Those who walk in the confidence of God have the marks of contentment

Those who walk in the confidence of God have the marks of contentment. They live a life without covetousness, they are satisfied with what they have, and they experience the constant companionship and care of Almighty God.  There is that confidence that the Lord Jesus will never leave them nor forsake them. “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)

I would propose to you that Christians must be free from the love of money and the things of this world.  They must be content with what they have and learn to walk in the confidence of God. Christians have the continual presence of the Lord within them.  God’s protection and provision are offered to them as well. The writer of the Book Hebrews quotes two great Old Testament passages of Scripture.  One is Joshua 1:5, “No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.”   Two, the writer quotes Psalm 118:6, “The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid.  What can man do to me?”

Just who makes such a promise and to whom is it extended? Today’s text shows obedient Christians that God will be with them and will provide what they need.  No matter what the call or the need, those who are walking in accordance to God’s directions will have the hand of the Almighty God upon them. Who makes the promise?  Our text says, “…because God has said…”  In at least two places in the New Testament it says God does not lie. (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18)  Therefore, it is a yes and Amen.  When God says it, it goes down, it will be, you may stake your life upon it. The writer of the Book of Hebrews states a powerful truth, “…What can man do to me.” (Hebrews 13:6)  According to the Bible, all people throughout history stand in some relationship to God, whether living in rebellion and disbelief, or living in acceptance and faith in the Lord.  They are under God’s sovereign control. Therefore, the child of God who is walking in the center of God’s will need not fear any man for all are under the power of the living God. (Who’s Who in the Bible) The God who makes this promise is the one who says, “See now that I myself am He!  There is no god besides Me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of My hand.”  (Deuteronomy 32:39)

Christians can walk in confidence because this God is self-existent

Christians can walk in confidence because this God is self-existent.  John 1:1-3 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.  Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.” The apostle Paul tells us this about the Supremacy of Christ, “For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy.”  (Colossians 1:16-18)

Jesus is the one who holds all things together.  He is the agent of creation and the goal of which all things will find their end.  Between the time when this earth, the atmosphere around it and the galaxies were created and until the new heavens and earth come about, Jesus is the one who holds it all together.  In other words the laws of gravity and laws by which the universe hold together are not only science but are divinely controlled.   Man does not hold this earth and everything in it together, the Lord does all that. We need one another to survive.  We cannot exist without parents whom God used to bring us into existence, we could not have grown up without someone to feed us, provide shelter and give some kind of guidance.  Everyone needs someone to do what they cannot do. This is not the case with God.  No one made the way for Him to come into existence, nor makes the way for Him to exist.

The word “supremacy” (proteuo) means to be first, chief, to hold first rank, the highest dignity.  The application is that Jesus Christ is given first rank over everything. (The Complete Word Study Dictionary; Word Meaning in the New Testament) The God of heaven and earth did just that. Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20) Christians can walk in confidence because they possess the Living Christ whom the Bible says, “It is written: ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before Me; every tongue will confess to God.’  So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:11-12)

It is not a matter of if all mankind will kneel before God, it is a matter of when will they bow the knee and confess Jesus’ supremacy.  It is a matter that there is a God, the Father of Christ and the giver of the Holy Spirit. There is a God, He has a Son who is the Savior of the world and they have eternal existence.  In Revelation we read of Jesus saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8)  Jesus is Lord of all and there is nothing, literally no event and no time in the future which can separate Christians from the love of God. Christians can walk in confidence of their God because of the dominant theme of the Bible, which is the sovereign, continuous, purposeful activity of the eternal God.   All of life and the Word of God speak of a living Lord.  Every living animal and human being get their very heart beat from God.  Acts 17:28 says, “For in Him we live and move and have our being…”  (Acts 17:28a)   In his song of praise the Psalmist writes, “[God] makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate, [and He] brings food from the earth” (Psalm 104:14). At the Lord’s choosing He waters the trees (Psalm 104:16), He feeds the birds and clothes the lilies of the field and not one sparrow falls to the ground outside of God’s will  (Matthew 6:25-28; 10:29)

Christians walk in confidence because they serve not only a God who exists but also a “Providential God” as well

Christians serve a Lord whose plans and purposes come about.  Psalms 33:4-11 says, “For the word of the LORD is right and true; He is faithful in all He does. The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of His unfailing love. By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of His mouth.  He gathers the waters of the sea into jars; He puts the deep into storehouses.  Let all the earth fear the LORD?  Let all the people of the world revere Him. For He spoke, and it came to be; He commanded, and it stood firm. The LORD foils the plans of the nations; He thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations.”

In gratitude toward God (The Pulpit Commentary; Barnes Notes), Job writes, “You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my spirit.” (Job 10:12)  Job was recognizing that he owed God his entire life because God had gave him constant vigilance and had absolute control of his life.  (Barnes notes) The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia gives us this explanation of “providence.”  It “implies more than just seeing in advance.  It is anticipation causing one to take steps to meet a need through making a plan.  It is in a sense that pre-vision becomes pro-vision…  Applied to God, providence obviously includes the divine foreseeing, but God’s foreseeing has a fuller and broader reference in view of divine overruling.  Providence, then, is the preservation and superintendence of all things by God.  It is divine governance whereby all possible events are woven into a coherent pattern and all possible developments are shaped to accomplish the divinely instituted goal.”

The Book Esther is a remarkable book that shows God’s providence in the life of a person for the deliverance of a nation.  God’s name is not mentioned in the Book of Esther. However, the key purpose of this book is to show The Lord’s providential care of His people.  In this book we see that God’s providence overrules all things.  Even in a distant country and in dangerous situations, God’s people are yet in His hands. (Thru the Bible; The Expositors Bible Commentary; Matthew Henry)

Dr J. Vernon McGee wrote a book about Esther, entitled, “Esther, The Romance of Providence.”  As we study the Book of Esther and examine how God raised up Esther, a woman for such a time in Jewish history, we see that all obedient children of God have a purpose in God’s great plan.  However, obedience is a key factor of seeing the providential hand of God move. As we read the Book of Esther we discover that Mordecai had a powerful truth that we should take note of.  Mordecai sent word to Esther with regard to her responsibility of her position. His words to her were, “…Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13-14)

There is no grander position of life for man’s calling than to be an adopted child of God through having Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.  With that comes the great responsibility of fulfilling your part in the Great Commission.  Just as the Jews were facing annihilation, people who are without Christ are facing an eternal death. Just as Esther had a job to do, the church of Jesus Christ has a job to do. How does this woman of intervention prepare for her God given task that enabled her to enjoy the Lord’s providential hand?  The Bible says, “Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai:  ‘Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.’ So Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther’s instructions.” (Esther 4:15-17)

Those who enjoy the providential hand of God are those who fulfill their part and it begins with seeking the loving hand of the God who will fulfill His part.  He must be sought in humble prayer.  Prayer is the brokenness and humility that God wants to see in those who truly trust in Him. Three days of a national fasting and prayer meeting enables Esther to see the hand of God grant her favor with the king.  As the story really begins to unfold we see not only Queen Esther experiencing the providential hand of God, but Mordecai as well.    Instead of Mordecai being hanged upon the gallows built for him, Haman, the enemy of the Jews was hanged instead.  On the same day Haman was hanged, Esther was given Haman’s estate.  Mordecai was brought into the king’s service and given the signet ring that once belonged to wicked Haman.  Esther appoints Mordecai to overseer of Haman’s estate. (Esther 5:2; 7:10; 8:1-2)

Because of God’s plan to save His people, and His awesome ability to work among even a pagan people who did not serve Him, the Jews were given permission to take up arms, defend themselves, and plunder those who would attack them.  People of other nationalities became Jews because fear of the Jews had seized them. (Esther 8:17)  What looked like disaster, became a victory for the Jewish people, all because God’s reign on this earth is a providential reign, one that is pre-vision and becomes pro-vision.

Young Peoples’ Digest ran the story of a Christian English woman.  The ministry she oversaw required a large amount of provision every year.  Year after year she saw the Lord provide all they needed and many times when it felt like God was coming up short, He would make it clear that He had already provided and it need only be released from the bondage that was holding it up.  After much prayer God did release the funds which were in bondage and put them into her hands at the proper time. She was once confronted by a man who was very much against the Lord.  He asked what proof is there of such a God.  She said, “If you had made an appeal of a large amount of money from someone whom you had never seen physically, but yet you knew existed and that man sent you exactly the amount of money you asked for through a friend, who did not know the amount you requested, would you then believe and put faith in that the person for all your needs?”  The man who was hostile toward the Lord said “Yes.” The English missionary lady said, “Well, I made an appeal to God for the very sum of money that would buy all the supplies needed to do His work.  In His timing He has always raised the money through friends who also know of my Lord.  The amount of money they gave me has always been exactly what I asked for, without anyone but the Lord knowing what the need was.  I, therefore, claim to know the Lord who sees and provides.”

Christians who walk in the confidence of God have allowed Him to show Himself faithful.  They rest upon His providence and sovereignty knowing that He always does what is best.

Christians can walk in confidence because He is also a personal God

Christians can walk in confidence, not just because God exists and has providential control, but because He is also a personal God.  Psalm 147:10-11 says, “His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor His delight in the legs of a man; the LORD delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in His unfailing love.” God is never portrayed in Scripture, as people often describe Him today, as an ever-present energy or force.  God shows Himself to be personal in relationship.  Scripture shows this relationship between Father, Son, and Holy Ghost and expresses His desire to have a real relationship with the redeemed children of God.

Song of Solomon 7:10 presents a wonderful truth in regard to our relationship with Jesus Christ.  It says, “I belong to my lover and his desire is for me.” The primary concern for those who will read Song of Solomon is that its application is a picture of the beautiful love relationship between the believer and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Thru the Bible; Matthew Henry; John Wesley Notes)   It is the picture of Christ and the church and depicts the communion of Christ and the individual believer.  This passage of Scripture portrays the love of Christ for the individual and the soul’s communion with Christ. These are the words of those who are confident in their marriage relationship with Christ.  They rejoice in the fact that the Lord’s desire is for them and these Christians are so illuminated with that fact that they speak out as the apostle Paul did. He writes with great boldness, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live but Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

The relationship the Lord is looking for is the one in which Christians say, “I am my beloved’s, not my own and I am entirely devoted to Him and I am owned by Him.”  Christ’s desire was so strong toward God’s chosen ones that He came from heaven to earth to seek and save that which was lost. He paid the ultimate price for His bride.  Someday He will return for those who are left upon this earth.  Be sure to catch the heart of Jesus as I read a portion of His prayer for all believers.  Jesus prayed, Father, I want those you have given Me to be with Me where I am, and to see My glory, the glory you have given Me because you loved Me before the creation of the world.”  Those who walk in confidence have allowed the Holy Spirit to place a heartfelt desire within them to be in fellowship with Christ. They’re not like the couple who went for marriage counseling.  The wife’s major complaint was that her husband never said, “I love you.”  When the counselor asked him about this he replied with, “When we got married 30 years ago, I told her then I loved her.  If anything changes, I will be sure to let her know.”

Professor H.W. Jurgen, a West German sociologist, claims that married couples chat with one another 70 minutes a day in the first year of marriage.  This drops to 30 minutes a day in the second year and then only to 15 minutes in the 4th year.  He said the most often cause of this is complacency in the marriage relationship.  They become comfortable and feel that they need not take the time to properly communicate, to plan, to dream together. Do you remember when you first got saved or when you recommitted your life to Christ?  How you often thought of the Lord, made plans to be with Him, do things that please Him and dream big with Him.  You had hopes of doing great things with God. How is your prayer life now, in comparison to what it was when you first entered into His service?  How much time do you spend in prayerful reading and studying of God’s Word?  Is there a thirst and hunger for Him and His presence?    Have you let what once sparked a heart ablaze for God to be replaced with just a religious observance?

Drew Stephens shared a story entitled “The Ring.”  It is a story about the greatest Christmas present that he had ever received from a woman named Joan Ellis.  Joan is now his mother-in-law and she gave him the engagement ring that her late husband gave her on their engagement night. It was given with the understanding that he was to give it to her daughter, Rebecca.  It was a gift given to him.  His mother-in-law gave it freely and it had an intended purpose. Now that it was in his possession he really could do anything with the ring he wanted to.  He could rebel and sell it, ignore that he even had it, or even give it to someone else. He had control over the ring which was now in His possession. He chose to give it for the purpose in which it was given and now he has been married to Rebecca for over 19 years.  He has never regretted that decision.  That ring offered promises.  It represented a life of joy and fulfillment with his bride. What the ring meant to him was fulfilled thousands of times.

Like the ring given to Rebecca, God has given a gift for which He has a designed and intended purpose.  That gift is our lives.  His intent is that our lives be eternally wed to His Son, Jesus Christ and we are eagerly awaiting His return so that we may be with Him forever. However, God gives us the freedom to use our lives as we choose.  Much like the ring, we can take its value and spend it on ourselves.  We can spend our lives on the pleasures of this world and please the flesh.  We can even give it to another, thus committing adultery and breaking and devastating the heart of Christ.  You can spend your entire life trying to find satisfaction only to end up in eternal torment. Or you can spend your life, the gift that God has given you in serving and loving Jesus Christ. You can take those talents, abilities and opportunities and spend them for the glory of Christ. You can choose to have an intimate relationship with the Lord and live a life that shows that you are the bride of Christ joyfully awaiting the “Marriage Supper of the Lamb.”

In closing:  The promise the Lord made to Jacob (Genesis 28:15), Joshua (Joshua 1:5) and Solomon ((1 Chronicles 28:20) belongs also to the faithful servants of God.  (Matthew Henry)  Never will He leave us nor forsake us. It is God who makes this promise and He is not a man that He should lie.  There is not one person who can harm us outside of God’s will so we can go and fulfill our mandate from the Lord in confidence. It is Jesus who holds all things together and He purchased us with His life’s blood.  He is in absolute control.  The very Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in us, so let us walk a walk that expresses confidence that we will receive power from the Holy Spirit to fulfill our part in the Great Commission. Just as God had a plan to deliver the Jews through Mordecai and Esther, He has a plan for us in reaching out to the lost in Christ’s Name and to make disciples of those who have ears to hear and a heart to obey. We can walk in the confidence of God because he knows us personally and He will enable us to have that relationship with Him that is fulfilling and reflects a hope of being at the “Marriage Supper of the Lamb.”

Let us Pray!