Bible Ballistics: Vol. 12 No.13 Twist His Arm Or Trust His Care???
I want us to talk about prayer again for it is such an essential to our personal well-being, our churches as well as our nation’s; and there is so much being taught that is off base to say the least. So I want us to take another look to keep ourselves on track with the biblical view of prayer, for it is our lifeline and sustainer of an intimate relationship with God!
We have to be so careful that our faith doesn’t turn into an ‘arm wrestling’ match with God—us trying to convince Him to grant our requests—or even worse demand His attention and reply to our every whim (regardless of it’s agreement with the Word of God or not!)! Prayer also isn’t using Jesus’ name as a ‘magic potion’ to fulfill our lusts and greed! Rather, prayer is depending on our Sovereign God and our Lord Jesus Christ for our every need, direction and sufficiency, knowing that HE knows what HE is doing to accomplish HIS work in, for and through us to make us more like Jesus! He is wise, trustworthy and loves us more than any other person could. And sometimes what HE knows that we need to endure the “refiner’s fire”—not fun but the work that creates in us that reflection of holiness and glory—God’s glory not the world’s!
“For we are saved by hope:
but hope that is seen
is not hope:
for what a man seeth,
why doth he yet hope for?
25 But if we hope
for that we see not,
then do we with patience
wait for it.
26 Likewise the Spirit also
helpeth our infirmities:
for we know not
what we should pray for
as we ought:
but the Spirit itself
maketh intercession for us
with groanings which cannot be uttered.
27 And he that searcheth the hearts
knoweth what is the mind
of the Spirit,
because he maketh intercession
for the saints
according to the will of God.
28 And we know
that all things work together
that love God,
who are the called
according to his purpose.
29 For whom he did foreknow,
he also did predestinate
to be conformed
to the image of his Son,
that he might be the firstborn
among many brethren.” Romans 8:24-29
God IS working for our good in “all things”—all things, all the time, every day, all the way—conforming us “to the image of his Son”! God is making us who are “them that love God, to them who are the called”, into the image of Jesus, The Son—what a glory! And while we often become impatient, distracted and loose our focus, God is ever at work conforming us, growing us, into “the image of his Son”; and we can trust ourselves to His care, in each and every prayer that comes across our lips! We can stand with Job, knowing that same God is still GOD!!!
“Though he slay me,
yet will I trust in him:
but I will maintain
mine own ways before him.” Job 13:15
Job didn’t understand why he was where he was, but he knew his God! And while Job didn’t know what was going on, he knew the God who held him in His hands! And God revealed it to him in His time.
“Then Job answered the LORD, and said,
2 I know that thou canst do every thing,
and that no thought
can be withholden from thee.” Job 42:1-2
“And the LORD turned the captivity of Job,
when he prayed for his friends:
also the LORD gave Job
twice as much as he had before.” Job 42:10
I find it interesting and contrary to much that is being touted about today, about what we can “demand” of God because we have enough “faith” and are “King’s Kids”—but here we find that Job asked nothing of God but simply professed his lack of understanding of the ‘awesomeness’ of the Creator! And as he obeyed God in praying for his ‘friends’ (A word loosely used in Job’s case I think!!!)! God restored Job’s riches because it pleased Him to do so, not because Job demanded or even asked for it! What about us? Are we willing to endure trials as James teaches us to, or would we rather pout and try to work up more “faith” to get our own way, our desires met in “our time”! I have lived long enough, and seen enough of God’s faithfulness and glory to know that He has and plan, and I have learned and continue to learn that HIS time and ways are best. While I certainly haven’t arrived or do I get it right all the time, I am learning to trust Him more and more and seek His face more intimately! And much of that time has been spent in the refiner’s fire!
“But who may abide
the day of his coming?
and who shall stand
when he appeareth?
for he is like a refiner’s fire,
and like fullers’ soap:
3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier
and he shall purify the sons of Levi,
and purge them as gold and silver,
that they may offer unto the LORD
an offering in righteousness.” Malachi 3:2-3
God is refining us as silver to serve HIM!
“Ye also, as lively stones,
are built up a spiritual house,
an holy priesthood,
to offer up spiritual sacrifices,
acceptable to God
by Jesus Christ……….
9 But ye are a chosen generation,
a royal priesthood,
an holy nation,
a peculiar people;
that ye should shew forth
the praises of him
who hath called you
out of darkness
into his marvellous light:
10 Which in time past
were not a people,
but are now
the people of God:
which had not obtained mercy,
but now have obtained mercy.” 1 Peter 2:5 & 9-10
Oh, what a blessing to know that we are living stones in God’s kingdom and work! And we are to “shew forth the praises” of one of God’s own! Even as Paul told the Colossians, we are changed into a Kingdom different that the darkness of this world!
“Giving thanks unto the Father,
which hath made us meet to be partakers
of the inheritance of the saints
13 Who hath delivered us
from the power of darkness,
and hath translated us
into the kingdom
of his dear Son:
14 In whom we have redemption
through his blood,
even the forgiveness of sins:” Colossians 1:12-14
We have received a “transfer” from the darkness of Satan and the world, into God’s kingdom! And we are in a kingdom that is set in God—The God who has total control of not only our circumstances but also every circumstance around us, and HE is working to accomplish HIS purposes and bring His Kingdom to those who will believe in His Son, and are not hardened to His love by the “deceitfulness of sin”. And presumption on God in arrogant demands is sin! Jesus told us how we are to pray, and it’s not arrogant or presumptuous. We can have bold confidence in HIM as we come to Him, but never arrogance!
“After this manner therefore pray ye:
which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth,
as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day
our daily bread.” Matthew 6:9-11
Our prayer is to be focused on God’s name, God’s kingdom coming, God’s will being done—not ours. And we are called to ask for our “daily bread” today, not stocking up for an unknown future—for our future is in our “Father God’s” hands! And because we can trust HIM we can endure whatever He sees fit to send or allow in our lives. So we truly can “count it all joy”!
count it all joy
when ye fall into divers temptations;
3 Knowing this,
that the trying of your faith
4 But let patience
have her perfect work,
that ye may be perfect
5 If any of you lack wisdom,
let him ask of God,
that giveth to all men liberally,
and upbraideth not;
and it shall be given him.” James 1:2-5
Just like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, we can stand in confidence when the trials come, knowing that our God can deliver, and whether He delivers from any particular situation, He will deliver us ultimately into HIS very presence! And the timing is His choice, and I trust HIM! How about you?
“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king,
we are not careful to answer thee
in this matter.
17 If it be so,
whom we serve
to deliver us
from the burning fiery furnace,
and he will deliver us
out of thine hand, O king.
18 But if not,
be it known unto thee, O king,
that we will not serve
the golden image
which thou hast set up.” Daniel 3:16-18
These three godly young men stood fast in their faithfulness to their God, even under the threat of the fiery furnace! They knew that God “could” deliver from the fire, but they let the king know that even if God’s provision was not out of the fire, but through it, they would serve only HIM, and not “the golden image” which King Nebuchadnezzar had demanded that they bow to! What about you and me? Have we bowed before the ‘gods’ of this world and failed to stand fast for our God, in pursuit of the world’s distractions? Let us remember that God is worthy of our devotion, faithfulness and a life of glory and praise to our God.
We also need to remember that God deals in reality as well as faith, and “visualizing” isn’t a way of faith, but a way of presumption. Prayer is seeking God’s face, not ‘visualizing’ ‘me’ the way I want ‘me’ to be, and to most of the world that ‘looks’ like riches, wellness, happiness, popularity, comfort and ease. God’s goal is for us to live in the “beauty of holiness” and “His righteousness”! As Jesus told us:
“Therefore take no thought, saying,
What shall we eat?
or, What shall we drink?
or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:)
for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye
have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first
the kingdom of God,
and his righteousness;
and all these things
shall be added unto you.
34 Take therefore no thought
for the morrow:
for the morrow
shall take thought for the things of itself.
Sufficient unto the day
is the evil thereof.” Matthew 6:31-34
So, how’s your prayer life? Are you seeking God’s Kingdom and righteousness or are you presuming on the love and care of God. He is faithful, but we called to be His servants, not His dictators! He hears and answers prayer—when we seek His face and will not our own!
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
Amen and Amen!!