Andy Hollifield 3-25-18
Ezra 8:22 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.
Nehemiah 2:8 And a letter unto Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the palace which appertained to the house, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall enter into. And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me.
Ecclesiastes 2:24 There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labor. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.
Psalms 34:8 O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
Psalms 100:5 For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
Psalms 135:3 Praise the Lord; for the Lord is good: sing praises unto his name; for it is pleasant.
Psalms 145:9 The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.
Jeremiah 33:11 The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, Praise the Lord of hosts: for the Lord is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord. For I will cause to return the captivity of the land, as at the first, saith the Lord.
Lamentations 3:25 The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.
Nahum 1:7 The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and knoweth them that trust in him.
I know that is a lot of verses, 10 to be exact. But when you look at all of those verses, you can’t help but be encouraged in the Lord can you? I was just going to use the first 3 but then I saw the phrase; “The Lord is good” and I read the verses and I just had to include them. It is a phrase that is used verbatim 7 times in the bible. We know that 7 is God’s perfect number. I ran across the first 3 verses the other night when I was studying to write one of my other posts. I had read the scripture in Nehemiah and thought a lot about it because he was on a journey because he was heartbroken for his homeland. Even though his mission was to make a city rise up literally out of the ashes, he just kept talking about how the hand of the Lord was upon him for good. Not exactly what you would expect to hear from a young man that had spent several days in mourning and no doubt some severe depression over the condition of his homeland and his people. The next thing that Nehemiah done should be an example for all of us to follow; he prayed. I have nothing against counsellors or therapists or whatever but I believe we would all have a lot less need of them at times if we would just pray more. Notice I said “we.” Nehemiah’s depression was evidently so bad that it was affecting his work because the king noticed that he was sad after he had been mourning, fasting, and praying for a certain number of days. Let me stop and point out something; God didn’t fix his problem and cheer him up immediately and as a matter of fact, God didn’t even answer him at that point. If you look at the beginning of chapter 2, you will notice that even after he had fasted and prayed and did everything he knew to do, his condition was apparently not getting any better. That is a mistake we often make, or maybe it’s just me, but we will pray expecting for God to make things all better right then because we prayed. It don’t always work that way. What Nehemiah didn’t know, was that God was apparently, instead of cheering his heart; was busy softening the heart of the king.
You would think that things had finally turned around for Nehemiah and everything was going to be hunky-dory and he would live happily ever after. Not so fast. In verse 8 Nehemiah is talking about how good God’s hand was upon him and how the king had helped him and he even gave him an armed military escort. But then, he crossed the river. The first thing he encountered was opposition. Just when things were finally looking up, somebody had to start griping. Does that sound familiar? It sounds just like a lot of our situations don’t it? If that wasn’t bad enough, then he came to Jerusalem and took a night tour of the city and from his description, I am sure it was far worse than he had even imagined. In verse 17 he describes their situation to all his men as distress. But, then in verse 18, he tells them how good God’s hand was upon him. Then in verse 20, after enduring some mouthing from the enemy, he tells them that God will prosper his children and in so many words he told the enemy that it was none of their business and to butt out because it didn’t mean anything to them. Don’t you feel like doing that sometimes? I mean just telling someone off that has done nothing but tried to discourage you at every turn while you are trying to stay encouraged in spite of your difficult circumstances. Just keep calm and you will eventually get to see them put to silence by the Lord.
I don’t want to dwell the whole time on Nehemiah and his trouble but rather on how good the Lord’s hand was on him. Actually, it isn’t him I want to dwell on at all but it is me and you. Our situation may not be a burned out city with huge walls that have to be rebuilt but it may be a problem that just has us so beat down that we can’t seem to get over it. I will be honest with you; I am no David. When my Ziklag gets destroyed and it seems that the enemy is going to run roughshod over me, I find it hard to encourage myself in the Lord like David did in 1 Samuel 30:6. I would imagine that I am probably writing this to a lot of people that are not that much different than me. And if you are that much different; pray for the rest of us or at least me.
If you are like me and have a hard time encouraging yourself, let me assure you that God knows exactly what you are going through and you may not see it yet, but while you are walking up your side of the mountain with your heart ripped out of you over something, God has a blessing walking up the other side of your mountain for you just like he did for Abraham in Genesis 22:13. You may think that nothing is ever going to get better, but go back to Lamentations 3:25, which by the way is today’s date. Maybe that is the verse God wants you to have today. “The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.” Also Nahum 1:7 he is “a stronghold in the day of trouble.” He promised in Psalms 34:8 that you would be blessed if you just trust in him. That’s a written guarantee from our God that can’t lie or fail. Ezra 8:22 said that “…The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him…” Not just anybody’s hand but God’s hand! You know; God’s hand in John 10:29 that Jesus said you can’t be plucked out of! Just because we don’t see what God is doing doesn’t mean that he is not doing anything. Abraham didn’t know that ram was walking up the backside of that mountain that day. All he knew was that he was walking up his side to offer his blood heir as a sacrifice. He knew what God had promised and I am sure he didn’t see any way possible that was going to work after that day. He may not have been able to understand it all, but according to Romans 4:20, “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God.” Don’t stagger now! Look how many times God has come through in seemingly impossible situations in your life. I am not talking about for someone else but in your life for you! I sometimes get to write and feel like God has me talking directly to someone; this is one of those times! Don’t lose faith, just be strong and believe God! He knows what he is doing and according to Romans 8:28, whatever he is doing is going to be for your good. You can only see what is in front of you; he sees and knows everything that is around you. Psalms 46:1 says that “God is our refuge and strength, a VERY present help in trouble.” To quote a modern term: “He’s got this.” Trust “The good hand of God.” Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!
Andy Hollifield 3-25-18