Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

Biblical history Archive

Tuesday

7

June 2022

A glimpse of sunshine

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Even though the outlook appears bleak, the goodness of the Lord can still be seen in the land of the living.

...no times are so wild but that in them are quiet corners, green oases, all the greener for their surroundings, where life glides on in peaceful isolation from the tumult. (Alexander MacLaren) | Read more of A Glimpse of Sunshine on hopereflected.com

“Every man did that which was right in his own eyes,” (Judges 17:6, 21:25). The book of Judges depicts a bleak and black history of Israel, one where man was doing what man wanted, where truth was twisted to suit selfish inclinations, and where God was not forgotten, but purposefully rebelled against. It sounds eerily similar to our present situation.

But God, in His tender mercy and grace, was still very much present among the profanity happening in Israel, just as He is today. Within the book of Judges we see reminders of this, that though man may seem to rule for a season, the Lord is the ultimate judge (11:27). Even though the outlook appears bleak, the goodness of the Lord can still be seen in the land of the living.

There can still be peace within us

Take Ruth, for example. Tucked away within the times of the judges of Israel, Ruth’s history serves as a reminder that though there may be unrest in the world, there can still be peace within us, and there are always glimmers of God’s grace around us. Alexander MacLaren wrote that “no times are so wild but that in them are quiet corners, green oases, all the greener for their surroundings, where life glides on in peaceful isolation from the tumult.”

Although days are dark and times are tumultuous, like Ruth, we can be beacons of light to those around us. Ruth was a Moabitess, the Moabites of which were enemies of Israel and certainly not godly by any stretch of the imagination. And yet we see in history that Ruth is an ancestor of Christ, a prominent member of His lineage. Thank God for His grace! Our past does not determine our future. When we know God, He works all things together for good (Romans 8:28). Rather than being preoccupied by our past, in Christ we can move forward and face the future with fearlessness.

Stand firm and resolute

Nowhere do we read that Ruth was afraid of what the people of Bethlehem would think of her or say about her. Rather, the Bible tells us of Ruth’s unwavering loyalty. “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” (Ruth 1:16-17). Even in the face of opposition, Ruth stood firm and resolute. Do we stand firm and resolute, even though noise comes at us from every side and current events contradict what is true and right? Is our loyalty to God unwavering?

“Even in the face of opposition, Ruth stood firm and resolute.”

Hope Reflected

Ruth showed a quiet strength, and lived with humility. She worked cheerfully, gleaning in the fields. The big picture didn’t need to be revealed to her in order for her to be diligent and faithful in the little things. God is the Painter and our life is the picture. As Ruth’s testimony is a glimpse of sunshine in an otherwise stormy sky, may others see His light through us in dark times.

Originally published as “A glimpse of sunshine.” Independent Plus. January 21, 2022: 5. Print. Web.

Friday

24

April 2020

Noah: An Example in Obedience

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

“Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.” (Genesis 6:22) | Noah: An Example in Obedience | hopereflected.com

One cannot walk with God unless they are walking in obedience

Noah. Abraham. Rahab. Moses. Joshua. David. What is one thing that all of these people have in common? While their lives were all incredibly different, the commonality between them was obedience: They were each obedient to the call of the Lord.    

Look at Noah, for example. When Noah lived, “the wickedness of man was great in the earth,” we read in Genesis 6:5, “and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” We think we’ve got it bad today! The Bible tells us that during Noah’s time, the earth was so filled with evil that the Lord felt bad that he had made man on the earth, and His heart was grieved. The Lord was so grieved that He decided to destroy man from the planet, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” (Gen. 6:8)

“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.”

Genesis 6:8

Why did Noah find grace in the eyes of the Lord? Well, we read in the next verse that Noah was a just man, blameless, and that He walked with God. One cannot walk with God unless they are walking in obedience, there’s just no other path. We can learn so much from Noah and his walk.

Noah didn’t hesitate

Consider this: Noah’s obedience to the Lord was immediate. When God said to Noah, “Make thee an ark,” (Gen. 6:14), Noah didn’t hesitate and say, “Lord, why do you want me to do that?” or “Are you sure you want me to do that? It’s not even raining.” No, Noah, didn’t hesitate. “Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.” (6:22) Noah didn’t question God’s instruction, he didn’t question God’s timing, and he didn’t question his ability to complete the task. American Pastor Steven Furtick says that, “great moves of God are usually preceded by simple acts of obedience.” While the task at hand for Noah certainly wasn’t simple, it was a step that preceded a great move of God.  

It’s also important to recognize that Noah’s obedience was not influenced by others. While it is important that we are prayerful in our decision-making, and that we heed wise counsel, when we are walking with God as Noah did, our obedience won’t be influenced by anyone who doesn’t have our best interest at heart. D.L. Moody once said that, “There will be no peace in any soul until it is willing to obey the voice of God.” It may seem difficult, especially when others question us, however when we are walking in obedience to God, He grants us peace.  

Noah’s obedience saved his life and the life of his family. They entered the ark before the flood started. We read in Genesis 7:10 that it was seven days after they entered the ark that the flood actually started. Sometimes doing the right thing doesn’t make sense. We may not understand the timing, we may not see any realistic reason in the moment, but that’s the beauty of obeying God. We don’t have to have all the answers, because He always does what is best for us.

You can read more about Biblical obedience here.

Originally published as “Noah: An Example in Obedience.” Independent Plus. February 13, 2020: 6. Print. Web.

Wednesday

18

December 2019

Peace, Be Still (I Saw Three Ships)

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

"And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” (Mark 4:38-40) | Peace be still | Read more at hopereflected.com

The Bible is filled with rich history that involves ships

I Saw Three Ships is an English Christmas carol with which many of us are familiar. While there’s always been some debate as to how the ships could be headed to Bethlehem (when the closest body of water is the Dead Sea), some people believe that the ships being referenced in the carol were not ships at all, but rather the three camels that the wise men used on their journey to meet Jesus.

The ship’s rudder determines the direction that a ship is going; whichever way the rudder turns, the boat will go in the direction with the least water pressure resistance. The direction we choose is based on our foundational beliefs, and that is why it’s so important that we have a firm foundation.

Peace, Be Still

The Bible is filled with rich history that involves ships, and we can learn many lessons from these accounts. It was from the stern of a ship that Jesus taught us the importance of finding peace and rest in Him. Mark 4 details one of the times that Jesus quieted the sea: “And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” (Mark 4:38-40)

It was also from a ship that Jesus provided reassurance and reinforced our faith. When His disciples were caught up in unsettled waters, Jesus walked to them on water. Doubting whether it was really Jesus, Peter wanted to walk to Him on the water to be sure. And Jesus said, “Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” (Matt. 14:29-31)

Jesus used a ship to remind us that He is our provider

We can recall to mind the times that Jesus used a ship as the vessel to remind us that He is our provider, and that He does exceedingly abundantly above and beyond all that we can ask or think. In Luke 5, when Peter first meets our Lord, Jesus instructs him to let down his nets, and the multitude of fish Peter and his crew catch is so large that the net breaks (Luke 5:6). From this point on, Peter becomes a fisher of men. Or what about in John 21, after the resurrection, when Jesus appears to the disciples and tells them to cast their net, and they can’t draw the net in because there are so many fish (John 21:6).

Whatever season you’re sailing through, you will find true peace, rest, and reassurance when you put your faith in the One whom even the wind and the sea obey. He will be the anchor for your soul.

Originally published as “I Saw Three Ships.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. December 6, 2018: 6. Print. Web.

Friday

13

September 2019

We learn great lessons from Biblical history

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

"The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever." (Psalm 33:11) | History of the Bible | Read more at hopereflected.com

First and second Kings, found in the Old Testament, record the details of the Kings of Israel and Judah, and it is here that we read about the lives of multiple leaders and what happened when they chose – or chose not to – follow after the Lord. Two examples of Kings who chose not to follow the Lord are Zimri and Ahab. In 1 Kings 16, it’s documented that King Zimri reigned for merely a week, while King Ahab’s reign lasted for 22 years.

Why would the Bible chronicle such extreme examples of evil, back to back? It is in Biblical history that we learn great lessons. 1 Kings 16 is a great reminder that – even when we don’t understand and we can’t see the big picture – God is in control. “I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are upon the ground, by my great power and by my outstretched arm, and have given it unto whom it seemed meet unto me.” (Jeremiah 27:5). Whether seven days or more than twenty years, God is sovereign and He is in control.

Biblical history reminds us that God’s counsel stands

When you’re worried, anxious, and discouraged, remember this: Feelings come and go. In the ups and downs of your emotions, you can rest in the Lord, who doesn’t change and whose counsel stands (Mal. 3:6, Prov. 19:21). During times of uncertainty, you can take God at His Word. “The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of His heart to all generations.” (Psalm 33:11)

When you don’t understand what’s happening or why the Lord is allowing a tough trial or a season of sadness, remember this: Our thoughts are finite, and we serve a God who is infinite. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and His ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). His hand holds every living soul and the breath of every man (Job 12:10).

When you’re wondering what the purpose is of someone who’s done you wrong, or you feel like everyone’s against you, remember this: Though it makes us uncomfortable to consider, God formed not only the light, but the darkness, too (Isaiah 45:7). Your labours and longing are not in vain, and – in the good times and bad – Christ calls us to be steadfast, unmoveable, and always abounding (1 Corinthians 15:58).

The only way to be at peace is to cling to the One who is in control. The only way to get through all life’s changes is to cling to the One who never changes. The only way to get through the trial is to cling to the One who is Judge over all. The only way to be unmoveable is to cling to the One who controls all movement.

Originally published as “Remember this: It is in the Bible’s rich history that we learn great lessons.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. June 20, 2019: 6. Print. Web.