Waiting on God

1st Samuel 13-14

1 Samuel 14 37 b NIV

What do you do when you think God is taking too long to answer your prayer?

If you are King Saul, you tell the priest to “withdraw your hand” (1 Sam 13:19) – meaning that God is taking too much time responding to a prayer request. King Saul believed that he had some sort of advantage over the enemy and didn’t want that advantage to slip away. So he took matters into his own hands, assembled his men, and went into battle. The outcome wasn’t too good.
Have you ever prayed for something so long, that you become impatient waiting for God to give you directions and end up rushing the timeline just to pursue your own desires, wishes, or dreams? Any time we read a Bible study about an individual doing something for him/herself rather than waiting on God, it never ends well; it’s always a disaster.  Why do you think that is?
After some careful self-reflection, I think that I’ve got it figured out for myself: It’s because I like being in charge – to be independent – to not have to rely on someone else’s timing. And even as I type these words, I know it’s ludicrous because my decisions are based on a very limited perspective; whereas, God has a completely different view of my life. His reasons for delaying an answer to prayer, is all about the timing that will give him the most credit.
So the next time you are tempted to move on without God’s response to your prayers, just remember that Saul  ended up making some outlandish ultimatums and in so doing, ended up discrediting himself and losing God’s favor.
Stay persistent in your prayers. Do not give up. Keep waiting for an answer to your prayers. At the proper time, God will provide an answer or solution for your need. And in the meantime, always remember that God is by your side – he has not abandoned you.
Bethany Ligon
Today’s Bible reading can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Samuel+13-14&version=NIV
Tomorrow’s reading will be 1st Samuel 15-17 as we continue the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan .
It’s also a great time to read from the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) as we reflect on Jesus’ sacrifice….and wait on God…for the resurrection.

On Your Journey

Psalms

Psalm 121 1 2

 

We’re discussing seven different types of psalms and how to make them a regular part of our worship.  Today we consider pilgrimage psalms.  A pilgrimage is a journey to a place that holds special spiritual value to the person making the pilgrimage.  In ancient Israel those who lived outside of Jerusalem would make several pilgrimages each year to come to Jerusalem to worship at the temple and celebrate various feasts which commemorated important elements of Israel’s sacred story.  We know that Jesus was arrested and crucified at the beginning of the Passover celebration.

As people made their pilgrimage to Jerusalem they would sing joyful and festive psalms that would help them recall God’s goodness.  If you’ve ever travelled to a special place and event like Fuel, or General Conference, Christian Worker’s Seminar, or summer youth camp, you know that the excitement builds as you journey and get closer to the event.  Sometimes people sing some of the songs that gave meaning and joy to their previous times at those places.

Imagine as the pilgrims get closer to Jerusalem.  As Jerusalem is on a mountain they can see it from a distance.  As they climb Mt. Zion to get closer to the city and the temple of God their excitement grows and they begin enjoying an attitude of worship by singing and recalling God’s blessings.

Psalm 121 is a great example of a pilgrimage psalm:

Psalm 121

A song of ascents.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

This serves as a reminder that as you journey on your way, God is with you.  God is your helper who watches over you wherever you go.  How comforting and assuring to know that God is with you on your journey through life.  Even during those times where you might not know what’s waiting for you around the next corner or over the next hill, God is there, and he doesn’t go to sleep on the job.

-Jeff Fletcher

Not as I Will

Matthew 26

Matt 26 39

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

 

Our lives are so very busy. I know it can be hard to carve out the time to read these devotions & I applaud you for making it to this point! Some of you may be going through today & are just trying to make it to tomorrow. Some of you are stressed. Some of you are hurting. Some of you are worn. Some of you may be just fine. As we go through the highs and the lows of this life may we remember that the God who is with us on the mountain, when life is great, is the same God who walks with us in the valley, when life becomes much to bear. Today, I am challenging you to spend some quality time seeking after God. As you read through His word, I encourage you to turn off the world around you. Turn off your cell phones. Turn off your work desktop. Take a second to breathe. Pour yourself a cup of coffee (or for my southern friends, some sweet tea) and curl up next to your Bible, spending valuable time with our LORD.

Or, if there is another form of worship that draws you near to God, I encourage you to spend some time pursing it. God welcomes us with open arms. May we take some time today thanking Him for His faithfulness, His grace, and for His Son Jesus Christ who died for our sins.

A lot is happening here in Matthew Chapter 26. As Easter is approaching in just a few short days, now is a great time to read about and remember the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made on our behalf. In Matthew 26, the events leading up to the death of Jesus have taken place: Jesus was anointed at Bethany, Judas planned to betray Jesus, Jesus and his disciples partook in the last supper, Jesus predicted Peter’s denial, Jesus prayed in Gethsemane, Jesus was arrested and put before the Sanhedrin, and Peter disowned Jesus. Below, I have listed a few passages that really stood out to me while reading in this chapter.

 

A Few of Many Key Passages in Matthew 26:

 

“I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom” (Matthew 26:19).

 

“Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will’” (Matthew 26:39).

 

“Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” (Matthew 26:53-54)

 

“But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Matthew 26:64).

 

Jesus endured the worst to wash our sins clean. “Not as I will, but as You will.” What powerful words. He was sent out of love to die for you. Let that sink in today.

 

-Kayla Tullis