(Genesis 9:22) Then Jehovah said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand toward heaven, so that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt...
(Genesis 45:8) So it was not you who sent me here, but God.
(Genesis 39:5) From that time that he made him overseer in his house and over all that he had, the Lord blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; the blessing of Yahweh was on all that he had, in house and field.
Here we see something very interesting; when a man is faithful to God, he's not the only one that is blessed. We see this idea demonstrated through the Bible, but very clearly here that God not only blesses those who obey Him, but also those around that obedient servant. We see this same idea in the New Testament in passages like 1 Corinthians 7:14
For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband.
Now, the holiness that this is talking about isn't the kind related to righteousness, it is in regards of blessing. An unbelieving spouse is holy (set apart) unto blessing just because of the proximity of their faithful spouse.
(Genesis 22:1-3) After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am." He said, "Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you." So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac.
This i an incredible story of faith from Abraham. Here after all these years waiting for the promised son, Abraham cherishes Isaac and the next thing you know God is telling him to offer him as a burnt sacrifice. What's going on? What is God thinking by planning to have this miracle child killed? Those must have been questions Abraham asked. But instead of questioning God's plans, he humbly submitted and obeyed. Now of course Abraham dodnt kill Isaac, God provided a sacrifice once he was about to offer Isaac, but the fact that he was willing to do WHATEVER to please God is amazing. We find out in Hebrews 11 that he trusted that if God had to raise Isaac up from the dead, He would be faithful and figuratively speaking he did recieve him back from the dead. It's particularly amazing that Abraham would have thought that God would raise Isaac fron the dead if he had to because there are no recordings of resurrections before Abraham; that would have been the first. So Abraham was basically saying, "I don't know how in the worl God gunna make this one work, but I know that even if He has resurrect the dead to make it happen - which I've never seen before -He will be faithful to do it. I trust in Jehovah."
I'm going to be starting to do some video devotionals in the future instead of the normal written ones. Although I might still continue writing short devotionals, I want to expand the borders a little bit and try my hand at making short videos about the Bible. You can find these under the "Videos" bar at the top. I pray they bless you!
Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.
This passage can be easily misunderstood, so I think the first place to start is to see what this passage doesn't mean:
What this passage doesn't mean is that if you delight yourself in the Lord, He'll reward you will all the things you've ever wanted. It doesn't mean that He'll give you a huge mansion, a Lamborghini and a private jet. It's pretty easy to see that God never promises to give us these things and it's also easy to see that a life totally devoted to God often has the opposite effect and ends in hard earthly temporary pain in sight of eternal glory.
So now that we've got that out of the way and know God isn't promising us a Lambo, there's one more thing that we have to look at before we can understand the meaning of this passage: God is the most satisfying, most pleasant, most wonderful thing in the universe. Only He can satisfy our deepest craving because He made us with those deep cravings for Him. Although it's often hard to see, and often we reject it, God really is the most pleasant thing that we could ever enjoy.
Now let's dig into the actual verse: "If you delight yourself in the Lord, He will give you the desires of your heart." What does this mean? It means that if you are truly taking your delight in the Lord, if you are truly finding your deepest satisfaction in Him, if He is truly your greatest joy, then He will give you the desires of your heart. But if your greatest joy is He Himself, what would be your greatest desire? More of Him! You see, God isn't promising to give us trinkets that amuse us for a moment and then bore us, He's promising us something much better, something enduring, something much more amazing; He's promising to give us Himself. If we really believe that God is the most wonderful thing in the universe and we want nothing more than to be with Him, then this verse should make us rejoice! If we really long for Him and find our delight and pleasure in Him, He promises to give us that which will most satisfy us, most please us, most delight us; He promises to give us more and more of Himself.
[Seeing the lame man] Peter said, "I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk! and he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God... While he clung to Peter and John, all the people, utterly astounded, ran together to them in the portico called Solomon's. And when Peter saw it he addressed the people: "Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk? The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus... And His name - by faith in His name - has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all."
What an amazing story! Peter and John healed a man who had been unable to walk since birth! If you were standing there, what do you think your response would have been? I'm going to bet it would have been like all the Israelites there who looked at Peter and John like they were some kind of super heroes. But then Peter said something amazing: "Why do you stare at us as if by our own power we have made him walk?" Peter was saying, "Look, there's nothing special about me; this man doesn't walk because of me. I'm no super man, I have a super God."
Is this not an amazing encouragement? The heroes of the faith weren't so powerful because they were so pious, they had power because they trusted in a powerful God! Peter was powerful not because he was so religious (I mean gosh, he denied Christ thrice in one day). He was filled with power because he trusted in the miraculously strong Creator of the universe. When people looked at him in awe, he pointed away saying, "It's not me; it's all Him."
Another example of this idea is found in James 5:17
"Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth."
Think about that; Elijah prayed and it didn't rain for three and a half whole years! Now James is saying that he's a man just like us? What could he possibly mean? We as humans often look up to people like Peter or Elijah and think of how mightily God worked in them and forget that the same God lives in us. We get so struck in awe when thinking about it not raining for forty two months, but we forget that the actually power that stopped up the clouds, lives in us. Elijah was a man just like us, the difference is, he trusted in a God with unbounded resources.
There's a song by Jeremy Camp that well describes this idea. It says:
The same power that rose Jesus from the grave, the same power that commands the dead to wake, lives in us... The same power that moves mountains when He speaks, the same power that can calm the raging sea, lives in us.
The same God that created the universe, the same Yahweh that parted the sea for Israel, the same Spirit that rushed in at Pentecost lives in us. Let us never underestimate His power in our lives.
As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirst for God, for the living God.
How many times have you been thirsty for God? I mean really thirsty just to be with God and no one else. David in this Psalm is describing how much he wanted to, and he says that he desired it so much that it was like the desire of a deer panting for fresh, cool water. Imagine it this way:
It's 100 degrees outside, you've been working all day and you haven't had much to drink. Then the time finally comes when your work is finished and you can go inside, sit down and have a cold glass of water. How much will you want that water? Will you get distracted on doing other stuff, or will you get your hands on that refreshing drink? That is the kind of passion we should have for communion with God. A kind of passion that comes to God like an exhausted overheated man comes to a cup of cold water. We should be desperate for Him.
So then why are we so seldom like this? I know that I far too often come to God and the Scriptures like I have to get it over with so I can just move onto the next thing when I should be relishing every moment spent with Him. So why are we this way? Why can't we always say what David did, that he was desperately thirsty for God? I think it has to do with how precious we think Jesus to be. If we think Jesus is the most precious and wonderful person in the universe, able to satisfy all of our deepest desires, we will run to Him excitedly for refreshment, but if we view Him as some kind of distant controlling dictator in the clouds, He'll be on of the last places we go to seek our joy. David understood this; he knew how wonderful a friendship with the Lord is, and he acted accordingly.
A song entitled "You are My All in All" put it well: "You are my strength when I am weak, you are the treasure that I seek; you are my all in all. Seeking you as a precious jewel, Lord, to give up I'd be a fool; you are my all in all."
David believed that Jesus is the most pleasant, most satisfying, most fulfilling, most precious, most valuable, most awesome, most wonderful, most perfect companion one could ever have. Now the question is, do you?
By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promise was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, "Through Isaac shall your offspring be named." He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.
The story this verse is referring to is quite an amazing one. You see, God had promised Abraham a child from which a great nation would come, there was just one problem: Abraham and his wife Sarah weren't getting any younger. Eventually there reached a point were it seemed impossible for God to keep His promise (Abraham was 100 and Sarah was 90), but even then, they kept faith in what God had said. But miraculously, even though Sarah was well past her age of bearing children, she gave birth to Isaac; he was truly a miracle child. It isn't hard to see how Abraham and Sarah would cherish him greatly and would want to protect him from any danger - after all, Isaac was going to become a great nation! But as if this weren't already crazy enough, something even more shocking happened. One day God asked Abraham to offer up his son Isaac as a burnt offering to the Lord. As an extreme understatement, Abraham must have been confused. But whether he was confused or understood, he packed up his bags the next morning and took his son Isaac up to the mountain to sacrifice him. Eventually they reached the top and Abraham set up the wood under his son. As Abraham raised up his knife, an angel cried to him, "Abraham! Abraham! Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me." The Lord then provided a wild ram for the burnt offering in Isaac's stead.
Long story short, God asked two great things from Abraham: Firstly, God asked him to give up his most priced thing in the world - his son through whom he would be the father of a great nation. Secondly, God asked him to trust Him no matter how ridiculous His plans may have seemed. You see, this plan of offering Isaac (the one through whom the prophesy was to be fulfilled) didn't make sense to Abraham. He didn't obey God because he thought it was a dandy idea, he obeyed God because he trusted that God knew how to make it all work out. Abraham thought to himself, "God will make this work. Even if He has to raise Isaac up from the dead, He'll make this work." You see, the master-servant relationship isn't one where the master suggests something and the servant chooses whether or not it's a good idea or not; it's one where the master mandates and the servant humbly trusts and obeys. Abraham well understood this, and he was greatly rewarded for it.
In the same way that Abraham just submitted to God and trusted Him to work out all the details, when we don't understand why God would want us to do something, we should still do it with all our devotion. When God tells us to be charitable even when we have not the funds, we should obey. When God tells us to go to an unknown or dangerous place, we should obey. When God tells us to spend time with Him even when we're exhausted from a hard day, we should obey. God doesn't promise to tell you why He wants something or even how He's going to provide you with the resources to do what He's calling you to do, but there is but one way to be fully happy in Jesus, that is to trust and obey. We serve not a God who leaves us up to our own means, but a God who provides for all that which He calls us to do.
Now, today's devotional isn't one of those "feel good and walk away happy" messages that makes the big bucks. This is one of those messages that people treat like it has some kind of disease. But if Jesus would proclaim this message with no regard for whether or not it would please people then I shall endeavor to do the same. With that disclosure, let's jump straight in:
[Jesus said,] "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even is own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple."
In America, what we typically describe as "following Jesus" is saying a prayer, signing a paper and starting to attend church. But we find no such thing here in what Jesus says. His message wasn't, "Realize that you're a sinner, apologize to God and accept me into your heart." His message was, "Following me will be pricey; it'll cost you everything; nothing else will cost you anywhere as much as this will." Jesus said that following Him was more than just "inviting Him to live in your heart;" it was submitting everything you have to Him in surrender. His message went so far as to say, "If your love for me doesn't make your love for all your closest relatives look like hatred in comparison, you can't follow me." He was up front with them; He didn't try to trick them into following Him; He gave full disclosure of the cost. But if that wasn't enough, He went even further to say, "Whoever does not bear his own cross [an instrument of torture] and come after me cannot be my disciple." That would be like Him saying, "Whoever does not take up his own guillotine and follow me can't be my disciple." That's not a soft message, and it certainly isn't the message America likes to hear.
You see, Jesus is saying here that if you want to follow Him, you have to give up everything. A good example of this would be some of His first disciples; He was walking past Peter and Andrew (who were fishermen) and told them to follow Him. They literally dropped everything they were in the middle of doing to follow Him; they left their family, their career and everything they had known to follow this man named Jesus. Now Jesus tells us the same thing; leave everything you know and follow me. He asks you to give up your everything. It's not rational, it's not logical, but it's what He's required. If we desire to be His disciples, He demands our all.
Now is where many will say, "Well, that's good and all, but it's not for me; that's for the 'super Christians.'" But this isn't for any such "super Christians;" this is what Jesus tells to anyone who wants to follow Him. Dietrich Bonhoeffer put it so well when he described Jesus' call: "When Christ calls on a man, He bids him come and die." That is the offer set before us today: an offer to come, die to ourselves and live in Him.
Now you have a decision set before you: Which do you want more, this world or God? You can't have both; you can have the world and lose your soul, or you can lose this world and gain the treasures of Christ. No longer let us stay somewhere in between dedication and insincerity! Let us make our decision this day who it is that we will serve.
Hi, my name is Pierce and I'm a born again reformed baptist. I finished my homeschooling and am currently taking seminary classes through Tyndale Bible College and am practicing my writing skills through these devotionals. I hope reading them blesses you as much as it blesses me to write them.