Scriptural Gem for February 2017

In Exodus 19:4-5, we read: “You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.  Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession.” And in Exodus 19:8, we find the people's answer: “The people all responded together, ‘We will do everything the Lord has said.’” 

At this point, however, God had not yet given the Israelites any instructions. He is basically saying to them, “I have now revealed Myself to you—I have shown you My love for you, My might, and My glory. Will you now trust Me and do what I command?” And the Israelites answered, "Yes, we will!" Only after building this crucial foundation, does God proceed to give them the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20). So, we see that establishing the trust-relationship precedes any instructions.

The journey ahead could only successfully proceed rooted in a rock-solid trust in God. Lacking such trust, difficulties led to doubt, doubt led to second-guessing, and second-guessing led to idolatry. In the same way, we cannot just jump into God's commandments (as religion dictates) and expect a victorious journey. We must first entrust ourselves, our very lives to Him, depending only on Himself for all wisdom and strength. Only then might we dare take the step of hearing and obeying His commandments. Without trust, we will second-guess Him every step of the way and our journey will be a very wonky, up-and-down affair driven by human effort.

Thankfully, as we see in Exodus 19, God takes it upon Himself to reveal Himself to His people. He does not let them flounder nor does He put the onus onto them to blindly ‘figure God out.’ We see this tender mercy demonstrated in many places in Scripture. Consider the arc that Jesus’ relationship with His disciples took. With much time, care and patience, He laid that same foundation of trust with them that would ultimately stand even the test of persecution unto death. 

My friend, if you are questioning what God is doing in your life or if you find the Christian life a very burdensome affair, then this initial trust issue has not been settled. Before you take another step, ask Him to reveal Himself to you according to His Word—that you would know for yourself the reality of His lovingkindness and power—so that no remnant of unbelief lingers in your heart. Yielded to Him with a child-like trust, He will work in your heart unhindered and you will be filled with joy whatever your circumstances may be. Even if you are hard-pressed on every side, you will not be crushed for "by His divine power He has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of the one who called us by his own honor and glory." (2 Peter 1:3)