Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Certainty in Uncertain Times

The times in which we live are very uncertain. There is instability in the economy, there is instability in relations between countries, and there is a general sense that much of what we know and enjoy may not last very long. Our culture is being eroded by immorality. Our government is seemingly trying to solve problems by doing more of what caused those problems. Terrorism and other forms of violence are running rampant. War seems more and more likely in many places.

In the time of the Judges, God’s people experienced circumstances that make our situation today seem somewhat mild. Throughout the book of Judges, the Israelites went through cycles of turning away from God after a time of peace, with war, oppression, and hardship as a result. God would send a deliverer, there would be repentance, faith, and victory resulting in peace. The cycle would then begin all over again.

When Israel again turned away from God after forty years of peace, they were attacked by the neighboring Midianites and others. Their situation was quite desperate. “So Israel was brought very low because of Midian, and the sons of Israel cried to the LORD” (Judges 6:6, NASB). God chose Gideon to free the people of Israel.
After much doubt by Gideon about God’s plan, he finally realized that God could use him according to His will. He then raised an army of 32,000 soldiers, but the Lord cut this army down to 300 men. From this the people of Israel saw that God did not need their strength in order to win the victory. At the time selected by the Lord, Gideon and his 300 men lit torches, blew trumpets and shouted "A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!" (Judges 7:20, NASB). Gideon’s army did not even have to fight. The enemy panicked, and the Lord caused the enemy troops to begin fighting and killing each other. The victory was complete, and there was another forty years of peace.

Just as God gave victory to Israel during uncertain times, we can trust Him in the times in which we live. As we see the economy and other factors eroding the size of many Christian schools, and Baptist Christian is no exception, we can trust in Him to take care of the situation according to His will. “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him” (1 John 5:14-15, NASB). In view of this, we need to remember three things.

First of all, we need to remember that God's will in all situations is of far greater significance than our own will. Often we cannot see the final outcome, but we can be certain that He knows the end of all things. We can rest confidently in the certainty that He works all things out for our ultimate good, even when the present course of events would, humanly speaking, seem to say otherwise. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28, NASB).

Second, we need to remember that our confidence is not in the economy, not in elections, not in the government, not in our own wisdom, but in the Lord. He has always taken care of the school through the years, and he has met all of the financial needs through a variety of means. He has also been very faithful to parents who desire Christian education for their children and who look to Him to supply their needs. Even if something like a voucher plan, which many see as an answer for struggling Christian parents, eventually passes, it would be a deadly mistake to take our eyes off the Lord as the source of our provision and strength. “Now I know that the LORD saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand. Some boast in chariots and some in horses, but we will boast in the name of the LORD, our God. They have bowed down and fallen, but we have risen and stood upright.” (Psalm 20:6-8, NASB).

Finally, we need to remember that there are very few things which really last and are truly secure. There is nothing which is totally secure as it concerns temporal things. Our salvation is a great certainty. Nothing anyone can do will ever defeat God's purpose or His ability to keep His people saved. "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand" (John 10:27-29, NASB). While we must continue to stand for those things which, by conviction, we believe to be right, we must remember that our security is in the Lord.

God gave great victory to Gideon and the people of Israel when it became obvious that only He could do so. Gideon had to totally trust the Lord, because his army was small and his own wisdom was limited. He can likewise give us victory as we place our trust fully in Him.

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