“Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the Lord your God which teaches you to profit, which leads you by the way that you should go.”
Yesterday (Sun., 3/21) I kept an eye on the news throughout the day in order to stay on top of the health care vote in Washington. When I finally headed to bed the House was still in debate over whether to pass the Senate bill and send it to the President’s desk. I had been praying for several days, but my prayers for a miracle intensified on Sunday as it appeared the bill would go through.
Sleep didn’t come easy last night as I found myself waking every thirty minutes or so, wondering of the outcome. And each time I awoke I said a prayer of deliverance. Needless to say, when I checked my websites this morning I was hit with the news that the government takeover of health care is now a reality.
If you are a born-again, conservative, and freedom-loving man as I am you might, like me, find very little to be joyful over today. I know…as a pastor I’m not supposed to think this way; I’m supposed to always encourage, exhort, and point people to the bright side of things. And I will do that in just a moment. But as a teacher of the Word it is incumbent upon me to also speak the truth of why this has happened.
In the book of I Sam. we can read of how the Israelites were fed up with Samuel’s sons because they were abusing the priesthood and living lives not suitable of their position. To make things worse, Samuel and his sons succeeded Eli and his two sons, Hophni and Phineas, who were equally corrupt. The people were fed up with priests and prophets who robbed them, lived dishonestly, and so on.
What did they do? They asked for a king. If you want to read all the details by the way, check out I Sam. 8. The people asked for a king and Samuel responded by telling them what kind of man they would have for their king. The picture isn’t a pretty one.
Dear readers, we Christians have played the part of Hophni, Phineas, and the sons of Samuel. Our pastors and teachers have played the part of the reluctant Eli who refused to reign in his rebellious sons year after miserable year. As a result, the American people have rejected the Christian traditions our great country was built on and have said in essence, “Give us a king, that we might be like the rest of the world!”
We have indeed been given our king – in striking similarity to what Samuel prophesied in chapter 8. We have been given a government which is no longer “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” Instead it is now of itself, by itself, and for itself. Like King Saul used Israel as a tool for his own self-interest and gain, so too Washington has turned on us and made us just a pawn in their own lust for power.
Church of Christ…we have only ourselves to blame. Please stop and consider this before you continue reading. We have caused this. It cannot be fixed until we start dealing with reality and get right with God.
But now, on to the encouragement.
Regardless of all that has happened, and will happen in the future, God Almighty is still on his throne and still rules over the affairs of men. Those of us who are born-again believers are in the unique position of being able to access God and find strength, protection, and profit in Him. Isaiah says as much in today’s text – remember, he said it to a people destined for the Assyrian and Babylonian Invasions. Surely if God can teach Old Testament Israel to profit and lead her by the way she should go, he can do the same for us. And he will if we will get with his program.
As individual Christians we all have the opportunity to repent and seek and serve the Lord with our whole heart, mind, soul, and strength. None of us has to give in to the temptations and seductions of the world around us; none of us has to live for the earthly king we have asked for. Any Christian believer whose heart and mind are set firmly on the Lord will find himself lead in the way and profited in Christ Jesus. Oh, we may have to suffer to some degree with the rest of the nation, but our God will not let us starve. He will not allow us to face anything we have not the strength to endure and in those areas where strength is lacking, he will either increase our strength or protect us from the circumstances. In all of it he teaches us to profit.
We profit not in the sense of money in the bank account mind you, we profit in the sense that we draw ever closer to God and bring glory to his name and kingdom. We profit in the sense that our character is made stronger; the fruit of the Spirit is multiplied in our lives; our prayer life is improved; our testimony becomes much more credible; we learn the holy joy of the Lord rather than the fleeting joy of stuff; our faith, which today seems so small, will be tomorrow the faith that moves mountains.
My friends, the king can take away my bible, my liberty, and my pension plan, but he cannot take away my King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He cannot take away the Word which I have hidden in my heart. Most of all he cannot take away the agape love of God Almighty; a love that has saved my soul and given me the hope of glory.
You may be down and discouraged today, and I wouldn’t blame you at all. To be honest I was down and discouraged even as I started putting fingertips to keyboard. But after meditating on today’s text and writing this devotional, I am uplifted by the Holy Spirit of God because I know his thoughts toward me are good thoughts. Come what may, I have a future with Jesus in his kingdom and the kings of this world will get their due.
I would encourage you, brothers and sisters in Christ, now is not the time to give up and give in. Now is the time to repent before the Lord and turn your whole attention to serving him in whatever he’s given you to do. He will respond with forgiveness and love. He will teach you how to profit even in the face of an ever-increasing government of oppression. He will lead you in the path he wants you to go…all for your benefit and his glory.
Text of the KJV 1611 Bible