FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
ROOTED IN CHRIST
January 13, 2017
Today’s psalm: Psalm 78:3-8
Jesus has already won the victory, and in the spiritual war we are engaged in, what we are doing is a mopping-up operation. But though the evil one has been defeated, he is still able to inflict casualties on God’s people, and even defeat them in some battles.
This is what happened to Israel. “The ranks of Ephraimite archers, retreated on the day of battle.” (v.9). Ephraim was the most important tribe of the Northern Kingdom, but they were defeated by the enemy. Why? Because of their infidelity to God. If they had been faithful, God would have protected them and given them the victory.
This is sobering to holy warriors. It is not just what we do, assaulting the enemy, but it is about who we are and what we have become. There are those in the Church who are at the front lines of service, but who neglect their spiritual well-being. They are warriors but are not holy. How do we ensure that we can appropriate the power and strength of God as holy warriors? Stated negatively, what kind of people are we not to be? We learn from what God told His unfaithful people.
First, we must not be those who refuse “to walk according to his law” (v.10b). God has given us His commandments. We must “keep his commandments.” (v.7c). We obey God’s law. We do not walk along a worldly path. Rather, we walk along the straight and narrow path given by God.
Second, we must not be those who do “not keep God’s covenant” (v.10a). We have a covenant with God, where He is our God and we are His people. We must abide with that covenant, which demands righteousness and integrity. Our covenant is the foundation of our relationship with God. It provides us with a continuing guidepost so that we will not lose our way.
Third, we must not be “a rebellious and defiant generation.” (v.8b). We must not insist on our own way, our own agenda, our own priorities. God tells us what to do, and we follow. We do not become hard-hearted. We do not become obstinate. We certainly must not oppose God’s agenda. We are but His instruments, and we do His will.
Fourth, we must not be “a generation whose heart was not constant” (v.8c). We must be steadfast in our faith. Our hearts must always rest in God. We are vigilant and do not allow other forces in the world to entice us. We do not go with the secular flow. We have turned our lives over to God, and we act accordingly in all circumstances.
Fifth, we must not be those “whose spirit was not faithful to God.” (v.8d). God is faithful to us, even in our unfaithfulness. He is merciful and always reaches out to us. We in turn must be faithful to Him. We look to Him for our well-being. We defend Him. We do His works.
Sixth, we must not be those who “forgot his deeds, the wonders that he had shown them.” (v.11). God blesses us in very many ways. In times of difficulty and challenge, or even seeming defeat, we must always be reminded of God’s marvelous deeds. We look to the signs and wonders we have experienced in our life in and service to Him. We know there is more. We trust in Him.
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