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Devotional Week 4 Friday
Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“My life is in Your hands.”
Psalm 31: 15
“My life is (times/fortunes are) in Your hands; deliver me.”
Psalm 31: 15
Hand In Hand
“I know not if the dark or bright
shall be my lot;
If that wherein my hopes delight
Be best, or not.
It may be mine to drag for years
Toils heavy chain;
Or day and night my meat be tears,
On bed of pain.
Dear faces may surround my hearth
With smiles and glee,
Or I may dwell alone, and mirth
Be strange to me.
My bark is wafted to the strand
By breath divine;
And on the helm there rests a hand
Other than mine.
One who has known in storms to sail
I have on board;
Above the raving of the gale
I hear my Lord.
He holds me when the billows smile;
I shall not fall.
If sharp, ‘tis short; if long ‘tis light;
He tempers all.
Safe to the land, safe to the land,
The end is this;
And then with Him go hand in hand
Far into bliss.”
Dean of Canterbury
Today’s Study Text:
1. “So (God) drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim’s, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”
Genesis 3: 24
2. “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He that is born King of Jews? For we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him.”
Matthew 2: 1
3. “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”
Matthew 24: 27
“Of Bows and Arrows” Part 5
“God’s Arrow of Deliverance”
“Thou art my hiding place; Thou shalt preserve me from trouble; Thou shalt compass me from trouble; Thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance.”
Psalm 32: 7
Is there something in my life which I need to be delivered from?
How well do I know my “Deliverer” – Jesus Christ?
“If we’re willing to let truth speak louder than our feelings, and long enough that our feelings finally agree, we can be far more than okay. We can be delivered to a place where the air is crisp, the enemy whipped, and the view is magnificent.”
Get Out of That Pit
“The great need of the present hour is Christians who have learned to sing the song of deliverance on the testing side of trouble.”
If you could have been in Elisha’s bed of illness, I wonder how you would have felt, arising from your bed and as you looked out the “east” window in your home, across the Jordan River you could see the very land, promised by God to His children the Israelites, now occupied by Hazael, King of Syria. This foreign ruler, we are told, “oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz.” Just for clarification, King Jehoahaz was the father of King Jehoash – our man with the bow and arrows.
This fact gives us some insight as to why King Jehoash didn’t show more enthusiasm in his belief that the nation of Syria could be defeated. The fact is that he had grown up, most likely, hearing from his dad about the tyranny of the Syrians – the nation that held the country of Israel in their clutches.
So when Elisha told the young king that the arrows in his hand were God’s “arrows of deliverance,” King Jehoash had a big question mark in front of him. He really didn’t understand what an intervention by heaven looked like. That’s why he doubted. That’s why he was fearful. That’s why he hesitated to empty his hand of all the arrows. And I must admit, I’ve acted just like Jehoash myself.
Just because I can’t visualize how God can bring deliverance into my life from some problem that’s bigger than I am, doesn’t mean I should ever limit my heavenly Father’s capacity to work out all the details. We must never forget that our God has unlimited power!
This past week, a friend called and asked me to help her with a project she and her husband were working on. For nearly 30 years these two “saints of the Lord,” have committed their lives, seven days a week, 365 days a year to a Christian drug rehabilitation program that works specifically with adult men, admittedly one of the toughest group of addicts. I asked if I would be able to interview one of their graduates who my husband Jim and I had gotten acquainted with. As I was talking with this former addict, he told me about a time in his life when he had relapsed and fallen back into his former habits. He had 13 DUI’s on his record plus a myriad of other charges. His expectation was that he would be thrown in prison for a long time. That was the limit at that point in his life which he placed on God’s ability to do the completely unexpected. What happened? When Lonny got in front of the judge in Tennessee, the judge didn’t have all paperwork. So when the Public Defender asked if Lonny could leave the state, an unheard of turn of events, and be released to a Christian drug program in California, the judge ruled in favor of Lonny. And now, nearly seven years later, not only has Lonny been clean for the entire time but he now holds a leadership position at the facility that helped him. We just can’t ever put our human restraints on our Father.
But there’s something else in this “bow and arrow” story that I couldn’t push out of my mind. Every time I prayed, the word “east” kept blinking in my brain. And so I got out my Strong’s Concordance and began to look up all the times in Scripture where the word “east” is used.
If you will take a moment to read the three study texts for our devotional today, you may see the same golden thread I found after digging in God’s Word.
First of all, when Adam and Eve decided that their judgment was better than God’s and chose to do their own thing, they left their beautiful Eden home by the “east end of the garden” the Bible tells us. The greatest defeat in history was marked by the heavenly Cherubim’s at the “east” portal of the Garden.
But God didn’t let that “east” portal become a place of eternal defeat. We are told in Matthew 2: 1 that when God sent His beloved Son to redeem our rebellious planet that high up in the “eastern” sky He placed a starry witness and those who were “wise” got a heavenly message that led them to the Redeemer of the world.
But we aren’t going to stop yet. For in Matthew 24: 27, Jesus promised His followers down through the ages that He would return and in His words, “as lightening cometh out of the east, and shineth unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.”
Now you may be thinking to yourself, “Well, Dorothy, what do all these “east” references tell me today? As I read these three passages over and over it hit me that at the point of the greatest defeat God came down with the greatest rescue in history. When the unthinkable happened and Adam and Eve left the Garden to the east, God met them, as He meets you and me and said, “Look again to the east. But this time look up to the eastern sky.” Not only did God signal those who were watching the eastern sky that the heavenly rescue was operational but someday soon, that same eastern sky will be the focal point of our eternal deliverance for all time.
If today you feel that all you see out the eastern window in your life is a claimant called the “Syrians” who are trying to occupy your life – a place God promises is His – I encourage you to keep your faith in your “Deliverer.” He will meet you at the very point of your greatest failure and turn it into the point of deliverance. He’s not going to let you or me down. Praise God for His “arrow of deliverance!”
“As far as the Lord is concerned, the time to stand is in the darkest moment. It is when everything seems hopeless, when there appears no way out, when God alone can deliver.”
“And Elisha said, “The arrow of the Lord’s deliverance.”
II Kings 13: 17
“A harbor and refuge You are at times.
When the seas covered me,
Your mercy descended and drew me out.
Again let Your help lay hold on me!
Apply to my afflictions
The medicine of Your salvation,
And the passion of Your help!”
Ephraim of Syria
“We beseech You, O Lord our God…
…You who know our weakness,
protect the work of Your hands
now and in times to come,
deliver us from all temptation
and all danger
and from the powers of darkness of this world,
and bring us
into the kingdom of Your only Son
and our God.
For to Your most holy name
be the glory,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
Now and for ever, to the ages and ages.
Eastern Orthodox Church
“The Lord saved them by a great deliverance.”
I Chronicles 11: 14
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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