This week, the lessons in No Other Gods highlighted our tendency to run back to our idols after we’ve turned away from them. We make room for God when we give up our false ones, but we must wait for Him to fill the empty space. And a lot of times, waiting is the hardest part.
We may wish for God to snap His fingers and deliver us instantaneously, but if that happened, we’d miss the gift of developing patience and steadfastness. No one gets endurance without first having endured.Kelly Minter in No Other Gods
While we’re waiting we may feel empty and broken. And alone. God may feel far off and we wonder if He’s working at all. During these times we need to “rehearse the truth” or I like to say, preach to ourselves. The wait brings blessings beyond what we can imagine. The verses below remind us what happens when we don’t give up.
- Galatians 6:9
- Hebrews 6:10-12
- James 1:3-4
- James 5:7-11
A couple of the stories we looked at this week tell of those who followed God through difficult circumstances. The story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego was one of them. It’s still one of my favorites. Their resolve to face the fire instead of bowing down to the golden image set up by Nebuchadnezzar stirs me and makes me wonder about my own faith.
Did they think about compromising? Did they waiver at all? The story gives no hint of doubt on their part. Whatever the outcome, they would not bow to the golden image.
They endured trials, which produced perseverance. Years before the young men were in front of the fiery furnace, they were taken from their homeland and brought to Babylon. They were given new names and immersed in Babylonian culture for years. Imagine the initial culture shock and eventually, the temptation to forget God when, year after year, they were still in Babylon.
But they didn’t forget God. They remained steadfast and followed Him. Read the full story of these three brave men in the book of Daniel.
The story of Abraham, formerly known as Abram, was another in our lessons this week. God said to Abram, “Go…..to the land I will show you.” (Genesis 12:1). That’s it….that’s all God told him. No map. No hint of where or how long the journey. Just go.
So Abram went.
It’s easy to underestimate the struggle Abraham went through when we can read his entire story in less than an hour. He waited decades before his promised son, Isaac, was born and endured many trials beforehand.
But Abraham waited and journeyed on. Not always patiently or without questions, but he remained steadfast. And his faith was stronger because of it.
Wherever we are….whatever our circumstances…..let us look to God. Let us rehearse the truth and look beyond our trials to our good and gracious King.
My favorite worship music right now comes from CityAlight. Here are part of the lyrics to Good and Gracious King.
I approach the throne of gloryJonny Robinson, James Ferguson, Michael Farren
Nothing in my hands I bring
But the promise of acceptance
From a good and gracious King
I will give to You my burden
As You give to me Your strength
Come and fill me with Your Spirit
As I sing to You this praise
You deserve the greater glory
Overcome, I lift my voice
To the King in need of nothing
Empty handed I rejoice