This meditation was originally posted on 9/3/2013.
“For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silvanus and Timothy—did not become ‘Yes and no’; on the contrary, a final ‘Yes’ has come in Him. For every one of God’s promises is ‘Yes’ in Him. Therefore, the ‘Amen’ is also spoken through Him by us for God’s glory. Now it is God who strengthens us, with you, in Christ and has anointed us. He has also sealed us and given us the Spirit as a down payment in our hearts” (2 Corinthians 1:19-22, HCSB).
Do you ever get down and depressed because you feel like you’ve got so much to handle and you just can’t do it all? And then you get all locked up inside and you don’t do anything. I call it “gridlock of the soul.” Why even try, you wonder.
It seems like life is saying “No!” to you, “No you can’t. No you can’t. No, no, no!”
When life keeps telling you “No,” there is something you can do to escape soul gridlock.
Open your Bible to 2 Corinthians 1:19-22 and read, re-read, and read these verses again until you realize that when life seems to be telling you “No,” God is telling you “Yes!”
And not just “Yes,” but an emphatic “Yes,” God’s big “YES!”
“Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:7-8, NASB).
Recently in the men’s Sunday School class I attend, the lesson was from Hebrews 13. And, this lesson from Hebrews 13 helped me resolve a long-standing theological dilemma I had wrestled with from Romans 6-8.
“That you may understand how the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel” (Exodus 11:7, NASB).
This statement is the conclusion of Moses’ declaration to Pharaoh before God sent the final plague, the deaths of all the firstborns, against Egypt.
A previous meditation about the plagues God sent against Egypt to convince Pharaoh to emancipate the Israelites established that what matters to God is where your allegiance falls. The Israelites couldn’t serve serve God and Pharaoh.
“Let my people go, so they may serve me” (Exodus 7:16; 8:1, 20; 9:1, 13; 10:3, NASB).
If I asked the question, “What did God tell Moses to say to Pharaoh?” you would probably respond, “Let my people go!” At least that’s the way I remember it, but that’s not the whole story.
A closer reading of the story of the plagues God sent against Egypt to convince Pharaoh to emancipate the Israelites in Exodus 7-10 reveals there’s more to God’s directive to Pharaoh than just release the Isralites. And, what else God told Moses to tell Pharaoh suggests that the conflict between God and Pharoah played out in this narrative was of cosmic proportions!
“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-6, ESV).
In these verses Paul defends his apostolic ministry to the Corinthians. Paul indicates that there is a world war being waged for the souls of men and women. But, it’s a spiritual war not a physical one.
“The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many people for Me to hand the Midianites over to you, or else Israel might brag: ‘I did it myself.’” (Judges 7:2, HCSB).
Having proven to Gideon that He was present with him, God next demonstrated that His presence was all Gideon really needed to defeat the Midianites.
“However, don’t rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20, HCSB).
After Jesus had commissioned and sent out the twelve disciples to proclaim the Kingdom of God, He sent out seventy other of His disciples. They were to go ahead of Him in pairs to every town where He was about to go and heal the sick and proclaim the Kingdom of God was near.
“And Jesus stopped and said, ‘Call him.’ And they called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.’ And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus” (Mark 10:49-50, ESV).
Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s the squeaky wheel that gets the grease!” This story from the gospel of Mark is a case in point for that saying.
As Jesus was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a large entourage, blind Bartimaeus was sitting by the roadside. When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus was approaching, he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:47).
“And Jesus asked him, ‘What is your name?’ He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him, saying, ‘Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.’ So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea…As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him.And he did not permit him but said to him, ‘Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.’ And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled” (Mark 5:9-13, 18-20, ESV).
As Jesus was preaching on the east side of the sea of Galilee, He encountered a man possessed or controlled by evil spirits or demons.
This man lived alone in a cemetery and he was so bad that the people living in the region had tried to bind him with shackles and chains but he was always able to break the chains apart.
“Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble; He rescued them from their distress. He led them by the right path to go to a city where they could live. Let them give thanks to the Lord for His faithful love and His wonderful works for all humanity. For He has satisfied the thirsty and filled the hungry with good things” (Psalm 107:6-9, HCSB).Psalm 107 contains a powerful message of God’s lovingkindness and deliverance.
The fundamental message of the Psalm is that when people encounter adversity, if they cry out to God for help, He will rescue them from their troubles.
You’ve heard this message before, many times, but the Psalmist’s proclamation of God’s faithful love, His covenant loyalty, His chesed, in this Psalm is so powerful that it warrants further consideration.