God Will Give Us The Right Way
 
by Dr. Ken Matto
 
(Ezra 8:21 KJV) Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance.

Before the Pilgrims had set out from Leyden in South Holland in 1620 to go to Southampton in England and then eventually on to the new world, their Pastor had preached a sermon using the text above from Ezra. Their desire was to pray to God and ask Him for the right way that they should go as they began their perilous journey to New England. They sought God for everything which was being planned. There was over 100 of them who planned on leaving England for the new world and with them was children and women, some of whom were physically frail. Before they began their journey from Leyden, they had to sell some of their belongings to buy provisions for the journey. In those days there were no shipís chandlers where they could buy provisions from. If someone was planning on a long voyage by ship, it was up to them to purchase their own provisions.

Some of the provisions they had to sacrifice were certain foods which was needed for the journey but their faith in God was so strong believing that God would supply what was essential and life-sustaining for the voyage. What they sold netted them only sixty pounds but was sufficient for other needs. It really did not matter how much provisions they took with them, without the guidance of God, it would have mattered little. All the provisions in the world will do no good if there is no faith in God.
(Heb 11:6 KJV) But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Even though the trip was rough and they landed in winter, God had rewarded their faith by allowing them to come to a land where they could be free to worship Him and to spread the Christian Faith.

The other day I was driving in a small town close to me and I was stopped at a red light and spotted a squirrel walking across a wire and it made it across but had stopped for a moment on a place near an electrical transformer with many wires. That squirrel had no idea what danger he was in. If he would have stepped on a wrong wire or terminal, he would have been terminal. A squirrel is an animal with good instincts but an animal has no idea what danger they are in when crossing power lines or even a street. One morning about three years ago I was sitting in my room getting dressed. It was summer and my windows were opened. All of a sudden I heard ZZZZZZZ and then saw a big puff of smoke rise from a transformer on a pole around the corner from me. So in my curiosity I went to the scene only to see a squirrel on the ground in rigor mortis because he was the one who died on the transformer.

When we look at these two narratives, which one best describes us? Are we like the Pilgrims who seek the Lord for guidance, not only for us but for friends and loved ones? Or are we like the squirrel, confident in our abilities but ignorant to the dangers around us? As Christians we must realize that we have an enemy who is bent on our destruction, even though he knows he cannot repossess us but would love nothing more than to destroy us. Every day we Christians go out into uncharted waters. Yes we have a routine which we perform every day but even in a routine there may always be surprises. The squirrel has a routine too and that is to find food and get it back to their nest or their tree to eat whatever they scavenge. I have seen plenty of squirrels cross wires with success but there are times when a squirrel dies from electrocution.

It is this type of warning that the Christian must heed. As the Pilgrims were setting out to go to a new land which meant leaving everything behind that was familiar to them. They had no idea if they would make it across the Atlantic since they were in the middle of the ocean during Hurricane season plus they didnĎt have the Weather Channel. They were leaving a comfortable, populated area in Holland and would be facing the rigors of frontier living. Their faith in God under girded their hope. They would not leave Holland or England without faith that God was going before them. One of the greatest promises in the Bible is that God always goes before His people, no matter what the situation is.
(Deu 31:8 KJV) And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed. This promise in Deuteronomy does not only speak to those Christians in dangerous situations around the world, but is also a promise for us that we can invoke for our daily routines. No matter what our routine is, God goes before us and the great promise is that He will never fail nor forsake us. The Lord Jesus Christ has also promised to His children that He will never leave us or forsake us. (Heb 13:5 KJV) Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

What great promises we have that God is going to go before us and to guide us, even in seemingly routine living. Yet, how many of us neglect those truths by never asking God to guide us in our daily tasks. Sometimes God has to interrupt our routine to show us that our routine is of the Lord and it was his protection of us that keeps our life in proper practice. How would you like to wake up every morning to a life changing situation? I donít think many of us could handle it. Many of our lives seem passive only because God is there to watch over us. Those who become complacent in Godís tender mercies, may have to be awakened to the fact that their abilities are unable to cope with the realities of life. Suppose God would remove His hand of protection from us and allowed Satan to have his way with us. How many would be quick to get on their knees and ask God for help? Job was a wealthy man and all his possessions could not stop the assault of Satan on his life. Job trusted his life to the Lord and the Lord brought him through safely, even though there was much suffering. It was the Lord who restrained Satan in the life of Job and that is a great principle for us to understand. Satan could not have free reign in Jobís life but was under the authority of God during that entire ordeal.

As Christians today, we have the privilege of 20-20 hindsight in seeing how Satan attacked other believers in the pages of Scripture. Sometimes he would come with a subtle lust and let it mushroom as in the case of David. He may come with words which question Godís verity such as he did with Eve. He may come to you with something small which may eventually lead to the total ruin of your Christian testimony. This is why we must never become complacent in our Christian walk, simply because the enemy is never complacent. In these last days, he will do whatever he can to derail the Christians and there are plenty of tools for him to use.

This is why we must never be like the Squirrel and be ignorant of the dangers around us. We must be like the Pilgrims and pray for guidance and protection in our lives, and not only for us but for friends and family. The biggest danger that the Christian faces is not the visible enemy but the invisible enemy, who is the driving force behind the visible enemy. This is why it is so important for us to acknowledge this fact in prayer to keep us conscious that an enemy is out to get us. Remember, prayer is not only bringing to God our concerns but it is also a reminder of the fact that we are totally dependent on Him and as we bring our concerns, it continually makes us cognizant of the fact that we are in a spiritual war.

The Old Testament sacrifices were done on a routine basis and the fact that sin and burnt offerings were done continuously for the people was a reminder that they were continually sinning before God. The sacrifices were a reminder of the holiness of God and the sinfulness of man. It takes very little to entice the flesh into sinning against God. Since there are no more sacrifices today, we can be reminded of our sinfulness and frailties when we go to God in prayer, as we ask Him to guide us into holy living and walking on the right path, to keep us from straying. In this month of November we can take a great lesson from the Pilgrims, to seek God for every venture in our life, whether it is routine living or an immense undertaking. Squirrels may be cute but they are ignorant of danger from electrical wires. Let us not be like the squirrel who walks close to death on the wires. Let us be in prayer to ask God to keep us from walking close to sin. After all, why would we want to help the enemy of our souls.   (11/12/04)
 
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