“Let the prophet who has a dream tell the dream, but let him who has my word speak my word faithfully. What has straw in common with wheat? declares the Lord. Is not my word like fire, declares the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?”
Jeremiah 23: 28-29
So many people I meet tell me of their experiences with God, their dreams, signs, circumstances, feelings, hearing God speak and more. I know God does work through circumstances and experiences, but I don’t hear as often about the scripture that stepped into their life and revealed the Lord to them personally. We all know intellectually how important the Word of God is, but is it constantly precious to us and just as dramatic of an experience? I find when there is distance between the Lord and me, I usually don’t find His word as precious. But when there is intimacy, it’s like a whisper of love in my ear.
The scripture says, "let him who has my word speak my word faithfully." I can’t speak it, if I don’t have it. I can’t have it, if I haven’t turned to it as my support and teacher. I won’t turn to it, unless I’m vulnerable before God to let Him speak to me. His word is like fire and a hammer, able to break rock in pieces – meaning breaking my heart too. Sometimes we run from that part, the pain of being real before the Lord and talking about the stuff that is too tender and painful to touch, so we avoid it and avoid true intimacy with the Lord. Perhaps we are scared He doesn’t really have an answer for us in His word, so when we are reading the time becomes dry and ritualistic.
But this verse gives us hope that it won’t stay like that. His word will come in and change us, sometimes hit us right out of the blue. And He is so gracious to bless us with Himself, when we keep reading. I pray this devotional will be a spark to dig into the Word of God as your lifeline and see all that God does in it. There’s no condemnation or guilt being loaded for not reading, but an exhortation to taste and see the Lord really is good and His words are the sweetest you will ever hear. Here’s just a sampling of what God’s word has been doing for me personally in the last couple months, perhaps this will be a timely word from Him to you as well.
“For He knows worthless men, when he sees iniquity, will He not consider it?” - Job 11:11
This word worthless has come up many times in the last few weeks. It's a dark word and brings to mind some horrible events in the Bible of men who committed great sin. It was in Judges 19:22 "the men of the city, worthless fellows, surrounded the house, beating on the door;" where rape and murder occurred. In 1 Samuel 2:12 "Now the sons of Eli were worthless men. They did not know the Lord." They treated the office of priest with disdain and tarnished the image of God to the people. 1 Samuel 25:17 speaks of Nabal who refused to help King David..."And he is such a worthless man that one cannot speak to him."
And how can we recognize this characteristic? It’s displayed in crimes against others, people who will not hear wisdom or truth, and who do not know the Lord. When we have all three, it’s a dangerous time for us all, but also the days we are all living in. Why such a dark word that I'm sharing? Because as much as we want to deny the reality of evil all around us and shield our hearts from the pain of it, God wants to use that pain to impact this world. We are a people that break every commandment so easily and see people as worthless too. Abortions and the lives of babies discarded as an inconvenience, sex slave trafficking because they provide money and an opportunity for men to sin at will. Physical, emotional and sexual abuse to women and children because it gratifies the need to rule over someone and feed selfishness. Murder to satisfy vengeance and man’s wrath.
"The Lord is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I hope in Him!" The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord." - Lamentations 3:24-26 NKJV
Have you ever been waiting for something your heart desires for a long time? I have been waiting for over six years for The Lord to grant me the gift of a godly husband. To this day not even one man has approached me for a relationship. It's very easy to lose heart in the waiting and the loneliness as time continues to tick on. A few weeks ago, a series of events brought a sense of despair and futility that this prayer would remain unanswered for many more years. As I was pouring my heart out to the Lord again, He reminded me of this verse in John 12:24, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." I began laying the dreams of my heart at His feet to let them all die, telling the Lord that even if I were to never receive the desires of my heart, so let His will be done in me. I prayed, "Father glorify Thy name," because I do desire for Him to be glorified through my life. And my wisdom is limited, I don't know the best way to glorify the Father with my life, whether in marriage or in waiting in singleness, but He does.
It's a painful question The Lord asks at times to us, 'Will we endure our hardship for His glory?' "Will you endure this difficult marriage? What if your family remains unsaved for years? What if your children don't return for many years? What if this illness remains? On and on the questions can go.
“Also you shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the heart of a stranger, because you were strangers in the land of Egypt." - Exodus 23:9
I've had one of those weeks marked with some discouraging moments, so I was already in a place of weakness when the latest temptation came. I had read that verse above and the one before it during my readings through Exodus. “You shall neither mistreat a stranger nor oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt" (Exodus 22:21). It had stood out to me because God was repeating it to the Hebrews after they were freed from Egypt. In my journals I had written, "Lord You do not want us to sin against others in the way we were sinned against. It especially grieves Your heart, because we sin according to knowledge - we know the anguish we are causing since we have been there. Our hearts should not be hardened or want to repay, but to have a heart of compassion."
Just one day later, God allowed a situation to test my heart to obey in this matter. Someone I cared for very much but who would not respond back to my efforts to reach out, responded back to me by email out of the blue months later. They apologized and asked my forgiveness for their silence. But oh how my heart responded with coldness. I refused to respond for two days. My heart wanted to repay and allow them to experience and feel the pain I had suffered by their silence. I didn't want to just grant forgiveness so quickly. I wanted to teach them a lesson. I felt like, "After all the pain I have experienced and it's supposed to be all washed away by one apology and acknowledgement. I can never get those months back, and the pain has caused its' wounds." And my cry to God was "Where is the justice Lord?"
By Christy Cox
“And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel whom the Egyptians keep in bondage, and I have remembered My covenant.
Therefore say to the children of Israel: ‘I am the Lord; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and I will give it to you as a heritage: I am the Lord.’”
So Moses spoke thus to the children of Israel; but they did not heed Moses, because of anguish of spirit and cruel bondage. (Exodus 6:5-9)
God heard the Israelites groaning from the agonies of their lives. They cried out for God to intervene and change the situations in their life that caused them perpetual pain and their specific cry was for freedom from oppression and bondage.
By Christy Cox
“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, will bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfort to her. I will give her her vineyards from there, and the Valley of Achor as a door of hope; She shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, as in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.
“And it shall be, in that day,” says the Lord, “That you will call Me ‘My Husband,’ ‘And no longer call Me ‘My Master’…
“I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, In lovingkindness and mercy; I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, and you shall know the Lord.
(Hosea 2:14-16, 19-20)
Father, Your great love for us is so deep and You wish for us to experience that love. You draw us and allure us, Your daughters towards You. And how do You do it? “Behold, I will allure her, will bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfort to her.” Strangely, by bringing us into the wilderness. A place of sorrow, pain and suffering; and as we cry out in our anguish in that place – You also promise to speak comfort and hope to us. Right there in our darkest moments, You reveal Yourself.