Hide And Go Seek

“…those that seek me early shall find me.”
Proverbs 8:17 KJV

As a child I recall endless times of playing the game “hide and go seek”. The game required nothing by way of props, and provided endless entertainment for us.

In the Christian’s pilgrimage from this life to heaven there can be occasions when it seems God has hidden Himself and mocks us by crying, “Come find Me.”

In Job 13:24 the poor man Job cries out to God in his agony, “Why do you hide your face from me and regard me as your enemy?” The man seems to sense that God has hidden Himself from His servant. Initially Job held on to his sense of God being with him, but as the sorrow escalated he stumbled and made this cry.

Indeed the Lord had drawn back His protective shield from the man. Job was feeling the malignant fury of hell for a moment. What could he do in such sorrow? What can we do when storms howl furiously around us and all seems lost? The Psalmist gives a clue as to what is possible in spite of the dreadful realities around the child of God. Psalm 42:8

“Why are you cast down my soul, why are you restless?
Hope in the Lord for His help will soon come.”

Even though our lives may be darkened by Satan’s storms, we should still look for God to intervene. We have the story of Job with which to comfort ourselves. Job spent months(?) in a pitiful state and totally lost his way spiritually. Yet in the end the Lord brought him through to glorious vindication.

Job was finally given justice for all the trauma that occurred against him through Satan and Job’s “comforters”. Job received double what he had before the assaults by Satan. God rebuked Job’s evil comforters and vindicated His servant before them all.

When we suffer unjustly, it is then that we may seek the Lord. When we think He may be playing hide and seek with us, bring the promise of today’s verse to Him in prayer and plead for its performance. Call out strongly and humbly urge the Lord to keep His covenant with you as He Himself has promised. He shall surely hear you. He is as good as His word. Come to Him and come now.

Evil Turned To Good

“Then Joseph said to his brothers,
‘Come close to me.’ When they had done so, he said,
‘I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt!
And now, do not be distressed
and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here,
because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.’”
Genesis 45:4-5 (NIV)

“You intended to harm me,
but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done,
the saving of many lives.”
Genesis 50:20 (NIV)

Joseph was a truly remarkable Old Testament person. He began life as a favoured son. However, the jealousy of his older brothers caused them to sell him into slavery in a foreign land. But Joseph demonstrated remarkable honesty, administration skills, and leadership qualities as a slave and finally became the CEO of the entire country of Egypt second only to Pharaoh himself!

Had the sovereign God not overruled the hatred of Joseph’s brothers his family would have possibly died during the seven year long famine. Even Joseph’s adoptive country of Egypt would have suffered greatly had Joseph not understood Pharaoh’s dreams that spoke of the coming seven years of great harvests followed by seven of severe famine.

Have you ever wondered when it was that Joseph came to the conclusion God meant his great suffering would turn for good? Was it during the time he was in the pit his brothers had thrown him in? Was it during the trek into Egypt as a slave that he decided this was going to be good? How about when he was thrown into prison because the wife of his owner lied about him and accused him of trying to seduce her? What about the years in the prison? Did he see good coming from evil then?

I think not. But Joseph did see signs of the Lord being with him because when he was sold as a slave to Potiphar he quickly became the head of Potiphar’s household. He came to know he was gifted and could make wise decisions in business. Then when thrown into prison the head of the prison soon realized Joseph was a very wise leader of the prisoners and gave Joseph charge of the prison. So again Joseph could see light at the end of the tunnel.

Finally when Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams he arrived at his full calling as Pharaoh’s second in command over the entire nation. Only then could he look back and fully know that the Lord was sovereignly bringing good from evil.

As you, my reader, look back on your past life and consider where you are right now, do you see any glimpse of the sovereign God in your life? Are you in a prison of sorts? Have you been abused by family like Joseph? Have you been lied about and treated as an evil person?

I cannot tell you that in this life you will enjoy prosperity and have the understanding that Joseph had in his latter days. But this I do know. You may have to enter heaven weeping but your loving heavenly Father shall greet you as you come into His eternal home. He shall wipe all those tears from your eyes, and you shall rejoice forevermore. Evil shall indeed be turned to good.

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people,
and he will dwell with them. They will be his people,
and God himself will be with them and be their God.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain,
for the old order of things has passed away.’”
Revelation 21:3-4 (NIV)

Our Sovereign God

“Is anything too hard for the Lord?”
Genesis 18:14 (NIV)

As a typical young boy, I thought my father was the wisest, strongest man in the world. Indeed, he was intellectually gifted and unusually strong from being a farmer the first 40 years of his life. As I grew up my love for my dad increased while I developed a more accurate view of his limitations.

Our verse for today asks a rhetorical question. Instead of saying, “Nothing is too hard for our God.”, the writer poses a question that can only have one answer, an emphatic “No!” This way of writing helps reinforce the point the writer makes.

This truth is both wonderful and mysterious. First, this truth brings great comfort as we see how broken and chaotic our world really is. To quote William Cowper as he speaks of God’s sovereignty:

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sov’reign will.

While we may be encouraged that creation has not overcome the resources of our great God, the mere fact of chaos in a sovereign God’s world is indeed “mysterious” as Cowper puts it.

While we may not understand some of the Lord’s ways, we have confidence in Him as we look at how the Father sacrificed His beloved Son in Whom He was well pleased for us. This is why John 3:16 puts emphasis on the fact God SO loved the world, He loved the world in such a profound manner that He went to this great, and costly extent of sacrificing His beloved Son for us.

Isaac Watts put it so vividly:

See, from his head, his hands, his feet,
sorrow and love flow mingled down.
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
or thorns compose so rich a crown?

No sacrifice, no suffering, no pain, has ever come close to that our Lord endured out of love for His people.

When you grow weary by looking at your problems, turn and see the cross in all its glory and be resolved to move forward in the strength of the Lord. Come to the cross, look and learn, then you shall be more than conquerors through Him Who loved us and gave Himself for us.

Thinking God’s Thoughts

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways,
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV

As a new Christian I read a book by a brilliant mathematician whose sole purpose in his book was to remove from the reader’s mindset any belief in a God. I recall being swayed for a time by his arguments—but then it occurred to me that when speaking about God, I need a great deal of humility.

What the brilliant man lacked was a realization that if there were a God He would be so much greater than humans that they could never think His thoughts after Him.

How could mere dust on the face of creation fathom the Eternal One? A slug might better understand Albert Einstein than a human comprehend the infinite God.

I am not suggesting we leave our minds outside the church building when entering for worship and praise. Not at all. But this matter of God being so incredibly greater than us argues strongly for the need of the Bible to reveal the Lord to us.

We may learn much about the wisdom and power of the Creator by studying the universe around us. I spend all my time for recreational reading going through science magazines to learn more about the complexity and intricacy of the world we live in and enjoy so much.

We all should marvel at the beauties of flowers, sunsets, and other amazing aspects of our world.

Where we get ourselves into trouble is when we think we can stand in judgment on God for how He runs certain aspects of our personal lives.

We may complain that we live in relative poverty compared to others. We are rebellious at our poor health compared to others. We may wish we had a better family to enjoy, and on and on the complaints go. We can be very dissatisfied with how the Lord has positioned us in life.

Having such feelings ignores all the promises in Scripture concerning the adequacy of God’s grace.

For those who submit to the difficult providence of the Lord, there are exceedingly great and precious promises to take hold of and use to comfort and fortify ourselves in our situations in life.

However, Satan, the world, and the flesh all argue “Not fair!” when we try to understand God’s way with us as individuals.

Today let us seek humility when we do not understand the Lord, and come to Him for the needed and abundant grace He waits to give us. Come to Him and come today.

Waiting

“…though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come…”
Habakkuk 2:3 KJV

I recall reading in the autobiography of George Muller how he had prayed for something for a number of years.

At the time of writing his life story he had not received what he sought from the Lord. Muller did not seem to mind the fact that the Lord had withheld the wanted thing. He felt it was necessary on his part to keep on praying until the answer came.

When the Holy Spirit places a prayer on our hearts—and we can support the desired thing by promises from Scripture—we should persist in prayer until the Lord responds.

We should examine our impression of the Holy Spirit prompting a certain prayer with Scripture support. Too often we can mistake our own fleshly desires for a Spirit led prayer.

Prayer needs to be bold and focused as we come before the Lord to worship, praise, and make our needs known. Always seek Scripture promises to fortify your petitions just as you use Scripture to stimulate worship and praise. All of our approaches to the Lord are strengthened through the proper use of the Bible.

Since the Scriptures are Spirit breathed, we will find the Holy Spirit using Scripture to guide our thoughts and emotions as we present ourselves to the Lord in prayer.

Impatient spirits can be chased away when we use a verse such as we have for today. Habakkuk was in dreadful circumstances and they were getting worse. It seemed as though his entire world was collapsing. Hence this precious promise to wait for the Lord to act as He surely would.

By the time Habakkuk and the Lord finished this time of prayer, Habakkuk could say,  

Although the fig tree shall not blossom,
neither shall fruit be in the vines;
the labour of the olive shall fail,
and the fields shall yield no meat;
the flock shall be cut off from the fold,
and there shall be no herd in the stalls:
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength,
and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet,
and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.”
Habakkuk 3:17-19 KJV

Can you hear the Lord speaking to you with today’s verse? He speaks, come and listen to Him.

“…though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come…”
Habakkuk 2:3 KJV

It is His desire to have you learn to trust Him just as Habakkuk did. Come to Him and come now.