If God is For Us

There is a story found in 2 Kings 8 that really illustrates the truth of God’s work on behalf of His own.  The story involves the prophet Elisha and his servant.  According to the text, the king of Syria was fighting against Israel and found himself completely frustrated.  Israel seemed to know his next move.  Unbeknownst to him, the prophet Elisha had been revealing to the king of Israel the plans of the Syrian king.  So, the king of Syria calls his servants together and demands to know who has been leaking information to Israel’s side.  I love the answer that he is given by one of his servants–“None, my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.”  Upon hearing this, the king tells his men to track Elisha down and seize him.  They find Elisha in Dothan and send a great army after him.

Elisha’s servant gets up one morning and finds that the city is completely surrounded by the Syrian army.  He begins to worry and panic, “Alas, my master!  What shall we do?”  But Elisha is not worried.  He simply says to his servant, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”  He then prays for God to open his eyes to see.  God answers Elisha’s prayer and opens the young man’s eyes, and he sees the surrounding mountains full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.  Imagine what this did for the servant’s confidence!  This is precisely the principle of Romans 8:31 at work.  “What then shall we say to these things?  If God is for us, who can be against us?”  If the One who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?  It means that my salvation is in good hands.  Because my salvation is up to God, there is no amount of attack or difficulty in this life that can ever threaten it.  As a follower of Jesus Christ, my salvation is safely in God’s hands and I can now live with confidence.

Our eyes are so very often blinded to this truth.  We worry and fret about things way too much.  I have good news for you–God’s got this.  He will not disappoint.  He is for His people and has their best interests at heart.  He will not allow His glory to be diminished.  It is important that we make this our conviction as disciples.  We must live with the conviction in our heart that God’s strength and might are far greater than the enemy’s.  We need Him to open our eyes to this reality every single day.  Don’t let the enemy make you think that he is stronger than Christ.  When he reminds you of your past, remind him of his future.  Don’t let the enemy intimidate you into thinking that your witness for Jesus won’t make a difference.  Satan would love nothing more than to silence your gospel witness.  Don’t buy into his scare tactics!  Live with confidence as a forgiven child of God.  Jesus has you safely in His grip and has promised to build His church.  God’s Word will not return to Him void.  Be a bold witness for Jesus where you live and work.  Let’s live our lives for the sole purpose of glorifying God by making disciples.  Ask the Lord to open your eyes so that you can truly “see” that He is for you in this effort.

Salvation to the Ends of the Earth

“I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.”  (Acts 13:47)

Acts 13 records the account of Paul and Barnabas’ ministry at Antioch in Pisidia.  Entering the synagogue on the Sabbath day, Paul stood and preached the gospel of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.  He shows how Jesus is the fulfillment of the second psalm–“You are my Son, today I have begotten You.”  At the close of Paul’s message, verse 42 says that the people begged him to preach the same message the next week.  I’m sure any preacher would be encouraged by such spiritual hunger!  On the next Sabbath, almost the whole city gathered to hear the gospel preached by Paul.  Can you imagine a people being so gripped by the gospel that they invite their friends, their neighbors, their coworkers, and their family?  What if next week the whole city showed up at your church to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ?  That’s exactly what happens in this passage.  Of course, there are always those who want to stir things up.  The enemy of all souls doesn’t like it when his territory is invaded by gospel truth.  Verse 45 says that when the unbelieving Jews saw the crowds of Gentiles, they were filled with jealousy and began to revile Paul.  He looks at them and says, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you.  Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles.”  Paul then quotes Isaiah 49:6 and shows how it was the will of God for salvation to be brought to the ends of the earth.

Our God is a “missionary” God.  His heart longs for the nations to taste and know His salvation.  He has entrusted His church with the gospel of His Son which we are to take and spread among the nations of the world.  Upon hearing Paul’s words, verse 48 says, “And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.”  This should remind us as Christ’s disciples that there are people all around us whom God is pursuing.  Even now, God may be pursuing your neighbor or friend.  He may be pursuing that sales clerk at the store where you frequently shop.  He is pursuing the university student in Hong Kong.  He is pursuing the man in India who is making a pilgrimage to the Ganges.  God is a missionary, and He is seeking worshipers who will worship Him in spirit and in truth.  How will they ever hear of His grace without someone who proclaims it?  How shall they hear without a preacher?  And how shall they preach except they be sent? 

God desires to use us to be a light to the ends of the earth.  The Great Commission begins with us and starts with our own back yard, but it does not stop there.  Jesus Christ has commanded us to make disciples of all the nations.  In order for us to do this, we cannot view people as being interruptions to our schedule.  We must learn to see people as God see people–lost, hopeless, and sheep having no shepherd.  The people you interact with today are there by divine appointment.  As a disciple of Jesus Christ, you are a “light for the Gentiles” so that He may use you to bring salvation to the ends of the earth as you share the gospel and make disciples.

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