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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Dependable God

Psalm 119:89-96 (The Message)  "What you say goes, God, and stays, as permanent as the heavens. Your truth never goes out of fashion; it's as up-to-date as the earth when the sun comes up.  Your Word and truth are dependable as ever; that's what you ordered—you set the earth going.  If your revelation hadn't delighted me so, I would have given up when the hard times came.  But I'll never forget the advice you gave me; you saved my life with those wise words.  Save me! I'm all yours.  I look high and low for your words of wisdom.  The wicked lie in ambush to destroy me, but I'm only concerned with your plans for me.  I see the limits to everything human, but the horizons can't contain your commands!"

Dependability is an attribute of character that most would find appealing and something that causes you to rely on the person that exhibits that attribute. When David is stating that God’s word is dependable, he is emphasizing the assurance he has that he can rely on it at all times, in all circumstances, through all he faces. When you come to a place that you can say with David that you rely on God’s Word, you are acknowledging that you have a confidence in his Word through the experience of his Word. You have become well-acquainted with it, relying on it, having seen its affect.

Trust in God and standing assured of the reliability of his Word is based on what we find contained in the Word about God’s character and his awesome ability. It is by the very Word of God that all things were created (John 1:1) and it is by that same Word that all things exist today. The power of God’s Word is both creative and sustaining.  Sometimes we are in life situations that we see no way in the natural sense, or the imperfect ability we possess, to realize the answer that is needed for that particular circumstance. The very nature of the circumstance may require the creative power of God in order to bring good out of what seemingly appears to be nothing but bad.  At other times, we face challenges that seem daunting – weighing us down and keeping us burdened.  In those times, we seek God’s Word to sustain us – lifting our burdens and giving us enduring strength for the tasks ahead. His Word provides both the creative power to provide above and beyond what is humanly possible in the circumstance and the sustaining power to keep us through the difficulty of the trying seasons.

David confesses to God that without his Word to keep (sustain) him in the difficult circumstances of life, he would have given up. It is in the times when we just want to throw in the towel, walk away from the difficulty of the circumstances, and say “to heck with it” that God stands ready to give us revelation for our next step through his Word. It could be a Scripture passage that we’ve read over and over - all the while missing some nougat of truth until that very moment we need it. It could be the words spoken by a friend that somehow ring true to what you know and have trusted about God in the past, but somehow had forgotten or doubted in the present. Or perhaps a fresh revelation of a Scripture you had tucked away earlier in the recesses of your heart that somehow comes alive in that very moment, giving you the assurance you need to stand strong. Either way – his Word is powerful!

There are limitations to everything human – therefore, knowledge we can obtain through the “normal” methods of learning (such as becoming better educated through classroom courses, reading books, or attending seminars) is limited by several things. First, we all have different “styles” of learning – some learn best by doing, others learn best by being shown, while others may learn best by both being shown, then doing. God’s Word surpasses our “style” of learning and meets us exactly where we are. If we learn best by doing, God helps expose us to the portions of Scripture that will direct the actions we need to take. If we learn best by being shown, his Word records hundred of examples of both the “how-to” and the “don’t do it this way” for us to explore and gain understanding from. It is an open book, with a phenomenal teacher (the Holy Spirit), containing all the reliable truth we need to interpret the situation we are presently in.

Second, human knowledge is “self-contained”. By that I mean, it is only as good as the reservoir of the one who has the knowledge at that moment. Our reservoir of knowledge has several facets – our memory; our ability to rationalize or reason out situations; and our emotional responses or sensual intake of a circumstance. If we were to rely on the knowledge that we alone possess at any given moment, we limit the possibility of other truth that may bring additional clarity or resources to the circumstance because our “experienced knowledge” may not have crossed this path before. We may not have had the opportunity previously to add learning to our “container” of knowledge related to the specifics of what is needed in the moment. It may even be possible that what knowledge has been tucked away in our “containers” of knowledge is flawed because of how that knowledge was interpreted when it was filtered and categorized in our minds. If we limit our interpretation of the present based on what we have "contained" in our memories, we may be limiting both the creative or sustaining power of God for the need at hand.

We desperately need to fill our “containers” with the knowledge of God’s Word – knowing that it is both creative and sustaining in its power. As we do, we are allowing his Word to be the resource for what we need when we most desperately seek the answers to tough problems or daunting circumstances. Sometimes containers need a fresh refilling – immerse yourself in his Word today and see what he adds to your “container” today!