As we approach the end of this millennium, no matter how much shaking there may be economically, politically, socially or technologically, no matter how chaotic the world may become, we can have “shalom shalom” – perfect peace – in the midst of it all. In last month’s newsletter, we considered the first two reasons we shouldn’t be afraid to face the future. The third reason is because of God’s precious promises.
God has promised to give us all the wisdom we need.
He is our “Pele Yoetz,” our Miraculous Counselor. He gives wonderful, miraculous advice, unfailing in the depths of its wisdom for all who come to Him. His counsel is miraculous, because it transcends human understanding. In every situation He can discern what is best for us and give us wonderful counsel.
When you find yourself in a difficult situation, and lack the wisdom to handle it, you are invited to ask our Miraculous Counselor for wisdom, and He promises to generously provide it. David Wilkerson wrote, “God will give us the right advice in every situation. He has promised that no matter how hopeless a crisis may appear, He knows the way through it and has all the resources that we need. God – our advisor and counselor has a detailed plan for every one of His children, to help us face the worst of times. He’ll speak clearly to every individual who makes up His body, giving specific directions, dimensions, times, places, promises, miracles. Therefore it’s vitally important that each child of God get to know and hear His voice.”
God has promised to give us all the power we need.
Rabbi Paul reminds us of the surpassing greatness of God’s power toward us who believe. God’s power is unlimited; and this great power is specifically directed to those of us who believe in Messiah. Simon Peter reminds us that we are protected by the power of God. Since He is all-powerful, we are all-protected. Nothing can happen to us that our all-powerful, all-good, all-wise and all-loving God will allow, that won’t turn out for our ultimate good.
We can face the future without fear because God has promised to remove a shy, cowardly attitude and replace it with a healthy dose of courage, strength and boldness. God has not given us a spirit of timidity(an attitude of fear, or cowardice) but of power and love and discipline. That’s why Messianic Jews and Christians have been able to face all kind of opposition throughout the ages, all kinds of trials, dangers and tribulations.
God has promised to give us all the security we need.
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust (security) is from the Lord. He will be like a tree planted by the water that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit. It is easy to be confident when showers of blessing are falling, when the economy is booming, and your 401K plan is climbing. But not everyone can be happy when circumstances change – when they are feeling the heat and the drought – only those who place their confidence in God can remain free of fear or anxiety. The one who trusts in God is blessed at all times, whether times are good and the rains are coming, or when circumstances are difficult, and he is feeling the heat. He will be like a beautiful fruit tree planted near a stream which constantly supplies it with water, even in a time of drought, when the other fruit trees are drying up, their leaves withering, and little or no fruit is being produced.
God has promised to provide for our needs, according to His riches in glory, the source of which is Messiah Yeshua. His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness. God has granted us not just some things, but all things necessary for our physical well-being, and for our spiritual life. God is able to provide for His children in their distresses and in their difficulties, even miraculously, if need be. He was able to sustain several million Jewish people for forty years in a harsh, desert wilderness. He was able bring water out of a rock to give them drink, and manna from heaven to feed them.
At one point in Yeshua’s ministry, He and His disciples had been through a very busy time, and needed a break. Yeshua took these disciples to a lonely place to get some rest, but not without some difficulty. Many people saw them leave by boat and, recognizing them, ran ahead on foot from all the towns and got there first. When Yeshua came ashore, a huge crowd already awaited Him. He began teaching them many things.
When they became hungry, He also miraculously fed them in order to demonstrate that He was the Messiah sent by God to meet all the needs of the Jewish people. Yeshua can provide rest for His disciples, truth for the multitudes and miraculous food for all, even in a wilderness. Doesn’t it make sense that if Yeshua was able to feed five thousand from a few loaves of bread and a few fish while on earth, He is all the more able to meet the needs of His people now that He is resurrected, victorious, exalted, glorified, all-powerful, and seated at the right hand of God?
Messiah instructed us not to worry about what we will eat, drink or wear. Worrying about basic necessities is for those outside the covenant relationship with God, for pagans and unbelievers without faith. God’s sons and daughters are to be concerned with greater things, like building up and extending God’s interests on earth. We are to be concerned with taking up our cross and following Messiah, dying daily, building ourselves up in our most holy faith, serving the saints, preaching the Good News to those who don’t believe, and taking care of the poor and needy. These are to be our chief concerns. Take care of God’s concerns first and He will take care of your earthy needs. Devote yourself to Him, and He will provide for you.
God has promised us all the contentment we need.
He can teach us to live contentedly in all circumstances, as did Rabbi Paul, who wrote: I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am (in good times and bad, in times of abundance and times of lack). I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. What is the secret of this contentedness? The answer: I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. If you are on intimate terms with the Almighty, close to Him, He will strengthen you in all circumstances so that you may be content. Let your attitude be that recommended by Rabbi Paul to Timothy: Godliness is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we can not take anything out of it. And if we have food and covering, with these we will be content. We have had fifty years of unparalleled prosperity, but that is no guarantee that good times will last. If our society suffers, we may suffer, but we can be at peace, knowing that our life, our well-being, our happiness does not consist in the abundance of our possessions.
God has promised to give us all the peace we need.
The night before He was to die, and the disciples scatter, Yeshua prepared them for this difficult time by saying to them: These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world. Yeshua is greater than the world and all the many problems in it. Joined to Him, we can have peace in the midst of a chaotic, troubled world. He also said: Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you, not as the world gives, do I give to you. The peace that Yeshua gives is different from the world’s peace, which is dependent on a minimum of conflict, or positive circumstances. The peace that Yeshua gives is us is based on the inner assurance that with Him in charge, all is well. He went on to say: Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. We have some degree of control over our hearts. We can allow them to be troubled or fearful, or we can fill them with thoughts of Messiah’s victory, His return for us, and our everlasting salvation. These thoughts put our problems into perspective, and enable us to maintain a peace which surpasses normal human understanding.
God has promised to remove anxiety and fill our hearts and minds with peace.
Simon Peter tells us that we are to cast all our anxiety upon God, because He cares for us. With all the situations we are concerned about, we make our prudent preparations, but then entrust ourselves into the hands of the God who cares for us. Rabbi Paul adds that we must be anxious for nothing, but in everything (in every situation, especially difficult ones) by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. If we pray and thank God, the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds joined to Messiah Yeshua. Anxiety is a normal response to a threat, but Messianic Jews and Christians must decide to entrust their concerns to God, knowing He cares for them. As we give thanks for the blessings we already have received, and make requests for what we lack, we rise above the situation which threatens us. We then gain peace, despite our circumstances; a genuine peace from God, who cares for His own, and who works everything out for their ultimate good.
We can become anxious thinking about unknown dangers, but nothing is unknown to the All-Knowing One. Anxiety comes when we feel out of control of a situation, but what we can’t control, God can. Anxiety comes when we think that something so bad may happen that it will be beyond our ability to handle. But again, God has promised that no situation too difficult for us to endure will happen that, with His help, we will not be capable of handling.
Yeshua, mocked, beaten, crucified, nails in His hands and feet, His lifeblood draining away, dying on the cross, could say, Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit. In 1999, are we likely to face anything worse than He did? Can’t we commit ourselves into those same hands with that same attitude? Lord willing, next month we will look at the last reasons why we can face the future with confidence, whatever it may bring.