When God Withholds You – by Assistant Pastor Justin Mears

Today’s Passage – Genesis 20 – 22 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 13 – 14Psalms 31 – 35Proverbs 7

Read the “0107 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read previous posts from this passage: God Will Provide Himself a Lamb,“ and “The Whole Truth.”

“And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her.” (Genesis 20:6)

Abraham told Abimelech king of Gerar that Sarah was his sister which, as we find out, is true but not quite the full truth. Abimelech has no reason not to believe him and as a result takes her for himself. Before he ever does anything with her the Lord appears harshly to him in a dream saying, “thou art but a dead man.” Eventually, they get it figured out and he gives her back to Abraham. Abraham then prays for Abimelech, specifically requesting that the women of Gerar would be able to bare children again because the Lord had closed up their wombs for Sarah’s sake.

There is a lot not right with this story and mainly it’s about how Abraham handled this situation completely wrong. He didn’t trust God. He was willing to watch another man take his wife to save his own life, and this wasn’t the first time he had done this. Another point to see in this is how awesome God is at taking our mess-ups and making them works of art. In the end Abraham was tremendously blessed by Abimelech. It is a great picture of God’s grace. 

However, my thought is not derived from either of these things but rather on King Abimelech and how we can relate with him. Have you ever tried to do something like apply for a job, buy a house, or pursue a certain dream only to be met with blockade after blockade as if the very hand of God was fighting against you? You may be pursuing something good in the integrity of your heart, just like it says about Abimelech taking Sarah. You might not be trying to do anything wrong but you can’t see it from Heaven’s perspective. It felt like God was punishing Abimelech, but rather God protected him by withholding him from sinning against God. The same goes for us, we can’t see what He see’s. He could be protecting us from some unforeseen danger.

Trust God and follow his will.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

Justin, Samantha, Selah, Emerson, Westin, and Levi Belle (“the Beast”)

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Guest Post by Justin Mears

Today’s Passage – Joshua 8 – 9 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – 1 Timothy 1 – 3Proverbs 14Psalms 66 – 70)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 John 4:7 & 8

Read the “0314 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

So Joshua arose, and all the people of war, to go up against Ai: and Joshua chose out thirty thousand mighty men of valour, and sent them away by night. (Joshua 8:3)

            Joshua has just experienced great failure. He has just had about 36 of his men killed in battle, the people are distressed and discouraged, and to top it all off he had to have Achan, his family, and all he owned stoned to death. This is a hard time in the life of a leader. I’m sure he thought over mistakes that were made, things that should have been done differently. Maybe a little bit of anger with Achan and even himself. Joshua was no doubt tired and deeply discouraged. His head was probably filling with doubts, confusion, and fear. This was a man at a very low point in his life. 

            Now we come to the moment when Joshua is given a second chance. God begins with the words “fear not”. He tells him to go back into Ai, because he has given him the victory. God can bring victory and he can give them the land and he wants to, but Joshua has a decision to make that no one else can make for him. He can either give up or get up. We see his decision in verse 3, “so Joshua arose!”

            Now comes the application:

For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief. (Proverbs 24:16)

Whether or not we fall is not the question, but rather whether or not we get back up. You may wonder what the point of getting back up is. Easy, there is a whole promised land still out there full of victories that God wants to give you. Failure is all a part of learning how to succeed. God will bring future victories, but you must get back up. 

 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but [this] one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13 – 14)

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Guest Post by Justin Mears

‘Today’s Passage – Deuteronomy 19 – 22 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read –  Galatians 4 – 6Psalms 31 – 35Proverbs 7)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Micah 6:8

Read the “0307 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon. 

And the officers shall speak further unto the people, and they shall say, What man is there that is fearful and fainthearted? let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren’s heart faint as well as his heart. (Deuteronomy 20:8)

            As we continue to read about God’s instruction and reminders for His people. We come across these guidelines for battle. God actually says that there are reasons to send someone home from battle and not allow them to fight. One of these disqualifying reasons is fear. 

            Simple thought today is this, are you fearful and fainthearted? Even further than that, are you influencing others to be the same? When the spies went into the promise land there was a report of blessing and bounty, but there was also and report of doubt and fear. The fear spread throughout the people like disease and stole their hearts, bringing them to their knees in defeat. Only they had never fought the physical battle. The devil can keep you from ever fighting in the battle, if he can keep you defeated in your fear. 

            We see another passage of scripture later on in Judges where the Israelites follow this rule mentioned here in Deuteronomy. Gideon is commanded to send those who were fearful of the battle, home. As a result they receive the victory. We learn here that we must cast out all fear and replace it with faith in a God. He has never let us down, nor given us any reason to doubt. Remember, “For God hath not given us the spirit of; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” 2 Tim. 1:7.

            In conclusion, either remove fear or God will remove you from the battle. In the end, if you have fear you do more damage than good. Don’t let fear keep you and others from experiencing victory. 

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Guest Post by Justin Mears

Today’s Passage – Numbers 34 – 36 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – 1 Corinthians 5 – 8Proverbs 28Psalms 141 – 145)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song  – Deuteronomy 32:4

Read the “0228 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“These are the commandments and the judgments, which the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses unto the children of Israel in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho.” (Numbers 36:13)

Numbers 34-36

            These chapters are God’s instructions to Moses for the congregation when they enter the promise land. As I read these chapters I think about all this effort he continues to put forth for a place he will not be going to. At one time Moses was the man that was going to take them into the promise land. They actually where there at one point on the verge of going in, but the people lost faith and rebelled against God. Now they had been wandering in the wilderness for 40 years for something Moses didn’t do! Now to make things worse he can’t even go into the promise land because of a bad decision he made in a moment of anger. What a devastating thought! Yet Moses doesn’t let that stop him from serving God today. 

            This morning I thought of two reasons as to why I might not continue if I was Moses.

            First I might not continue simply because I messed everything up! I would be discouraged and down in the dumps. It’s almost like setting the table for dinner and making it look beautiful with the fine china. Only to not realize the table cloth caught on your shirt as you walk away as all the fine china falls to the floor and shatters, or painting an intricate masterpiece, just to knock it to the floor with the slight brush of your knee. I think we’ve all messed something up before. Even worse than that, there have been times where we have probably messed up God’s picture or plan for our lives. Moses did too and it was a pretty big price tag as well, but he didn’t let that stop him from serving God today. He knew God still had a plan today.

            The second thought was that, this could have been a temptation for Moses to get bitter. I don’t know about you but sometimes, in my humanity, I look at this and kind of scratch my head. I hear myself thinking “come on Lord, couldn’t you give him a break?” The people got him mad because of their complaining! If I were Moses I could have found a reason to question God. Maybe there have been things in your life that you think are just unfair and you have a problem with God about it. In this situation Moses doesn’t give in to those thoughts because God isn’t and never will be the one who has done wrong. Moses sinned against God by disobeying his word. Everything Moses has today is because God gave it to him. Think of everything good in your life and remember that’s from God not you (James 1:17). 

            I think for Moses one thing kept him in this area we call contentment. The promise land would be nice and all, but nothing compares to an eternity with my Savior! I’m sure Moses was tired and so are many of us, but one day it will be worth it all as the song says. There will be no more battling the flesh, no more sin, no more pain, no more weariness, and for Moses no more complaining! I think Moses was looking forward to some rest without the heartaches of this world. Serve God till the end like Moses, so you too can hear the words well done.   

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