Monday, February 1, 2016
The raw faith prayer challenge
When the Israelites were being prepared for the Promised Land, God gave detailed instructions on how to live, worship, and work the land. Every tribe was to have a large section of the land of Canaan where they could settle and thrive – every tribe except one. The tribe of Levi had a special purpose.
Their inheritance was to serve God in the tabernacle, and later in the temple. They were to have no farmland allotted to them, but to dedicate their lives solely to the worship of God, and to offer the sacrifices that God’s people needed to make to remain in communion with Him. It looked like they were getting less, but in dedicating their entire lives to God, they were receiving so much more. Being a Levite was a great honor.
Centuries later, King David echoed that same sentiment. In Psalm 16, he rejoices that God is his portion, his beautiful and pleasant inheritance. Nothing else mattered but his salvation. It’s beautiful poetry, but David wrote it in tough times. In the first verse he cries out to God to rescue him, to be his refuge. He was a king of warfare, and had bloodthirsty enemies all around him who wanted to see him dead and his kingdom in ruins. David’s victories and prosperity came through hard choices and life-and-death challenges. Those beautiful words of rejoicing were nothing short of raw faith in the face of trials. He chose to dwell on the joy of serving God in the middle of all that. He affirmed that God’s call to be a warrior was pleasant, even when it didn’t feel pleasant. That raw faith paved the way for God to give him victory after victory.
The whole secret of intelligent, or thinking faith, is in choosing to see God and His love for us exactly as He is – despite intimidating circumstances. David visualized the blessings and saw God as a rock, unmovable and unchangeable. God was his, and he was God’s, and no threat of enemies could steal that away. This is the raw faith evidenced in God’s people from Genesis to Revelation, if we could only discipline our hearts to put it into practice too.
You and I are where we are right now because God has a calling for us. Maybe you aren’t following His calling, which is why you’re road is so bumpy and unpleasant - He's trying to wake you up and follow Him in the right direction. Maybe you are truly following His calling, but have to confront enemies who want to derail you, and He’s strengthening you with supernatural wisdom and power to overcome. Right now He wants each of us to determine this prayer of David as the reality we see by faith, that we confess as truth, and that we choose to live by in joy and faithfulness – despite intimidating circumstances.
God is your portion. Determine it. The blessings He has for you, no one can take away as long as you remain in faith. He is the one who supports you, no one can knock you down. Determine that the boundary lines of your life are pleasant and good, even if they feel cramped or restraining, they are there to bless you. You may have no physical inheritance, but God is giving you a beautiful inheritance, and not just when you go to heaven (although that’s the inheritance we long for the most), but here on this earth. God is giving you counsel, maybe you haven’t been listening, or you’ve been shrugging Him off, so humble yourself and listen. Your love for Him instructs and lead you peacefully, even in entire seasons that seem dark as night. They're not scary, they're pleasant. You’re determined to set the Lord before you, front and center of all your thoughts, all your prayers, all your decisions and all your motives. He is your right hand, cut Him off from you and you will die. And in all of these things, you will not be moved.
Challenge yourself to make this your prayer today, and every day, and watch how pleasant your portion and cup really does become. Pave the way for God to give you victory after victory as well.
“The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and of my cup; You support my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; yes, an inheritance is beautiful for me. I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel; my affections also instruct me in the night seasons. I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be moved.” (Psalm 16:5-8 MEV)