3Now there were four men with leprosy at the entrance of the city gate. They said to each other, "Why stay here until we die? 4If we say, ‘We’ll go into the city’-the famine is there, and we will die. And if we stay here, we will die. So let’s go over to the camp of the Arameans and surrender. If they spare us, we live; if they kill us, then we die." 2 Kings 4:3-4
Did you know that in one way or another you are a leper in your own way? You may not be physically a leper but the situations and the circumstances that you are in render/make you a leper! We find ourselves in situations and circumstances that corner us in each and every direction and we feel as if we are caged. We pass through situations that are challenging to us and in one way or another, we find ourselves having compromised, given up and in that situation, we are sure and convinced that we cannot make it at all. I have been there and I know how it feels. For some of us, we have trusted God for something but it seems that God has not heard our prayers or he seems that he will not answer us at all. One thing that I want to assure you is that God never fails. He knows your needs even before you ask. Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 6:7 that… “for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” and in due time and in the fullness of time, ‘He makes all things beautiful.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
Looking at the four lepers, they had the option of just sitting down outside the city gate and wait for their death as they were assure of death. Suffering from leprosy which meant loss of body part was a slow and painful death for them. If you add the fact that there was famine in the land and they hadn’t had supply of food from their families worsened their situation. Are you in such situation where things are going from bad to worse and all you think is God is not there and you are opting to take a plan B? I reassure you that God is there and He is seeing all that you are going through. All you need is take a step of faith and trust him the more despite the circumstances surrounding you. He said in his word that “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." Hebrews 13:5b. Never ever think that God has ever left you.
Many times as human beings, we get comfortable with wherever we are and the situation and circumstances that we are in to an extent that we personalize some issues. It reaches a point where you hear someone say “my disease has come back”; ati this is my weakness, I have been like this since I was born… Come on!! God didn’t create you with any disorder, sickness or infirmity – He created you whole and blameless; why then are you compromising and agreeing with the the devil? remember, this is a message that he preaches to you slowly and in the long run, you give in and you give him legal grounds to torment you. When Jabez knew this, he made a prayer to God to change his situation. This is what the bible tells us in 1 Chronicles 4:9-10 “Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, "I gave birth to him in pain." Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, "Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain." And God granted his request.” Jabez realized that his destiny was greater than his prevailing circumstances.
You and I need to realize that God has put in us great potential to change and bring revolution in this world, but until we know that, we will live under exploited. We will not maximize our potential and God given purpose and mission. once the four lepers realized that they could do something apart from sitting outside the city gate and rely on food supply ration from their families inside the city, they arose and started going towards the Arameans camp. You need to know that in the situation, circumstance and cage that you are in, you can do something. Do not sit down there crying and mourning; feeling self pity for yourself, instead, it is time that you arose and did something. Once the lepers started walking towards the Arameans camp, the bible tells us that God multiplied their steps and when the Arameans listened, they heard like a vast army coming to attack them. God is waiting for you to arise from where you are and do something. from there, He will back you up and walk with you.
There are certain principles we need to learn and practice. We need to know the tactics that the devil uses to hold us back and make us be comfortable in whatever situation that we are in. Once we understand this, the devil will not hold us back in the position and places that we are in.
· Discouragement – The devil will always discourage you from doing whatever you intend or you are able to do so as to get from the cage that he wants us to be. The minute you give in to the discouragement, you are done. Many of us have fallen prey of this. If the lepers got discouraged with the fact that wherever they could go they would probably die, they would have just remained outside the city gate.
· Doubts – The devil will always make us doubt. He did this with Eve and you and I are no exception. He asked Eve… “did God REALLY say? You must not eat from any tree in the garden’? Genesis 3:1. You will realize that the devil will always come to you when you are maybe reading the word and throw a doubtful thought. Take for instance you have been sick and the bible says that “by the stripes of Jesus we are healed.” The devil asks you, why are you not healed after this long and the treatment that you have had? The secret to overcoming doubts is doubting the doubt that the devil to you!!
Once we realize this and we overcome doubts and discouragements, we are able to advance to the next level and be able to stand and claim what is rightfully ours. Remember that you and I are children of the most high God, a royal priesthood and a holy nation – called and set apart fro God. When you know this, there is nothing that can scare you. You have all power and authority and whatever you ask, God grants you. Thus, when you are caged, pressed from every corner and situations, circumstances have cornered you, this is what you need to do:
· Take it to the Lord in prayer – In 1 Samuel 1:10-11, the bible tells us of Hannah. The bible says that “she went before the Lord and cried unto him in bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the LORD. And she made a vow, saying, "O LORD Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant…” God did answer her prayer and gave her baby Samuel. Jabez did the same thing and the Lord answered him. If he (God) did answer them, what makes you think that He will not answer you? Paul said in Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
· Claim it – The bible says that “Since the days of John the Baptist till now, the kingdom of God has suffered violence and the violent shall take it by force.” Matthew 11:12. There are some things as a child of God you need to decree out of, command out your life and take your stand as a child of God. There are some things that we tolerate and in the long run, they become habits and we struggle dealing with on our lives.
Child of God, it is the high time that you and I realized that we have a higher calling and a mandate. There is more for us to do and accomplish more than what we have already accomplished and more ground to cover more than where we have reached. It is the high time that we realized our God given potentials and lived up to that. Refuse to stay and be contented with where you are. May it be spiritually, physically or any state and stage in life that you are, always aim and aspire to rise up from one glory to another.
PRAYER: Lord, I have been pressed on every side; at times I have thought that you have gone away from me. Now, I know and understand that you have promised that you will never leave me nor forsake me. Now, I pray that you will always guide me and direct me into paths of righteousness and always give me the assurance that you are there for me and with me. Thanks for being a loving and a caring daddy to me. I take this moment to decree that I will not remain in the same place I have been nor will I give the devil a chance to preach to me a negative gospel. I will move forward and advance forward to cover more ground and fulfill my calling and mission in Jesus name…
31”But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired.” Isaiah 40:29-31
The scripture above is a very familiar promise and one which most of us are delighted to repeat as a comfort and means of strength to our tainting and fainting hearts. But don’t we find the blessings mentioned here uncommon in our lives? I fear the truth; and that is, many are times that we run and are weary, we walk and do faint. Looking at the phrase “They that wait upon the Lord”, we find one condition upon which the four resultant blessings hang. This one condition of waiting upon God is entirely within the reach of all, whatever may be the age, condition or environment. God has made it purposely so that all may come into a realization of His blessings. All may not be able to preach, teach, go as missionaries or enter into public service, but any Christian can wait upon the Lord. Here is another word of encouragement. The promised blessings are backed up by the “shall” of Jehovah God. This gives it power and authority. It is not the word or promise of man with the fulfillment dependent upon his frailty; but the Word of God in heaven and as pure as His name and character.
The question then is concerning our part – waiting upon God. This sole condition met; the resultant blessings are sure. Obviously, then, the absence of the blessing proves that either we do not meet the condition or we do not understand its meaning. We like certain promises of the bible largely because we feel there is something strong, beautiful, and triumphant in them, but we do not really consider what they mean. What does the Scripture mean by waiting upon God? Everything hinges upon that. First we need to get rid of this idea that is common to all of us – waiting upon the Lord never means praying or prayer. To wait, according to Scripture, never means prayer, in the general sense of petition and asking. This does not mean that we are not to pray. Prayer has its own great and unique place in the Christian’s life and I only wish we realized more fully its importance and power, but prayer is not my theme. As prayer has its distinct place and part in the Christian’s life, so has waiting upon the Lord its place and meaning. May the Holy Spirit help us to find a clearer revelation of its meaning, that, having done our praying, we may know how intelligently and in faith to wait upon the Lord. Prayer is precedent to waiting. They are inseparable.
In waiting upon the Lord, I have learnt a couple of lessons that I want to share with you. It is never easy but once you learn how to see the goldmine in a waste land, there, you will know how to wait on him and trust him. In everything that we go through, there is a lesson to learn:
a) Waiting on God is the special process through which the Lord causes our eyes to turn to Him for help in time of need. By extending the duration or distress of our trial even a little bit, our weaknesses become apparent. It is at this point that our hearts become desperate, our faith is proved, and our hope is purified. The process is so common that the phrase “Wait upon the Lord” or “Waiting on God” is regularly used. We need to wait on God for a spouse, for a job, for healing, for wisdom, for ministry, etc. We might say that it is Satan tempting us, and in some cases he is, but at the same time it is God who is testing (proving) us. He is bringing us a step closer to Himself.
b) Waiting on God is a crucial step in which our dependence upon God grows. Without this deeper awareness of God in our lives, God restrains Himself from giving us more grace. Blessings without humbling bring increased susceptibility to temptation. This is the reason growth comes with tests. Humility keeps us from pride which makes us selfishly ambitious where we would otherwise forget the Lord.
c) Waiting for the Lord is not easy but it’s a choice that we ought to make. Our heart is often crying out in agony. We feel oppressed and constrained. We yearn for freedom and provision. Waiting upon the Lord for needed supplies is one common area in which He trains us. But often, I ask myself, do we have to be needy so that we are forced to look to the Lord for help? Our other resources are stripped away. Someone yesterday said to me, “But I don’t like what the Lord is bringing me through.” How true this is??? We squirm, squiggle and squeak; murmur but at the end of the day, unless we learn to wholly depend on God in seasons of plenty and scarcity, we will find ourselves in that rough patch of trusting.
d) Waiting upon the Lord are times in which we do not have resources, answers, or direction and you learn to totally depend on Him. We are often confused, poor, broken and limited but when we put our hope in God, what happens is that we get focused on happens after that season of humility, where we will experience a period of God’s blessing. If we live by confidence in our own resources and abilities, will we not become self-confident? What glory does that bring to God?! But through this process, God enables us to depend upon Him so that we know it is only He who does wonderful things in our lives.
Ultimately then, waiting upon God protects us, deepens our trust in Him, forces us to seek His ways and brings Him the glory. They are times the Lord is testing whether we are really seeking Him and His ways. I can remember some experiences where I have cried out to God for help and deliverance. When going through those times, I thought that if I could just get out of this one pit all would be well. However, not long, I find myself in another whole set of problems. And again I am seeking His help with the same kind of desperate prayer. It began to dawn on me that God has carefully planned out these ‘pauses’ in my life in order to renew, strengthen, humble and focus me on God. This is much like going round a fruit tree and cut off its roots – shocking it so that it will grow stronger and healthier roots. In this respect ‘Waiting upon the Lord’ is similar to pruning.”
God knows the frame of our mind and thinking. (Psalms103:14; Psalms 139:1-12). He knows that when we practice the godly attribute of patience solely to capture His presence, then we have placed a great value on what is nearest to His heart. Patiently waiting draws the Spirit’s presence to us. Waiting is a magnet that woos His coming. Worship is tied closely to this. As you wait upon the Lord and worship, let your faith go up to Him and expect great things! He loves to bless those who anticipate great results from Him by faith. Waiting expectantly and worship fit together and cannot be detached from each other. Once we learn to tap into this inner spiritual well of quietness and contemplation in the very presence of our Beloved, we will discover a source of peace, strength, and stability that the world knows nothing about. Isaiah 26:3 says “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” He continues to say again in Isaiah 30:15 that “in repentance and rest you will be saved, in quietness and trust is your strength”. The way we tap into this source of inner life, peace, strength, and confidence is by learning to quiet ourselves and wait on the Lord.
Once you have learnt to wait on God, there are things that God accomplishes in you and for you. As I said earlier on, there is nothing that we go through that is meaningless. There is a purpose for everything. And once you learn to capture the small lessons from every experience, it will take you a long way. You need to know that:
(i) Waiting for God – He blesses us – When waiting for God, He blesses you. “Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him” (Isaiah 30:18). Abraham waited patiently for the Lord and he received his son of promise Isaac. It doesn’t matter how long it will take, God will surely fulfill his word.(ii) Waiting for God – He strengthens us – As you are waiting for God, He strengthens you. He renews your strength and hope. “But those who wait on the Lord will find new strength. They will fly high on wings as eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).
(iii) Waiting for God – He acts on our behalf - Are you waiting for God? He acts on our behalf as we wait for Him. “Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him” (Isaiah 64:4).
Have you been trusting God for some things, issues and situations and He seems to have delayed? I challenge you to wait on him. DO not be like Abraham and think that he has delayed and find another alternative or listen to other voices; wait on him and he will surely come. Habakkuk tells us in Habakkuk 2:3 “For a vision is yet for an appointed time and it hastens to the end [fulfillment]; it will not deceive or disappoint. Though it tarry, wait [earnestly] for it, because it will surely come; it will not be behindhand on its appointed day.” Are you in doubts whether God is there? Wait on him and he will show himself strong, true and faithful.
Many are the times that I have strayed from your ways and did my own things that did not please you. Many are the times I have thought of giving up on you and stepping out in faith because of the time it has taken you to respond. But I have realized today that the more I wait on you, the more I learn from you and the more you prove yourself faithful and true. Your word says that, “my grace is sufficient for you,” again I find strength in your Word to wait on you. Oh, God, I trust that you, who has begun the good work in me, are faithful to complete it. Today does not look any different than yesterday. My circumstances have not changed. But I pray that your word will take root in my heart and I will have confidence and rest in you. I know my change will come. I am willing to wait on your perfect timing and your decision which is right. Thank you for weighing it all out and giving me all and only as much as I can bear. Thank you for the courage to wait and patiently trust that my Father knows what is best for me.
“1… Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, Who delights greatly in His commandments… 7 He will not be afraid of evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD. 8 His heart is established; He will not be afraid, until he sees his desire upon his enemies.” Psalms 112:1, 7-8
23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Proverbs 4:2
We all know that the heart of a man is very vital and critical when it comes to life issues. When your heart stops beating, it automatically means that you are dead. In the knowledge of this, we spend our time, money and resources to make sure that we are in good health and make sure that our hearts beat with ease. It is so bad that we have given so much attention to the health part of the heart and we have forgotten the most important and vital part of the health and well being of the heart – the spiritual well being of the heart. You can be healthy and the state of your heart is ok, but if the spiritual bit of your heart is lacking, my brother/sister, all is not well. You will agree with me that as the heart is the pilot and controller of most of all body functions, so is the heart essential in the spiritual well being of a Christian. Solomon speaking to his son, he tells him in Proverbs 4:20-23 “My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of our sight; keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”
Here are just but a few spiritual importance’s of the heart.
The state of one’s heart governs the vision of God. Jesus said in Mathew 5:8 “blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God”.
David realized that from one’s heart, someone speaks to God. In Psalms 27:8 David says “My heart says of you, "Seek his face!" Your face, LORD, I will seek”.
Your heart is the place of divine indwelling. Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 1:22 that “Christ set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come”, in Galatians 4:6, he continues and says “Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts,…”; in Ephesians 3:17, says “…so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith..,”.
The mystery of the hidden self is fully known to God and to Jesus Christ. In this, the Lord searches the heart of a man (Jeremiah 17:10, Luke 9:47). The heart is the seat of our knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 4:6) “for God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ”.
When one’s heart is turned toward God, he promises to make it sensitive to divine things, renewed and purified. 1 John 1:9 “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”. In all this, you will realize that when Solomon was telling his son to guard his heart above all else, it is vital to do so! Once you know the importance of the well being of your heart, you will strive to have it established! No one will establish your heart for you; it is up to you to do it. Establishing our hearts is our responsibility. In Proverbs 4:20-27, Solomon shows us how to establish our hearts. He says “My son, attend to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart. For they are life to those that find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Put away from you a forward mouth and perverse lips put far from you. Let your eyes look right on, and let your eyelids look straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left; remove your foot from evil”.
You will realize that Solomon talks of several important things/aspect about our hearts that we need to take care of. These are:
Pay attention and listen more (vs. 20) – There is a reason why you were given two ears and one mouth – you listen more and talk less. Whatever that we hear has an impact to us – whether negative or positive, you need to listen. Our faith grows as we listen to the word of God. His laws and precepts guide us. Remember that faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17).
Keep the message; do not neglect what you hear. (Vs. 21) – in numerous verses in the book of proverbs, Solomon urges his son Lemuel not to neglect his teachings and those of his mother. In Proverbs 6:20-21 he says “My son, keep your father’s commands and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them upon your heart forever; fasten them around your neck.”
Watch your words or what you say (vs.24) – The bible says in Colossians 4:6 “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone”. At times, how we speak to our fellow brethren dearly hurts. At the end of the day, rather than encouraging, you find yourself that you have hurt others. Psalm 39:1 says "I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth as long as the wicked are in my presence." David made a prayer in Psalm 19:14 and said“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” How I wish that this could be the prayer of every one of us. That whatever we think of; meditate and say shall be pleasing unto the Lord. When something is pleasing before the Lord, even before men, it will be.
Ignore distractions (vs. 25) – sometimes, in the quest for us to do what is right, we find ourselves that we have strayed away from the course line that we ought to have followed! Little things distract us. Solomon advises his son to have his focus on and look ahead of him. The word of God will always give us direction. David says in Psalm 119:15 “I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.” The ways of the Lord are perfect and when we rely on him, we will never go astray. The psalmist in Psalm 119:105 says “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” Once we mediate on the word of the Lord, you can be sure that you will not be distracted and if we are distracted, he has promised to always provide a way out.
We have to guard what gets into our heart; and we do this by watching what we let go into our eyes, and our ears. Remember that faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17), that means that fear comes by hearing and hearing anything that is contrary to God’s word. As we feed our hearts on the word of God our heart is established. Proverbs 16:3 says “commit your works to the Lord Yahweh, and your thoughts shall be established”. We have to establish that the Bible is the final authority in our life and commit to believe and comply with what it says. God so wants our hearts to be established, He has written His law on our heart to be the inward guide and motivation. Jeremiah 31:33 says “but this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel. After those days, says the Lord Yahweh, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and will be their God, and they shall be my people”. A true heart draws near to God, and loves Him with all its intellect, feeling, and will. Paul reminds us in Hebrews 10:22 that “let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water”
James tells us “be you also patient, establish your hearts for the coming of the Lord draws near” James 5:8. Our heart is established when our heart goes after God’s own heart (I Samuel 13:14), Samuel tells Saul after he had disobeyed God “but now your kingdom shall not continue; the Lord Yahweh has sought Him a man after His own heart and the Lord Yahweh has commanded him to be captain over His people, because you have not kept that which the Lord Yahweh commanded you”, and Acts 13:22 says “and when He had removed him, He raised up to them David to be their king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, which shall fulfill all My will”. God will always work with people who are established in their hearts. James remind us in James 1:7-8 that a double-minded man, unstable in all he does and he will never receive anything from the Lord. Do you want to receive from the lord? Stabilize your heart.
To be established:
- Ecclesiastes 7:13 “accept the way God does things; for who can straighten what he has made crocked?” - When God does say something, he has a reason why he has said so. Your work is to abide and obey what he does and says. Remember, obedience is better than sacrifice.
- Mark 4:14 – “Discover which category of the sower’s seed you are” -
a. The word of God is a seed and depending on the type of ground it falls, it has the power to multiply or die.
b. Your heart is the ground - Hosea 10:12“Sort yourself in righteousness, live I mercy, break up in fallow ground for it is time to seek the Lord till he comes and sorts us…” Which area of your heart is so hard that you need to plough? Allow the Lord to work on those areas and prepare you.
Things that you need to do to prepare your heart:
a) Prepare your ground – Make sure your ground soil is loose so that the seed will get into the soil.
b) Plough and remove anything that makes your heart hard and make it ready.
c) Get rid of the small foxes in your heart that ruin the vineyard of your heart.
d) You need to have faith in the word of God for it to penetrate into your heart.
e) Obey the word
f) Pray and meditate upon the word of God so that your heart will be established.
Let us strive to have this testimony from God, it is possible, and great reward is promised to those whose
heart is fixed, steadfast in Psalms 112:1-3; 7-8 you will see all the blessings of a man with a steadfast heart are
listed there. If you want to be a partaker of the above blessings in Psalms 112, then, establish your heart!
Dear Lord, thank you for your word this day. Thank you for reminding me that I ought to be established in my heart. My prayer this day Lord is that you will enable me to be steadfast in my heart; in my thought, my words, the meditation of my heart, may it be acceptable to you oh Lord. Lord, I pray that you may plough my heart, prepare my heart to be ready for your word and that every word that you will speak to me will have a resting place in my heart and may it multiply and bear fruits. Help me to spend time meditating on your word as this is the only way I will be established in you. Forgive me for not spending time with you and reading your word. Help me obey and follow your leading, now onwards, in Jesus name I pray…