Ever heard the song “Looking for love in all the wrong places, Looking for love in so many faces, Searchin’ their eyes, Lookin’ for traces of what I’m dreaming of, Hoping to find a friend and lover, I’ll bless the day I discover, Another heart lookin’ for love”.
When I thought of the topic of trust the parallels to love came to mind and so did that song. Who can you trust? Where are you looking? Who are you looking to? What will it take? Where will you find it?
One other thing that always amazes me when I think back to lyrics from songs of days gone by are what if I consider the song to be to God rather than a person? How would that transform the meaning and the depth of the song? There are many where they become more powerful and there are others that well they just seem to be very negative.
Trust…Who can you find confidence · belief · faith · certainty · assurance · conviction · credence · reliance in? Do you have someone that you can trust? who you know loves you? who believes in you? who you trust? and who you have confidence in? As we see in the list of synonyms, faith is in the list! Faith … Trust … Love … they are so intermingled and so connected! To have faith you have to trust and believe and love! To trust you have to have faith and belief and love! One piece though that can transform every other relationship is when we have faith in God! With God we can find a way to love others unconditionally! With God we can find a way when there wasn’t a way before! With God all things are possible!
So to really get set in motion and to really be setup for the future, we need to put our trust in God!
Day 32: Bible In One Year 2017 - You Can Trust God Devotional, Proverbs 3:21-35, Matthew 21:18-32, Job 22, Job 23, Job 24
Be confident in the Lord … Proverbs 3:21-35
21My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight,preserve sound judgment and discretion; 22they will be life for you,an ornament to grace your neck. 23Then you will go on your way in safety,and your foot will not stumble. 24When you lie down, you will not be afraid;when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. 25Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, 26for the Lord will be at your side and will keep your foot from being snared. 27Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,when it is in your power to act. 28Do not say to your neighbor,“Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”—when you already have it with you. 29Do not plot harm against your neighbor,who lives trustfully near you. 30Do not accuse anyone for no reason—when they have done you no harm. 31Do not envy the violent or choose any of their ways. 32For the Lord detests the perverse but takes the upright into his confidence. 33The Lord’s curse is on the house of the wicked,but he blesses the home of the righteous. 34He mocks proud mockers but shows favor to the humble and oppressed. 35The wise inherit honor,but fools get only shame.
–from Proverbs 3
Where does your confidence come from? What give you the confidence to do what you need to do each day? It is good to be confident! Will your confidence last? Is what you are trusting in something that will last the test of time? It will if your confidence comes from God! “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Sure you could be confident because of what you have, but will that be enough. Sure you could be confident because of the education or training you have received, but will that be enough. Sure you could be confident because of what you do or your abilities, but will that be enough. Will any of these last the test of time? Will any of them fade as you age? We can take hold in what David says in today’s proverb as well as what Joshua said as he prepared the nation to move into the promised land when he said:
14 “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” — from Joshua 24
Consider how God has been and is and will be forever! Consider the false gods and how empty their promises are. Take hold of the truth and find confidence in God! Let’s stand with Joshua who first claims it for himself and then for his household and let’s say “as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” That’s right let’s not just say it over our household but let’s start with ourselves! Then let’s bring our household on the journey of faith, hope, love, and trust in God with us! We are all looking for a person who we can trust! God isn’t out there somewhere, He is a person – He is Father! He is Son! He is Holy Spirit! As today’s reading tells we can have a confident trust in God!
Then you will go on your way in safety,and your foot will not stumble. Prov 3:23
the Lord will be at your side and will keep your foot from being snared. Prov 3:26
Today’s devotional speaks to the confident trust of God this way:
The fool is ‘self-confident’ (v.35, AMP). But those who are confident in the Lord are wise: ‘Preserve sound judgment and discretion; they will be life for you’ (v.21). Wisdom, good judgment and discernment come from walking closely with God.
Success at work, wealth and fame are of little value if you do not have peace. Peace comes from a right relationship with God. There is no pillow as soft as a clear conscience: ‘When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Have no fear of sudden disaster’ (vv.24–25a). Whatever happens, you need not fear, you can trust that God is with you and in control.
‘Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God’s hand for that person’ (v.27, MSG). Take every opportunity to do good; if you have the ability to help someone, do not delay (v.28).
‘Do not contrive or dig up or cultivate evil against your neighbour, who dwells trustingly and confidently beside you’ (v.29, AMP). Trust in God leads to a love for your neighbour.
‘The Lord… takes the upright into his confidence’ (v.32). When the Lord is our confidence, he takes us into his confidence. This is a wonderful image of what intimacy with God looks like: ‘His confidential communion and secret counsel’ (v.32a, AMP).
God ‘gives grace to the humble’ (v.34b). If your confidence comes from trusting the Lord you will have no cause for pride. God promises to give you grace, blessing and honour (vv.33–35).
Believe in Jesus … Matthew 21:18-32
18Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. 19Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered. 20When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked. 21Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” 23Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?” 24Jesus replied, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 25John’s baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?” They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 26But if we say, ‘Of human origin’—we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.” 27So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”Then he said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 28 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ 29 “ ‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. 30 “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go. 31 “Which of the two did what his father wanted?”“The first,” they answered.Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.
–from Matthew 21
Did you hear the answer Jesus gave the disciples when they asked how the tree could wither so quickly? He said “if you have faith and do not doubt” so if you will trust God with all of your heart, all of your mind, all of your soul, and all of your strength, “not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.” Jesus add one last statement to this explanation “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
So will you believe? Will you trust Jesus? Will you allow your love of God to make a way when there doesn’t seem to be a way? Will you trust in God rather than trying to lean on your own understanding? Will you acknowledge Him in all your ways because you trust Him?
Today’s devotional pulls this together in the following way:
Feed your faith and your doubts will starve to death
Jesus says, ‘If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer’ (v.22). ‘If you embrace this kingdom life and don’t doubt God, you’ll not only do minor feats like I did to the fig tree, but also triumph over huge obstacles… Absolutely everything, ranging from small to large, as you make it a part of your believing prayer, gets included as you lay hold of God’ (vv.21–22, MSG).
Try it today. Ask, believe, then trust God.
Demonstrate your faith by your actions
The fig tree does not do what it is supposed to do – bear fruit (vv.18–20). The second son in the parable does not do what he is supposed to do – obey his father’s instructions (vv.28–31). Similarly, the religious leaders do not do what they are supposed to do – believe in Jesus.
Rather than put their faith in Jesus, they question Jesus’ authority and ask him, ‘By what authority are you doing these things? … And who gave you this authority?’ (v.23). Jesus answers with a question about the origin of John’s baptism, which shows that the religious leaders have also failed to trust John the Baptist. They discuss between themselves, ‘If we say, “From heaven”, he will ask, “Then why didn’t you believe him?”’ (v.25).
The religious leaders’ faith is all about ideas and discussions, and so they miss the person that faith is all about: Jesus.
Enter the kingdom of God by faith
Jesus contrasts the religious leaders who do not believe with the tax collectors and prostitutes who ‘repent and believe’ (v.32).
The tax collectors and prostitutes were seen as the lowest of the low (‘crooks and whores’, v.32, MSG), and yet Jesus said that because many of them had believed in him, they were entering the kingdom of God first.
I have noticed how often seemingly ‘upright’ people seem uninterested in Jesus. They simply do not see any need. On the other hand, I have often been astonished by the openness and spiritual hunger of those in prison and ex-offenders. It is through going into the prisons that I have realised why Jesus loved to spend his time with the marginalised. They are the ones who are often most responsive to Jesus.
It is hugely encouraging to know that even if the past has been full of wrongdoing, nothing you have thought or said or done puts you beyond the reach of entering the kingdom of God. No one is beyond hope. Like the first son in the parable, all that is needed is a change of heart and mind and to do what the father says (v.29). Only repent and believe in Jesus.
Keep trusting when tested … Job 22:1-24:25
Remember how Jesus warned us that in this world we will have troubles, but to not lose hope because He has overcome the world? Remember how Jesus told us to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds? Today’s reading from Job speaks to this as well by telling us to keep trusting in God while we are being tested! You know how the teacher is silent when the student is taking the test? Don’t mistake silence for absence! He will never leave you nor abandon you! We may not understand it all but that doesn’t mean we should stop trusting in God! We may not have all the answers and may even get to heaven with some questions for God but that doesn’t mean we should stop trusting God! Jesus is the answer!
In today’s reading from Job we see the contrast again between Job and his friends! In today’s reading from Job we see how Job even though he didn’t have all the answers continued to trust in God!
Before we jump into the text from Job, let’s consider what today’s devotional shares with us
Job learnt to trust God even though he did not understand what was going on in his life. Faith involves trusting God even when you don’t have all the answers.
Faith is often tested when we go through difficult times. Once again, in this passage we see the striking contrast between Job and his friends. Eliphaz’s speech is full of false insinuation. It must have been so galling for Job to be falsely accused in this way. Eliphaz falsely accused him of mistreating the poor, the hungry and widows. He said, ‘That is why’ (22:10) Job was suffering. Nothing could have been further from the truth.
Eliphaz’s theology was simplistic and defective: ‘Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you’ (v.21). But life is more complex than that.
By contrast, Job was struggling with the real world of often inexplicable, innocent suffering. Yet he was full of faith in the midst of ‘groaning’ (23:2). Everything had gone wrong in Job’s life. God seemed miles away (‘If only I knew where to find him’, v.3a).
As Joyce Meyer writes, ‘If you are in a place right now where nothing in your life makes sense, trust God anyway. Say to yourself, “This must be a test”.’
Job said, ‘When he has tested me, I shall come forth as gold’ (v.10b). Gold was refined and tested by heating it and skimming off the dross over and over again until the reflection of the goldsmith could be seen in it. In the midst of his terrible suffering, Job trusted that God would use it all for good and he would emerge purer and holier. Somehow he managed to cling on to God:
‘My feet have closely followed his steps;
I have kept to his way without turning aside.
I have not departed from the commands of his lips;
I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread’ (vv.11–12).
As we look at Job’s life we see that strength grows through struggles, courage develops in challenges and wisdom matures from wounds. When God tested Job his faith emerged as pure gold.
So with all of this in mind, let’s take a read through today’s reading from Job…
Eliphaz1Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied:2“Can a man be of benefit to God? Can even a wise person benefit him? 3What pleasure would it give the Almighty if you were righteous? What would he gain if your ways were blameless?4“Is it for your piety that he rebukes you and brings charges against you? 5Is not your wickedness great? Are not your sins endless? 6You demanded security from your relatives for no reason; you stripped people of their clothing, leaving them naked. 7You gave no water to the weary and you withheld food from the hungry,8though you were a powerful man, owning land—an honored man, living on it. 9And you sent widows away empty-handed and broke the strength of the fatherless. 10That is why snares are all around you, why sudden peril terrifies you, 11why it is so dark you cannot see, and why a flood of water covers you.12“Is not God in the heights of heaven? And see how lofty are the highest stars! 13Yet you say, ‘What does God know? Does he judge through such darkness? 14Thick clouds veil him, so he does not see us as he goes about in the vaulted heavens.’ 15Will you keep to the old path that the wicked have trod? 16They were carried off before their time, their foundations washed away by a flood. 17They said to God, ‘Leave us alone! What can the Almighty do to us?’ 18Yet it was he who filled their houses with good things, so I stand aloof from the plans of the wicked. 19The righteous see their ruin and rejoice; the innocent mock them, saying, 20‘Surely our foes are destroyed, and fire devours their wealth.’21“Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you. 22Accept instruction from his mouth and lay up his words in your heart. 23If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored: If you remove wickedness far from your tent 24and assign your nuggets to the dust, your gold of Ophir to the rocks in the ravines, 25then the Almighty will be your gold, the choicest silver for you. 26Surely then you will find delight in the Almighty and will lift up your face to God. 27You will pray to him, and he will hear you, and you will fulfill your vows. 28What you decide on will be done, and light will shine on your ways. 29When people are brought low and you say, ‘Lift them up!’ then he will save the downcast. 30He will deliver even one who is not innocent, who will be delivered through the cleanness of your hands.”–Job 22
Job1Then Job replied: 2“Even today my complaint is bitter; his hand is heavy in spite of my groaning. 3If only I knew where to find him; if only I could go to his dwelling! 4I would state my case before him and fill my mouth with arguments. 5I would find out what he would answer me, and consider what he would say to me. 6Would he vigorously oppose me? No, he would not press charges against me. 7There the upright can establish their innocence before him, and there I would be delivered forever from my judge. 8“But if I go to the east, he is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find him. 9When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him. 10But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. 11My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside. 12I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread. 13“But he stands alone, and who can oppose him? He does whatever he pleases. 14He carries out his decree against me, and many such plans he still has in store. 15That is why I am terrified before him; when I think of all this, I fear him. 16God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me. 17Yet I am not silenced by the darkness, by the thick darkness that covers my face.1“Why does the Almighty not set times for judgment? Why must those who know him look in vain for such days? 2There are those who move boundary stones; they pasture flocks they have stolen. 3They drive away the orphan’s donkey and take the widow’s ox in pledge. 4They thrust the needy from the path and force all the poor of the land into hiding. 5Like wild donkeys in the desert, the poor go about their labor of foraging food; the wasteland provides food for their children. 6They gather fodder in the fields
and glean in the vineyards of the wicked. 7Lacking clothes, they spend the night naked; they have nothing to cover themselves in the cold. 8They are drenched by mountain rains and hug the rocks for lack of shelter. 9The fatherless child is snatched from the breast; the infant of the poor is seized for a debt. 10Lacking clothes, they go about naked; they carry the sheaves, but still go hungry. 11They crush olives among the terraces; they tread the winepresses, yet suffer thirst. 12The groans of the dying rise from the city, and the souls of the wounded cry out for help. But God charges no one with wrongdoing. 13“There are those who rebel against the light, who do not know its ways or stay in its paths. 14When daylight is gone, the murderer rises up,
kills the poor and needy, and in the night steals forth like a thief. 15The eye of the adulterer watches for dusk; he thinks, ‘No eye will see me,’ and he keeps his face concealed. 16In the dark, thieves break into houses, but by day they shut themselves in; they want nothing to do with the light. 17For all of them, midnight is their morning; they make friends with the terrors of darkness. 18“Yet they are foam on the surface of the water; their portion of the land is cursed, so that no one goes to the vineyards. 19As heat and drought snatch away the melted snow, so the grave snatches away those who have sinned. 20The womb forgets them, the worm feasts on them; the wicked are no longer remembered but are broken like a tree. 21They prey on the barren and childless woman, and to the widow they show no kindness. 22But God drags away the mighty by his power; though they become established, they have no assurance of life. 23He may let them rest in a feeling of security, but his eyes are on their ways. 24For a little while they are exalted, and then they are gone; they are brought low and gathered up like all others; they are cut off like heads of grain. 25“If this is not so, who can prove me false and reduce my words to nothing?”
So let’s be how it is supposed to be! Let it be in God we trust!