We Do Not Shrink Back

Father, You have granted us a boldness in Christ. You have opened up the door that we might approach You and Your throne in full confidence. This is a deep, deep blessing. Thank You for providing this to us so that we might approach the difficulties of life, the trials and temptations, with this knowledge and expectation. If You have granted us this, then we can be that much more bold about the things of righteousness, moving forward in Your love, mercy, grace and honor. Thank You for this deep, deep blessing. May we use it to bring You glory & to draw others near to You. Amen.

Hebrews 10:26-39
26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

32 But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, 33 sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. 34 For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. 35 Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. 37 For,

“Yet a little while,
    and the coming one will come and will not delay;
38 but my righteous one shall live by faith,
    and if he shrinks back,
my soul has no pleasure in him.”

39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.

It’s funny to me how consistently we test out limits. We touch the paint by the “Wet Paint” signs, we stick our toes just over the lines that say “Do not cross.” The speed limit says 55 and we push 75 because everyone else does, and that seems to be the expectation. Sometimes we flirt with the line, sometimes we jump right over it. But when it comes to entering the presence of God, there had always been a historic line that meant death for any who would draw near without being prepared. Even those who were prepared entered with uncertainty. Priests who spend hours and days sacrificing, praying and preparing to enter the Most Holy Place in the Temple in Jerusalem would still enter with a rope around their ankle and bells on the fringes of their robe…just in case they fell dead in God’s presence, they could be removed without risking danger to their supporters.

But in Jesus, we have been offered full entry into the presence of God. The curtain in the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The veil separating us from the presence of God was eliminated. In fact, for those who are in Christ, He even went deeper than this. Rather than us needing to approach Him, He has approached us, and dwells within us. This is why we can move with such impunity before God, because He Himself indwells us.

There should be no lack of boldness (not arrogance) for those who are in Christ, then. If God Himself lives within us all, then there is no place, no effort where we do not go with Him. We pray and ask and seek that God would go before us, but we do not remember the fullness of this fact, He not only goes before us, but He moves in step with us as we go throughout our day. Whatever we do, wherever we go, we carry God with us. That is a major point of accountability, and it is a major point of encouragement.

Whenever we feel inadequate, we need to remember this great promise. Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us, and the Holy Spirit of God is God indwelling us. There is then no dividing line between God and man anymore once we allow God to deal with the sin within us. All we have is boldness & hope as we move with Him within these 24 hour rotations, within His rhythms of grace.

Do you want to move in boldness today? Remember who goes with you & suddenly everything seems a lot more doable. Even in sharing our faith, we will find His presence to be a comfort. Give it a shot today. Point someone to our-God-Who-dwells-in-us.

Father, You have granted us a boldness in Christ. You have opened up the door that we might approach You and Your throne in full confidence. This is a deep, deep blessing. Thank You for providing this to us so that we might approach the difficulties of life, the trials and temptations, with this knowledge and expectation. If You have granted us this, then we can be that much more bold about the things of righteousness, moving forward in Your love, mercy, grace and honor. Thank You for this deep, deep blessing. May we use it to bring You glory & to draw others near to You. Amen.

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Psalm 54 // Vindicated by God

It takes a lot of restraint to not just fire back at someone, to refrain from unleashing a volley of words, a cascade of retaliation, when we are wronged. Our pride is wounded, our heart hurts, and all we want to see is them writhing and realizing how is feels to be where we are in that moment, maybe even more so…

But to simply take out to God, confessing our hurts and our trust in Him? There are times where that seems almost impossible. To give Him that hurt, leaving it with Him, and then just continuing on with life? Our ego says, ‘No Way.’ And our heart cries out for vindication. We want to be delivered from our pain, and we want to see our oppressor feeling what we felt. But only one of those attitudes is right. We cannot wish pain for others, that attitude does not reflect the heart of God. But we can come to Him and trust him to handle it all, as David does here. David pours out his heart to God, he confesses his hurts, but then he leaves it in God’s hands. He doesn’t seek out any other revenge. And in doing that, he finds deliverance from the situation. He is able to walk away from the need to squash his oppressors because David trusts that God is going to do what is right. Psalms like this one are prayers that he would be delivered, not only from physical harm, but from the need to vindicate himself. He leaves that work to God. Because, even as he is being chased all over the countryside by Saul and his men, David never attacks back, he never lashes out. He trusts God to handle the situation, and to see justice done. He even says that he will make a sacrifice and praise God in the midst of his pain.

As we GoLove others in the Name of Christ, we will find these times come upon us, times where we have done nothing wrong, but we are being wronged. In those moments, we need to maintain our witness, praying that God would strengthen us to the task and that He would be the One to see right prevail. Otherwise it is just evil being met with evil, and no one wins in that struggle. Our response to hardship says a lot about where our heart is and where our trust lies. We need to trust that God will do what He says He will do for His children, rather than taking matters into our own hands.

Prayer for Deliverance
For the choir director: with stringed instruments. A Davidic Maskil.
When the Ziphites went and said to Saul, ‘Is David not hiding among us?’

“1 God, save me by Your name,
and vindicate me by Your might!
2 God, hear my prayer;
listen to the words of my mouth.
3 For strangers rise up against me,
and violent men seek my life.
They have no regard for God. Selah

4 God is my helper;
the Lord is the sustainer of my life.
5 He will repay my adversaries for their evil.
Because of Your faithfulness, annihilate them.

6 I will sacrifice a freewill offering to You.
I will praise Your name, Yahweh,
because it is good.
7 For He has delivered me from every trouble,
and my eye has looked down on my enemies.”