The bows were strung and the munitions were stocked. Lines were drawn and the inevitable battle ensued. And here you are after the smoke clears and the bodies have been counted in the aftermath of what only can be described as chaos. Truth, sometimes we bring such horrible circumstances upon ourselves, reaping the bitter fruit of a pendulum we set into motion in a past age, but other times they are the assignment of the Almighty, a brutal fire that burns out more impurity as He refines us to be all the better reflections of Him. Regardless of how or why these storms approach our shores the undeniable fact is that someday, somehow, and, oftentimes, without warning, they WILL come. The mark of our salvation and conviction therefore, cannot lie in analysis of our current quality of life (i.e. lack or presence of a storm), but rather rests in the fruit of our actions as we relish in the sweet nectar of the comfort God brings in certain seasons and humbly endure the bitter lament of trials of others. And for today’s thought, the question that I would like to deposit in your subconscious is simply this:
When the fires of affliction have sizzled out and God offers restoration of what was previously lost or removed, what is your resultant action?
When you see that God is about to heal a wound, break a chain, or remove a thorn, however you want to word it, how do you carry that and yourself in the midst of others?
The scripture base today is a reminder that if we ever get to a place where we are in a state of recovery or even possible attack that we must remember who to put our hope in; who to put our trust on; and where to direct the praise at.
The Israelites at this point in history had just been given permission to rebuild the “city where Peace rains and is taught to reign” (Jerusalem) and were completely inoculated in a culture that did not believe as they believed; did not worship as they worshipped and eventually came to see Israel as more of a threat than an ally.
ASIDE: I personally believe that this was due to man’s actions as ultimately what caused the tension between Lord’s people and the neighboring people of the land was some of the heads of the tribes (led by Zerubbabel and Jeshua) denying them the opportunity to be grafted into the inheritance Abraham (i.e. Israel), which had already been done multiple times over starting as early as the original Exodus out of Egypt and eventually, did again in this instance after having progress halted until the second year of King Darius [Ref 1]
In such close proximity as they were with the neighboring people of the land. They had a reason to harbor concerns about their safety as they, the “new kids on the block”, were now the underdogs in a place of limited resources and established social system. Mix that with their assignment to reestablish the city of David, which included establishing a social system adversely contrary to that of their contemporaries and Israel’s reason for concern becomes clear.
They were the new guy at the office that got the raise everyone’s been applying for
They were the fresh young athlete that walked on the court and took the captain’s starting position
They were the fallen city of the mighty and infamous God who conquered over half that region of nations far mightier than His own people returning to reestablish the once great city.
Long story short, their arrival got the attention of all the big dogs in the area. And they knew it.
And in the face of such adversity, they didn’t turn to medicines of the time, or conform to politics, they didn’t seek out the mightiest warriors of their people. They found the foundation of worship and praise and put their trust, hope and praise towards God.
In your new place, which may not always be what one would consider a good place, are you building your altar on the foundation of medicine because the doctor told you that was your only hope?
Are you building your alter on self-help books and popular writings because that’s what the psychiatrist told you would help you do better?
Are you building your altar on your own knowledge of what would be best?
Remember, the key thought on the fruit of the tree blog, if it is not from God, it is not good [Ref 2] and if it is not good, then it can never be right. So, not to say that medicine is evil, or self-help books won’t contain the answers and revelation from God that you need in your particular season, or even that God hasn’t already deposited the knowledge in you to see the right course of action, but our trust, hope and praise all ought to start and end in God. All other things along the way are circumstantial to the path God has authored before us.
So today, I would like for you to stop seeing your situation as something to be responded to, but only as a temporary state of existence along the path of God’s will. And if that state in anyway reflects a notion that you may not be in God’s will, make immediate preparations to change your course, for it is probable that you are traveling at high speeds down a road where there is a bridge that is out. [Ref 3]
Ref 1: Ezra: 4:2 – 3; Ezra 6:21
Ref 2: James 1:17; Matthew 7:7 – 11
Ref 3: Proverbs 14:12; Proverbs 16:25