So, I got a two-fold lesson during my readings this morning. And I'm going to have to be quick about this because the girls and I have a breakfast date in less than an hour. But writing is remembering for me; so, I jot quickly.
I have read this passage numerous times:
"If you had responded to my rebuke, I would have poured out my heart to you and made my thoughts known to you. But since you rejected me...I in turn will laugh at your disaster; I will mock when calamity overtakes you..." (1:23-26).
And I have interpreted it thus:
Because I haven't listened to a particular instruction God has given me, I am unforgiven, unforgivable, and basically stuck in this pit of "disaster and calamity."
But today God helped me see a lie I have been believing, as I read on...
"...but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm" (1:33).
Whoever listens. Whenever we listen. If we listen, these are the promises.
So maybe I haven't listened in the past. Maybe you haven't either. But we can listen today. We can gain peace for today. We can be at ease today. We do not need to fear that we will live in this pit forever. We can be out today.
Do not listen = disaster and calamity, distress and trouble
Listen = safety, ease, and no fear
What exactly have I been rejecting? 1) The power of His Word. The truth that the Word alone has the power to keep me out of the pit. 2) The power of praise. The truth that my willingness to focus on God and his blessings (whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy), rather than my trials will bring joy and strength.
Then, I grabbed up Oswald Chambers' My Utmost for His Highest and read April 14. (So, I'm a little behind.) Here is what Chambers says:
"'Whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth.' How petty our complaining is! Our Lord begins to bring us into the place where we can have communion with Him, and we groan and say--'O Lord, let me be like other people.'''
[Boy, have I said this!]
He continues, "Jesus is asking us to take one end of the yoke--'My yoke is easy, get alongside Me nad we will pull together,' Are you identified with the Lord Jesus like that? If so, you will thank God for the pressure of His hand.
"'To them that have no might He increaseth strength.' God comes and takes us our of our sentimentality [that is so me!], and our complaining [yep, me] turns into a paean of praise. The only way to know the strength of God is to take the yoke of Jesus upon us and learn of Him. [The power of the Word.]
"'The joy of the Lord is your strength.' Where do the saints get their joy from? If we did not know some saints, we would say--'Oh, he, or she, has nothing to bear.' Lift the veil. The fact that the peace and the light and the joy of God are there is proof that the burden is there too. The burden God places squeezes the grapes and out comes the wine;most of us see the wine only. No power on earth or in hell can conquer the Spirit of God in a human spirit, it is an inner unconquerableness.
"If you have the whine in you, kick it out ruthlessly. It is a positive crime to be weak in God's strength."
Wow. God's strength is available today. If I listen, believe, and refuse to whine in my circumstances.
So, here's what I concluded:
When Satan presses me with his lies with the intent to crush me, I can let him drive me to the pit or I can dig deeper into the rich soils of God's Word.
When God presses the grapes of my circumstances, out comes the wine or the whine. Which will I allow to burst forth today?
Satan presses = be crushed or dig on down into God's Word
God presses = whine or let Him bring forth the wine
Today I'm going to dig deep, offer praise, and let God make wine of life's bitterest grapes. Because I am clinging to this: What Satan intends for evil, God will use for good!