Near the end of his life, in his first farewell to Israel, Joshua made the following powerful statement that we still hold dear today. He said in Joshua 23:14 “Behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth. And you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spoke concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one word of them has failed. What an Incredible affirmation of God’s love and goodness. Not one promise of our faithful God has ever failed. Joshua was not merely describing his personal experience. He was issuing a proclamation for the ages. So if he tarries deep into 2012 what can you expect God to do for you?
#1 He is El OLAM, We Expect God will give you strength when you are weak.
Isaiah 41:10 tells us: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
The word “strengthen” in this verse implies the courage to face life, It was a powerful word to Isaiah. Isaiah had his share of calamity during his lifetime: He had a close friend die, a major earthquake rocked his nation; a national recession hit the economy; and morality reached rock bottom. Isaiah was likely thinking “God, what’s next? I cannot handle anymore. Have you ever said those words? But it was at that moment that God spoke this promise to Isaiah. We all become fearful at times. When that feeling comes on, that is when we need to tap into God’s strength. that is when we need to remember that he is our source. Our own mind, and the devil will fight us and try to make us think the worst. That’s why we need to commit Isaiah 41:10 to memory, We should make it the wallpaper on our computer screen or on our smart phone. “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” We can expect God to give us strength when we are weak.
#2 He is Jehovah-Rapha, We expect God will give you peace and healing in your pain.
This is true in Physical as well as emotional pain. Philippians 4:7 tells us: and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Paul was in prison when he wrote these words, there was trouble all around him and his future was uncertain at best, yet he had the peace of God in the midst of his circumstances. The word “Guard” in this verse comes from military jargon; It implies a protective shield, like a small band of soldiers acting as a human shield around someone of importance. That’s what God will do for us when we ask, He will guard you and give you peace when you are hurting or feeling stressed.
My Dad passed away when I was a 17 year old youth pastor in Arizona, the date God took him was November 30. My Mom passed away on Veterans day, it was on November 12th that year. One sister passed away on December 5, two years before my Mom, and my only brother passed away late in the year 1998. You can understand that the time frame of November-December have been shrouded in sorrow and dread in my life for many years, instead of bringing joy, Christmas in general and especially the music seemed to accentuate the depression I experience during this season. But I’m here to tell you, that I have the Peace of God that surpasses all human understanding. Just as recently as last year, I asked God to help me stop living in the past and redeem this time of year for me. On November 3rd this year, God gave me the joy of a new grandson. Even though Marcus was born on November 3rd, my daughters’ original due date with him was November 11, that was no coincidence. Trust me, what God has done for me he will do for you. “and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
#3 He is Jehovah-Jireh, Our provider: We expect God will provide for you blessings when you give.
2 Corinthians 9:6 says: But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. I have read that only about 30% of evangelical Christians tithe regularly. This is more noticeable in small churches like this one, I don’t know the numbers but I venture to say that after the bills are paid the Pastor’s salary cannot be what he deserves. If you can’t give the full 10% that the bible says, start small, 5% maybe and work up, God provides the means for us to reach our goals of giving to his work. I’m not saying if you put down 5 he will give 10, That’s the prosperity gospel, that’s heresy and I’m not going there, but I learned a long time ago that when I let go of what’s in my hand God lets go of what’s in his hand.
Being faithful in our tithes is only a part of how we can meet the need. Many churches, mine included have a food pantry and a clothing ministry. Regular donations are needed to both so our churches can minister to the need in our community. When we start to search our self through giving, the logic of our minds collides with the faith in our heart. We must decide which way we will lean and where we will put our confidence. Friends, we can expect God to give his blessings when we give and are obedient to his word.
#4 He is Jehovah-Nissi, Our Banner: We expect God will give us wisdom when we are eager for it.
Proverbs 4: 7-8 tells us: Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding. 8 Exalt her, and she will promote you; She will bring you honor, when you embrace her.
Proverbs goes on to say in chapter 16 that “it is better to get wisdom then gold. That’s eagerness.
Suppose you visited my home. When you arrived I told you I had hidden 20 gold coins, each weighing an ounce around on my property. Then I said “any gold coins you find are yours to keep”. Would you be eager in your search? Would you start your search immediately? We are told in proverbs to seek for wisdom the same way, and God will make sure we find it. Never forget this simple but profound truth: “The instruction you follow will determine the future you create”. We as Christians can expect God to give us wisdom when we seek it eagerly.
#5 God is Jehovah-Shammah, our companion; We expect God will give us favor when we are humble.
God’s presence is not limited to the Jewish tabernacle, temple or our churches. He is always accessible to all who love and live for him.
Matthew 23:12 tells us: And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
It’s clear to me that there are two sides to that verse, The negative result is stated first, and the positive promise is second. The first time I was given the opportunity to preach at church didn’t turn out so well, I went up to the pulpit all cocky, expecting to be like Billy Graham right out of the gate. Boy was I in for a shock. After flubbing the scripture and my so called notes, I buried my head, tucked my tail and slowly went back to my seat. My pastor, a very wise man and a dear friend to this day said “Next time, if you try going up there the way you just came down, you will come down the way you just went up” Humility is not feeling worthless about yourself, nor is it going around saying I’m a lousy no good person. Humility means you are made in the image of God, that the lord is far greater then you are and that you need him every day in every way. Humility is daily confessing to God “O Lord, I want you, and need you today, I cannot navigate life without you”. friends, I can declare without fear of contradiction that God always responds to humility. We can expect God to give us favor when we humble ourselves to him.
#6 He is Jehovah-Mekaddeshkem, our sanctifier: We expect God will give us forgiveness when we confess our sin.
1 John 1:9 says: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
It does not say all those who sin, confess your sins, he is faithful and just to forgive because every person hearing and reading these words is a sinner, there are no exceptions. The bible says “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. However what we do in response to our sin will make us or break us. Some people try to ignore their sin, that’s like trying to ignore the fact you’ve slammed your finger in a car door. Others try to excuse their sin. But excuses don’t bring forgiveness. Wise is the person who confesses his or her sin to God. Jesus will always forgive us when we do that. ALWAYS! Today I can make you a promise; as we start 1012, I can promise you that Jesus died for your sin, I can promise you that he rose from the dead for your sanctification. I can promise you that God will forgive you and erase the sin out of your life when you confess it. Jesus did not come to rub your imperfections in your face, he came to wipe it from your heart.
#7 God is Jehovah-Rohi, Our shepherd, our Protector he will Protect Us..
Psalm 5:11-12 tells us But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name Be joyful in You. 12 For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; With favor You will surround him as with a shield.
I was reading an article in one of those “friends of Israel” sites recently and read that Iran, who’s president once vowed to “wipe Israel from the map” launches a dummy missile toward Israel almost daily, just to antagonize Israel. The article said the missiles never seem to make it across the boarder. It’s like God is up in heaven playing tennis with Iran. Iran lobs one toward Israel and God smacks it back.
Finally #8 He is YHWH, The great “I-AM’ We can know that God will be with us in our every breathing moment.
Hebrews 13:5 says Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Genesis 28:15, just as God told Jacob he says to us, “Behold I am with you and will keep you where ever you go and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you”. God never changes, His promises never fail, When we are faithless he is faithful.
So let’s review, God Protects us, God is with us every moment, God forgives us, God gives us favor when we humble ourselves to him, God gives us wisdom, God blesses us when we give to others, God gives us peace and healing in our time of pain and God strengthens us.
Praise God for these promises, only he can handle our sin, Only he can handle the difficulties we experience in life. Ask him to bring the Holy Spirit into your life, into your very being. Let him transform you into the person he wants you to be in this New Year.