RESTING – in the goodness of GOD
Grace takes you from where you are, to where God wants you to be. It is to a place of rest, a rest in the goodness of God. It is the promise of God that comes to you as you begin this year – His soul shall dwell in the goodness of God, or prosperity; and his children will inherit the land. [Psalm 25:13] And to God, however old you may be, you too are a child; a child who will inherit the land; inherit the promises that He has spoken in His word. It is by knowing and walking in the procedure that God gives, that you will dwell in the goodness of God, and be at ease. And the verses that precede and succeed the verse above, describe the path of reverence and revelation that lead to your soul resting in the goodness of God. [verses 12 & 14]
Reverence towards God, & revelation from God:
Who is the man that fears the Lord? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses. [vs 12]
And, how does He teach and instruct?
It is by a revelation in your heart, for, the secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant. [vs 14] As you fear the Lord in an attitude of reverence and awe, [vs 12] He responds by revealing to you the inner, secret and deeper meaning and working of His covenant relationship with you, [vs 14] This leads you then, to a rest in God, as you dwell in the goodness of His grace in the days to come.
What is fearing God?
It is not an emotion of physical dread; rather it is one of reverence and love toward God, showing respect unto Him.
1. People who are in a high and influential position, wielding power and authority, command respect on account of it.
2. Respecting someone involves honoring them. The word of God exhorts you to honor your mother and father. Here, the aspect of relationship comes into play.
3. Thirdly, worship is also the means by which you display a healthy fear of God.
A feeling of reverence and awe towards God, the Father, involves all three of the above. And, they are all inherently part of fearing God.
To a man who fears Him in this manner, God gives His instruction and counsel. People can give you godly counsel too, meaning well, and with no ulterior motive; but it will not be fully effective, if you withhold information from them. With God though, nothing is hidden from Him. He knows it all, even what you do not know; what lies ahead of you, around the corner, is not a secret from Him. The counsel that He gives you therefore, in any situation that you face in life, will be the very best for you. He is a God who is great in counsel, and mighty in deed.
Such is the God, who declares that, when you fear Him, He will give instruction and counsel, regarding your path in life. Receiving the counsel that He offers to you though, hinges on your inner attitude. And, your attitude will be a reflection of the reverence and awe, the respect you have of God. It is all intertwined, and needs to come together rightly, that you may receive from God, what He is willing to give you.
Progressing further to unpack the various aspects of fearing God, as it is described with clarity in the book of proverbs, you will see that,
1. To fear God is to trust God :
Trust in the Lord, with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. [Prov 3:5] On the surface, it may seem paradoxical; after all, it is God who has blessed you with understanding. Then why does He counsel you not to lean on it, or depend upon it? But, He is the All Wise God, and says so, because He has a reason.
There is something deeper that He desires to teach you, which is, with your understanding, to understand that your understanding is not complete ! And, God’s plans for you are infinitely better than anything that you can come up with. It is not wrong at all to have thoughts concerning yourself. But, the overwhelming truth is that, His thoughts towards you are higher, as the heavens are, above the earth !
And therefore, you will be wise not to lean on your own limited understanding, but lay down your plans to trust God instead; to trust what He speaks to you, to allow Him to lead and guide you. And then, the passage of scripture continues, saying, In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. [Prov 3:6]
2. To fear God is to acknowledge Him :
It is to involve Him in all your life’s activities and decisions. More often than not, Christ ends up being the silent listener of all your conversation, as the plaque that hangs in many Christian homes affirms! He is the silent listener, for you go to Him for approval after making your own decisions, leaning on your own understanding. Even prayer can so often end up in similar fashion; it will be the Lord listening to your tale of woe, instead of you hearing from Him, and receiving His counsel!
But, acknowledging God is to live continually, in the awareness of His presence with you. He is the God who never leaves or forsakes you; which is why, it is impossible for a Christian to be alone ! Therefore, in your life, from the time you were conceived in your mother’s womb, till the moment of your death, you are never alone. You may say that you need your own private space, but in that private space, God is also there with you!
And, it always remains your greatest advantage. For, the word of God declares that, God was with Joseph, and he was successful. What is so special about it? The omnipresent God, whose presence is everywhere, was with Joseph also, whether he was aware of it or not; this may be your contention, as you question the uniqueness of God being with Joseph, to make him succeed.
But, the truth is that, it is when you live in the awareness of God’s presence with you, that you become successful in all your endeavors. In the life of Jacob too, this truth can be observed. He ran away in unfavorable circumstances, to sleep in tiredness with deep misgivings. But the God of love and compassion spoke to him in his sleep, assuring Jacob of His abiding presence with him, no matter what. [Gen 28:10-19]
And, Jacob awoke in the morning to say, ‘This is the place of God, and I was unaware of it’. Knowing and becoming aware of God’s presence with you, unshackles you, to set you free.
In His presence :
Even mountain like problems will appear small, and instead of being overwhelmed by them, you will overwhelmingly conquer them ! For, you have a God, in whose presence even mountains will melt like wax ! And, you will stand against the enemy declaring, ‘Because the Lord is at my right hand, I will not be shaken’, for you will stand on the truth that declares, ‘If God is for me, who can be against me ?’.
To fear God therefore, is to, in an attitude of reverence trust Him, and acknowledge His presence by living in the awareness of His presence with you. And, the awareness of the abiding presence of the God who is good, and only good with you, shows you very clearly what you need to do, regarding all that is evil.
3. To fear God is to turn away from evil :
Do not be wise in your own eyes. Fear the Lord and depart from evil. [Prov 3:7] And an even more challenging counsel regarding evil is found in the New Testament. It instructs you to flee, from even what appears to be evil. [1 Thess 5:22] In the world today, evil is not something that you have to go in search of. It is waiting to come to you, to invade your mind and your home at the click of a button, through the media, the internet, and the smart phone that can so easily lead you in not so smart ways.
The world around you is pervaded by evil, in many attractive forms, and it is only a reverence for God that can keep you safe. ‘Where can I go from your presence ?’ the psalmist wonders in awe, and not out of frustration, but an awareness of God’s abiding presence with him forever. It is the greatest advantage to the one who respects God. And, to such a man God instructs, that He may be led to a place of rest, to experience rest in his soul.
Yielding and receiving :
A rest in God, a rest in the goodness of His grace, a rest in His goodness and prosperity, is manifested in your life, as you receive the word of God that comes to you, without arguing, but believing and knowing that God gives only what is the very best for you; and that His word of promise to you is more than enough for it to come to pass.
Therefore, lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word that is able to save your souls. [James 1:21] An attitude of humility, as a reflection of your reverence towards God, is the key to receiving from God, His thoughts and plans concerning you,and all the very best that He has prepared for you.
1. ‘Speak Lord, your servant is listening’ :
He was but a small boy, as he ministered to the Lord, before Eli, the priest. But the response of Samuel, to the call of God, is what needs to be yours and mine too. Eli, recognizing that it was the Lord God who was calling Samuel, instructed him rightly to say, ‘Speak Lord, your servant is listening’. [1 Sam 3:4-10] For, man does not live by bread alone; but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord. And, a word from Him can change and transform your world, when you receive it with an attitude of meekness and reverence.
Even in your time of prayer, as you spend time in the presence of God, may it not be just a monologue from your end that you offer unto Him. Instead, may the voice of God be heard more and more by you, that you may be led in paths of righteousness, to see goodness and mercy follow you in your life.
2. Be it unto me, according to your word :
An ordinary day in the life of a young maiden in Nazareth became extraordinarily miraculous, when she received without arguing, and surrendered in meekness, to the word of God that came to her through the Angel Gabriel. It was how, Mary who was a young virgin, became an instrument in the hand of God to bring forth the Messiah, Jesus, the Savior of the world.
‘For with God nothing shall be impossible’. [Luke 1:37] The promise of the Angel, gave her a blessed assurance and rest, to settle her soul, as she put her trust in the God Most High in reverent awe to say, ‘Behold, I am the maid servant of the Lord; may it be unto me according to your word’ [Luke 1:38] They were her words of reverent submission, as she yielded to the blessed will of God, and His unfathomably higher thoughts. She received the revelation truth that came to her through the Angel, to rest and dwell in the goodness of God, in the goodness of His grace.
And now, as you live in the victorious aftermath of Calvary, you are God’s precious child. And therefore, in a relationship of intimacy and trust, you can say, ‘I am your child, Lord; be it unto me according to your word’. Surrendering and yielding to a loving Father is indeed something that you can do with ease. Receiving all that you need from God is once again what you can do with ease. For the process is not elaborate, but simple. The word of God declares, ‘Ask, and you will receive’. It is, asking and receiving; as simple as that. And, the Lord has declared very clearly, that you need to believe you have already received what you have asked for in prayer, and you shall have it. [Mark 11:24]
Believe therefore, that what you have prayed for is going to be manifested in your life this year. And, you will indeed see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living, for the Lord will make known to you, the secrets, the inner meaning of His covenant with you.
The secret of His covenant :
The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him; and He will show them His covenant. [Psalm 25:14] As you walk with Him in an attitude of reverential fear and trust, God will reveal to you the inner meaning of His covenant with you, so that your soul may dwell in His goodness. And, the more you understand the power of His covenant of Blood with you, the more you will experience the rest of God, to abide in His goodness and prosperity.
The shadow and the reality :
The Old Testament is a shadow of the New Testament; and Christ is the fulfillment of all the promises of the Old Testament. And therefore, there are many prophetic incidences in the Old Testament that point to the promises that are going to be fulfilled in your life, for they are Yes and Amen in Christ.
Seeing through the life of Abraham :
Then God said, Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and o to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering, on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you. [Genesis 22:2]
Why does God demand this from Abraham?
It was pointing to what He was going to do far into the future. God was going to demonstrate through this seemingly incredibly painful demand, that one day on the Mount of Calvary, He was going to do something immeasurably greater. He was going to offer up His Only Begotten Son whom He loved, as a sacrifice for the sins of the world.
And, Abraham, the father of faith, the friend of God, had received revelation truth from Him. He understood therefore, the power of the covenant that God had made with him. The principle of the covenant relationship with God is that, all you have is His, and all that is His, is yours. Therefore, what you do not have, He has; what you do not know, He knows; and, what you cannot do, He can do. It is the secret of the covenant relationship. It was why Abraham was able to answer Isaac saying, ‘God will provide for Himself, a lamb for the burnt offering’. [Genesis 22:8]
Jehovah Jireh :
And, as the incident progressed, indeed God provided the lamb for the offering. It was the manifestation of the promise of God’s covenant; and it made Abraham declare who God is; that He is the God of provision, Jehovah Jireh. And Abraham called the name of the place, ‘The Lord will provide; as it is said to this day In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided’. [Genesis 22:14]
Abraham on that momentous day gave a name to the mountain, which foreshadowed, what was going to happen in the fullness of time. For, on Mount Calvary, God has indeed taken care of it all; and ‘It is finished’ was the victorious cry of the Savior King on the Cross. A divine exchange took place on the Cross, by which all that you ever need in life, has been made available to you through it.
And therefore, what Abraham saw prophetically in the future as ‘The Lord will provide’, is now very much in the past tense. The Lord has provided; it has all been taken care of, is the present reality for you and I; it is the implication of the Lord’s ‘It is finished’, which when received and understood, will remove from you the need to be tense in your life concerning your present and future needs. For, the Lord has gone before you, and prepared the path that will see your needs being met.
Christ in you :
And now, the victorious risen Christ is in you. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. [Col 1:27] May this powerful verse, go deep in your heart to enrich and transform you. It is the inner meaning, the secret of His covenant with you. And, it is this revelation in your spirit that will see you move from restlessness to a place of rest, to abide in the goodness of God. For, Christ is in you, to appropriate all that He has accomplished for you on the Cross.
Even before you were formed in your mother’s womb, everything concerning you has already been written in His word. Such is the God whom you worship. And as a new year unfolds, He has already gone ahead, prepared all that you need. You are following a good God; and therefore, goodness and mercy will follow you. You are in a covenant relationship with a wonderful Savior.
You can therefore, rest in His word, in His presence, knowing without a shadow of doubt that He has the very best for you. And God is able to make all grace abound towards you, that you having all sufficiency in all things and at all times, will abound in every good work. [2 Cor 9:8] May your heart overflow with thanksgiving, for all the blessings that God the Father has already poured out into your life, and may He continue to lead and guide you all through the year.
In the Name of Christ Jesus Amen.
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