How do you respond when God tells you to do something that seems beyond your capabilities? Are you full of excuses, giving Him reasons why He picked the wrong person? That’s exactly the way Moses responded. In giving him the gigantic task of leading the Israelites to freedom, the Lord was calling Moses to a high level of commitment. If we hope to step obediently into our God-given challenges, we must answer the same two questions Moses asked.
Who is God? The answer is important because it reveals whom we recognize as having authority to tell us what to do. The two names the Lord used in answering Moses—the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Ex. 3:6) and “I am who I am” (v. 14)—identified Him as the sovereign Creator and self-existent, everlasting One who keeps His promises. This means there is no higher authority, and He has every right to command our obedience.
Who am I? When Moses questioned whether he was the right man for the job, the Lord gave him a promise: “Certainly I will be with you” (v. 12). Moses was able to fulfill the assignment only because God chose to enter into a relationship with him. Likewise, our source of adequacy is a relationship with Jesus Christ and the presence of His indwelling Holy Spirit in our life.
Has God given you a tough assignment? Remember that as your Creator, He’s designed specific tasks for you to achieve. If you refuse to obey, you’ll miss what He has planned for your life. Just think what Moses would have forfeited, had he said no. Too much is at stake. Trust God and do what He says!
Bible in One Year: Ezekiel 32-33
Read: 2 Kings 19:9–19
Bible in a Year: Psalms 148–150; 1 Corinthians 15:29–58
Then [Hezekiah] went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord.—2 Kings 19:14
As a teenager, when I became overwhelmed by enormous challenges or high-stakes decisions, my mother taught me the merits of putting pen to paper to gain perspective. When I was uncertain whether to take specific classes or which job to pursue, or how to cope with the frightening realities of adulthood, I learned her habit of writing out the basic facts and the possible courses of action with their likely outcomes. After pouring my heart onto the page, I was able to step back from the problem and view it more objectively than my emotions allowed.
Just as recording my thoughts on paper offered me fresh perspective, pouring our hearts out to God in prayer helps us gain His perspective and remind us of His power. King Hezekiah did just that after receiving a daunting letter from an ominous adversary. The Assyrians threatened to destroy Jerusalem as they had many other nations. Hezekiah spread out the letter before the Lord, prayerfully calling on Him to deliver the people so that the world would recognize He “alone . . . [is] God” (2 Kings 19:19).
When we’re faced with a situation that brings anxiety, fear, or a deep awareness that getting through it will require more than what we have, let’s follow in Hezekiah’s footsteps and run straight to the Lord. Like him, we too can lay our problem before God and trust Him to guide our steps and calm our uneasy hearts. —Kirsten Holmberg
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God is our greatest help in times of distress.
INSIGHT: Hezekiah had many reasons to fear Assyria, a cruel nation (19:25-26) that had already conquered the ten tribes of Israel (see 2 Kings 17:1-18). But God reminded Hezekiah that He was more powerful than Assyria and could be trusted to keep His promises (19:28-34).
The 1748 essay “Of Miracles” by David Hume was influential in leading the charge against the miraculous, thoughts that were later sharpened (though also later recanted) by Antony Flew. Insisting the laws of a natural world incompatible with the supernatural, the new atheists continue to weigh in on the subject today. With them, many Christian philosophers and scientists, who are less willing to define miracle as something that must break the laws of nature, join the conversation with an opposing gusto. Physicist and Anglican priest John Polkinghorne, for instance, suggests that miracles are not violations of the laws of nature but rather “exploration of a new regime of physical experience.”(1)
The possibility or impossibility of the miraculous fills books, debates, and lectures. What it does not fill is that moment when a person finds herself—rationally or otherwise—crying out for intervention, for help and assurance, indeed, for the miraculous. “For most of us” writes C.S. Lewis, “the prayer in Gethsemane is the only model. Removing mountains can wait.”(2) To this I would simply add that often prayer is both: both the anguished cry of Gethsemane—”please, take this from me”—prayed at the foot of an impossible mountain.
Whether this moment comes beside a hospital bed, a dying marriage, a grave injustice, or debilitating national struggle, we seem almost naturally inclined in some way to cry out for an intervening factor, something or someone beyond the known laws of A + B that sit defiantly in front of us. For my own family, like many others, our moment came with cancer. But it was complicated by well-intentioned commands to believe without doubt that God was going to take it away. When death took it away instead, like many others in our situation, our faith in miracles—and the God who gives them—were equally defeated.
The Lord our God said to us in Horeb, You have dwelt long enough on this mountain.
— Deuteronomy 1:6 (AMPC)
The Israelites wandered around in the wilderness for 40 years to make what was actually an 11-day journey. Why?
Once, as I pondered this situation, the Lord said to me, “The Israelites couldn’t move on because they had a wilderness mentality.” The Israelites had no positive vision for their lives—no dreams. They needed to let go of that mentality and trust God.
We really shouldn’t view the Israelites with astonishment because most of us do the same things they did. We keep going around the same mountains instead of making progress, and it takes us years to experience victory over something that could have been dealt with quickly.
We need a new mindset. We need to start believing that God’s Word is true. Matthew 19:26 tells us that with God all things are possible. All He needs is our faith in Him. He needs for us to believe, and He will do the rest.
The Lord is saying the same thing to you and me today that He said to the children of Israel: “You have dwelt long enough on this mountain.” It’s time for us to move on!
“For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38,39, KJV).
More than anything else, I was drawn to Christ because of His love for me. The Bible says that Christ proved His supernatural love for us by coming “to die for us while we were still sinners.”
Because of that great love, which draws me to Him and causes me to want to please Him and to love Him in return, I learned how to love supernaturally. In more than 30 years of counseling thousands of people about interpersonal conflicts, I do not know of a single problem that could not have been resolved if those involved had been willing to accept and respond to God’s love for them, and to love others as an act of the will by faith, as God commands.
Such a statement may sound simplistic and exaggerated, yet I make it after carefully reviewing in my mind all kinds of conflicts between husbands and wives, parents and children, neighbors, friends and enemies.
Think of it! Christ’s forgiveness is so great and compassionate that He will not allow anything or anyone to condemn us or separate us from His supernatural love. Even though He is “holy, blameless, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens,” He still loves and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. He gives us absolute assurance that nothing can ever “separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Bible Reading: Romans 8:32-37
TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I determine to express my gratitude to God for His great love for me by loving Him in return and by loving by faith everyone with whom I have contact today. With the help of the Holy Spirit, I will demonstrate that love by gracious acts of the will.
If anyone had a reason to be anxious it was the apostle Paul! Envision an old man as he gazes out the window of a Roman prison. Half-blind, squinting just to read. Awaiting trial before the Roman emperor. His future is as gloomy as his jail cell.
Yet to read his words, you’d think he’d just arrived at a Jamaican beach hotel. His letter to the Philippians bears not a word of fear or complaint. Not one! Instead, he lifts his thanks to God and calls on his readers to do the same. “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4).
Paul’s challenge is a decision deeply rooted in the confidence that God exists, that he is in control, and that he is good. Rejoice in the Lord—always! You can’t run the world but you can entrust it to God!
Read more Anxious for Nothing
This is an historic moment for evangelical Christians in America.
A group of Christian leaders met recently in Nashville, Tennessee, to ratify a statement regarding biblical sexuality. More than 150 leaders signed the document, now known as the “Nashville Statement.” The group’s organizer stated, “It was our aim to say nothing new, but to bear witness to something very ancient.”
I have read the document carefully and can testify that they accomplished their goal. The Nashville Statement simply describes in clear language what the Christian faith has believed for twenty centuries about men, women, and sexuality.
But our culture is convinced that truth is subjective, sexuality is our choice, and any religion that disagrees is dangerous. That’s why the New York Times lambasts the Nashville Statement as “an attack on L.G.B.T. Christians.” It’s why New Republic describes it as “the death rattle of a movement that has disgraced itself.” It’s why an LGBTQ advocate calls it “deadly theology.”