“And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD. Your garments did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years. You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the LORD your God chastens you. “Therefore you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him.”
Deuteronomy 8:2-6 NKJV
I dream of my dad every night. I have noticed that when he shows up, there is an abundance of food all over the house or place where the dream takes place. My dad took good care of his family. He was faithful to provide all the things we needed, even in the face of job losses and bad economies that made life difficult. It is a blessing to receive those constant reminders in my deepest sleep.
I was blessed to have a father that reflected God, in that he was faithtful and loving. My dad was also just, dispensing discipline as needed, to keep me on the straight and narrow. Up until the day I looked down upon him in his casket, I had the deepest, fear and respect for my dad. No matter how old I got, I never lost that reverence for him.
I am working through Deuteronomy now, pausing in chapter eight, as Moses is instructing the children of Israel, as God reminds them of what He had done for them, His delivery them from the Egyptians, feeding them in the wilderness, and how He tested them to see what was in their hearts. He reminded them how their very garments did not wear, and their bodies were preserved. When He chastened them, He did so as a father, and not an enemy.
As I have walked in the faith, I have had the same fear and respect for God that I had for my dad. The difference is, my God has the power to save my soul, or cast me into hell. I can’t see Him now, but I will one day. He has the power to destroy.
“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Matthew 10:28 NKJV
It is easy in these perilous times, to be caught up in the fear of those who are opposing us. We hear all the rumblings of coming struggle, of rumors of deplatforming, of legalized persecution and the erosions of religious liberties, and we fear for the future. We must remember that the worst they can do is kill our bodies. If you are in Christ, you know that Jesus has defeated death. Absent from the body in this world, means present with the Lord.
I know that death is a scary subject for most of us, and I admit that my own proximity to it has transformed fear to curiosity. In these times focus on the faithfulness of God. Just as the LORD delivered the children of Israel through forty years with great provision and on going love, remember that He has also preserved us.
Through centuries of persecution, the light of Christ still shines. It shines brightest in places where the persecution is the most real and deadly.
Brothers and sisters, let us embrace the discipline of the Lord, and focus on the fact that as He has chastised us, He has also provided for us. There is coming a day when He will destroy His enemies and cast them into the lake of fire. Through Jesus, we have been spared the wrath of God.
“For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.”
I Thessalonians 5:9-10 NKJV
If you are in the grip of troubles, or struggling, and feel as though God has foresaken you, know that He is there. What you are experiencing may be the result of living in this fallen world where it “rains on the just and the unjust.” (Matt 5:45). It could also be chastisement, as the Lord seeks to refine you.
Know that if you are in Jesus, you are loved. I remember my dad’s discipline. He made me the man I am today. I have his integrity, his fidelity, and his strength. I know that I can endure. I also know that I can rely on God. My mom was a woman of faith and prayer. I take after her as I too rely on the Lord to carry me through the storms and the gales.
“And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.””
Hebrews 12:5-6 NKJV
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
I Thessalonians 5:16-18 NKJV
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