Sunday am 12 February 2017 – Shane Egypt
Jer. 17:7-8; Gal. 5:5 (Amp); (Num. 14:9-12); (1 Sam. 25:5-14, 37-38); (Ruth1:1-22); Ruth 3; Jer. 48:11
Blessed is the man who trusts in His supply but who also trusts in Him as the supplier (Jer. 17:7-8). We need to go further and trust Him for He is our provision.
We need to have an anticipation. It means to expect, to regard something as probable or likely. Our anticipation in faith positions us in Christ for the fulfilment of that which was promised. For we [not relying on the Law but] through the [strength and power of the Holy] Spirit, by faith, are waiting [confidently] for the hope of righteousness [the completion of our salvation] (Gal. 5:5). By faith we anticipate and wait for the blessing. Everything works for our good. Our conformity to His will and purpose causes us to hope. The promise from a trustworthy source like God needs to create expectancy; and if you are expectant with a hungry heart, you will position yourself for its fulfilment. Conformity cannot come if there has not been true repentance. We need a God encounter which does not happen just once. Repentance means losing your mind and gaining His. We who want to follow God and walk in His will; this repentance is not a one-time event but should be experienced as we migrate from glory to glory. This “metanoia”, this repentance experience, has always been available, where we can put on another mind and draw our thoughts from a new place, a heavenly dimension from which everything will change. You will see everything differently from another perspective because you are living in a whole new world.
I have two narratives from the Old Testament and both come with a warning. These narratives speak of an alignment with the will of God and speak of a heart condition that is fully committed to God. The action is to position yourself by faith. However there is a warning because there is a choice; you can decide.
Caleb in his old age said, Now then, give me this hill country about which the Lord spoke on that day, for you heard on that day that Anakim were there, with great fortified cities; perhaps the Lord will be with me, and I will drive them out as the Lord has spoken (Josh. 14:12). Caleb followed God fully (Josh. 14:9). He was one of the scouts sent out to spy out Canaan. All of the others gave reasons why they could not go and they could not position themselves for the fulfilment of the promise of God. This created doubt in the hearts of the people, and it took Caleb to quieten them before Moses. Caleb, with a different spirit decided to position himself for the inheritance of which Moses had spoken. Many giants are standing between us and the promises of God. What are we going to do? Are we going to position ourselves like Caleb and say, “This is what the Lord said, God promised and it came from a trustworthy source”.
This is the warning: Much later, Nabal, of the house of Caleb, rejected what God was doing, because he rejected David, who characterised what God was doing in His unfolding plan for his people. David sent messengers and by rejecting the messengers, Nabal rejected what God was doing, because he was rejecting the man of God, the anointed of God, the new season and the promise. This was the danger. He was saying, “David, you are in rebellion, you broke away from your lord Saul, and you are out of alignment and you are not part of the current order, so that means this house is supporting the old, Saul”. When God was working on behalf of His people, Nabal’s house missed God by rejecting David’s messengers, because he sent ten messengers (1 Sam. 25:1-14). Ten speaks of divine order. Rejecting the messengers was out of order; the positioning was incorrect and misaligned from what God was doing because there was a new season beckoning. God struck Nabal with paralysis and later he died (1 Sam. 25:37-38). The blessings his house would have received were bestowed on Abigail and she became part of the house of David. Nabal’s house lived in prosperity, but it does not mean they were aligned with God’s will. The question is: what happened in the heart of Nabal, the descendent of Caleb?
How did Ruth the Moabite (Moab being the incestuous son of Lot) position herself? She returned with her mother in law in the time of the barley harvest. A new season was about to break (Ruth 1:1-22). Ruth decided to leave her past behind and to change her frame of reference from being a Moabite to following Naomi. She left her location and started thinking differently and embraced the new into which God was leading her. Moab depicts a place where you do not have to change (Jer. 48:11). A Moabite represents keeping the status quo. When Boaz asked who she was, her reply was, “I am Ruth your maidservant” (Ruth 3:9). She did not refer to the land of Moab or being from Moab. You start seeing a change. We have to see that we are built into the corporate body and our alignment is to Christ the corner stone. You have to identify yourself with that.
The key is: while waiting for the fulfilment, keep on serving faithfully. Do not be idle in the waiting; participate in the unfolding plan of God for your life. Ruth had a serving and desperate heart. A desperate heart is a determined heart; it is like a dry piece of ground getting the first bit of soft rain. That is how we should be, a heart desperate after God and a heart positioned and fully committed. We need a servant-heart ready for the purposes of God to unfold in our lives. We have to be positioned for fulfilment. Ruth had to prepare and position herself. The new season was beckoning; there was life on the horizon.
There is always an overlap of winter and spring, there is still the deadness but there are signs of life! You need to position yourself. Get ready. The warning, if we do not position ourselves, waiting with living faith, it is like going back, like Orpah, whose name means, ‘turning the back’. She represents individuals who become accustomed to the winter. They stay in their thinking and the land of Moab she returned to represents futility and unfruitfulness. You never hear of Orpah again in the Scriptures. She missed the new in her life. If she had clung to her mother-in-law she would have been in the house of Boaz.
Isn’t it obvious that faith and works are yoked partners, that faith expresses itself in works? That the works are “works of faith”? The full meaning of “believe” in the Scripture sentence, “Abraham believed God and was set right with God,” includes his action. It’s that mesh of believing and acting that got Abraham named “God’s friend” (James 2:22-24-Msg). It is a mesh, it is togetherness; we as a family are together. We cannot be separated. We are connected because of God. Boaz is the kinsman redeemer, a type of Christ. A Moabite came back to the blood line. You are in the blood line! Let us not waver or be anxious. Trust God!