, but I think we should start singing this song today, as we trust God, as we cling to Him and His Word, as we hold tight to the power of God. Surely, we have victory. Let us trust in Him and open our eyes to His power which is at work even today.