Transforming truths

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Cross at sunset

By Tom Wiles | For The Times-Post

You made all the delicate inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. — Psalm 139:1-24

As we continue to embrace the wonder of grandparenthood, we are left nothing short of awed each time one of our daughters shows us the pictures of their little ones growing in their wombs.

Comments such as, “He has your nose” or “She’s grabbing her foot” are heard as we embrace such a marvelous mystery. Quick on the heels to those comments are questions related to their future. What kind of a personality do they have? What will they do when they grow up? God makes. We wonder.

As David considered the implications of what it meant for God to be God, the Holy Spirit flooded his heart with numerous core truths about God, about us and about the nature of the relationship between the two.

God knows. We are known.

God is present. We are never alone.

God creates. We are created.

God knits us together. We are unique in design and purpose.

God reveals. We respond. In this divine/human interplay, we experience his presence, his guidance and his strength.

The truths revealed in this Psalm are absolutely fundamental to a Biblical worldview. The devil, this world and the part of us that wants to be our own god pushes back on all of them.

David didn’t.

He embraced them and marveled at their implications. He couldn’t pretend that everything came from nothing. He was unable to live in a truth of his own imagination.

When all was said and considered, he simply cried out to God, “Lead me along the path of everlasting life.”

Pockets filled with holes

This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: “Look what’s happening to you! You have planted much but harvested little. You eat but are not satisfied. You drink but are still thirsty. You put on clothes but cannot keep warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes!” — Haggai 1:1-2:23

There have been seasons in our lives where we were just sure we would have enough resources to pay our bills, have clothes to wear, keep food on the table and put gas in the car only to run out of money before we ran out of the month.

We wearily struggled along hoping the next paycheck would arrive before the late fees.

On the other hand, we’ve known seasons where we knew we were in trouble only to experience an unexpected provision at just the right time.

What’s that all about?

I’m not totally sure about all our ups and downs, but the two leaders of God’s people, Zerubbabel and Jeshua, were told by God’s prophet Haggai exactly what that was all about when it came to God’s people.

They were living large in big fine houses while the focus of worship, the temple, was left in ruins.

They planted much, but reaped little. They ate and drank, but were still hungry and thirsty. They had clothes, but were still cold. “Get to work!”, God told these leaders and they did.

Confused priorities are not an ancient problem.

We choose exactly what’s most important to us every moment of every day. Our mouths can say anything, but what we really believe will be revealed by what we do. Who or what gets our time? Who or what gets our energy? Who or what gets our resources?

If we dared to track the usage of our time, energy and resources for just one week, what would we discover about our hearts?

In Close Fellowship With God

…Enoch lived 365 years, walking in close fellowship with God. Then one day he disappeared because God took him…Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on the earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God. — Genesis 5:1 – 6:22

Close friends and family are truly a gift from God.

People who knew us and loved us “before.”

Before we did this or that.

Before we grew up a little.

No need for masks. No need for pretending.

We share all the “Do you remember when..??” stories.

We can see what the other person is feeling.

It’s easy to playfully tease and even easier to encourage. We have history in the best sense of that expression. We’ve journeyed. We’ve weathered. Our stories simply cannot be unraveled from each other.

As the record of the first generations of people is introduced to us in Genesis, we find two people, only two, described as having this kind of relationship with God himself – Enoch and Noah.

Enoch was spared physical death and was simply received into heaven by God.

Noah was spared the global judgment of the flood.

Both of these men preached to their contemporaries to no avail (Jude and II Peter).

They were both objects of God’s mercy and witnesses of it.

These two men were the first to be described as walking in close fellowship with God after sin entered the world.

Micah the prophet proclaimed this incredible reality as God’s deepest desire for his people – “Do justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly with your God.”

It’s not only possible to have this kind of relationship with God, it’s to be the norm, the expectation.

Oh, that even today our hearts would turn so decidedly towards Jesus that our life preaches, “It’s no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”

It will be provided

Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means “the Lord will provide’). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: ‘On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.” — Genesis 22:1-24

With the plan hatched and in progress, I waited with my heart pounding for what felt like forever.

I had sent my sweetheart and her sister on a scavenger hunt for a “fun activity” for them to do together before her sister left town for a few weeks.

It was actually a scavenger hunt to find an engagement ring that I would ask her to consider taking from me.

Each place they went was a place we had been during our courtship.

Same places with a different purpose and message.

Up the mountain went Abraham and Isaac.

The angel stopped him from sacrificing his son.

Same mountain, years later, David would make a sacrifice to stop a plague.

Same mountain, years later Solomon built the first temple for worship.

Same mountain, years later the second temple was built there and later added on to by Herod.

Same mountain, years later Jesus was crucified for the sins of the world. “On the mountain of the Lord, it will be provided.”

God’s question before us today is the same question that was before Abraham that day, “Will you trust me?”

All throughout our days, we choose whether or not to lean on ourselves and our own understanding or God’s.

We scurry around looking to provide for ourselves things like significance, security, purpose, meaning, etc. when the Lord simply asks us to walk with him and he will provide.

Will we trust him to such a degree that we will be still and know that he is God?

Tom Wiles is senior minister of Fall Creek Christian Church in Pendleton. He can be reached at 765-778-3166.

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