“They said, Please pray to the Lord your God for us. As you can see, we are only a tiny remnant compared to what we were before. Pray that the Lord your God will show us what to do and where to go…Whether we like it or not, we will obey the Lord our God to whom we are sending you with our plea. For if we obey him, everything will turn out well for us… And today I have told you exactly what he said, but you will not obey the Lord your God any better now than you have in the past” (Jeremiah 42:2,3,6,21, NLT).
Following the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, King Nebuchadnezzar appointed a governor over Judah. The new governor encouraged the people of Judah who had fled to neighboring countries to return to Judah and farm the land.
“Then the Lord told him, Go back the same way you came…” (1 Kings 19:15, NLT)
Sometimes we can lose focus on how God is working even though He has done many extraordinary things in our lives.
The prophet Elijah seemed to lose his focus when Queen Jezebel threatened to kill him. Elijah was in such fear for his life that he fled to the wilderness even though he had just called fire down from heaven and called on God for rain that ended a three-year drought in Israel (vs. 18:39, 43-44).
“And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Romans 8:26-28, NLT).
We often try to comfort someone who is suffering or grieving by quoting a phrase in vs. 28: “all things work together for good.” In the middle of tragic circumstances these words may provide little consolation to the one who is hurting. And the sentiment may even seem to trivialize one’s loss or grief (It’s almost like saying be happy because this bad thing happened to you.)
“The Spirit of the Lord will control you, you will prophesy with them, and you will be transformed into a different person. When these signs have happened to you, do whatever your circumstances require because God is with you.” (1 Samuel 10:6-7, HCSB)
In these verses the prophet Samuel is giving Saul instructions on the first thing he should do after he was chosen as the first king of Israel.
“And my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2: 2-5, ESV).
The Apostle Paul told the Corinthians that he did not proclaim the gospel to them using intellectual arguments. He said he proclaimed the simple truth of the gospel through the life-changing power of the Holy Spirit so their faith would not be based on human reasoning but on the life-giving power of God.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6, ESV).
This saying from the book of Proverbs is a well-known and oft-quoted Bible memory verse.
Most teaching and preaching focuses on verse 5 about trusting in the Lord rather than one’s self.
But, what’s most interesting to me is the straight paths metaphor presented in verse 6.
“Finding a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, we boarded and set sail. After we sighted Cyprus, leaving it on the left, we sailed on to Syria and arrived at Tyre, because the ship was to unload its cargo there. So we found some disciples and stayed there seven days. Through the Spirit they told Paul not to go to Jerusalem.” (Acts 21:2-4, HCSB).
In these verses the Apostle Paul was completing his third missionary journey and had determined to go to Jerusalem. Upon arriving in Tyre some disciples there told Paul through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that trouble awaited him in Jerusalem.
“And when all Israel saw that the king did not listen to them, the people answered the king, “What portion have we in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse. Each of you to your tents, O Israel! Look now to your own house, David. So all Israel went to their tents.” The reign of Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, is marked by the division of Israel into the northern kingdom (Israel) and the southern kingdom (Judah). The division of the kingdom was the direct result of Rehoboam listening to the wrong people and following their bad advice. When Rehoboam became king, the people of Israel gathered before Rehoboam and asked him to lessen the use of forced labor. Rehoboam first conferred with the elders, the older men who were Solomon’s advisors, and then with the young men who were his friends and contemporaries. The older men advised Rehoboam to lighten the service of the people but the young men advised Rehoboam to increase the service of the people. Rehoboam, “forsaking the counsel of the old men” (vs. 13), threatened his subjects “according to the counsel of the young men” saying he would increase their forced labor even more than what Solomon, his father, required. As a result of Rehoboam’s poor decision-making, all the people of the northern tribes renounced allegiance to Rehoboam according to the saying of vs. 16. So be careful not only about the the spiritual counsel you choose to follow, but also about who is giving the counsel. The Holy Spirit is the One you should seek for spiritual advice–He is your Divine Counselor. “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:26). “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth” (John 16:13).