In all three of the cases that I wrote about in the previous two posts, that of David, of Moses, and of Jehoshaphat, the lesson was clear to them that it was the Lord that gave the victory. I am not saying that they, as men, did nothing at all, for each was involved with an activity of some kind. Each did as they were instructed, but each understood well that it was God who provided the salvation from their situations.
John the Baptist
The people in all of these situations were thinking mostly about salvation from their immediate and severe circumstances. But when God speaks of the salvation that he brings, he has more in mind merely than our present difficulties.
When John the Baptist came to prepare the way for the coming of Jesus Christ, he spoke of this. The Old Testament prophet Isaiah referred to John as “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make ready the way of the Lord, make His paths straight…the crooked shall become straight, and the rough roads smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God’” (Luke 3:4-6 NAS emphasis added).
Giants, Oceans and Armies
In our own lives, we all pass through difficulties of one kind or another. Perhaps none of us as severe as these examples in the Bible. Nevertheless, some struggles that we pass through can be quite severe indeed. We also seek salvation from our troubles and help with our needs. The most important lesson that we can learn from these examples from the Bible is that, although these men did their tasks as they were instructed by God, they looked completely to the Lord for the salvation.
Some of us have difficulties in our lives that perhaps have even become chronic and debilitating in one way or another. Maybe you have some situation that you have been dealing with for years. Perhaps it even seems as though this problem has been with you for your entire life. You have been seeking for relief, freedom or salvation by various means, only to find yourself still entrapped.
What these lessons from the Bible show us is that there is no true salvation apart from God. We can try what we want, but only God can give freedom. But it does not come automatically. It often takes desperation on our part.
If your relationship to God is merely just one of many aspects of your life equal to other things that you do, then you will not know freedom in this life. If you worship God only when you have time or when it is convenient to you, you will not know relief from your situation. The Red Sea will be before you and will not part, the giant will not fall, and you will be routed by the enemies that that oppose you.
We need to learn that our relationship to God is ultimately the only important aspect of our lives.
It is amazing to me that when people make God the only aspect of their living that is of ultimate importance, the things that have plagued them their entire lives often just seem to go away. They just disappear. This does not happen to those who merely give God a polite nod once in a while. It does not happen for those who simply read the Bible on occasion and gather to worship with other believers at church sporadically a few times a year.
Freedom comes only to those who realize that they are nothing without God. It come to those who are desperate for God.
We need to learn to cry out to God. Moses did. Jehoshaphat did.
Pick almost any of the Psalms written by David, and you will see him constantly crying out to God. It was God who delivered all of these men.
It is my great privilege to tell you that the message of God has not changed. Here is what the Lord says and here is why I count it a privilege to tell you:
From the prophet Isaiah:
How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, and says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices, they shout joyfully together; for they will see with their own eyes when the LORD restores
Break forth, shout joyfully together, you waste places of Jerusalem; for the LORD has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem.
The LORD has bared His holy arm in the sight of all the nations, that all the ends of the earth may see the salvation of our God. (Isaiah 52:7-10 NAS)