In the midst of a trial, what sustains you? Are you able to stay calm in difficult circumstances? Are you able to give God your complete reliance? I will admit this is an area where I struggle. When I’m stressed out, nervous, or afraid, it’s easy to rely on my own strength or the strength of those around me. It’s hard to give the reigns completely over to God. It’s difficult for me to remember that God is faithful… even in the little things.
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When giving the Ten Commandments to the nation of Israel, God’s first command was simple:
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me.” – Exodus 20:2-3
Now, He could have just asked them to serve Him, no questions asked. But He prefaced His command with a reminder. God is faithful, always and forevermore. He reminded them of what He had done for them.
God could have simply said, “Worship Me because I am God.” But that’s not what He was after. He wanted a relationship, and relationships are two-sided. He rescued them, provided for them, fought for them, and He blessed them.
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The Bible tells us that Christ died for us while we were still sinners. In other words, He reached out to us with no guarantee that we would reach back towards Him. He made the first move in restoring mankind’s relationship to Himself.
King David was known by the world as an adulterer and a murderer, but God knew Him much differently. Even though David made mistakes, his heart longed for a relationship with the one true God. And for that reason, God pursued him.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:1-6 (NLT)
What I love about Psalm 23 is that David speaks of all that God has done for Him. He speaks of God’s faithfulness and how God honors him and showers him with blessings. You can feel the intimacy in phrases like, “I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.”
But it isn’t all happy times for David. He speaks of walking through the “darkest valley.”
We find, however, that the answer to our darkest valleys is found in continually reminding ourselves of God’s faithfulness.
God has done amazing things for each and every one of us. The cross alone is enough to surrender our lives to Him completely. But as David so eloquently pointed out, God’s provision doesn’t stop there. He gives us His peace that surpasses understanding, joy unspeakable, and blessings beyond anything we can imagine!
There will be dark valleys, but God is faithful. We can rely on Him to carry us through to the end.
So when God told the Israelites to make Him their God, it wasn’t a selfish request. It was a request made out of love because He knew that no other god could love them the way He did.
In essence, He was saying, “You must not have any other god but Me because no other god can do what I do. No other god can protect you, heal you, restore you, rescue you, provide for you, or give you salvation.”
And our loving Father still pursues us for the same reason today.
*Unless otherwise indicated, scripture quotations taken from the NASB.