God’s Care: Resilience, Part 4 (#950)
Good morning. We’ll continue today with our series on God’s care for us, with a focus on the resilience we have when we know God cares for us and when we trust in that care.
We’ve already had a couple of sessions on the Apostle Paul and of course he was the Apostle that God gave the responsibility for the age of grace to, or this administration of the church of grace, what we often call the Age of Grace. The information and revelation about that was revealed to Paul, and he revealed it to the first century church in books like Ephesians. So he was quite an accomplished fellow, he grew up as a Roman citizen, which gave him higher status and greater legal rights in the Roman world than somebody that was born as a slave or a freed man; he was very well educated in the scriptures in Jerusalem; he was likely a member of the Sanhedrin, the ruling body of Israel; He did great things. Yet, he disobeyed God and got arrested and thrown in jail for a few years. Yet that didn’t stop him. Even though he made those mistakes, he came back and he continued to teach God’s Word, he continued to get revelation for a number of the Church Epistles while a prison in Rome. So, he showed great resilience. And as I’ve said before, because of what he did there by disobeying God, his life did change. He lost many things, but God gave him other things.
Job is another great example, he had great wealth and family; he lost all of that, but God gave him more. A different family, different wealth, but he had more.
Then we read about Ruth, in a subsequent session where she was doing very well. She had a wonderful husband, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, mother-in-law, father-in-law, but all the men in the family died. In any culture that is difficult, but in that culture its particularly difficult because the women had a very hard time doing business and making their own way without the men to help them. Because of their culture and the way their society was setup. But yet, she trusted God and she ended up with a wonderful husband, named Boaz. She was very well cared for and loved and she had a son that ended up becoming the great-grandfather of King David. So, again she lost many things and she didn’t get those things back, but God gave her other things, which in many ways were even greater then what she had before. That was Ruth.
Now today we’re going to read a similar record of unbelievable resilience by reading about a wonderful woman named Rahab. Now Rahab had grown up on the city of Jericho, which is just down the bottom of the hill from Jerusalem, right where the Jordan river empties into what we now call the Dead Sea. Or sometimes called the Salt Sea because the salt concentration is much, much higher than the ocean. So she grew up there not being taught about the true God, but being taught about the local pagan religions. Yet she had heard about the God of Israel, she had heard about this band of wandering Hebrews going through the desert and everybody they encountered, they beat – they conquered. So she figured this God of Israel must be the strongest and she had decided to trust in this God when she hardly knew anything about.
Which is so different than the Israelites; they had been taught all about the God of Israel, but they wanted to worship the Canaanite gods, the Baels and the Astaroths. So they knew all about the true God and didn’t want to worship Him; she knew almost nothing about the true God, but she did want to worship Him and as a result, when her whole city was destroyed, she came out victorious. And she also, like Ruth, ended up in the Christ-line. As a matter of fact, Boaz, remember Boaz, the guy who married Ruth? We’ll see it in the record, but if memory serves, he was Rahab’s son. So, he grew up realizing it is OK to marry a foreigner as long as she believes in the true God. And remember Ruth’s husband’s other cousin didn’t want anything to do do with this Moabite woman, Ruth. But Boaz was much more open minded, because his mother wasn’t born and raised as an Israelite. She later on in life heard about the true God and chose to believe in Him.
So again these are radical, radical records and what we need to learn from them is not that we should go to war with the Canaanites or try to tear cities down like Jericho, but that God will always come through for you. There are times in life when most of what you have, you will lose. It is not God’s will, but that is just the way people are. God gave people freedom of will. So they’re going to do silly things, you and I are going to do silly things, and we’re going to lose stuff. Whether it is people or material goods or something else. But, just because we’ve lost something doesn’t mean we can’t come back and be resilient and God can’t give us even greater things. Not to say that what you had before wasn’t good. Not that you want to belittle it, but if it is gone, it is gone. And once its gone, its gone. And sometimes you can get it back, but usually you can’t. You can rarely go back and relive the past. Once something is gone, is is usually gone for good. But God will come back with greater things, if you look to him and trust him. Or you can spend your whole life grieving for what you lost and never move on. And that is not a good way to live. Who wants to live their whole life with grief.
Why not accept what we’ve lost. Why look at Ruth: she could of just stayed in Moab and spent the rest of her time as a mourning widow, wearing a black vale, being upset that her husband had died. She could have done that, but she chose to go back to Bethlehem with her mother-in-law Naomi and trust in the true God and see how her life moved forward. Same with Paul. Once he got imprisoned in Jerusalem, he could have just given up. He could have said, “well, I goofed up, my life is over, they tried to kill me.” But, he didn’t. He walked with God, he used his brain and rights as a Roman citizen to appeal unto Caesar. His life was spared, even on the boat trip across the Mediterranean from Cessaria, along the coast on the other side of Jerusalem, by the sea. On the boat ride from there, the boat was shipwrecked, everybody almost died, but he listened to God, he trusted God, God told him what to do and he was able to save the entire ship. So he didn’t quit walking with God and he didn’t quit speaking God’s Word and he didn’t quit carrying out his ministry just because he was thrown into jail. He just had to do it a different way. Because what he had available before, he no longer had. But God provided other things.
And that is why we’re always talking about forgetting those things that are behind and reaching forth unto those things which are before. Much of our past we can hold onto and remember and be thankful for what God has done for us. But other things in our past our just over. Paul’s ability to go up to Phillipi and hang out with the church there, was over. His ability to go to Thessolonica and speak to the saints, that was over. He couldn’t go to Athens and talk on Mars hill anymore, he couldn’t. But he could talk to people about God’s Word in Rome. He started a fellowship right there in Caesar’s palace, because that is where he was. So, you have to go with what God provides and with what is available and you can’t spend a lot of time worrying about what was in the past and is no longer available. We can’t go back and be two-years old; we can’t go back and be eight-years old and be on your first little-league team. You just can’t do that. That’s over. Whether that was a great little-league team or a crappy little-league team or you never got to be in little-league, it doesn’t matter. That’s over. What we can do now is move ahead with what God has provided for us. And we all have a roof over our heads, we all have three meals a day, we all have wonderful people around us that love us. Some of them want to hear God’s Word, some don’t, but there is always somebody else you can talk to, there is always somebody you can pray for. And the main thing is: God will always be there to take care of you. He will always be there to help you be resilient and show you new things.
Now with that brief introduction, that has probably taken up half of our time…let’s go to Joshua chapter one…
As taught by Bruce Mahone, 20180826. All rights reserved.
Verse Listing and Notes
Joshua 1:1-11, 16-18; 2: Moses is dead.
Rahab believed (Joshua 2:9-12, Heb. 11:31, Mat. 1:5).
Joshua 3:13-17: Cross the Jordan (feet in water).
Joshua 21:45: Not one word failed.
(Joshua 24, esp. vs. 31: all those that knew Joshua…)
[Joshua & Caleb: Numbers 13:1, 2, 17-20, 25-33; 14:1-5, 26-39]