Daily Archives: April 10, 2014
“Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the LORD all the day. Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off” – Proverbs 23:17.
THE PSALMIST, ASAPH, was disarrayed by the prosperity of the ungodly (Psalm 73), while those who were faithful to God encountered hardship. How contrary to what he knew to be the ways of God, until he discerned the end of the wicked.
Have you heard the godless boast of their ill-gotten ways? Have you seen the extravagance and delicacies of those gained by dishonesty? Do you hear them say they are ‘blessed’ while all along you struggle with the little you have and yet still pursue God? It is when your barrel runs low for extensive periods of time that presents a challenge to your faith: “Is God unconcerned about the things that are piling up which tormentedly lie out of my control?”
You have not cleansed your hands for nothing as Asaph once declared. Do not be weary or discouraged. The Lord perfectly knows every effort and struggle of your heart to walk righteously in a corrupt world. He takes into account every good motive of yours which no other person sees; the Lord sees your very heart; He is constantly mindful of you – “Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His steadfast love, that He may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine” (Psalm 33:18-19). With perseverance, through the unmatchable power of His grace, continue in the fear of the Lord, not just part of the day, but the entirety of it; not just some of your days but all of them; not periodically but – “Take my moments” as Frances Ridley Havergal wrote in her renowned hymn, ‘Take my life, and let it be.’
“Surely there is a future and your hope will not be cut off.” There is never a maybe for the child of God but the certainty in the mind of God of a future laid up for them. Your circumstances may tell that hope is dwindling away. You hang on, but the days slowly ebb away your tenacity – “How long, O Lord, how long will it be?” Sometimes it may get to the point where you question as to whether you are His child. “Surely not this long; surely the whole thing should have been over long before now…Circumstances are getting very desperate and I’m getting older…opportunities are becoming less and less available…” Have circumstances fossilised you away from family, friends and society? God has not forgotten you. Your hope has not been cut off, even though you do not see it.
There is no other Scripture that is so widely taken out of context and abused as Jeremiah 29:11. For many, such a verse is likened to ‘a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow’ that one almost screams for such truth to be interpreted in the right way that brings honour to God. Such mishandling of God’s Word takes the heavenly wonder out of it; many pearls have been made so common and trampled under foot. The kind of promised future is for those whose hearts belong to the Lord, for those who not only desire but also walk in His ways and will; it is not for those who chase after the world, or for such ‘believers’ that veneer or ‘Christianise’ many of its ways.
The fact you have peace with God, as a result of being freely justified in His sight (Romans 5:1), has secured your indestructible future of obtaining the unsearchable riches in Christ. If you are a co-heir with Christ – heirs of God – then you most certainly have a blessed future. Indeed, you stand blessed now because God is your Heavenly Father. It is a foregone conclusion that He will graciously give you all things because He has drawn and grafted you into Christ (Romans 8:32).
Your hardships have been God’s mercies in disguise that are preparing you for nothing but His best; your wilderness years are drawing you closer to Him, to confide in none but Him, to hope in none but Him, to trust all with none but Him. As Christ is the Bread of life and the Living waters, so He is your future and no matter what your present predicament may be: poverty, poor health, persecution, prison – shall it cut you off from Him; shall it end all hope?
Child of God, when Scripture states that “nothing” shall separate you from God’s eternal and loving interest in you, know that you always have a glorious future in Him. Your darkness, limitations and struggles have been the very opportunities to experience the profundity of such promises.