“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord.” – Psalm 27:13-14 (NASB)
Does the chosen verse today bring to our minds the times when we have struggled to hold firm our faith and trust in God’s promises? David declares that despair was threatening him because of the threats his enemies were throwing at him. But his faith helped him waiting on God with eager and patient anticipation. Listen to C.H. Spurgeon commentary on this passage. “Faintness of heart is a common infirmity; even he who slew Goliath was subject to its attacks. Faith puts its bottle of cordial to the lip of the soul, and so prevents fainting. Hope is heaven’s balm for present sorrow. In this land of the dying, it is our blessedness to be looking and longing for our fair portion in the land of the living, whence the goodness of God has banished the wickedness of man, and where holy spirits charm with their society those persecuted saints who were vilified and despised among men. We must believe to see, not see to believe; we must wait the appointed time, and stay our soul’s hunger with foretastes of the Lord’s eternal goodness which shall soon be our feast and our song.”*
*C. H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David: Psalms 27-57, (London; Edinburgh; New York: Marshall Brothers), 2:5.
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world” … “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:1 & 4 (ESV)
The first letter written by the apostle John that we have in our Bible is a powerful letter of truth. A great amount of encouragement is given to those who have by faith, believed in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. When we accept Christ’s offer of forgiveness and in faith believe that He is our Lord and Savior, we overcome the false teaching and false teachers. They are everywhere and we must be on our guard not to be tripped up by them. In another verse we share today from John’s letter is this: “I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.” 1 John 2:14 (ESV) We know that all who believe and have the word of God abiding in them have by God’s will the strength to overcome evil. Since John addresses “little children” and “fathers” and “young men” we know that none are excluded from this promise. All faith believers overcome evil and false teaching. All are made strong in God love.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 (ESV)
We are now eleven days into our new year. Have you some anxiety built up over the last year? We can be certain, as we find in today’s promise verse, that we do not need to fear or tremble or be in dread of what was or what lingers. Listen to the command Moses gave to the people of Israel and to Joshua his successor as leader of the nation. Be Strong. Be Courageous. Do Not Fear. We have no reason to truly live with fear or dread from possible circumstances through this year. We have the same promise that God gave to His people through Moses. We are His people too if we have believed and received His Truth, for we have been given the right to be called children of God. That’s a praiseworthy promise. And we tack on to that the promise that God will go with us throughout this year and that He will not (never) leave us or forsake us. What happened last year may have lasting circumstances in our lives but God tells us to be strong and courageous and unafraid all because He is with us and will never forsake us.