Thursday, June 26, 2014

Ashamed to Require

It was an interesting weekend to say the least. The police called the pastor to tell him that a strict Hindu group was planning to cause problems for churches during their services. The police wanted to send a plain clothed police officer to the church to make sure our services were uninterrupted. Just the week before, the same Hindu group pressured the police into arresting dozens of Christians for “forcing” people to convert. They were later released, and that apparently infuriated the Hindu group. They want the country to be a Hindu country again, making it illegal for the people to become Christians.

The pastor appreciated the police showing their support for freedom of religion by offering the police guard. We really didn’t need a police guard, but the pastor saw the opportunity to show the love of Christ (and share the Gospel) with whoever would come.

The messages that day (both services) were packed full of the Gospel. The police officer was there, and had even been invited inside. He listened closely to every word. He was even given a Bible to take home with him. He saw first hand that we were not enemies forcing anyone to believe, but simply offering the truth that changed our lives.

The greatest encouragement actually came after the service. The Christians were very clear that they appreciated the show of support for religious freedom, but that our safety didn’t come from man.

How easy it would have been to give into fear! How easy it would have been to trust in the police to protect us! I am thankful the pastor didn’t give in to fear. He didn’t call up the police station asking for a guard. He actually didn’t do anything differently at all in preparation for that day.

But one thing we must always remember:

Proverbs 21:31 “The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD.”

Can God use the horse in battle? Absolutely! Can God use a policeman to protect His people? If He chooses to do so He can. But really our protection is only in Him.

Ezra 8:21  “Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance. For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him. So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was intreated of us.”

I was sitting down doing my devotions this morning in the book of Ezra. Ezra was heading to Jerusalem to reestablish worship in the temple. He was taking the vessels to Jerusalem. He would be carrying gold, silver, and more on this journey through enemy territory. It would be dangerous. The people travelling with Ezra could have been robbed or worse.

Ezra refused to call up the king and ask for an armed escort. He had already told the king how God’s hand was with them for good that seek him. How could Ezra ask for an armed escort? He trusted God would take care of them. He trusted God cared and that God had the power to protect them. If God chose to use an armed escort, Ezra was fine with that. He just wanted God’s will and for God to get the glory. But he WOULD NOT run to the world for his security.

How much do we trust God? When a problem or potential danger arises, do we run to the world for rescue and shelter? Some of us are serving in potentially dangerous areas. Do we trust God to protect us, our family, our church? Some of us have children on the field. Do we allow fear of what might happen to our children control us? Some are facing financial difficulties. Do we run to the bank or the credit card or do we instead hit our knees seeking God’s direction?

We should be “ashamed to require” of the world our protection and provision. Our protection and provision comes from our Father in Heaven.

“… The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him.”

Charity, Southern Asia

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