“I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.” Ezekiel 36:27 (NASB)
The context of this promise was God speaking to His people Israel through His prophet Ezekiel. After having centuries of continual turning from God for pagan non-gods, now He was promising that one day He will do for them what they needed to follow His Way always. Those of us who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ have experienced a great change in our lives. God’s plan and promise is that when we believe in Jesus, God’s Holy Spirit is sent to live in us. When Jesus was on earth He made this promise and He mentioned several functions which He would fill. One of these promised functions is in today’s verse. The Holy Spirit is living in the hearts of believers to move us to obey the Lord. As we trust in Him, we learn to sense the impulse in us often to do what is pleasing to God. It may be through reading the Bible or hearing the Word preached that our hearts are stirred with the desire to do what God says He wants us to do in His Word. The stirring is the work of the Holy Spirit moving us to follow God’s will.
“…so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;…” – Colossians 1:10 (NASB)
In the letters written by the Apostle Paul, he often uses long compound sentences. Verses 9 through 12 is one sentence so continuing from yesterday’s consideration of verse 9 we now find the aim of Paul’s petition in his daily prayers. His prayer request was practical: in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord. A genuine knowledge of Christ reveals itself in transformed character, in Christlikeness. In Ephesians, Philippians, and both letters to the Thessalonians this exhortation is used. We are called to live our lives and walk in a manner worthy of God, of his calling us, and of other believers. How we live each day, what we think, say and do is observed by others and it reflects our dedication and conviction of God. Christ Jesus has saved us and called us to be a testimony to His Word. If we are walking worthy of the Lord, the promise is that we will please the Lord in all respects. We will bear fruit in all our good efforts at the work He gives us; our knowledge of God will be increasing daily which also pleases the Lord.
“Yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, And makes me walk on my high places.” – Habakkuk 3:18-19 (NASB)
Our verse comes from the book of Habakkuk. We find promises that are apropos to our times. On today’s social media, we may encounter a good deal of complaining about how “things aren’t how they used to be or should be.” And the appeal of many is “How do we get back to the way it was?” This was the prophet Habakkuk’s complaint. Sin was abounding (just as today) and God seemed both indifferent and idle to Habakkuk. He questions if it was God who was to blame? “Why do You make me look at injustice?” (Habakkuk 1:3 NASB) He doubles down with an even greater question for God: “Why do You tolerate wrong?” (Habakkuk 1:13 NASB) Does this sound like the cry of many modern Christians?. “Why is God allowing the destruction of our Christian country?” Mostly we blame the other side of the political divide. Habakkuk describes dire circumstances (v.16-17) for himself and Israel. But he doesn’t state that he would merely endure this distress. He sets our example and said he would rejoice in the Lord and be joyful. God is the inexhaustible source and infinite supply of joy. God my Savior is literally, “the God of my salvation”.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. ” – Psalm 23:4 (ESV)
In Psalm 23, which most people call the “Twenty-third Psalm,” we find our Good Shepherd being our protective shield wherever we go. Some of us have been where our lives have been at risk from nature and/or mankind. Others have faced a different kind of threat and have felt are deep in and under the shadow of evil forces, evil people. There is a valley of shadow for many who suffer from depression. David does not write ‘When’, he says “Even though I walk..” He knows because it is the way of life on this earth. David chooses and determines to NOT fear evil. The promise from God is that He is with us. He protects us from evil and the evil one with his rod. The rod was a club used by a shepherd as a defensive weapon. The staff was for guidance and a help in hilly, rocky areas. It was also a comfort to know it could be a defensive weapon as well as used to carefully control the sheep which had a tendency to go astray. God is fully able to keep us safe from evil and comfort us in all situations.