I never dreamed how many topics could come out of one little Bible passage, but this week’s certainly had a lot of them! I wasn’t sure what to write about. Too many good possibilities here!
But I’m going to try to be as practical as possible. (If you want some of the deeper topics, just dig in. There’s a lot of treasure in these verses, if you’ll mine for it.)
As a review, though, we learned that “faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). Faith is living my life in light of things that haven’t happened, that are in the future, and that I can’t see.
Today we read,
“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’
So we say with confidence,
‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:5-6).
Faith doesn’t look at material possessions; rather, faith looks at our Spiritual Provider.
We are told to keep our lives free from the love of money. In Matthew 6, Jesus tells us that we can love money (the Hebrew word is “mammon”), or we can love God — but we can’t love both. We can either depend on earthly treasures to supply our needs, or we can depend on God to supply — but we can’t trust both.
We often forget that when we store up our treasures here on earth, our treasures can very quickly be lost. Moth and rust can destroy. Thieves can break in and steal.
Our pursuit of money, and the security that we think it will bring, becomes idol worship.
“They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator” (Romans 1:25).
Faith sees what can’t be seen, which is God’s faithful provision for all our needs. He feeds us. He clothes us.
“I was young and now I am old,
yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken
or their children begging bread” (Psalm 37:25).
So let’s get practical for a moment. When we worry, are we worshiping and serving created things rather than the Creator? We may say that we recognize God is our provider, but to prove that, we have to stop worrying.
“Unless the LORD builds the house,
its builders labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the watchmen stand guard in vain.
In vain you rise early
and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—
for he grants sleep to those he loves” (Psalm 127:1-2).
God provides for our needs, but He goes even further and provides us with His very presence. The author of Hebrews quotes from the Old Testament here with God’s statement that “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
This is truly an amazing promise! When God gave this promise to Joshua and the children of Israel as they were about to enter the Promised Land, they believed Him — long enough to conquer the city of Jericho. Oh, except for Achan, who forgot that God would never leave or forsake him… and so he stole some gold from the city… even though God had told them not to… but he forgot God was with Him… so he didn’t obey… then he was surprised when he was caught….
Hmmm. Do I ever forget that God will never leave or forsake me?
I’m quite happy He’s with me… when I’m having a problem, or I want a quick answer to prayer, or I want to get all emotionally wrapped up in my religious experiences.
It’s not as convenient to have an ever-present God when I don’t feel like obeying Him.
“Praise be to the LORD, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses. May the LORD our God be with us as he was with our fathers; may he never leave us nor forsake us. May he turn our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways and to keep the commands, decrees and regulations he gave our fathers. And may these words of mine, which I have prayed before the LORD, be near to the LORD our God day and night, that he may uphold the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel according to each day’s need, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other. But your hearts must be fully committed to the LORD our God, to live by his decrees and obey his commands, as at this time” (1 Kings 8:56-61).
So which shows more faith? Prayer and religious experiences… or obedience to my Heavenly Father’s commands?
The hardest part for me is remembering God’s power. I start looking around at the power of man, and then I start to get afraid. I start to think of all the things that people could do to me, might say about me, might think of me. I’m sorry to say that it’s rare indeed that I “say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?‘” (Hebrews 13:6).
(Well, I might say it — but probably not with too much confidence!)
These verses are a quotation from Psalm 118, where the Psalmist wisely tells us,
“It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in man” (Ps. 118:8).
Faith sees what can’t be seen. It sees YHWH’s power, His presence, and His provision, and it takes refuge in Him.
I mean really, what can man do to me? I suppose my husband could lose his job… but Who has promised to always feed and clothe me? I suppose I could get sick, but Who gives me breath so that I can praise Him? I suppose someone could persecute me because of my faith, but Who has promised to give me life at the last day? I mean really, what can man do to me?
If you’re ever tempted to skip reading the Bible verses on blogs, don’t skip these. They’re good enough to believe!
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
‘For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:28-39).
Those are shouting words! Hallelujah!
If we’ll just have faith to see what we can’t see.