For April 23, 2019
The family had no alternative but to leave their dwelling. But where? With limited financial resources, and no friends or family in the surrounding area, living accommodations for the immediate future looked bleak and the situation impossible. Yet God, who is rich in mercy, provided the assistance they needed to sustain them.
The family turned to the Lord for assistance. After fasting and prayer, the Lord provided their breakthrough and told them: “(I got this; don’t worry. I will perform a miracle that will arrange accommodations for you this very evening. Be at peace and) Enjoy your evening!”
In Psalm 23 (NIV), we read of God’s providence as our Shepherd:
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
In 2 Kings 18 and 19, we read how the Assyrian king Sennacherib, after having conquered the Northern Kingdom, Israel threatened to conquer the Southern Kingdom, Judah. In his insulting letter to King Hezekiah, he ridiculed God’s Chosen People for their faith in the Covenant God (Yahweh).
People living in Judah around the capital city of Jerusalem heard the translators’ condemning tone: “Do not listen to Hezekiah, for he is misleading you when he says, ‘The Lord will deliver us.’ Has the god of any nation ever delivered his land from the hand of the king of Assyria?” 2 Kings 18:32-33 (NIV)
The Bible says that King Hezekiah read the blasphemous letter. Then he took it to Solomon’s Temple where he “spread it before the Lord” and prayed. (2 Kings 18:14-15ff)
After the Lord intervened—that same evening, 185,000 Assyrian soldiers lay dead, and Sennacherib retreated to Nineveh in disgrace.
In John 10, Jesus describes Himself as the Good Shepherd who loves and cares for His sheep, even to the point of giving His life for them (at Calvary’s cross). Isn’t it wonderful to know that the Lord cares for us, and that He wants the best for us in every situation we face?
Once we accept His gift of grace (or the forgiveness of sin and the gift of eternal life) by directing our faith away from our human efforts to please God though “good works,” and direct our faith towards the perfect works He performed through His vicarious death and resurrection, we become His children—forever!
It is amazing how it is so difficult for us to trust the Lord completely when He proves Himself faithful repeatedly. Instead of trusting Him, we tend to rely on those things that will invariably fail us, just as Jeremiah 17:5-8 (NLT) teaches:
This is what the LORD says: “Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the LORD. They are like stunted shrubs in the desert, with no hope for the future. They will live in the barren wilderness, in an uninhabited salty land. But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.”
The Lord is our Good Shepherd who supplies all our needs, and as the Psalmist declares, we lack nothing. Thus, our life on earth from this day forward can be described as one filled with God’s goodness and mercy as we “enjoy the evening.” What a wonderful Savior!