Shields Up! January 14th
We are on day 14 of blogging through the Bible using the Murray M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan
“Do not be afraid! I am your shield, your very great reward” – don’t let circumstances and fear get you down! God will never leave us or forsake us. Abram is experiencing delay in the fulfilment of the promise of an heir, so God comes and speaks encouragement again to him.
The promise gets bigger – his offsrping will number like the stars!
At that point Abram comes to faith on God’s word – Abram believed God and he credited it to him as righteousness. Paul will pick up on that in Romans as a justification (!) that justification is by faith not works.
3 Big stories dominate this chapter – John the Baptist is beheaded, the disciples get to be part of the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 and Peter gets out of the boat to walk on water!
Note Jesus mourning John’s death v13, his compassion for the sick driving healing v14 and Jesus challenge for the disciples to feed the 5,000! They clearly don’t have faith for a miracle that big yet! “We only have 5 loaves and 2 fish”.
If you want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat – so overcome fear and do what God has called you to do. But then when you are doing the impossible, you have to keep your eyes on Jesus not on the storms, or you will fall in!
Paul and Barnabus goto the synagogue first to preach to the Jews, and Gentiles too – the message is confirmed by signs and wonders – Come on Lord, give us more signs and wonders on the streets, in our workplaces and small groups and on Sunday!
They have to escape Iconium and move on to Lystra where they heal a lame man – the people there think they are Zeus incarnate, so they quickly preach the truth! Paul is stoned and left for dead.
Next they goto Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, back to strengthen the believers there and appointing elders withe prayer and fasting. The pattern is apostles, prophets and evangelists plant churches and then g back to appoint the elders who have emerged.
They return to report how the door has opened for us Gentiles!
Satan hates that we are going for God’s vision “to be a gateway for the gospel to go to the nations.” God’s smile is on it especially that we heard Asia had given her life to Christ the same day we cast the vision! Satan hates it. That next week I heard of niggles and upsets – Satan getting in, trying to cause disunity, discouragement and stop us going for it.
In Nehemiah there was contempt, conspiracy and cunning – they are all weapons and schemes Satan uses.
Beawre of Satan’s shemes, but also know “Our God will fight for us!” v20