“The Lord is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
Our Lord’s patience was at its best when the display of man’s sin, hatred, and cruelty, was at its worst. He was tested beyond measure, yet Isaiah foretold it when he wrote: “He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth” (Isaiah 53:7). Betrayed with a kiss, struck in the face by a servant, reviled by the High Priests, humiliated and tortured by Roman soldiers, He bore it all. In excruciating pain as they hammered Him to the cross, He lifted His heart in a prayer of love “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). We do well to echo the words of Thomas, “My Lord and My God” (John 20:28).
“There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 16:25).
The Great Pyramid of Giza is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza burial ground bordering what is now El Giza, Egypt. It is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one to remain largely intact
It has been suggested that the Great Pyramid was constructed at the angle of light’s refraction and deflection, and that the ancient Egyptians expected their monarch’s soul to rise to heaven on a ray of sunlight. Pharaoh knew he had a soul, and he believed in an after-life and a heaven. However he missed it, for no ray of sunlight will ever convey a soul to glory.
Paul had “a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better” (Philippians 1:23). Unlike the early Egyptians, his assurance lay in the fact that the Lord Jesus had died on the cross, and through Christ’s death his sins had been put away. All who believe this will one day be conveyed by the Lord Jesus to heaven. Will you be there?
“The Word of the Lord endureth for ever” (1 Peter 1:25). “For ever, O LORD, Thy Word is settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89).
The Bible endures! No other book has lasted, and remained on the “best-seller” list for hundreds of years. Only the Word of God! And not only so, but it is more up to date than the daily newspaper. It fits what is happening today just as much as it did in the past, and it will do the same tomorrow. It was what we needed for salvation and it is what we need for every answer to every question of life. It gives us the past, the present, and the future. The Psalmist said: “Thou through Thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for Thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep Thy precepts” (Psalm 119:98-100).
Men have tried to eradicate it from the earth for generations. It has been scorned, banned, burned, and men have given their lives to protect it. Yet it still flourishes. Why? Because it is the Word of God, and the original is in heaven.
“Our God is able to deliver us…But if not…” (Daniel 3:17-18).
The Hebrew children, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, did not doubt that God could save them from the furnace, but if He did not they would be faithful, anyway. It is well to be prepared for the “if nots.” God is always able, but sometimes it is not His will to deliver us from the fiery furnace. But He will save us in the furnace. He does not always spare us trouble, but He does provide strength, comfort, and encouragement for us in trouble.
If you are facing a furnace, make provision for the “if not.” If you are not healed, if the dear one is taken in death, if that friend fails you, be faithful, anyway. Job in all his trials declared, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15). If things do not turn out the way you had hoped and prayed they would, do not bow to Nebuchadnezzar’s image of doubt or fear or discouragement. That is what the devil wants, as when he put Job in his furnace of trial.
God can do it…God can deliver…God can keep you from the furnace of affliction. But if He doesn’t, He is still your God. Blessed and happy are the Christians of the “If Nots!”
Give me one hundred thousand dollars, and one reverse of fortune, one downturn in the stock market, or one wrong business transaction may scatter it all away. But let me have a spiritual hold of this divine assurance: “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want,” then I am all right; I am set up for life and for eternity. I can never be bankrupt, for I hold this security: “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.” Nothing can change that! He has declared, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand. My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand” (John 10:27-29).
Do not give me ready money now; give me a check book, and let me draw what I like. This is what God does with the believer. He does not immediately transfer his inheritance to him, but lets him draw what he needs out of the riches of His fullness in Christ Jesus.
As we start out this week, let’s remember that God has made us His children, not simply that we might not perish, but that we might know the affections of His heart and enjoy them. “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us” (1 John 4:10). He loves us, not because of what we are, but for what He is.
It is good to be occupied with His great love for us, not our feeble love for Him. To be occupied with our love for Him will only discourage us, but His love for us will warm our hearts and deepen our love for Him. The Spirit of God does not turn the eye inward except when it is necessary to judge self, for the Spirit of God occupies the believer with Christ and all that Christ is to God and to His own…you and me.
Let His love fill your heart this week, and quote with the Apostle Paul, “The Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Nothing can change that divine, perfect love. It is consistent in its outflow and will never change.
There are two wonderful truths stated by the Lord Jesus Himself in this verse:
First, “I have glorified Thee on the earth.”
It has been stated that to be glorified is to have every attribute and quality that makes up a person’s character brought into full display. So the Lord Jesus at the end of His time here in this world, could unequivocally affirm that every attribute and quality of God His Father had been fully and completely exhibited. He could say to Philip, “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9).
Second, “I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do.”
When the Lord Jesus left this world to return to the Father, not one thing was left undone of all that had been given Him to do. The work was finished! Finished to the eternal satisfaction and glory of God! He had stated earlier in John’s gospel, the purpose for which He had come. “For I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me” (John 6:38).
God has been glorified the work is finished, and we rejoice and worship the One who did it all.
“Mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel” (Luke 2:30-32).
Here are some wonderful testimonies from those who died knowing Christ as their Saviour:
A blind Hindu boy, when dying, said joyfully: “I see! I see! I have light now. I see the King in His beauty. Tell the missionary the blind boy sees!”
A wounded soldier, asked if he were ready to die, said, “Oh yes: my Saviour in whom I have long trusted is with me now. The dark valley is lighted up by His smile.”
A young man who had recently found Jesus was dying. A friend who stood near him asked, “Is it dark?” “No, no,” he exclaimed, “it’s light, it’s light, it’s all light!” And in the joy which this light gives, he entered into heaven.
In contrast, the singer/songwriter Hank Williams, who wrote “I Saw The Light,” on his death bed, in agony of soul said, “There is no light.” How tragic!
What would your testimony be if you were called on to leave this world and face eternity today?
“The Lord saith…them that honor Me I will honor” (1 Samuel 2:30). “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Young believer, are you in an anguish of mind as to God’s will for you? Do you feel like it is something you will never be able to discern…never be able to know…or recognize? Perhaps it is knowing what job or career to follow. Maybe it is what college, university, or trade school you should attend. Or perhaps it is in regard to whether you should date or marry a certain person.
Today’s verses give us two key principles in regard to knowing God’s will. The first is, “honor,” and the second is “trust.” Learn these two things well, practice them along with your daily prayer life, and then enjoy the peace of knowing that He will guide you into the life He has planned for you. If these things are a reality, you will find yourself, “doing the will of God from the heart” (Ephesians 6:6). This will certainly make for a happy and fruitful life!