Time and time again, Scripture tells us how the Israelite people of the Old Testament rejected God’s ways and followed their own. And over and over, God gave them chance after chance to get it right.
After Solomon finished having the house of the Lord built, he dedicated the temple to the Lord, praising God and pleading for God to hear his prayer on behalf of the people. In answer to Solomon’s prayer, beginning at 2 Chronicles 7:12-13 we read, “Then the Lord appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him, ‘I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice. When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land or send pestilence among my people…’”
The next verse, verse 14, is the second or third or fourth chance God gives them. It says “’…if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.’” (There are so many “if-then” statements in Scripture.)
What I read in the words of verse 14 is, ‘if I (God) have a people that know Me and trust Me and obey Me, then there is no limit to the times I will forgive them and do great things for them.’ Now let’s make those words more personal. Go ahead and hear these words as if God were speaking them to you. Take them to heart. ‘If you know Me and trust Me and obey Me, then there is no limit to what I will do for you and no limit to what I can do through you, for all things are possible with Me in your court.’ (Paraphrase by me.)
Know Me. Trust Me. Obey Me. A tall order for sure. For in our humanness, you and I want control. We want what we want, our way, in our time, as we planned. Guess what? That’s not knowing and trusting that God has our back. That’s not being obedient to what He wants. Don’t shoot the messenger on this. I just call ’em like I see ’em, and it is humbling.
You and I need to relinquish control and know that God’s ways are not our ways. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” — Isaiah 55:8-9
If we are asking God for direction or clarity in a matter, we need to be prepared to step outside our comfort zone and do things His way. Remember His ways are higher, better, and maybe harder. And that’s a good thing. We can’t wait just twiddling our thumbs for an answer, hoping to hear God tell us to do it our way. No! God will challenge us. A challenge needs trust. A challenge needs obedience. A challenge forces us to look at who we know God is. I believe that is what God wants from us.
Recently, I prayed and prayed and prayed for an answer to a matter. I just wasn’t hearing from God (I thought). I finally realized I was waiting to hear Him tell me to do what I wanted to do. To do what I thought was right. But I learned, the hard way, that what I thought was not what He thought. He wanted to do something way better. And I missed out on that and am suffering the consequences. I didn’t come to Him asking for what He wanted. I was praying for what I thought He might want. There is a huge difference. Now I am in the same boat as the Israelites and must go to Him humbly asking forgiveness and praying that He will heal my land. In other words: fix my mess.
When we count on what we know of God, when we trust Him and obey Him, His ways will challenge us to do more, to be better, to live righter (is that a word?). His ways, His methods, His purposes. So be prepared. For ‘if’ we do this, ‘then’ He promises great and mighty things. And you can always count on His promises. They are always true.
“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” — Isaiah 55:10-11
Roxanne Drury is a wife, mother, grandmother, and retired Christian preschool teacher with a teaching certificate in Early Childhood Education. She has served the Lord in children’s ministry for over 40 years and is currently on staff at Rockharbor Church. Her heart is sharing the life application found in God’s Word. Roxanne has recently published her first children’s book titled, “Beyond the Blue.” The book is a descriptive biblical look at heaven that answers questions kids have and offers parents a tool to talk to their kids about Jesus. She also writes a Christian blog. For more information, visit thatslifemissroxanne.blogspot.com and www.roxannedrury.com.