How Good Is God's Word?

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The Bible speaks extensively about the power and holiness of God’s name. Not only that, but it also details God’s nature by the use of many names such as El Shaddai, Jehovah Jireh, Adonai, and more. When we consider these things, there can be no doubt that God’s name is important.

That’s why I’m so fascinated by a phrase I came upon in the book of Psalms. Yes, once again one of the verses I’ve read a thousand times reached out and smacked me. Thankfully, it was a good slap. The kind that made me stop and read the verse again and then meditate on its impact on my life. Check it out.

I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.
— Psalm 138:2

Notice the last part of that verse: “thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.” That’s exciting, people! Knowing how marvelous and holy and mighty the name of God is, it pales in comparison to God’s Word. Do you realize what this means for us? It means God’s Word can be trusted. If He’s made a promise, we can know, without a doubt, He will fulfill it. He has staked His name—His reputation—upon it.  

Yes, if God Himself magnifies His Word above all His name, then we can too. We can know if God said it, it’s settled. He doesn’t lie. He never makes promises He can’t keep. He doesn’t exaggerate or water down the truth. It is sure. It is powerful. And in it, we can be confident, no matter what our feelings or circumstances may want us to believe.

How good is God’s Word? According to the Author Himself, it’s even better than His name. How’s that for a confidence boost!!!

God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
— Numbers 23:19

God Gives a Song in the Night

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Yesterday’s post was a reminder that no matter how bad things may look, God will work all things out for our good and His glory. We have His promise on that, but often, our faith in that promise will be tested. You know Jason and I have been dealing with the situation of finding a new home for Barnabas. This has been a difficult and heart-wrenching task, but it looked like some things were finally coming together.

In the midst of all this, we received a phone call last night notifying us that Jason’s replacement at work had quit without notice, leaving the owner high and dry. Jason, being the loyal person he is, agreed to pick up the work on the calendar until other arrangements could be made. We had just begun to settle into somewhat of a rhythm for doing deputation full-time, but now, we’re back to dividing our attention between work and ministry.

My first reaction was to stress and panic. This was not the way things were supposed to work! In the moment, it seemed as if all my prayers over the past weeks and months had gone unheard, and I felt frustrated and confused. As I lay in bed last night, I pleaded with God to give me peace despite these troubling circumstances. And this morning, God gave a song. . .well, actually He gave me several.

The first two songs I want to share with you below. These are songs that have meant a lot to me over the years, but I admit, I haven’t heard either of them for quite some time. This morning, as I prepared for my morning walk with Barnabas, the first song came to mind “out of the blue,” and as I reached the end of the tune, the second song began to play through my thoughts. I cannot tell you what a blessing each song was, but even more than that, how blessed I felt at God’s reminder that He gives a song in the night.

As I listened to the radio in the car, I smiled as I tuned in to two songs about how God hears and answers prayer. One of them even went so far as to say, “I’m hear to tell you your prayer has been heard.” It was as if God was speaking to me directly and reminding me that even though things aren’t going the way I hoped or planned, He is still in control. He is working. He is watching. He is listening. And He cares.

Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindness in the day time, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.
— Psalm 42:8

Seeking Great Things

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In yesterday’s devotion, I laid my heart bare about my current season of life and how I found peace in learning some new things about having joy in the journey. If you didn’t get the chance to read it, I urge you to do so because, in today’s devotion, I want to pick up where I left off and share with you a couple of other Bible passages the Lord has used to encourage my heart. Let’s begin in the book of Jeremiah.

The word that Jeremiah the prophet spake unto Baruch the son of Neriah, when he had written these words in a book at the mouth of Jeremiah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, saying, Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, unto thee, O Baruch: Thou didst say, Woe is me now! for the Lord hath added grief to my sorrow; I fainted in my sighing, and I find no rest. Thus shalt thou say unto him, The Lord saith thus; Behold, that which I have built will I break down, and that which I have planted I will pluck up, even this whole land. And seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not: for, behold, I will bring evil upon all flesh, saith the Lord: but thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest.
— Jeremiah 45:1-5

As you can see from this chapter, Baruch had an “I” problem. Woe is me. My grief. My sorrow. I fainted. My sighing. I have no rest. Poor pitiful me! Unfortunately, I hear my own cries and complaints echoing in my ears, so truth be told, I’m no better than Baruch. I’ve been so wrapped up in my personal disappointment and discontentment that I’ve failed to see the needs of those around me. As the Lord put it in the passage above, I’ve been seeking great things for myself. “Who cares about anyone else? So what if people are lost and going to hell? I’m not happy with the way things are going. Poor pitiful me!”  I cringe as I type these words. Though these thoughts have not been in the forefront of my mind, they’ve been there nonetheless as has been proven by my actions and my self-consuming prayers. God, forgive me!

Before I go any further, let me say I truly believe God wants to bless us. He gives us far, far more than we deserve. But God never promised us a happy life. He never assured us we’d never suffer or feel disappointment or grief. In fact, He promised just the opposite (John 16:33). The point I want to get across is, God is not cruel. Life is hard because we live in a sin-cursed world. It’s not God’s fault. It’s ours. But despite that, God goes above and beyond to provide for our needs and even many of our wants because He’s a good, loving Father.

That being said, we saw in yesterday’s devotion how even Jesus became fearful and overwhelmed at the prospect of His crucifixion and all that it entailed. While He was willing to do His Father’s will, He wasn’t exactly happy about the circumstances. It wasn’t a joyful season of life to experience.

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
— Hebrews 12:2

This is a familiar verse, but don’t overlook the words used to describe Jesus’ emotional state. He endured the cross. He despised the shame. Endured and despised. Boy, can I relate to those words? I’ve been enduring a lot lately—going through the motions of doing what needs to be done and trying my best to do so with a good attitude. And I’ve despised the person I’ve become through this season. Cautious. Critical. Cynical. That’s not me. That’s not who I want to be.  

But I want you to notice another phrase within that verse: “for the joy that was set before him.” Not the joy He was experiencing by obeying the Father. Not the joy He felt at laying down His life and suffering agony on the cross. Not the joy of being a good Son. It wasn’t a present joy; it was a joy to come. The joy of defeating Death and Hell. The joy of holding up the keys of Hell in victory. The joy of being reunited with His Father. And last, but certainly not least, the joy of living in eternity with us.

Unlike Baruch, Jesus wasn’t seeking great things for Himself. He was seeking great things for us.  Jesus wasn’t so consumed with His own suffering that He turned His back on others. Instead, He used that love and compassion to keep Him moving forward when everything within His earthly body cried for Him to turn back. He envisioned a brighter day—not for Him, but for us, and that vision gave Him the strength to suffer. Yes, He endured. Yes, He despised. But in the end, He rejoiced, and He will continue to rejoice.

Lord, please help me be more like Jesus and less like Baruch. No matter how difficult the season or how weary I become, please help me keep my focus on others and not myself. Let my love and compassion for them drive me to obedience and surrender. And help me remember there is a brighter day coming!