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The steps and the stops of a good man

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord. – Psalm 37:23 (NKJV)

And the stops also. – George Mueller, in the margin of Psalm 37:23

Have you ever waited for the Lord? If you have, you will attest that waiting for the Lord is much more difficult than walking in the wilderness. Waiting needs patience and an absolute faith in God. Being active for the Lord needs faith, but waiting for the Lord needs faith with perfect patience. If you don’t believe me, ask Noah.

The toughest days of Noah were not when he was building the Ark. Yes, he would have been ridiculed by everyone. They would have mocked him. Even his great grandfather who was alive just a year before the Flood, that grand daddy of all, Methuselah, would have been wondering, “But what is a rain?” Nevertheless, in his faith, Noah was also busy working for the Lord. But his toughest days would have been those 7 days he was locked inside the Ark, with his family and all those living beings, without an inkling of rain. How hard it must be, shut inside by the Lord Himself, with no rain, and everyone making fun of him, and he was shut. It needs faith and absolute faith in God and His Word, and it needs perfect patience.

When the Lord builds a hedge around us, initially we are happy, because we know the purpose – to keep our enemies away from us. We rejoice in the Lord, knowing that this hedge is impenetrable. As the hedge grows higher, we magnify the Lord for this great fence He is building around us, that no enemy can breach. Then suddenly one day we realize that the hedge has gone so high, that we cannot see the other side. We do not hear the growling of our enemies anymore; if at all, we hear only their whimpers in being defeated. And, we want to see our enemies whining and whimpering; we want to get out and celebrate. Only then we realize, that those hedges are meant for our protection, but also to keep us inside.

But how can I be of any service to the Lord in such a small place, we wonder? How will the Name of the Lord be glorified if I do not have a larger audience, a larger environment, where I can proclaim the Majesty of His Name – Jesus, and His glory? Didn’t God call me for a greater purpose than being held up in this hedge, I wonder aloud.

The Bible says that the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord. And in his Bible, George Mueller had written in the margin “And the stops also.” Yes, dear friend, just like our walks are ordered by the Lord, our holdups are also ordered by the Lord. Just like our ways have a greater purpose, our stops also have a higher purpose. If our calling builds our faith, our holdups strengthen our faith and make our patience perfect.

If the Lord has built a hedge around us, let us not try to break through them. Let us focus our eyes on Jesus, and the Pillar of the Cloud will move at the right moment, and then let us follow Him to our destiny. Amen.

Psalm 37_23

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These are His mountains

“I will make all my mountains a way” (Isaiah 49:11).

God will make obstacles serve His purpose. We all have mountains in our lives. There are people and things that threaten to bar our progress in the Divine life. Those heavy claims, that uncongenial occupation, that thorn in the flesh, that daily cross– we think that if only these were removed we might live purer, tenderer, holier lives; and often we pray for their removal.

“Oh, fools, and slow of heart!” These are the very conditions of achievement; they have been put into our lives as the means to the very graces and virtues for which we have been praying so long. Thou hast prayed for patience through long years, but there is something that tries thee beyond endurance; thou hast fled from it, evaded it, accounted it an unsurmountable obstacle to the desired attainment, and supposed that its removal would secure thy immediate deliverance and victory.

Not so! Thou wouldest gain only the cessation of temptations to impatience. But this would not be patience. Patience can be acquired only through just such trials as now seem unbearable. Go back; submit thyself. Claim to be a partaker in the patience of Jesus. Meet thy trials in Him. There is nothing in life which harasses and annoys that may not become subservient to the highest ends. They are His mountains. He puts them there.

We know that God will not fail to keep His promise. “God understandeth the way thereof and knoweth the place thereof. For he looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven”; and when we come to the foot of the mountains, we shall find the way.– Christ in Isaiah, by Meyer

Isaiah 49_11

Test of Faith

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. – James 1:2-4 (NKJV)

James 1_2-4

Our faith in God may look unshakeable for us. Especially after we see the great things that the Lord has done. I have heard many a well-meaning Christians say, “Oh, hereafter, I will never ever doubt my God. How can I? HE has done great things for me and He shall do so in the future. I trust in Him completely.” I don’t doubt the sincerity of their confession. They do really trust in the Lord and their faith is also true, except within a short span of time, they are struggling in their life, because of unbelief. Why? Because when the test of faith comes their way, they are found wanting.

Exodus 14:31 says that the Israelites believed in the Lord and His servant Moses, when they crossed the Red Sea and saw how the LORD of hosts destroyed the armies of Egypt. But three days later, they were murmuring at the bitter waters of Marah.

To be honest, if I was without water in a wilderness for three days, and the guide leads me to some waters and it turns to be bitter, probably I would rile against the guide. But this is no ordinary Guide. This is the Lord Who had done great deeds before their own eyes, such great deeds that after all these years, we are still talking about them in awe. They saw the ten plagues that the Egyptians faced, they were saved by the blood of the lamb four days earlier, they crossed the Red Sea and even sang:

Who is like You, O Lord, among the gods?
Who is like You, glorious in holiness,
Fearful in praises, doing wonders? (Exodus 15:11)

Exodus 15-11

But when the waters of Marah made their life bitter, they did not have the patience to trust in the Lord. That the Lord our God, Who was able to change the waters of Nile into blood, is able to change the bitterness of Marah. El Shaddai, the God Almighty, Who was able to gather the waters of Red Sea and made them into walls, is able to do one more miracle. Unfortunately, when the test of faith came, their lack of patience was exposed.

Faith must produce patience in us. The LORD never tests us more than we can  endure. By the bitter waters of Marah, there was the tree that would heal the waters. And, dear friend, if the test of faith brings bitterness into your life, don’t lose your faith. Instead, look at Calvary. Look at the Tree in which our Saviour died. Look at Jesus, Him crucified. May Jesus Christ be the Author and the Finisher of our faith. Amen.

hebrews-12-2