Christian Devotions

Posts tagged ‘Sovereignty’

Confusion

And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.

And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.

And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter.

And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.

And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.

And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.

Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.

So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.

Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

~~ Genesis 11:1-9 (KJV).

Why was the building of the Tower of Babel so displeasing to God?

The people’s stated aim was to build a tower that reached heaven so they could make a name for themselves. The tower was built to further man’s designs and feed his ego — not to get closer to God. In effect man decided to put himself above God.

We still have this problem today. Secular humanism seeks to make man the measure of all things — and a relative measure at that.

Without acknowledging God’s sovereignty, man has no absolute standard for morals, ethics or behavior. We live in a society that accommodates an “it’s okay for you, but it’s not right for me” attitude. This effectively lets each man decide right and wrong for himself without any other basis.

I believe it was this arrogant attitude that sparked God’s displeasure.

We seem to be prideful when we have no reason to be proud. After all, everything is the Lord’s. That includes us when we choose to follow Him.

Father, God,

Help us to be ever mindful that our relationship with You is the most important thing in our lives. Keep us, we pray, from arrogant pride.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen

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The Lord Reigns

Focus verses: Psalm 93

Sometimes, in the God loves everyone frenzy of the moment, we forget that our God is majestic, awe-inspiring, totally indescribable.

This psalm reminds us that He is stronger that the sea whose roaring waves speak of his might and power. The vast sweep of the ocean reminds us of His infinite power and majesty.

The psalms have told us that all of nature speaks forth his sovereignty. We saw it in the lightning and storm. We heard about it in the voice of the heavens.

And in Psalm 8, the psalmist says “What is man, that thou art mindful of him?” What, indeed, can the creator of the universe want with us? He is regal; we are ordinary. He is powerful; we are puny. He is all knowing; we struggle along with guesses, hints, and gut reactions.

What can we do but stand in complete awe?

Father, God,

Through Your son, Jesus, You have invited us into fellowship with You. Help us never to forget that while You have deigned to come to us, You are still the Master and Creator of the Universe.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Sweeter Than Honey

Focus verses: Psalm 19

David, as a shepherd, had a lot of time to observe the heavens and let the wonders of God sink into his spirit. He saw them day and night. Look at his descriptions. Indeed the heavens do declare the glory of God.

It was in the fields that he learned the statutes of God and the truth thereof. His apprenticeship was nearly perfect because it was uninterrupted by the things of men.

David only got into trouble when he was embroiled in the king’s house and the affairs of men. In the fields, alone with God, it was a different story. There was nothing to stand between him and his knowledge of God and God’s sovereignty.

In keeping the Lord’s statutes there is great reward.

He closes with the prayer that all of us must have in our hearts.

Father, God,

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

The Eyes of Faith

Focus verses: Numbers 13:1 – 14:10

God’s promises are sure. He promised the land to the Israelites and told them to go explore the land he was giving them. So they went, one from each tribe. And they believed the eyes of their flesh. They knew the promise, but came back with a report that they were unable to take the land from those who currently occupied it.

At least that was the report from ten of the twelve spies. Joshua and Caleb came back and said the Israelites were well able to take the land. Not because of the strength of the Israelites, but because of the promise of God going with them into the land.

The Israelites paid with forty years of wandering for believeing the eyes of flesh rather than seeing with the eyes of faith. And none of the generation that had witnessed the miracles of God entered the promised land, except for Joshua and Caleb, who continued faithful.

When we are faced with a crossroad in our lives, do we believe the eyes of faith or the eyes of the flesh. I don’t mean that we ought not look realistically at a situation. However, if we have a commission from God to do a certain thing, we need to move ahead as if victory were certain — because it is.

The victory belongs to God because it comes from His sovereignty. When we believe in our own strength or weakness and forget that God is ultimately in charge, we get confused. Then we are led astray by visual perception, rather than being victorious in our God.

Father, God,

Grant us the vision to see the vision You have for us. Give us the courage to walk in that faith and the perserverance to keep on keeping on when things look bleak from a human standpoint.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Of Golden Calves

Focus verses: Exodus 21:1-24

What happened here? The people of Israel have been brought out of bondage in Egypt. They saw the men and chariots of Pharoah swallowed by the sea. They have build the tent of meeting according to God’s instructions and have consecrated Aaron and the priests.

But Moses has been on the mountain for three or four weeks, and their fickle hearts need a tangible idol to worship. Goe calls them corrupt and stiff-necked. Aaron calls them prone to evil.

Not so long ago, they were singing praises to God. Now they are participating in worshiping a golden calf made of earrings. Ugh!

But are they so different from us? How often do we have a wonderful time with the Lord and then go back to our everyday lives as if He didn’t exist?

Our golden calf may not be composed of melted jewelry, but it can be the struggle for success, the need for financial security (whatever that is), or the desire for the approval of others.

The goal is to be always aware of our God and His pre-eminence in our lives, to bring all else into subjection to His sovereignty.

Only then can we be assured that God is on the throne, and our lives will be in His order.

Father, God,

Keep us ever mindful of the human tendency to arrogance, corruption and evil doing. Deliver us from these evils.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

A Matter of Perspective

Focus verses: Genesis 45:1-15

The discord between Joseph and his brothers is old news by now. It’s been twenty-some years since they sold him into Egypt. The brothers have had time to see their father’s grief and regret their decision. Joseph has been through enough that he has some perspective on his brothers’ actions as well.

Notice, he says God was in the event when they sold him. He sees the sovereign hand of God in their petty jealousy.

Nothing that happens to us is a surprise to God. Whether good or bad in our eyes, He has known about it from the beginning of time. He is omniscient, knowing everything — past, present and future.

When life seems totally out of control, when circumstances seem dire in the extreme, the knowledge that God is still sovereign and in charge of all that happens can carry us through the most perilous times.

God gave man a free will in the beginning. While He does not will man to do evil, He can take the most heinous of actions and use it to further His own ends. There is no decision or action of man that is irredeemable in His sight.

The knowledge that God can bring ultimate good out of temporal evil can carry you through any tragedy or trial. Just remember, God is in charge.

Father, God,

When life seems to spiral out of control, remind us that You are the author of all things. That while man can be evil and disobedient, nothing is totally irredeemable.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Relative or Absolute

Focus verses: Genesis 11:1-9.

Why was the building of the Tower of Babel so displeasing to God?

The people’s stated aim was to build a tower that reached heaven so they could make a name for themselves. The tower was built to further man’s designs and feed his ego — not to get closer to God. In effect man decided to put himself above God.

We still have this problem today. Secular humanism seeks to make man the measure of all things — and a relative measure at that.

Without acknowledging God’s sovereignty, man has no absolute standard for morals, ethics or behavior. We live in a society that accommodates an “it’s okay for you, but it’s not right for me” attitude. This effectively lets each man decide right and wrong for himself without any other basis.

I believe it was this arrogant attitude that sparked God’s displeasure.

We seem to be prideful when we have no reason to be proud. After all, everything is the Lord’s. That includes us when we choose to follow Him.

Father, God,

Help us to be ever mindful that our relationship with You is the most important thing in our lives. Keep us, we pray, from arrogant pride.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen