January 10, 2021 by Kgalalelo
There is a hymn that goes, “When I remember what the Lord has done, I will never go back anymore”. It is sung in most Christian gatherings, churches, concerts and the like. I love this hymn because I can relate to it. God has done so much for me. He is good to me. When I think about the gift of Jesus as a start, how can I go back? John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”.
Who gives away His Son just like that to be crucified? It would be difficult for our human fathers to give up their sons knowing very well that they are set to go to the cross to die. In our African culture, sons have always been the pride and joy of their fathers as they have been regarded as heirs. They were meant to carry the lineage of their families as they change their surnames not. Things are evolving though as girls are seen as equal beneficiaries as the boys, but sonship has always been a highly recognised thing in culture.
Abraham was called the friend of God as seen in James 2:23, “And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." He too, obeyed God when He told him to sacrifice his son Isaac. He trusted God wholeheartedly. As for Jesus, God gave His very own Son. So, He couldn’t ask Abraham to do something that He could not do.
He knew that the benefit was much greater, which was to save the world from sin and give us eternal life, that is, those who believe in Jesus Christ. With Abraham, he had promised him in Genesis 12:2 that if he left his father’s house and went to the land that He would show him, that he would bless him and make him the father of nations and it was so. Thus, there was great profit in both instances.
God always gives the best without flinching. I recently read Joshua 24, when Joshua had assembled the Israelites at Shechem before he died. He said to them in verse 14-15 “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
Joshua had made up his mind that he and the family where going to serve Jehovah only, and no other god because of the goodness of the Lord on Him. He personalised it, though he knew that God was good to the nation of Israel as a whole. He was not prepared to betray the Lord for he knew where they came from. He also understood the impact of disobedience; so, the pros exceeded the cons for him.
When the Israelites responded they said, “Far be it from us to forsake the Lord to serve other gods! It was the Lord our God himself who brought us and our parents up out of Egypt, from that land of slavery, and performed those great signs before our eyes. He protected us on our entire journey and among all the nations through which we travelled. And the Lord drove out before us all the nations, including the Amorites, who lived in the land. We too will serve the Lord, because he is our God.” (Joshua 14:17-18).
When I read this, it made me think about the things that God has done for me and I marvelled. I don’t always remember everything that God has done for me but I take the time to journal about the ones that comes to my mind the minute I start jotting on the page. It is beneficial to take time from your busy schedule to think about God, in fact, it is a practice that we need to do in the midst of our activities.
Our minds should always be on Him and that is how we prosper, spirit, soul and body. Joshua lived a righteous life with his family. He obeyed God through and through. He was a good and faithful servant and He received a great reward for his obedience and faithfulness to God. He was amongst the twelve men who had been sent to Jericho by Moses to spy the land in Numbers 13.
When he returned, together with Caleb, gave a positive report unlike the rest of the men who in fact said to Moses, “We went to the land where you sent us. It really is a land flowing with milk and honey. Here’s some of its fruit. But the people who live there are strong, and the cities have walls and are very large. We even saw the descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites live in the Negev. The Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites live in the mountain region. And the Canaanites live along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and all along the Jordan River.” (Numbers 13: 27-29). They gave a frightening report but Caleb said to all of them, “Let’s go now and take possession of the land. We should be more than able to conquer it.”
The ten men were relentless and continued to say in verse 31-33, “We can’t attack those people! They’re too strong for us!” So, they began to spread lies among the Israelites about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored is one that devours those who live there. All the people we saw there are very tall. We saw Nephilim there. (The descendants of Anak are Nephilim.) We felt as small as grasshoppers, and that’s how we must have looked to them.”
They had a defeated mindset and never even once think that God could defend and help them. What happened when they left Egypt was a distant memory, they forgot about the ten plagues that came upon the Egyptians and how God made the Egyptians fear them and gave them supplies when they left Egypt as stated in Exodus 12:36 which says, “The LORD caused the Egyptians to look favourably on the Israelites, and they gave the Israelites whatever they asked for. So, they stripped the Egyptians of their wealth!”
They left Egypt full of riches, gold and silver and everything that they wanted they got, all because of God. Many of us have forgotten the goodness of God, we don’t remember what He has done. When faced with difficult circumstances, instead of looking back and saying, God came through for us then, and therefore, He will do it again, we crumble in the face of adversity. We can’t compose ourselves and rather, think negatively about our circumstances.
We fail to look to God, the Bible says, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God”. (Hebrews 12:2). We don’t trust God enough to believe that He can do anything. “With God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26).
David says in Psalm 35:10 “All my bones will say, “Lord, who is like You, Who delivers the afflicted from him who is too strong for him, And the afflicted and the needy from him who robs him? David knew that even the bones can speak because God can make them speak. We don’t speak only with our mouths but the bones too. Isaiah 55:12 even goes to say that God makes trees clap hands, “You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands”.
Nothing is impossible for God, literally. We can’t fathom it with our limited minds, instead we want to debate or theologise it. The bible says that, "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3). Children don’t get into arguments; they simply believe what you say to them as a parent.
They believe that Santa Claus exists and so is the tooth fairy and Superman. Theirs is a wonderful life. They believe that they can get good gifts from Santa and most of us have done our best not to disappoint our children. There will always be a note under the pillow or in the shoe when they lose a tooth. We need to come to a point where we speak like Joshua, that, whatever happens, we will hang on to God and serve Him instead of idols, things that don’t talk and can’t really help us.
We serve the living God. In Matthew 16:14-17, Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven”.
We know that God changes not, He will always be the Living God who is set out to do great things for us when we believe and have faith. He is no man that He should lie (Numbers 23: 19) and the Bible says “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). When we think about the goodness of God and give thanks and praise, we are ensuring that more comes to us.
God loves a grateful heart and the more we thank Him, the greater things He does for us. The formula is simple. He is basically saying, “when I have done all these things for you because you are my child and I love you, don’t forget that it is Me who is and has blessed you”. This is all that God requires of us, that we should acknowledge and give Him all the credit for all that He does for us.
He says in Deuteronomy 6:10-12 which is one of my favourite verses, “When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery”.
When we look closely in our lives, there’s very little that we have done for ourselves, and maybe nothing at all. It’s all because of God that we are where we are today; the jobs we have, the food on our table, the houses we live in, the clothes we wear, the children we have, the money in our bank accounts, the families we have; the education we have, it’s all God.
Heavenly Father, we praise and rejoice, for you are a good God. Thank you for all you have done for us. Thank you that by default, 2021 is a great year for us, because we believe and put our trust in You. Thank you that You are a loving Father. All glory goes to you, forever and ever. Amen.
Footnote: Scriptures taken from the The Holy Bible, New King James Version, 1982: Nashville, TN, Thomas Nelson, Inc. & The ESV Global Study Bible®, ESV® Bible, Copyright © 2012 by Crossway. All rights reserved & The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™ (2004). Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Wheaton, Ill: Tyndale House Publishers. The Holy Bible, Berean Study Bible, BSB Copyright ©2016, 2018 by Bible Hub Used by Permission. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2016 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://netbible.com All rights reserved.
Kgalalelo Saane Mphephuka
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