Sunday, December 30, 2012

If It Had Not Been!

 1If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, now may Israel say;
 2If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, when men rose up against us:
 3Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us:
 4Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul:
 5Then the proud waters had gone over our soul. 
(Psalm 124:1-5, King James Version)

If It Had Not Been!

Considering that we are at the end of another year, looking to a new year, this is a rather remarkable Bible passage to consider, is it not? "If it had not been for the Lord," the Psalmist begins, ". . . then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul." We, too, can say, "If it had not been the Lord, who was on our side, we would not be where we are today, looking to another year to live for the glory and honor of God, our Father.

That is not a popular view, however, in the culture in which we live. We want to believe that we have succeeded because of our great and awesome abilities, our shrewd decisions, and our own tenacity. Yet, what does the Bible say? As we pour over the pages of the Old Testament, we have story after story of great victories, or great defeats, based, not upon the strength of man, but upon his willingness to depend upon God, and not himself.

How often did Israel succeed against overwhelming odds when they depended upon God? How often did Israel fail when depending upon their own strength, or when depending upon the assistance of their neighboring nations? Of course, we are speaking of nations, but what of us today? Do we face similar circumstances in our own lives?

It is easy to trust in the Lord when everything seems to be going smoothly, but how well do we do when our world falls apart around us? As a matter of fact, as believers it is easy for us to look with disdain upon the people of the world, or even fellow believers, when they fall into adverse circumstances. In our self-righteous mindset, we perceive that their difficulties would be alleviated if they would turn to the Lord. Surely, we think, their circumstances are a result of their own wicked and sinful lusts and actions.

Knowing our propensity to such attitudes, God providentially included the book of Job in the Bible. Here was a man who loved and feared the Lord. When great wickedness came upon him, however, his friends were sure it was due to his hidden sins. Given the same circumstances, would we remain as righteous Job?

Oh yes, he foolishly challenged God, but when confronted by the Almighty, he fell at God's feet. The greater chastisement, however, fell to Job's three friends, who charged Job foolishly.

As we face a new year, with a new opportunity to serve the Lord faithfully, let us remember that if it had not been for the goodness of the Lord, we would not be His servants today. Let us look to Him to continue to lead and guide us in the ways we should go, and let us pray that we will follow Him, and not be led by our foolish and stubborn hearts.

God Bless You,

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