• Foolish Confidence

    It is better to be confident than to be fearful. But there is something called foolish confidence. Such people are confident but their confidence has no foundation. The Psalmist calls it “foolish confidence”.

    “This is the path of those who have foolish confidence; yet after them people approve of their boasts” (Psa 49:13).

    Those with foolish confidence can look bold, courageous, and determined. Such people will be highly regarded in church and society. They will be esteemed as great. Surely, they will enjoy much popularity due to their flamboyance. But the reality is that all their pomp will crumble as the weight of life increases and the burdens become too much to bear.

    But when your confidence is in the Lord, He will sustain you. Life may be full of troubles, but God will uphold you.

    In Psalm 49:13, the foolish confidence of people seems to invite a following. No matter how foolish, there will be many to follow that path. This following makes it even more palatable. The numbers seem to give notoriety to their foolish boasts.

    True confidence is confidence in the Lord’s ability to sustain you, to uphold you, and lead you in the path that is best for you.

  • How Safe Are You?

    You thought you were safe. You were in your area of safety and thought everything was perfectly in order. In such a situation, you have no fear of things going bad. You are in your safety zone.

    For the Israelites, Jerusalem was their zone of safety. They had nothing to fear. The walls of the city were large, strong, and secure. But in the first verse of Jeremiah 6, the people are encouraged to flee from Jerusalem for safety. Their “safety zone” was no longer safe.

    But even as this terrible judgment is pronounced, God wants to speak to his people, but no one was willing to listen. Here is what God says about his people’s response.

    To whom shall I speak and give warning,
    that they may hear?
    Behold, their ears are uncircumcised,
    they cannot listen;
    behold, the word of the LORD is to them an object of scorn;
    they take no pleasure in it. (Jer 6:10 ESV)

    God’s desire for his people was to live in safety and in plenty. That’s why he brought them into the “land flowing with milk and honey.” But for that to remain a reality, they needed to “find rest” in God’s ways. But they refused. You can notice God’s heart for his people in the following words.

    Thus says the LORD:
    “Stand by the roads, and look,
    and ask for the ancient paths,
    where the good way is; and walk in it,
    and find rest for your souls.
    But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ (Jer 6:16 ESV)

    Nothing more needs to be spoken. The next step is for us to take.

  • The Real Fortress

    Ever felt like running? Life becomes too much to bear and you just want to run away someplace. “Fight or Flight” is the common term for what we feel when under pressure. When we’re too tired and afraid, the only thing to do is run.

    Israel ran to neighboring nations and to their gods for protection. Up to that time, they looked to the strong and stable walls of Jerusalem as a fortress. But when they needed protection, even those strong walls were not strong enough. The solution they needed was not there.

    In Psalm 48:3, the singers proclaim that God is to be their fortress. “Within her citadels, God has made himself known as a fortress.” The idea is not that God will provide a fortress, but that God himself will be our fortress. And it is God himself that we are to run to in the time of distress.

    There is no doubt that the city of Jerusalem was their fortress. They knew that they could run to Jerusalem from danger or any form of attack from invaders. But their hearts had gone away from God for several generations already.

    The psalmist is clear that “within” the citadels (fortress), God has made himself known as a fortress. Thus their fortress is truly a fortress because God is in their midst and He is their ultimate fortress.

    Stay well connected to God. He is with you. Always.

  • Merciful Judgment

    Whenever I read through the pages of the Old Testament, I see the mercy of God clearly portrayed. But many people see destruction, judgment, and punishment all over the pages. These acts of punishment are preceded by long periods of merciful waiting. God waits patiently for the return of his people to ap pepper relationship with Him. 

    In fact, God is looking for an excuse to save, redeem, and provide a way out of the impending destruction. “Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, look and take note! Search her squares to see if you can find a man, one who does justice and seeks truth; that I may pardon her.” (Jer 5:1 RSV)  Even after the search, God could not find a righteous person as an excuse to release them. 

    But even when God commands destruction, it is enveloped with mercy. “Go up through her vine-rows and destroy, but make not a full end; strip away her branches, for they are not the Lord’s.” (Jer 5:10 RSV) 

    The term “but make not a full end” is soaked with mercy and grace – and most of all, love. God’s kind of love. His love is relentless and everlasting. Even when they continue in disobedience, he punishes them with a strand of mercy. 

    This is why God says “But even in those days, says the Lord, I will not make a full end of you.” (Jer 5:18 RSV)

  • Who is in Control?

    “God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne.” (Psalm 47:8)

    How can we say that God reigns over the nations when every nation on the face of the earth does its own thing? Each nation orders its affairs as they please. They all don’t seem to follow the Lord’s direction in any way. 

    When we look at history, we see ancient nations that were in many ways similar to the nations of today. They lived as they pleased, not thinking of God nor His requirements. But we see that God was active in the midst of the nations. 

    God expects leaders to act justly and show mercy. But he allows them to make their own choices and gives them sufficient warnings as well. He also allows them time to act, repent, and come to alignment with His requirements. These “warnings” may be through various means. Sometimes through direct prophecy, natural calamities, or by way of other nations bringing conflict. 

    In various ways, God speaks to the nations dictating them to his ways. This he does because he is King over all kings and has ultimate authority. 

    Even today, God speaks to every nation on earth directing them to his ways. God wants them to do justice, show mercy, and walk humbly before God. Things are no different from the past – Each nation does as they wish. But God remains on his holy throne. 

    In a similar way, God speaks to us. He instructs and guides us in his ways. Ultimately, he wants a relationship with each one of us. That is his ultimate aim. 

    So the invitation is open to everyone. The God who reigns over the nations sits on his throne, but he loves each person and wants a relationship with us. How will you respond?

  • What if Repentance was the Norm?

    What if the Israelites had cried out to the Lord in repentance? What if they had returned to Yahweh in sackcloth and ashes? What if they had turned from their wicked ways? 

    If their repentance began with kings and priests, then the people might have followed that pattern. That would have changed the entire trajectory of the land. The Lord would have been pleased with their behavior. The response of their leaders might have been accepted as the repentance of the nation. 

    But they didn’t. They somehow believed the narrative that God would ignore their wickedness. They somehow managed to compartmentalize their faith and life. As their Father, He desired nothing more from his children than to return to him in love and obedience. 

    “If you return, O Israel, declares the Lord, to me you should return…” (Jer 4:1) But where else can they return but to the one who created them and appointed them for a higher purpose? That purpose was for them to be a light to the nations. (Jer 49:6) 

    If they had pursued their calling to be a light to the nations, their future might have been different. Instead of focusing on themselves, they would have been focused on God and his plans for them and the rest of the world.

    Identify your purpose and calling in life. Then stick to it.

  • Vision Received, Grown, Accomplished

    Vision Received

    Vision is given to those who will take it to heart and live it out in their lives. Some try to make an impact using the vision. Others simply try to make a living using the vision. Still, there are those who try to get ahead of others at any cost. Some are out to create a Monument to themselves so others remember them as a great person who accomplished the vision. Then there are those who simply wish to be obedient to the call of God on their lives. 

    Vision Grown

    God usually gives His vision in a capsulated form, and rarely in its fullness. Through various experiences, God begins to expand the vision. Actually, God expands the person’s heart through painful experiences. Once the heart expands, there is more room to accommodate God’s vision. 

    Vision Accomplished

    Vision may be time-bound, where it is set for a particular time. It may also be focused on a particular goal that is quantified and reachable. Vision can also be an ongoing process. This becomes more like a Mission statement that is the set purpose of an organization. Such a vision is an ongoing process. 

    Jesus set the vision for his disciples and expected them to make disciples of all people. This is an ongoing task for generations to come. We’ve got to live for the vision that God has set for us. Anything less will never satisfy. We’ve got to make our choice. We don’t get another chance.

  • Be Still

    Not happening. Not possible. How can we be still with all that’s happening around us? How about in our own lives? It’s too much. There’s no way to be still. 

    “Be still, and know that I am God.

    I will be exalted among the nations,

    I will be exalted in the earth!”

    The LORD of hosts is with us;

    the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

    (Psalm 46:10–11 ESV)

    Another way to look at this concept is, “Be still because I am God.” As God, he has the final say. Whatever anyone else says, God’s perspective is final. Anything that others would do can be undone by God. Just because he is God. So be still. 

    Be still because God will be exalted among the nations. Nations seem to wield a lot of power. It’s the power of the collective force of wealth, knowledge, wisdom, and cooperation. Those are some of the basic things that exalt a nation. But after a while, nations can become arrogant and think they can do anything (practically). But God always has the upper hand over all nations. So, be still. 

    Be still because God will be exalted on the earth. The forces of nature seem to have a mind of their own. Rain, floods, Cyclones, Hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, and other natural calamities are beyond our control, but God has ultimate power over the earth. He created it. The forces of nature can be fierce and fearful. But our God has ultimate control over nature. So be still. 

    Be still because the Lord of hosts is with us. This means he rules the unseen army of angels that God created to be at his service. This Lord of hosts is with us. He is our father. We are his children. All the resources available to the Father are also available to us. So be still. 

    Be still because the God of Jacob is our fortress.l He will be our defense against all that comes against us. Yes, you will have enemies. You’re in a war. That’s why the Lord of hosts (the armies of heaven) is with us. Since we are in a war, there will be attacks, calamities, and even casualties. That’s part of warfare. But God is our fortress. We can run to him anytime. He gives strength, energy, and protection. So be still.

  • The Two-Way Heart

    “Of course, I love God with all my heart. Who else could I love so much but God?” These are our words and thoughts. They’re good thoughts. They sound even better.

    “Have you not just now called to me, ‘My father, you are the friend of my youth – will he be angry forever, will he be indignant to the end?’ Behold, you have spoken, but you have done all the evil that you could.” (Jer 3:4,5)

    The prophet Jeremiah dealt with people who spoke words like we speak. They said to God, “My father, you are the friend of my youth.” they clearly expressed their love for God.

    But now, their land was about to be taken over by foreigners. This was truly a fearful experience. They don’t have any hope for a normal life. They knew the experiences of other nations, and they knew what horror awaits them.

    Yet they could not imagine that such horrible things would happen to them. After all, they were the people of God. They were God’s chosen people out of all the nations on the earth. Such terrible things could not happen to them.

    Their hearts were devoted to God, but their actions proved the opposite. They worshipped God in the temple with all the sacrificial requirements but continued with their evil practices. They were known as the people who worshipped Yahweh, but they didn’t live like the people of Yahweh.

    Their heart was a two-way heart. One part was devoted to God and the other part simply deviated to their own ways. You simply couldn’t predict which way they would turn.

    But did God love them? Of course, they were loved by God. The promises to their forefathers still held value. This is why God brought correction to them. He sent them away for 70 years because of God’s love for them.

    God just could not tolerate a two-way heart. He wants them to be devoted to him only. A one-way heart was what God expected.
    – – –➤

    • Join the conversation, share your thoughts in the comments, and share this post with others.
  • Righteous Loser

    Righteous living isn’t always profitable (in the short term). Getting ahead in the game is the game – or so it seems. Those who cut corners and make appropriate “adjustments” are quite often the winners. They get applause and accolades. The system is rigged in such a way that only those who “play the game” get ahead and stay ahead.

    But due to your unwillingness to move with the crowd, you’ve been sidelined, ignored, or even ridiculed. Others have been asking what is wrong with you, and now, you’re wondering what’s wrong. Your stand for righteousness seems to have brought more trouble on you than the good that you expected.

    The psalmist clearly recognized that God is on the throne and that He deals with righteousness. Due to his stand for righteousness, he endured numerous hardships and dangers. But he was not deterred in any way. He knew that God is the king of all the earth and that he rules with uprightness and loves righteousness.

    “Your throne O God is forever and ever. The scepter of your Kingdom is a scepter of uprightness; you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions” (Psa 45:6-7).

    So if living upright brings you loss, stay with it and make sure your ways are righteous. There is no need to “get ahead” when the king of all the earth is on your side. When God makes his decisions, he does it with uprightness. He’s not influenced by those who push themselves forward for favors or recognition.

    As you keep your ways aligned with God’s ways, God’s attention and favor will be turned toward you. He will anoint you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.

    – – –➤

    • Join the conversation and share your thoughts in the comments and share this post with others.