You have delivered me from the attacks of the people;
you have made me the head of nations.
People I did not know now serve me,
foreigners cower before me;
as soon as they hear of me, they obey me.
Losing hope is something that can happen very easily, especially when we need it the most, ie when we are submerged up to our necks in deep trouble or when we have fallen so low that we hit the bottom. In those moments, when analyzing our situation, our mind tells us that there is no possible solution and that all is lost. Have you ever felt that way? It has happened to me several times. When problems relentlessly overwhelm us and conflicts arise from all directions there is very little time to focus on how we can escape the situation. Panic overwhelms us and the prospect that our life will soon cease to be becomes very evident. Even for an outsider, one that is not directly the subject of the difficulties, the situation will look like something inescapable and inevitable failure is soon to follow.
A couple of examples from the word of God come to mind. One is the case of Joseph, the son of Jacob. After being sold by his brothers into slavery, he ended up landing with his bones in prison. Everything was going from bad to worse, from free to slave, from slave to prisoner and if things continued like that, suddenly he would go from prisoner to cadaver. However, in due time God took him out of the terrible situation in which Joseph was placed and elevated him to nothing less than the second position of power and authority in the reign of Pharaoh. If that’s not an impressive and successful comeback, I don’t know what it is. The author of today’s passage, King David, also went through something similar. From being a fugitive in constant flight he became a powerful and successful king who conquered vast territories and amassed great fortunes. Can’t you see that for God nothing is impossible? No matter how large the problem that you find yourself in, you can be sure that God will always be able to bless you with a stunning comeback. You can trust him. Only to God be the glory!
Their enemies oppressed them
and subjected them to their power.
Many times he delivered them,
but they were bent on rebellion
and they wasted away in their sin.
In much the same way that some beasts of burden react stubbornly to the instructions of their muleskinner, the human race is determined to resist the direction and guidance of God. Although God’s grace has always been there to favor humanity, men have rejected the authority of the Creator and have rebelled against him under the pretense of being masters of their lives. Those who act so do not know that every breath and every heartbeat depend on the wonderful life that God has given them and that they have no power or control whatsoever of these things. However, in open rebellion and victims of their own pride, these wicked beings have declared themselves independent and if this is something that is in their hands to do. For them the Lord has prepared various disciplinary actions but their pride and stubbornness prevent them from recognizing the majesty of God and his unparalleled love.
Let us not behave ourselves, God’s children, as those wicked rebels or stubborn beasts of burden who are opposed to any order or instruction they receive because they rather obey their own rebellious nature than their legitimate owner’s commands. Oftentimes we find ourselves under the oppression of the enemy because God is disciplining us and anytime we’re faced with adversity we must review ourselves internally to ensure that what is happening is not the result of our rebellion. Cry out to God for his compassion. His mercy is abundant and always available to rescue us from oppression. God is faithful and he will not forsake us.To God alone be the glory!
When the LORD heard them, he was furious;
his fire broke out against Jacob,
and his wrath rose against Israel,
for they did not believe in God
or trust in his deliverance.
Our human inability to comprehend God has led many to conclude erroneously that the God described in the Old Testament is totally different from the God of the New Testament. The restrictions and limitations we all have to understand that God is far beyond what we can reason has led many to fall into unproductive discussions and doctrinal positions at odds with orthodoxy. Our handling of the concepts of love and mercy prevent us from finding reconciliation with the concepts of justice and truth. We constantly ask how is it possible that God is love and at the same time he is a consuming fire? This mistaken view is based on our pride. We think that we are like God and so we attempt to analyze him in light of our own experience as if he were human. Some even try to place themselves above God and want to circumscribe him within a completely understandable and manageable concept that their clumsy and dull minds can understand.
God is and can be all that he says he is and can be. For him nothing is impossible. Our reasoning can not preclude the existence and quality of our heavenly Father. He created us and not the other way around. His existence does not depend on our understanding. With humility and obedience let us recognize our own limitations and the majesty and authority of our God. He loves us and wants the best for us and will do whatever is necessary to accomplish it whether we like it and understanding it or not. Let us not be foolish and let us stop prompting his anger which may seem to our weak minds as something inconsistent or incompatible with his love. Many have been driven by their human reasoning to their own grief. God first loved us, let us accept his love and justice. To God alone be the glory!
LORD, how many are my foes!
How many rise up against me!
Many are saying of me,
“God will not deliver him.”
Even in the wildest of the animal kingdom you can find a species that scorns its prey after capturing it. Perhaps there is an exception, man. Only man can devise hanging in the gallows for public spectacle someone who has been killed by firing squad. Or as the mythical Achilles dishonored the corpse of his battle-hardened contender Hector, which he tied to his chariot by his feet and dragged his head on the dust of the plain of Troy. The enemy of our souls uses a curious but effective strategy against us. First we are tempted with crafty lures of sweet rewards to make us stray from the straight path that we must stay on and then he subjects us to public ridicule for having failed the commitment we have established with our heavenly Father. With scorn and cruelty he enjoys our temporary defeat and our shame paralyzes us and prevents us from returning in repentance to our merciful Father. He also plants in our mind seeds of doubt about our salvation, making us believe that all is lost forever.
The reality is that he has already been defeated by our Lord Jesus Christ and if he still has power with which to hurt us it is because of our own disbelief that we let him have an open way to take advantage of us. Let us not be lured by false promises and his clever schemes. Firmly resist him with the knowledge and certainty that he is already defeated and that he no longer has neither power nor authority over our lives. The King of kings and Lord of Lords has defeated sin and death and we’re no longer subject to condemnation. Let us rejoice therefore in the liberty and salvation that has been granted to us by our Heavenly Father through the merits of our beloved Lord Jesus. To God alone be the glory!
The righteousness of the upright delivers them,
but the unfaithful are trapped by evil desires.
Greed is the result of man yielding to the temptations that the world offers. It is a deep sense of dissatisfaction with what God has given us. Because of our pride we feel we deserve more than we have received. In fact, we think we deserve to have everything our hearts desire without obstacles or limit. We complaint and murmur because we think God has let us down and we’re getting less than we deserve. Of course, this position put us face to face with God, which is something impossible to achieve as well as being a highly disrespectful attitude because it ignores the obedience and respect that we must show him because of his majesty and authority. Greed can never be satisfied. When we achieve something, that something we have achieved immediately becomes unattractive and it makes us desire even more. Wise King Solomon put it this way: “Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.This too is meaningless.” God’s law is also very clear: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
The apostle Paul said that he had learned to be content whatever the circumstances were: “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” By the way, this last verse is taken out of context by many but that’s a topic for another day. The important thing here is that the control and dominion over greed is something that is learned. It is God’s job, through his Holy Spirit to transform our lives and one aspect that he changes is precisely that of our natural greed. So, let us not act stubbornly, but let us learn the lesson God teaches us to live happy with whatever we have. Let us learn to rely on him and only him. To God alone be the glory!
Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath,
but righteousness delivers from death.
It is no secret that the world is facing an economic crisis of such magnitude not seen since the decade of the 20s of the last century, that is, almost one hundred years ago. Not only individuals have been affected by the financial meltdown, entire countries are in serious trouble today and they have not been able to recover from the economic quagmire in which they have sunk. We have the examples of Greece, Spain and Portugal, to name a few economies that in the recent past looked with some strength and are now on the verge of default. Latin American economies have seen an improvement in the last two years with the notable exception of Venezuela, but in any case, apart from Brazil, this growth does not look sustainable in the medium and long term. Even economies that were rapidly growing such as the case of China are suffering some effects of slowing down. In the U.S., the unemployment situation has not been resolved despite strong capital injections by the government in order to revive the economy. Even the rich are worried because many of them have seen their fortunes reduced by the effect of falling financial markets.
The things that are happening are signs that the end is approaching. For those who live depending on the riches they have accumulated this is a worrying situation. For those who have placed their trust in God and depend only on him, the current financial crisis is just a sneeze of the many that the world has experienced since its inception. How does the current crisis affect you? Are you at risk of a financial disaster or are you sure the Lord will watch over you and provide everything you and your family need? Do not put your trust in riches because they are unreliable. Your hope must be based on the power of God and the love he has shown you. Seek his guidance and consult with him before making any decision that may have an impact on your financial stability. He will give you the best guidance available. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Proverbs
Tagged Christianity, death, deliverance, faith, God, hope, Jesus, love, Proverbs 11, righteousness, trust, wealth, wisdom, worthless, wrath
‘See what has happened to those we relied on, those we fled to for help and deliverance from the king of Assyria! How then can we escape?’
Isaiah 20:6 b
Curiosity makes people pay attention to the appealing messages of those who are only interested in destruction. Instability and lack of discernment makes folks put their hope in anything that presumes to have but has no real power to build. Some boast of having much power and might at some point in time exercise dominion over others, but no one has all the power all the time as our God Almighty does. From our personal perspective, usually limited to the here and now, we can’t clearly see the evolution of time and the permanence and strength of God’s plan, which means that sometimes we make wrong decisions relying on alleged strengths that end up weakening and crumbling before the presence of a higher power.
In what or who have you put your trust? Your money, your job, your possessions, your education, your knowledge, your skills, your family, your friends, your connections, your status, the color of your skin, your attractiveness, your personality and all those beings or things which somehow make you feel safe and secure, will at some point cease protecting you and you’ll be naked and abandoned to the mercy of your enemies and your circumstances. If, on the other hand, we wisely put our hope in God, we will never be disappointed and we will always have his love and mercy, though the days are evil. Let us identify the things that give us a false sense of security and replace our reliance on those things for hope in God alone. Thus we will stop relying on the dubious and uncertain strengths and our accomplishments will only depend on the one who is truly reliable and true, our Lord Jesus Christ. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Isaiah
Tagged Christianity, deliverance, escape, faith, help, hope, Isaiah 20, Jesus, life, love, reliance, salvation, spirituality, trust, wisdom
But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by everyone, despised by the people.
All who see me mock me;
they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
“He trusts in the LORD,” they say,
“let the LORD rescue him.
Let him deliver him,
since he delights in him.”
I can only imagine the smile of satisfaction that should have been drawn in the face of Satan when Pilate gave in to pressure from the Jewish leaders and decided to deliver Jesus to be crucified. Demons must have jumped for joy ─ if demons can know and feel what joy is ─ when the Hope of Israel and of all humanity was being treated as common criminal and his life was quickly coming to a violent and sad end. The same One who, mounted in a humble donkey, as he descended the slope of the Mount of Olives to enter Jerusalem, was popularly acclaimed as a descendant of King David, King of Israel, Blessed King and Savior not too long ago, now was becoming the object of ridicule and scorn of an angry crowd that just did not understand what they were doing and acted more under the instigation of their sclerotic religious leaders than from conviction. Mockery and contempt are tools of Satan to tear his victims emotionally. We, as children of God, are not exempt of being exposed to this degrading experience as our Lord Jesus said, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”
However, Jesus also said: “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Let us press ahead with joy and gladness toward the goal and destiny of our souls, which is to be in the loving arms of our Lord and God Jesus Christ. To God alone be the glory!