Sunday, January 31, 2010

In Whom Do We Trust?

Every so often I get an email in my inbox that admonishes me to help take a stand against some atheist who is determined to get "In God We Trust" off of our money.

I used to jump on those opportunities because I believe we should never, for a moment, forget our roots and the heritage of this nation; regardless of how humanists, atheists, agnostics and others have tried to deny the historicity of our Christian roots, they exist. We were a nation that trusted God!

Still, I find that at least in part I'm somewhat less inclined to get on that bandwagon, only because it really won't matter that "God" is no longer printed on our paper currency if He isn't first printed on our hearts.

In this day and age, it seems more and more professing Christians are falling by the way side, "giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons" as represented in the emergent church and the word/faith, even the now blatant new age movement!

Do we as Christians in this nation, trust our LORD as we should? When tragedy strikes, where do we look to first? Our bank account? Our health insurance? Our family or friends? Do we sit down and ponder the matter and through our own mental faculties try to solve the problem for ourselves? Do we turn to the telephone to call the church prayer line (this is closer to the mark of course, but not where I want to focus our attention right now).

Believe me, I am just as guilty of doing those things as any one else!

As you already know, the first place we ought to look to when tragedy strikes is the throne of God; seeking His face, and His grace and wisdom to counsel and comfort us in time of need.

Call me a 'doomer and gloomer' if you like, but I truly believe that we are heading towards tragedy in this nation that will effect each of us in some profound ways. Our faith is going to be tested, and when these calamities strike - - who will we look to? The President? Congress? Our governors?

Everywhere you look in scripture, over and over again, the Word admonishes us to trust in the LORD and not in man, and we will look at some of these verses in a little bit. Before that however, let me ask you, have you ever done a word study on "faith"? If you have, you were probably as surprised as I was when I discovered that "faith" appears in the Old Testament only twice! Once in Deuteronomy and once in Habbukuk. Considering that the Old Testament is at least twice the size of the New Testament, this is very perplexing!

Until you learn that in the Old Testament, the word that's synonomous with "faith" is "trust". Get your concordance out and look up the following words: "trust, trusted, trustedst, trustest, trusteth, and trusting"; all together there are dozens upon dozens of references in the Old Testament.

In all of these different renderings for "trust" in the Hebrew language, the following words and phrases incorporate the literal meanings in the English:

"to flee to, confide in, to trust, to make a refuge, to have hope, refers to God as our rock or a shield;security, to be reliant upon, to build up, support, to render firm or faithful, believe, to be quiet, assurance, established, verified, steadfast, continuance, stand fast; tarry, wait, patient" and other related words that correlate with having faith in God.

Now let's zero in on some particular scriptures, beginning with the Psalms:

PSALM 37:3
Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.

I've been hearing reports for quite some time now about an economic collapse that's heading straight for America; as well as this, some food shortages, racial tensions mounting, and other scary scenarios that I won't get into here. Yet as I brought these issues up before the LORD, asking Him what's to become of the church, and myself, He directed me to this very verse above!

His promise to those that trust Him is that they will dwell in the land and verily we shall be fed! When the LORD says "verily" I think we can rest assured that He means VERILY!

In verse 5 it says,

PSALM 37:5
Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

One who commits anything to the LORD, is certainly placing faith and trust in Him. To commit is to surrender one's own will or right to something, passing it on to another for their intent and use, in this case, the LORD Himself.

In the first half of vs. 7 it states:

PSALM 37:7
Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: . . .

The idea of 'waiting' and being 'patient' are tied in with what it means to trust in the LORD, to have faith in Him, to express a hope that He shall save us in whatever circumstances we may find ourselves in, no matter how late the hour may be; even if we think its "too late".

Also it's very reassuring that if we falter in our faith, or express a lack of trust in the LORD, or commit a sin or transgression--if we are His children, He will uphold us in the event that we stumble and fall:

PSALM 37:23
The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.

The beginning of Psalm 118 speaks profusely of "the mercy of the LORD" and the Psalmist associates this with those that trust in the LORD... not in man (generally speaking, humanity) or in princes (government officials), but only in the LORD will he trust!

PSALM 118:5-9
I called upon the LORD in distress: the LORD answered me, and set me in a large place. The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me? The LORD taketh my part with them that help me: therefore shall I see my desire upon them that hate me. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.

Also in the book of Job, this man of great faith declared, in the midst of the horrible tragedy of losing his entire family, worldly possessions, and his physical health:

JOB 13:15
Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.

That is an incredible declaration of faith that I continually marvel at!! Would to God that I had such faith as this man Job!
Now let's turn to the book of Jeremiah (where I am currently reading in my devotionals) and see what we can find in the 17th chapter (note the highlighted section in green):

JER 17:5-6
Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.

Compare these with verses:

JER 17:7-8
Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.

Its remarkable that the LORD doesn't want us to share our trust with any other source other than Himself; that is, when we look to aid from human resources and not consider the LORD who alone can provide help. This is not to say that the LORD sometimes doesn't use human agencies to provide help for us or that we shouldn't use such resources.

The problem is when we look to any one but the LORD, Who should be first and foremost when we seek for aid. All too often we assume a visit to the doctor's or a lawyer, a repairman, etc. is the natural solution and resort to them without consulting the LORD first.
Recall what action King Asa took when he became diseased in his feet:

2 CHRON 16:12
And Asa in the thirty and ninth year of his reign was diseased in his feet, until his disease was exceeding great: yet in his disease he sought not to the LORD, but to the physicians.

Contrast this conduct with his former trust he placed in the LORD when the formidable army of the Ethiopians came to attack King Asa's kingdom:

2 CHRON 14:13
And Asa and the people that were with him pursued them unto Gerar: and the Ethiopians were overthrown, that they could not recover themselves; for they were destroyed before the LORD, and before his host; and they carried away very much spoil.

2 CHRON 16:8
Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubims a huge host, with very many chariots and horsemen? yet, because thou didst rely on the LORD, he delivered them into thine hand.

It's when we seek the strength of human resources and ingenuity and forget to seek God that our hearts begin to drift, and eventually this can lead to a kind of spiritual atrophy where we don't pray any more, we are no longer offering thanksgiving to Him for His bounty He lavishes on us, and our hearts depart from the LORD, as highlighted above in JER 17:5-6.
And yet those who trust in the LORD, will not see . . .

"when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit."

What a blessed hope we have in the LORD! All He asks is that we trust Him. It would be a shame on us if we were to place trust in an untrustworthy fool. You would only want to trust someone who has proven themselves to be worthy of our trust! And this is none other than the LORD Jesus Himself!

Hear what He says concerning His Word:

MATT 24:35
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

We don't have any anxiety in our day to day living that the heavens and the earth will suddenly vanish into oblivion, do we? We aren't the least bit surprised when we look out of our windows and see they are still there, just where we left them the night before!

As certain as those things are, the words of Jesus Christ are even MORE certain! Even right down to the individual letters, are our LORD's Words dependable! What do I mean by that?

Get the picture: Its the sea of Galilee; the LORD Jesus just delivered His teaching from Simon Peter's boat. He then turns to Peter, an experienced fisherman, and says the following:

LUKE 5:4-5
Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.
And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.

Did you catch it? The word of the LORD was for Peter to let down his NETS for a draught... not net, but NETS, plural!

Peter's response? "nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net." But that wasn't the word of the LORD, He distinctly said "nets" and had Peter truly trusted wholeheartedly the word of the LORD, he would have dropped every net he had in the boat!

The thing is, Peter and his co-workers had "toiled all the night" and caught nothing; they knew the waters of Galilee, they knew where the fish were biting, they had years and years of experience! If any one would know how to fish in Galilee, it would be them!

And yet, here comes a carpenter(!!?), and this one they called LORD, told them what to do, and they did do it, partially. They were partially obedient, they were partially trusting in God.

Isn't that the case with all of us? We all trust the LORD but in different increments or percentages: some trust Him 50%, others 70%, etc. In situations when we "know best" due to our intimate knowledge and experience about something, can we put logic and our senses and our knowledge aside, and trust His Word?

We can take the LORD at His Word, we can believe wholeheartedly His promises to us, though all of this nation turns their backs on Him; though the church may fall deeper and deeper into apostacy in growing numbers; though hard times may fall on us Christians, though all odds seem against us and we have no certain means of income, no imminent cure for a hopeless ailment our loved ones suffer, nor a foreseeable future of hope, we can take what GOD says to the bank and HIS check will NEVER BOUNCE!!

Remember I am growing in faith along side all of you; I don't and can't stand apart as someone who has "arrived in the place of total victory and absolute faith" in the LORD. This exhortation is for me as much as any one else who may read it.

It is my prayer that it will indeed encourage you and bless you to seek Him. May we abandon our all to the LORD in reckless devotion and commitment to Him and His Holy Word, in Jesus Name, amen!

agape, grace & peace,

brother James Fire

PROV 3:5-6
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.


ElderChild said...

The Messiah had a passionate, unconditional love for all people and He loved them enough to share The Truth with them even though they wanted to kill Him!

You pharisee's(the relgious of today as well) "you compass land and sea to make one convert, and then make him two-fold more the child of hell that you yourselves are"!

You religious ones, "you are liken unto whited sepulchures full of dead men's bones"!

Truth is that "the WHOLE(religious systems inclusive) world is under the control of the evil one".......

So take heed unto The Call of The ONE and Only True G-D, Father(Creator) of ALL and "Come Out of her, MY people"....... francis

Tony Kiar said...

A very good and timely word, Brother.

We need to call each other into that trust of the Lord which is the essence of faith.

'When you're in trouble or up against a situation that you know is going to turn out badly for you, who do you call? Do you call an acquaintance? A friend? Family? A lawyer? Jesus? Who you turn to in times of trouble is one of the more accurate tests of who and what you ultimately believe in. Elijah when confronting the prophets of Baal had the faith to call on the name of the Lord; "And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken." (1 Kings 18:24)'