READ: Psalm 75, Daniel 10-12, Luke 3, 1 Corinthians 10
GOD IS FAITHFUL
Trouble is normal for the dedicated Christian. If we continually experience long periods of quiet, we can be assured that we are no real threat to the enemy. The biblical pattern for those in active obedience to God’s will is prolonged seasons of trouble interspersed with short spurts of rest and renewal. We want it the other way. We want long periods of rest with the occasional battle, but spiritual war does not allow us this leisure. What is required of us is to station ourselves in a field and keep swinging our sword until it cleaves to our hand. If even angelic warriors have to battle through to answer prayer, we should not think that anything lasting for the kingdom will be accomplished without great toil, sweat, and tears (Dan. 10:13).
God’s faithfulness is best proved not by His abundant provision (ease and safety) but by His ongoing deliverance from sin, temptation, and the devil. First Corinthians 10 reviews our colleagues who fell into sin before us. Men and women stronger than us have fallen into lust, idolatry, sexual immorality, tempting Christ, and complaining. God was not well pleased with them and so scattered their bodies in the wilderness (v. 5). Not only do we have the sober reality of a life of struggle as our lot, we also have the visual reminder of the bones of men and women who we respect strewn about us. What stops us from ending up like them? What sustains us in the never ceasing battle against sin within and without? Only this–God is faithful. God is faithful to help us escape sin. God is faithful to give us the capacity to endure hardship. God is faithful to renew our spirits in the midst of conflict. God is faithful to give us joy in the weary journey.
Yes, it is true that God is faithful to lavish blessings on us, but we should keep in mind that war zones are no place for amenities. There is a great and glorious day when our battle (for holiness and for souls) will be ended, when we lay our weapons down. But that is then; now we war. Our present is an unceasing conflict, and we must learn to bless God for His faithfulness in the ongoing fight. God is faithful to keep us from falling, to keep us from the darts and arrows of the devil, to keep us from bitterness of soul, to keep us from arrogant pride, to keep us from our own folly and the devil’s fury. God is faithful–and in our struggle that faithfulness is demonstrated by escape and endurance. It is right to praise God for His provision and for His protection. The one who does no damage to evil tends to find himself praising God for material blessings, unaware that because he is no threat, he has no trouble. The one who is hacking at the gates of hell has all manner of darkness unleashed upon him and finds himself thanking God for spiritual survival. God is faithful because He preserves our soul, not because He provides us toys.