The faith of Christian lawyer HORATIO GATES SPAFFORD, author of “It is well with my soul” is as strong as that of Job who lost all and yet did not forsake God. He was even asked to curse God but he refused in the spirit of God owns “my life and whatsoever he does with it I will neither query Him nor swear against Him.” When his three friends began to blame him, expressing their thought that spoke of Job’s possible hidden sin; he ignored them including his wife’s suggestion that Job should curse God and die apparently because of the serious agony he was experiencing. Job took it stoically but at a time wished he were dead and put an end to the excruciating pain and sorrow. He still anchored his faith in Jehovah.
All is well that ends well. God allowed Satan to lay his hand on Job and got to a point God had to uphold His instruction earlier on, that Job’s life was not to be tampered with. God had Job’s health restored, his loss was replenished many folds more than it was before the test of his faith, and he was commissioned to pray for his friends who had sort of ‘blasphemed’ in the way they judged an innocent man like Job. The chain of disaster and misfortune that HORATIO suffered was enough to make a weak believer or non believer to commit suicide. It was like he hung on to the thread of faith that his redeemer lives. History puts it that so many rich people committed suicide during the Great Depression of the 1930s The millionaires that woke up to find their wealth had literally flown away resorted to ‘end it all’ via suicide. In other words, Trust in God was amongst people of ages gone by and we in our contemporary society find it hard to change our orientation. Can anyone fault the faith the three young Hebrews Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego showed in bluntly refusing to worship the king’s gold image. Even though it incurred them the wrath of King Nebuchadnezzar, but did not bulge and insisted on their stand of not disobeying the God of Israel. In the king’s consternation, he said only three men were thrown into the fiery furnace but he was seeing four people and the forth person looked liked the son of God. WHO TOLD HIM .OR SHOWED HIM THE FOURTH PERSON WAS THE SON OF MAN?
There are more examples of disciples that showed faithfulness during persecution like the records in Acts 5:40-42, Romans 8: 17-18, 2Corinthians 4: 10-11, Hebrew 11: 24-25 (The faith of Moses)
May the good Lord deliver man from sin emanating from pride, prejudice self conceit and many more. All these behavior patterns tend to make man fall pray to devil’s temptation or deceptions.Throughout history when man is at his lowest ebb financially, spiritually and without any social worth, the tendency is to turn to God. God’s love for man is the deepest love or the agape love. What we notice is that God will always listen to His children ‘s distress call during the time of dire need. The first King of Israel faltered along the line as he usurped the priestly duty against divine instruction concerning the duties and obligations of the King and the priest. Assuming Saul committed sin out of fear of the Amalakites and the Philistines, with fear of the Lord in him, when Prophet Samuel queried him he should not have engaged in lying to justify his action.
The focus of this post is on King Uzziah who ascended to the throne of his father at a tender age of sixteen II Chronicles 26. He belonged to an age when teenagers of nowadays are still slogging it out in their High School grades. He reigned for fifty-two years in Jerusalem. In chapters 4 – 5, the bible recorded it thus: “And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all his father Amaziah had done. He sought God in the days of Zachariah, who had understanding in the visions of God; and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper” (NKJV). Any King that reigned for fifty-two years should have been grateful to the God of Israel in those days. At that point in time, ascension to the throne was full of intrigues and assassination unlike when King Solomon was aged King David’s choice or King Rehoboam that followed Solomon. King Amaziah, father of Uzziah, reigned for twenty-nine years during which he embraced the God of the Edomites. He fell prey to King Joash of Israel. At the end there was conspiracy against him and therefore ran to Lachish. The conspirators. the bible recorded it that they pursued him and got rid of him there. He still had a king’s burial among his fathers in the city of Judah. Uzziah, at the peak of power and glory wanted to usurp the power and privileges of the priests. Eighty priests withstood him,and while still holding the censer to burn incense to the Lord, leprosy broke out on his forehead. He died a leper and was not buried in the king’s field of burial. In conclusion, when shall man learn from history? To start well like King Uzziah is good but never better than ending well.
This post is an extension of the immediate earlier topic titled “Reliance on God banishes fear “. It was not only King Saul that yielded because of the fear of man at a most critical time in his life. Situation of fear breeds lukewarmness which Jesus condemned in John’s revelation to the church in Laodicea Revelation 3:15-16. There should not be partial trust in God. Absolute confidence in God is required at all times. Fear of man is exemplified in Proverb 29: 25 ” The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe”.
Prophets re-echoed God’s assurance that makes us not to fear man as in Isaiah 51: 12 ” I, even I, am HE who comforts you, who are you that you should be afraid of man who will die, And of the son of man who will be made like grass?” (NKJV) In John 12: 42, Jesus’ disciples alluded to Isaiah’s observation that people’s fear of the Pharisees prevented many rulers of the synagogue from confessing Christ as the Messiah thus: “Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue.” According to James 4: 7, the bible tells us: “Submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you”. A born-again Christian should frustrate fear to be able to fully rely on God who remains eternally supreme.
Be strong in the Lord to be able to receive help of the helpless.
This topic will definitely be meaningful to those who trust in the Lord or those helpless people who God helped out of their predicament where they had thought there was no way out. The account of event in II Chronicles 13: 1-22 goes in part: “In the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam Abijah became king of Judah…….And there was war between Abijah and Jeroboam. Abijah set the battle in order with an army of valiant warriors, four hundred thousand choice men. Jeroboam also drew up in battle formation against him with eighty hundred thousand choice men of valor.
Love of God breeds trust and faith that depend on the Almighty God.To such individual, protection, victory, healing in times of sickness are the by-products of walking with God. In times of difficulty, a call on God is easily answered appropriately and in the nick of time. Evidently and from human angle Abijah’s strength was not equal to that of Jeroboam. However, armament cannot ensure victory especially when one has the backing of divine power. Abijah reminded Jeroboam that he was trying to destroy his master’s dynasty. Abijah recalled that King David received God’s covenant of perpetual kingship through generations yet unborn. Abijah also catalogued the ways in which King Jeroboam defied God especially having to trust in graven images instead of God. Ambush is a war tactic Jeroboam adopted to encircle Abijah’s lesser numbered army. Abijah was surprised but not discouraged. He and prayer warriors used the most potent and unfailing weapon. They worshipped by singing and praising God. All of a sudden “God struck Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah.” Terror stricken Israel was completely annihilated thus confirming that help will always come to the helpless while the proud stands to be abased in spite of his human prowess. Remember, as a person, David was no match to Goliath but help of the helpless that depended on God came to David as he brought Goliath down with just one “divine stone” for David to be able to sever Goliath’s head in complete victory.
Be blindfolded and fail before God
It is an established fact that man continues to deceive others hoping to take advantage of them. The bible has a lot of stories of deceptions and promised made without being fulfilled as soon as the deceiver gets what he or she purposed to gain. The duality in nature also showed situations in which people engaged in truthful promise or covenant. The children of Israel had the two modes of both deceitful acts and unbeatable truthful promises and covenants that were fulfilled. Neither David nor Jonathan acted in deceit. David gained favor of God and Jonathan’s surviving son, Mephibosheth was found out by David and brought back to the palace. King David restored his father’s inheritance to him and made him to eat at the king’s table. Jephthar paid his vow with what was dearest to his hear but gained much needed victory for the ravaged children of Israel.
Let us quickly see the role the Gibeonites in the life of the Israelites as they continued to bask in the glory of God’s promise of settling them in the land of Canaan having gloriously entered the Promised Land. News had been spreading as Ai and heavily fortified city of Jericho fell. Consequent upon these unassailable victories, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites got ready to attack the returnees. The inhabitants of Gibeon craftily devised a plan that precluded them from the action of their neighbors. They surreptitiously planned strategy of deceit, by presenting themselves as make-belief foreigners and voluntarily pledged to be servants to the Israelites Joshua chapter 9: 1-27. Joshua and the elders gullibly took the lie ‘hook, line and sinker’ and spared them against God’s instruction. They never sought the face of God before deciding to make a covenant with the deceivers. The Gibeonites received the wages of their deceit in the way Joshua made them to be woodcutters and water carriers for both the congregation and for the altar of the Lord Joshua 9: 27. Without researching the veracity of the submission of the Gibeonites, Joshua made peace with them, and also made a covenant with them to make them live and rulers of the congregation swore to it. When the truth of these deceitful neighbors became manifest, the Israelites could not act against the covenant. They had breached the avowed instruction to wipe out those they met in the Promised Land as required by the God of Israel. In conclusion, Proverb 20: 17 says “Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, But afterwards his mouth will be filled with gravels”, so it was with the Gibeonites.