“Judah turned and saw that they were being attacked at the both front and rear. Then they cried out to the Lord. The priests blew their trumpets and the men of Judah raised the battle cry. At the sound of their battle cry, God routed Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah. The Israelites fled before Judah, and God delivered them into their hands. Abijah and his men inflicted heavy losses on them, so that there were five hundred thousand causalities among Israel’s able men. The men of Israel were subdued on that occasion, and the men of Judah were victorious, and the men of Judah were victorious because they relied on the Lord, the God of their fathers.” (2nd Chronicles 13:14-18)
Using the title “people of God” does not make us God’s people. King Abijah of Judah explained to the Northern Kingdom of Israel the difference between the Kingdoms, both of whom claimed to be people of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Being people of God includes having God-called leadership, participating in worship pleasing to God, serving God without images like the golden calves, and observing God’s requirements. People of god live and worship differently than do other persons.
God may answer prayer through the results of our endeavors. The tribes east of Jordan found God’s answer in their military victory. God’s answer honored the people’s faith. Prayer is appropriate at any time, even in the midst of battle. In the midst of personal or community distress (like our current pandemic and the stress of death and all the pressures it brings with it), prayer reveals our hope and reliance on God.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Precious Abba, we always seek You to answer our prayers, and in desperate times, like the pandemic we have been living with for the last seven months, and the possibility of another spike that may be imminent. Millions have died, but the pressures and potentiality of another wave, creates even more pressure on us all. It is in these times, the political unrest in our country, and all of our other problems, that we seek Your answer to our prayers. We know You answer our prayers, but we seem to lose our patience in times such as these, and we are praying harder and longer than ever before. We seek to feel Your presence near us, but more importantly, we seek to hear Your answer to our heartfelt cries. Still, we strive to patiently wait upon You, and the answers we ask of You. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“The Great Light that is God is never separate from us, for we are composed of billions of particles of that Light” (Abigail Adeline Austin)
“There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God ad ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions. I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we had told the king, ‘The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.’ So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.” (Ezra8:21-23)
The Persian rulers generously allowed free religious practice to subject peoples. Ezra wanted to demonstrate his faith in the uniqueness of Israel’s God. Travel in that day was unsafe at best, but Ezra declared that the hand of Israel’s God was on all.
Their safety depended not on military help but on God. Humble prayer and fasting prepared the people for the trip. God answered by providing safety during the trip. Answers to prayer often come through successful completion of actions for which we prayed.
“You are always righteous, O Lord, when I bring a case before you. Yet I would speak with you about your justice: Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease? You have planted them, and they have taken root; they grow and bear fruit. You are always on their lips but far from their hearts. Yet you know me, O Lord; you see me and test my thoughts about you. Drag them off like sheep to be butchered! Set them apart for the day of slaughter! How long will the land be parched and the grass in every field be withered? Because those who live in it are wicked, the animals and birds have perished. Moreover, the people are saying, ‘He will not see what happens to us.’ If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thicket by the Jordan? Your brothers, your own family—-even they have betrayed you; they have raised a loud cry against you. Do not trust them, though they speak well of you.” (Jeremiah12:1-6)
Jeremiah used the language of the courtroom to seek God’s intervention against his enemies. God told him to keep trying and to separate himself from his own family who opposed him. At times God’s answers are demanding rather than granting our desires.
People fail to recognize their God-given potential by giving up too easily or quickly, rather than struggling to achieve their very best. At times the call to perseverance is hard to follow, bu we must continue in God’s mission regardless of our cost. Family ties usually are supposed to bind people together. However, when hatred breaks such ties, the resulting tragedy is extreme.
Second Thought of the Day:
“Then Jesus said, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?’ So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, ‘Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always heard me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.’” (John11:41-42)
Jesus assured Mary and Martha, two very close friends that their belief in Him and his power would allow them to see the fullness of God’s will revealed in their brother’s recovery from death! God’s glory is the full manifestation of His power and presence.
Jesus’ words imply a prayer previously made probably during the four day wait prior to the journey to Bethany. Here He acknowledge the Father as His source of healing power. Answered prayer calls forth thanks. Believers need never doubt. God hears and responds to prayer.