Our God is such a personal God, when we see that He called Abram by name,
“Do not be afraid, Abram.”
And that is what He says to me and to you who might be afraid.
“Do not be afraid, Toni.” “Do not be afraid, ______________.”
Well, why not? this is going on, and then there is that,…
And He answers, “Because ‘I am your shield and your exceedingly great reward.'” Gen. 15:1.
This seems to be a time, when I want so bad for the Lord to just pick me up and take me away from all of this -( is that our natural tendency), but that is not what God desires. He wants me to hold His hand because He is with me, and He wants me to ‘Follow’ Him. Follow Him because He is all that Psalm 18:1-3 says,
“The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield…”
but what in the world happens by the time the Psalmist gets to verses 4 and 5? “The pangs of death encompassed me, and the floods of ungodliness made me afraid. The sorrows of Sheol surrounded me; The snares of death confronted me.”
This is what happens! When trouble comes – it comes like this! I never liked these words in this Psalm. I always wanted to skip them and find something ‘lighter’ – but these are the verses that come after one proclaims the LORD as their rock and their fortress and their deliverer; their strength in whom they trust. THIS is what Jesus experienced on the cross!
“The earth shook and trembled; The foundations of the hills also quaked and were shaken, Because He was angry,” (Ps. 18:7) God hates sin!
It is the sin that makes Him angry. Doubt and fear, which leads to anger and strife …He loves us so, but we are in this world, we are bombarded with sin. God the Father gave His only Son to die on the cross as the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world. Oh, the heart of God, how He loves His Son, and how He hates sin – AND how He demonstrated His great love for us!
Could this be part of ‘following Jesus?’. There is a time where He knows we have grown, we are not children anymore and He trusts us with trials that we cannot walk through ALONE – when EVERYTHING seems so dark. Yet we remember Jesus, on the cross. Psalm 18:9,10 were HIS experience!
“He bowed the heavens also, and came down With darkness under His feet.And He rode upon a cherub, and flew; He flew upon the wings of the wind. He made darkness His secret place; His canopy around Him was dark waters And thick clouds of the skies.”
What are these verses? They are heavy, they are dark. They are Jesus on the cross! We just get a small sense of the meaning – AND for some reason, God has many experiencing similar darkness at this time. Many believers are experiencing the ‘sufferings of Christ’ at this time.
Jesus says, “Follow me.”
Jesus went through the cross for me and for you. He had no human helpers at His time of passion. Save the Father.
His focus? The Invisible, who was unseen by all that surrounded Him.
He knew that the eternal God was His refuge, and underneath are the everlasting Arms, (Deut. 33:27), and that He will thrust out the enemy from you.”He had His eyes on His Father, His shield… His stronghold.Ps. 18:1”
So, what do we do? “Follow me…” Jesus said. He is our example.
But He also reminds me as He did Peter who had his sword out and ready, “Put your sword into the sheath.”Put your striving and your own thoughts aside, “God is your defense and refuge in the day of your trouble.” (Psalm 59:16.)
I can hear Him ask me,”Can you take hold of the Invisible?”
“I AM your shield and your exceeding great reward,”
Can you trust Me? Follow Me. I AM Truth. Do you believe I will do this for you:
“For You will light my lamp;
The LORD my God will enlighten my darkness,
For by You I can run against a troop,
And by my God I can leap over a wall. As for God, His way is perfect;
The word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all
in Him.” Ps. 18:28-30.
“Lord, help me to remember these things. To wait, to trust, to believe as we follow You, and even partake in a small sense, the sufferings of Christ.”