Summary: When we are faced with trials and troubles we must stay where we are, faithful and obedient, loving and being loved.
Stay Where You Are
Reading: Psalm 46:1-11
Over the past couple of meetings in our Wednesday night bible study we reviewed the account found in the book of Numbers (chapters 13, 14) of a lost generation, an entire generation that failed to enter the Promised Land. As many of you may remember, this account tells of the children of Israel’s first approach to the promised land and their reaction to the report of the twelve spies sent to investigate the land, the reaction which resulted in the forty years of wandering in the wilderness and the loss of the Promised Land to an entire generation, save Caleb and Joshua. In discussing this account we explored the reasons why this generation was lost and ultimately it came down to a failure to trust in God and a tendency to turn back to their former lives. And in those discussions we saw that these same reactions still occur in our lives as believers today. When faced with trials or difficult circumstances we can and often do react just like the children of Israel, failing to trust in God and turning away from the path He would have us walk. In our lesson today I’d like us to consider our own reactions in the face of challenges and difficulties so we might avoid losing our own rewards promised by God.
The Apostle Paul knew much about facing trials and difficulties, knowledge hard earned through his own challenges in life. He wrote in Romans 5 that we can rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance, and perseverance produces the character that gives birth to hope. And that “hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
We find joy and hope in trial and tribulation not for the sake of the troubles but in the opportunity for us to rely completely on God long enough to experience His power, His provision, and His presence in character-changing ways. This first-hand knowledge of God’s faithfulness is what produces our joy and a hope that will not disappoint, because it is hope we have counted on and hope that has not let us down. It is hope based on the love God has poured out on us as we depend upon Him.
There comes a time when all we can do is hold on and believe what God has told us. It is a time of staying.
I.Stay Where You Are
A.Choose not to turn away and run when faced with challenges.
1.The “fight or flight” response is a part of our human nature.
a.When face with hard times which seem to be overwhelming that is the time when we must stand fast in our faith of the loving Father.
b.Read Romans 8:31-39
2.When writing of his own struggle with a specific trouble, a thorn in the flesh, Paul was told that through his weakness was shown the power of Christ:
2 Corinthians 12:9b-10 “…most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
3.We need to realize that when we are faced with difficulties, trials, and troubles which seem too great for ourselves that is the time for us to stay where we are, in the strength which God provides.
[Staying where we are and staying faithful]
A.We choose to believe that with God all things are possible.
1.Matthew 19:26b “…but with God all things are possible.”
a.He is God Almighty, the Creator of all things, the sovereign Ruler and Authority over everything!
2.Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
B.We have examples of God’s faithfulness
1.Hebrews 11:1-2 “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped fork the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval.
2.Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Issac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and the example of God’s faithful dealings with the children of Israel.
3.2 Timothy 2:13 “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.”
[God is always faithful and so we need to stay obedient.]
A.No matter of the circumstances we will do what God says to do.
1.John 14:15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”
John 14:21 “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”
2.We do what God has commanded us to do.