Does it ever seem difficult to see what God is doing in your life?
Proverbs 20:24 reads,
A man’s steps are from the LORD;
how then can man understand his [own] way?
Maybe the point of life isn’t to understand your life but to use what God gives you to glorify Him because you’re undeserving of it. So, the next time you’re planning out your day remember to think of the verse above and that
The heart of man plans his way,
but the LORD establishes his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)
Then proceed with a thankful, prayerful, humble heart to trust the Lord God who is Sovereign over all things and showed His love to the world by sending His Son Jesus Christ to live, die and rise again for His people and glorify Him for all He does.
1 Samuel 14:6,
Jonathan said to the young man who carried his armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised. It may be that the LORD will work for us, for nothing can hinder the LORD from saving by many or by few.”
In the commentary, Looking on the Heart (and excellent commentary), Dale Ralph Davis writes about the mature faith of Jonathan exhibited here in 1 Samuel 14.
Saul, Jonathan’s father, is confronted with the Philistines. In his normal fashion, he waits for someone else to save him (as in chapter 17). Jonathan is the savior this time. He proposes to his armor bearer that they “go over” to one of the garrisons of the Philistines – “these uncircumcised”. Like David will do in a few chapters, Jonathan recognizes that these people should not be opposing the chosen people of Israel.
Jonathan has full confidence in the Lord’s power. The Lord can accomplish His will “by many or by few”. That is the principle that Jonathan knows about that Lord (along with many others). The Lord our God is sovereign over all things (Ephesians 1:11). Jonathan trusts the Lord’s sovereignty.
But trust in the Lord’s sovereignty is not what makes Jonathan’s faith mature. Jonathan first says “it may be”. Trust in the Lord’s freedom to act as He wants is what makes Jonathan’s faith mature. Jonathan knows the Lord. He know that God is good, loving, just, righteous and holy. He knows that God is always accomplishing whatever is most glorifying to Himself. And He knows that God does these things freely, apart from any obligation except those He wants to make. It may be that the Lord will work for Jonathan and his armor bearer to defeat the Philistines, but that might not be what God wants to do. It’s God’s decision and whatever He chooses will be perfect.
Do we live like that? Do we live to make ourselves available to the work of the Lord? Jonathan made himself and his armor bearer available. If the Lord wanted to use them, there they were. If not, Jonathan was willing to leave himself in the hands of His God. Do we make ourselves available like that? Are we willing to give up our lives just to make ourselves available to the Lord, even if He doesn’t use us?
How would you value your life? By your ability to cook, earn money, program computers, make friends, entertain? Or maybe by your family and their well-being?
The apostle Paul told the elders of the church at Ephesus that his life wasn’t worth anything.
But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24)
Paul valued his life as nothing so that he could finish the course and ministry his Lord Jesus gave him. Is that how we value our lives? Our ministry may not be the same type of testifying to the gospel of the grace of God as Paul did. But, as Christians, we do have a ministry by which we fully testify to the gospel of the grace of God. And why? Because our Lord Jesus gave us this course and our unique ministry. And we should count our lives of no value except that we fulfill the course and ministry our Lord Jesus Christ gives us.
15He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly,
who despises the gain of oppressions,
who shakes his hands, lest they hold a bribe,
who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed
and shuts his eyes from looking on evil,
16he will dwell on the heights;
his place of defense will be the fortresses of rocks;
his bread will be given him; his water will be sure. (Isaiah 33:15-16)
Hopefully the title and Scripture passage provided a good introduction. I want to draw out only the application toward television. These two verses give a great application and promise to Christians – avoid television and dwell in security. The vast majority of television is created by the world for the world: meaning, it celebrates sin – murder, lying, homosexual relationships, disobeying parents, insubordination, and on and on.
We are not discerning enough with what goes into our heads. The Bible tells us that a righteous person “stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed and shuts his eyes from looking on evil” (v.15). It is your (and my) motivation to hear and see evil that invalidates God’s promise to us to dwell in security (v. 16). Do you desire to hear about bloodshed and see evil? Yet what are most TV shows about? A comedy about disobeying parents and authority altogether? A drama about a murder and trying to bring the killer to justice? A comedy/drama about illicit sex? And many more.
Someone might object by saying that the Bible itself contains these things. Consider the difference in origin. The Bible is from God. Where is our entertainment from? The intent of the Bible is for us to grow in the love and knowledge of God through Jesus Christ. What do the authors of the shows you watch intend? The Bible is a history. Does your entertainment give history?
Now, of course, these questions are just to get you thinking about how you decide upon what to watch, what to listen to and what to participate in1. I don’t mean it to be exhaustive, just to get you to beg the Holy Spirit to reveal how you might best glorify God in time you might normally title “free” so that you might “dwell on the heights”.
see my comment on video games here
In the path of your judgments,
O LORD, we wait for you;
your name and remembrance
are the desire of our soul. (Isaiah 26:8)
I’m often surprised at the motivation of Christians. Either they don’t think it matters, haven’t considered it or, like me, struggle violently with it.
Isaiah presents, simply, our proper motivation. First he tells us to wait for the LORD. Our waiting should be in the path of His judgments. At first this doesn’t seem to be the best place to be. But Christian, consider where you are. You are fully covered by Jesus Christ. Where but in the path of God’s judgment could you glorify Him more? Being fully covered by Christ, the justice of God is vindicated and the worth of Christ shows piercingly when the judgment of God falls and yet we remain unscathed because of Christ. Second he tells us that our desire for the name of LORD should be paramount. All our actions should be consumed in desire to make known who the LORD is in us and to us. Third Isaiah tells us that our remembrance of the LORD should equally consume the desire of our soul. When was the last time we were broken over how little time we spend with the LORD each day? Prayer, Bible reading, study, meditation, service, missions, spiritual gifts, even down to devoting the brushing of our teeth to the name of the LORD and our remembrance of Him, these things are almost completely unpracticed in my life and in your life. I spend more time thinking about cartoons and energy drinks than I do about God.
How great and sufficient is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to save us from such a miserable waste of life! Let us remember Him, praising His name and waiting for His coming.