in Hope

The Lord is my defender!

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Micah 7:7 - As for me, I look to the Lord for help.

For just over two years, my husband and I have been praying that God would answer a specific need we have, which originated out of a bad choice we made. Throughout that time, we have gone through almost every range of emotion possible, including grief, anger, and fear.  We have worked hard to take our concerns and worries together and separately to the Lord, knowing that venting on one another will do no good. We have lamented together when we were disheartened and dug in and encouraged each other when struggling. And to that end, we have had days that were full of faith, where, even without answers, we felt the peace of God.

In short, we have definitely been in a long season of looking to the Lord for help, and now, as I see what is happening outside the walls of my home, looking to the Lord for help is further amplified. Is there chaos everywhere, Lord?

In the book of Micah, the prophet begins by warning Israel. They have judgment coming through the armies of Assyria and Babylon because their leaders and prophets have become corrupt through theft and greed. We see that God wont let that sort of corruption stand, and although not permanent, He will enact judgement. However, because of his character and His promises to His people, he brings about hope.

This final passage we read in Micah is a personification; a suffering, defeated individual - hopeless. And the brilliance of employing this writing mechanism in Gods Word is that a passage in the Old Testament can manage to feel so personal.  

Gods character is on the line here. If we repent, will He save us? If we call on Him, will He hear us?

I dont know about you, but I think those things.

I have often felt the hopelessness of a sinful moment or disappointing decision. I have had to live in the natural consequences of a bad choice. When I chose to do something that is in direct opposition to what Gods Word says, I can expect to see the rotten repercussions of that. When I say something I shouldnt, I hurt the receiver of those words. When I make a terrible financial decision, I bring stress to my family.

Yet the Bible tells me all is not lost! The Lord is the same as He is today. He doesnt hold me in that sin. No! The people of Israel had been in rebellion for over 500 years at this point- theft! Greed! Yet God reminds that He will take up their case (v. 9) and that just like the Israelites, He will “Bring me into the light”— that light is Jesus. (v. 8&9)

That is who God IS! His promises are true, and He is faithful when we are not. Dear sisters, “For though you fall, you will rise again.” (v. 8) Through Jesus, your Lord, repentance brings the peace of God back to your heart. It is there you will find your hope.

What about you? Is your heart echoing the above, “I look to the Lord for help,” (v. 7)  or are you more skeptical: “So where is the Lord- that God of yours?”  (v. 10) Do you need help from Him? Or are you angry that God would ask you to obey in a specific part of your life— that He would ask you to submit to something hard? Perhaps you are just struggling to hear Him at all?

Ive been all of those. In my lowest moments, Ive said, “You dont care about me, Lord! Youve left us! We made a mistake, and you are going to punish us forever!”

Yet here we see in Micah that God is not like that.

He is going to take up my case. He will fight for me. And then, the faithless will see Him in us.

Troubling things are erupting daily in our nation and in us. Our sin can be overwhelming. Draw on His character throughout time to remind yourself that God brings judgment that he might bring hope. Ask Him to remind you of that hope that we have the forever promises of a God who can be trusted.

As for me, I look to the Lord for help.
I wait confidently for God to save me,
And my God will certainly hear me.
 
Do not gloat over me, my enemies!
For though I fall I will rise again.
Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.
 
I will be patient as the Lord punishes me,
For I have sinned against Him.
But after that, He will take up my case
and give me justice for I have suffered from my enemies.
 
The Lord will bring me into the light,
And I will see His righteousness.
 
Then my enemies will see that the Lord is on my side
They will be ashamed that they taunted me, saying,
So where is the Lord- that God of yours?”
 
With my own eyes I will see their downfall;
They will be trampled like mud in the streets.

Micah 7:7-10

 

Sarah Elmer

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In A World of Uncertainty, We Have Assurance in Christ

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“In peace I will both lie down and sleep, For you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. Brothers pray for us.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-25)

In reading these two passages of scripture in my quiet time, it dawned on me that, through God’s grace, He is my assurance and my certainty in times when things are not. This is something I know, but for some reason, I need the reminder because I let stress and anxiety overshadow that fact.

Now, please read all of Psalm 4 to really appreciate that statement, especially verses 6 and 7. Go ahead … I will wait …  Now that you have read Psalm 4, do you understand? 

In the Psalms, David tells us not to sin if we get angry but to ponder the things in our hearts, offer the right sacrifices, put our trust in the Lord, and lastly to sleep and dwell in safety.  When we read 1 Thessalonians we read commands - commands to rejoice always, pray all the time, give thanks in all things, avoid stress and strife, not to despise, to test all things, hold on to what is good, and stay away from evil. The Lord calls us to be faithful and blameless. 

How do these two passages bring us assurances in Christ and tie together? In 1 Thessalonians 5:24, we see that God is faithful. We see this in Psalms 4 as well, which is why David was able to sleep and dwell in safety. David knew where his safety came from. He knew who he could count on, even though he had lots of reasons to be fearful. David – who ran from enemies, lived in caves at times, and made massive mistakes – knew who to turn to for forgiveness, for help, for security, and for safety. The Lord was faithful to David each time, too. Just like we see in 1 Thessalonians. We have hope because we have a Lord who is one of hope and truth, who is holy and sovereign, and full of grace and love. He just asks that we come to Him in faith, repent of our sins, and walk-in obedience with Him. He desires us to have a relationship with Him and to be close to Him. In this time of uncertainty, are you clinging to Christ the King? Are you walking close to our Lord and Savior? 

Things are hard right now. They are scary, unnerving, and even frustrating; but we serve and love a Lord who never changes, never gives up, and who knows what tomorrow holds. The Lord who created our universe created you and desires you to come to Him in right sacrifice, by confessing your sins and walking with Him. 

How are you dealing with those feelings and those things? Are you getting angry or are you going to you Lord and seeking His face in all of this? Are you seeking His will?  Most importantly, are you asking Him what He wants you to learn or know in what is going on?  What is the Lord teaching you in this time or asking you to do? 

If you are seeking ways to grow closer to Christ, reach out to someone you look up to who can show you the right ways to read your Bible and pray. If you do not have such a person in your life, reach out to the church or women’s ministry to help you find someone so that you may be discipled as Christ commanded us to go and do (Matthew 28:16-20). There is nothing sweeter than spending time with the Lord, and the more you do, the more you will dwell in His safety and peace – even if the world around you is not.

Meaghan Hart

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