OUT OF SIGHT BUT NOT OUT OF MIND Andy Hollifield 10-1-17
Psalms 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
Joshua 2:9-11 And she said unto the men, I know that the Lord hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. (10) For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. (11) And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you for the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.
Jonah 1:17-2:1 Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. (2:1) Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish’s belly.
Exodus 14:20 And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that one came not near the other all the night.
Job 1:12 And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord.
Job 42:10-12 And the Lord turned again the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. (11) Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold. (12) So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning:
I kind of finished the verses with the thought that the Lord had given me to start with. The thought as evidenced by the life of Job, is that even when you can’t see God, he is still faithful. That itself will bless you when it sinks in. It took a while for it to sink in with me but when it did; what rejoicing I had in my soul! I know I am not the only one that has been in the valley so low that it seemed that I couldn’t see God. I have been a few times in a place so low that I couldn’t see him, hear him, feel him, taste him, and no matter how I prayed I couldn’t touch him. I have mentioned before that I got in a place so low back in 2012 that I just sat and cried a while and then tried to pray but it seemed that my prayers weren’t going any higher than my upper lip. What I couldn’t see at the time, was that God hadn’t forgotten about me at all. In my heart I already knew that because he said that he would “never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5). But, when you get in those dark places, your mind and soul can get overwhelmed and you may not can get ahold of him in any way, but he still has a hold on you.
I want to look for just a few minutes at some folks from the pages of scripture that have been in that exact place where we have unwillingly gone before. I believe that David was well acquainted with grief and hardships and he wrote in Psalms 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God…” I have found that in those dark places, sometimes I just need to “be still and know”. That scripture didn’t say be still and see or feel or even think but to “know that he is God.” In Joshua 2:9-11 we read of Israel’s conquest of Jericho. Joshua sent spies to Jericho and they wound up in the house of a harlot named Rahab. I don’t want to focus on the typical story of Rahab and her hiding the spies but I want to look at what made her willing to hide them. I realized in reading this that she didn’t happen to see them out her window and just invite them in. She, and everyone else in town, had been growing increasingly distraught from all they had been hearing about Israel. Think about that for a minute; Israel had just buried Moses, their leader for 40 years and had mourned for him 30 days. During that same 30 days, the people of Jericho had continued to hear rumors of all that Israel had done to their enemies. Now, the two spies enter the house of Rahab and she realizes that what the city had feared was soon coming to pass. What I am getting at is this; unknown to the children of Israel, while they were mourning, God was working and increasing the anxiety and fear of the folks of Jericho.
In Job, it was the same situation but only under different circumstances. This time it wasn’t a nation but an individual that became afflicted. The time even came that his wife begged him to curse God and die. He refused and told her that she was talking foolish. Little did Job know that he wasn’t being punished, he was being put on display to the devil. His afflictions continued and even got to the point that he cursed the day he was born and begged God to let him die. But, if you look at chapter 42, after getting put in his place by God, and his captivity being turned, God began to bless Job immensely and restored his wealth making it double what he had before. People began to show up immediately with the gifts that are mentioned in chapter 42. They showed up no doubt probably before hearing of his recovery from afflictions. Walking was the most common form of transportation so apparently they had started walking before Job’s captivity was even turned. Even though God had been out of sight for a long time to Job, he had still been working on providing Job’s needs before Job even know that he would come out from under the affliction.
Moving right along now, we will take a look at the children of Israel (Exodus 14) a few years earlier right after leaving Egypt. Have you ever thought about that cloud and pillar of fire? God put them right where he wanted them: as a barrier between them and the Egyptians. It was such a good barrier that the pillar of fire gave the Israelites light by day but the Egyptians side was so dark that they couldn’t even see Israel. Everyone knows that a fire is bright but that one was a two-sided fire. Now, who but God would have ever thought about preparing that ahead of time just for them. It would do us good to remember that God sees all eternity as one span of time. Whether we can see him or not, he can still see us.
For the last one I want to talk about Jonah. Jonah’s trouble started in verse 3 of the chapter when he tried to flee from the presence of the Lord. Jonah’s story has 2 parts. Part 1 is where Jonah tries to flee from God and part 2 is where he is again trying to get ahold of God. In the first part, Jonah is hoping God will leave him alone but once you accept the Lord; he will never leave you alone. What I like about the beginning of chapter 2, the second part, is the fact that chapter 1:17 says that “the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah.” As bad as that sounds, if Jonah had been cast overboard in that storm and God hadn’t prepared the fish, Jonah would have really been in a world of hurt. All that fish was, was just Jonah’s personal prayer closet and transportation back to shore. It is good for Jonah’s sake that God prepared him a fish ahead of time. Jonah would have drowned in the storm if God had not of sent it to swallow him. God sees us in the good times and the bad whether we want him to or not. I bet when Jonah got vomited out on the shore, he was probably really thankful that God was watching him and made provision for him ahead of time.
That’s really good for all of them I mentioned isn’t it? They were some of the important characters of the bible and God’s chosen people and that’s why God went out of his way to take care of them. He is no respecter of persons (Romans 2:11). Besides all of that you are a vitally important person; you are part of Christ’ bride, part of his chosen people. So although it may be real dark where you are right now and you can’t seem to find a hint of God anywhere; he still sees you. I know I say this all the time but, he can still see you even when you can’t see him. Sometimes until God brings the daylight, we have to abide in the darkness for a time and just “be still and KNOW he is God”. He has done made provision for you. Your pillar of fire is still behind you and Christ is leading you and your fish is on its way so just “be still!” Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!