Monthly Archives: August 2018

God’s Care: Resilience, Part 4 (#950)

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]

Teaching

God’s Care: Resilience, Part 4 (#950)

God’s Care: Resilience, Part 3 (#949)

God’s Care: Resilience, Part 3 (#949)

Good morning. We’re going to continue our series today on God’s care for use, which we’ve been doing throughout 2018. And the last few sessions we’ve talked about God’s care leading to us having great resilience. Because God cares for us, we can bounce back from difficult situations. We can have comebacks; we can have turnarounds, they are some of the terms used in business and in sports and things. You’ll see a great athlete who has disappeared for a number of years and all of the sudden he’ll have a come-back and start doing well again. Or a company that was really doing poorly, that will re-organize, re-do how they work, and all of the sudden they will being doing well. Well the same with our lives. We can be very resilient and no matter how tough things get, our lives can turn around we can have a great come back and we can be better than ever.

One example I haven’t put in here and we probably won’t cover in this session is Job. Now there are a lot of challenges about reading the book of Job, but the one thing that is very clear is that he was doing well, and then he was doing very, very poorly. But then he came back stronger than ever. And so, we need to keep that in mind when we have a set back in life, that just because we have a set back, it doesn’t mean that it is the end of our lives, it just means that the way life used to be may be done, but it doesn’t mean God’s done with us and it doesn’t mean He won’t have great things ahead. They may just be very different than the way they were before. But they will be wonderful if we keep looking to God.

And this is part 3, in the first two parts we read about Ahab, Hezekiah, and spent a lot of time focusing on the apostle Paul and the challenges he had when he went to Jerusalem. And the great thing about reading about Paul is that he went there against the will of the Lord. God warned him what was going to happen, he went anyway, he got in a big mess, but God still bailed him out and got him out of there. And Paul continued for many, many years to help God’s people and he received the revelation for many of the church epistles that have so many great truths about this age of grace in which we live, and the body of Christ, and the manifestations of holy spirit, and so many great things. Much of that great revelation was given to him while he was imprisoned in Rome. So, the fact that he disobeyed what God had told him and got in a mess, didn’t end his life or didn’t end his ability to help people. He just did it in different ways. Instead of being able to travel around the Mediterranean and visit the Churches in person, God gave him the revelation to write letters, which became the Church Epistles. And he was able to help many believers in his fellowship there in Rome.

So, things happen in life and we all have a rather bad habit, so to speak, of wanting things to stay just as they are. I shouldn’t say it is a bad habit, it is nice when things are the way you want them it is great to want them to stay that way. But they can’t always stay that way because people have freedom of will and as much as God wants to bless us and can bless us, He can’t control people’s freedom of will. So I could be in a wonderful situation, where everything is just the way I want, but if various people, perhaps including me, perhaps not including me chose to change that situation, so I can no longer enjoy it. Nobody can do anything about it, except the person that chose to change it. But that doesn’t mean God stopped, because He’ll come back with something else.

Remember that record of Elijah? I’m not sure we’ll get into it in this series of teachings, but we get into it from time to time, where God went to the prophet Elijah and said: ‘pray that it won’t rain until I say so.’ So he prayed that it wouldn’t rain and it didn’t rain for a couple years. And the king of Israel, probably Ahab at that time, got all mad and sent people around to find him and kill him. But God hid him. God hid him and told him to go live by the brook Cherub, then that the ravens would feed him and the ravens came and fed him and he was fine until the water ran out. And He said: ‘go to Tyre and see this widow woman and she’ll take care of you.’ So he gets there and the widow woman only has enough food for one small snack for her and her son, yet God stretches that food so that the woman, her son, and Elijah eat for many days, until the rains come back. So the point is: things are different. If Elijah has spent all his time saying: ‘Gosh, I wish God hadn’t told me to pray and I wish we never had this drought; I wish things were like they were before,’ that would have been fruitless because things weren’t the way they were before. Or if he got by the brook Cherub and he got all comfy there, made a little campsite and loved it, and then that ended because the brook dried up and he spent all his time saying: ‘Gee, I wish I could stay here by the brook.’ That wouldn’t work. So, he did what God said and went to Tyre and met the widow woman and she took care of him.

So things will change. And rather than spending too much time trying to hold on to what is gone, we have to look to God and look to what is next. Again, I’m not encouraging us to have loss in our lives, I’m encouraging us to hold on to good things that God gives us, but there are time where there are situations beyond our control where the stuff we’ve had we can’t have. Whether its the financial situation, whether it is physical, material stuff you have, whether it is a relationship with a person or a group; these things change. But God will always be there.

And you will find through out your life that people are going to come and go, but God will be there. It is great when people stay with you, I love it, I’m all for it. But I’ve just found in my life and seen that many people are going to come and go; there here today and gone tomorrow. So cherish the ones that stay with you and the situations that continue to work. But the ones that go and are no longer available, just let them go. Be thankful that they were there as long as they were there. Look fondly on the good parts of them, but let the bad parts just go away and pray that God will open new doors for you, with new people and new situations. And God always will.

And the book of Ruth is one of the most extreme examples of a woman who literally lost everything, but came back unbelievably strong because she looked to God. So with that not so brief introduction, let’s go to the book of Ruth, chapter one…

As taught by Bruce Mahone, 20180805.  All rights reserved.

Verse Listing and Notes

Ruth 1:1-18; (ch. 2-4) 4:13-22: Ruth chose the true God. Kinsman redeemer. Mat. 1:5.

Understanding eastern customs during this period, often referred to as Orientalisms will greatly aid in understanding.  Bishop Pillai’s work can aid here (http://www.biblecustoms.org/bishop-kc-pillai/old-and-new-testament-orientalisms/ruth)

Ruth 3:7 They drink at the end of a meal (coffee or milk), does not necessarily mean liquor.  Threshing floors are always on a high, rocky place. Oxen and buffalo walk on the grain to crush it down. The mouth of the ox should not be muzzled. The laborer is worthy of his hire.  Work is always done at night by moonlight. No women are allowed at night. The owner comes and sits on a pile of corn in the corner.

Ruth 3:9  She lay down at his feet as a sign of submission, surrender. She was asking him to redeem her, marry her. She asked him to spread his mantle (not skirt) over her. In doing so, he was showing protection, promising to marry her.

Teaching

God’s Care: Resilience, Part 3 (#949)