Certainty In Uncertain Times
What are the anchors that will hold us strong and secure in difficult times?
We’ll find these anchors in the Word of God, which gives us the principles for all of life – for good times and for bad. I am a great advocate for having a biblical basis for everything I believe and everything I base my life on. If I can’t find it in the Word of God, it is too shaky for me. Hebrews 12:27 tells us that only “those things which cannot be shaken may remain.” When we stake our life on the principles in God’s Word, we will never be shaken. Therefore let’s look at what God has to say. What are our anchors?
1. UNSHAKEABLE FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST AS SAVIOUR AND LORD OF OUR LIVES.
2 Timothy 1:12, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.”
1 John 5:1-5, “For whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcomes the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
John 16:33; Romans 8:31-39; Hebrews 12:26-29; 1 Peter 4:19.
Have you put your faith in Jesus Christ, the son of the living God?
2. UNSHAKEABLE FAITH IN THE ETERNAL KINGDOM.
Psalm 37:18, “The Lord knows the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be forever.”
Daniel 4:3, “His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom.” Daniel 4:17, 27.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18, “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
1 John 5:11,12, “And this is the record, that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that has the Son has life: and he that has not the Son of God has not life.”
Do you know that you have eternal life? Do you have this glorious hope of “Christ in you, the hope of glory”?
3. UNSHAKEABLE FAITH IN THE WORD OF GOD.
Isaiah 40:8, “The word of our God shall stand forever.”
Matthew 24:35, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” Psalm 19:7-10; 1 Peter 1:25.
Is the basis for your life founded on the Word of God?
Everything else will be shaken!
4. UNSHAKEABLE TRUST IN GOD, KNOWING THAT HE HAS ALL THINGS IN HIS CONTROL.
Job 13:15, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust Him.”
Romans 8:28, “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” No matter what happens in our lives, we can trust God, knowing that He is a faithful God, and is working everything out for our ultimate good.
Read also Genesis 45: 7,8; 50:20; Psalm 9:7-10, Psalm 37:39; Psalm 46:1-3; Jeremiah 17:8, Romans 8:31-39; Hebrews 13:5,6.
The other day, an Above Rubies reader sent me a quote from the devotional book, “My Utmost for His Highest.” It contained the same sentiments as the title of my article, so I thought I would include it for you too. The emphasis is mine.
“The nature of spiritual life is that we are certain in our uncertainty, consequently we do not make our nests anywhere…. Certainty is the mark of the common-sense life: gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, we do not know what a day may bring forth. This is generally said with a sigh of sadness, it should be rather an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. Immediately we abandon to God, and do the duty that lies nearest, He packs our life with surprises all the time. When we become advocates of a creed, something dies; we do not believe God, we only believe our belief about Him…Spiritual life is the life of a child. We are not uncertain of God, but uncertain of what He is going to do next…”Believe also in Me,” said Jesus, not – “”Believe certain things about Me.” Leave the whole thing to Him, it is gloriously uncertain how He will come in, but He will come.”
Have you learned to trust God in the little things of life?
As you do, you will find Him to be totally faithful, and you will be able to trust Him fully when you face greater difficulties.
5. DEPENDABLE STICKABILITY AND ENDURANCE UNTIL THE END.
Matthew 10:22, “He that endures to the end shall be saved.”
James 5:11, “Behold, we count them happy which endure.”
Matthew 24:13; Mark 13:13; Philippians 3:13,14; Hebrews 6:15; 11:27; 12:1-4; James 1:12; Rev 2:10.
Can you endure to the end?
We cannot do it on our own, but our moment-by-moment trust in God will be our anchor.
6. DISCERNIBLE WISDOM TO WALK IN THE RIGHT WAY.
Isaiah 33:6, “Wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times…”
Do you have wisdom for this hour?
It is the fear of the Lord that is the beginning of wisdom. The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. True wisdom is found in the Word of God and listening to God’s voice.
7. KNOWLEDGABLE UNDERSTANDING OF THE TIMES TO KNOW WHAT TO DO.
1 Chronicles 12:32 talks about “the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do….”
I believe that we should be people who have “understanding of the times.” God’s prophets and secular prophets all warn us that there will be difficult financial times ahead.
1 Corinthians 14:20, “Brethren, be not children in understanding, but in understanding be men.”
Ephesians 5:17, “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.”
Are you aware of the hour in which we live or do you have your head buried in the sand?
8. HOW CAN WE PREPARE?
2 Chronicles 2:14. Pray for your nation. Pray for your family. Pray for wisdom. Ask God what wants He wants you to do personally. The first and foremost preparation is spiritual preparation. We must cultivate an intimate fellowship with our God. We must learn to trust Him in the little things, now, if we are going to be able to trust Him in bigger things. We must learn to know Him now, if we are going to stand fast and immovable in shaky times.
The greatest thing that we can do in life is to KNOW God intimately. Jeremiah 9:23,24 says, “Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.” The word “knoweth” is the word ‘yada’ in the Hebrew. It means ‘to know intimately’. It is the same word that is used for marital relations, e.g. “And Adam knew Eve his wife: and she conceived.”
It is one thing to acknowledge who God is, but it is another thing to know Him intimately as a friend. When we know Him intimately, we will know that we can trust Him fully.
2. PURIFY OUR SOULS.
Amos 4:12, “Prepare to meet thy God.”
Titus 2:11-14. “For the grace of God that brings salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great god and our Savior Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”
James 4:8. “Purify your hearts ye double-minded.”
Ephesians 5:27. “That he might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
Song of Solomon 4:7. “Thou art fair, my love, there is no spot in Thee.”
I don’t believe that judgment is God’s first choice, but it is His back up plan. If the church is not purified in good times, God often allows hard times to come in order for us to be purified. We are so distracted by the entertainments and frivolities of this world that God may have to take away many of these things, so that we will love Him without distraction. He is coming for a bride – a bride who is not consumed and distracted by other loves, but who is totally focused on her Bridegroom.
3. PONDER GOD’S ORIGINAL METHOD.
Our most important preparation is spiritual preparation – to purify our hearts and get to know God in an intimate and real way. However, I believe it is also important to prepare mentally. Before we can do anything physically, we have to readjust our minds mentally. We have to shift them into another gear. We may have to change from the way we are currently doing things. We may have to change from relying on the supermarket down the road. We may have to start thinking about God’s original way of provision.
9. SHOULD WE STORE FOOD?
Let’s go to the Word of God again, shall we? The Bible shows us clearly that God’s way of provision is “seedtime and harvest.” He expects us to work hard, sow our seed, cultivate our plants and trees, and then harvest the food and crops – to last us until the next harvest season! This is not radical. This is normal living. This is a God-given principle. This has been God’s way since the beginning of the world. This has been the way of mankind for generations and generations, until our modern computerized high tech society.
In this generation, we don’t have to rely on “seedtime and harvest”, because we rely on the supermarket that has everything available every day and all year around. However, if that crutch were taken away from us for a season, what would we rely on then? We would have to get back to God’s original plan.
Genesis 8:22, “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.”
Jeremiah 5:24, “He reserves unto us the appointed weeks of harvest.”
Deuteronomy 11:13-15, “And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the Lord your God, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, that I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine and thy oil.”
Leviticus 26:10, MLB, “You shall eat what had long been stored, then clear it out for the new.” The Good News Bible explains it well, “Your harvests will be so plentiful that they will last for a year, and even then you will have to throw away what is left of the old harvest to make room for the new.”
This Scripture, which speaks of God’s blessing, shows us that the children of Israel stored their harvest to last for a year until the next year’s harvest. When God blessed them, they had more than enough to last for the year. The word ‘store’ in the Hebrew here is ‘yashen’ which means ‘old or that which has remained long’.
10. OUR DAILY BREAD
“Just a minute,” you say. “You are talking about storing your harvest to last through the winter. What about praying for your daily bread?” Yes, that is true; we are exhorted in Matthew 6:11 to pray daily for our bread. The reason for this is that the wheat had to be ground daily to make the bread. Because it was not refined and had the germ of the wheat still in it, it would quickly go rancid if left. But even the wheat and barley they ground daily was taken from the storehouse.
11. ADVANTAGES OF STORING FOOD
We see from the Word of God and from history that this is a normal way of living. Although we don’t need to rely on it in our computerized age, it still has advantages.
When we have food stored. . .
1. We always have something on hand to share with guests who arrive unexpectedly.
2. We have something on hand to give to a family who urgently needs provision of food.
3. We have food available in times of emergency, e.g. earthquakes, snowstorms, hurricanes, tornados etc.
.4. We don’t have to get into a state of worry because even if lean times or traumas arise, we are prepared to feed our family. This actually relieves stress.
12. CAN WE SURVIVE ON STORED FOOD?
If we did face a situation where we couldn’t race to the supermarket and get whatever we needed, how would we survive? What if we couldn’t get fresh fruit and vegetables daily? We see a very interesting Scripture in Leviticus 25 where God proclaims the principle of the Sabbath rest for the land every seven years. Every seventh year the land was to have complete rest. They were not allowed to plant any seeds. They were not allowed to harvest grain that grew by itself. They were not allowed to gather the grapes from their un-pruned vines. The food that grew of itself was to be available to all – servants, strangers and wild animals.
So how were they to survive without planting and harvest? God knew that they would ask this question. Let’s read in Leviticus 25:20-22, “And if ye shall say, “What shall we eat the seventh year? Behold, we shall not sow, nor gather in our increase: Then I will command my blessing upon you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth fruit for three years. And ye shall sow the eighth year, and eat yet of old fruit until the ninth year; until her fruits come in ye shall eat of the old store.”
The children of Israel ate stored food for nearly three years. Obviously God knew that they could survive and keep healthy even on stored food. He promised them that if they would obey His laws, that there would not be “one feeble person among all their tribes.” Eating stored and sun-dried food was part of their lives.
Can you imagine how hard they would have to work? It is a tiring job to harvest and store enough for one year, let alone for three years! But I am sure that it would have been a wonderful time of shouting and rejoicing. They would also need to have lots of extra room to store all this food. We read in the Scriptures how the prosperous kings of Israel built storehouses for all their excess grain and wine and oil. Let’s look at scriptural examples:
► Obed-Edom’s sons looked after the “storehouse” of the tabernacle. 1 Chronicles 26:15-17.
► David’s overseer, Azmaveth was in charge of “the royal storehouses.” 1 Chronicles 27:25.
► David’s overseer, Jonathan was in charge of “the storehouses in the country, in the cities, in the villages and in the towers.” 1 Chronicles 27:25
► David’s administrator, Zabdi had charge of “the produce of the vineyards stored in the wine cellars.” 1 Chronicles 27:27
► David’s overseer, Joash, was in charge of “the stores of oil.” 1 Chronicles 27:28
► David gave his son Solomon plans for “the storehouses” of the house of God and for the “storehouses” of the dedicated things. 1 Chronicles 28:11-12.
► Solomon built many “store cities.” 1 Kings 9:19; 2 Chronicles 8:4,6,15
► Rehoboam “fortified the stronghold, and put captains in them, and store of victual, and of oil and wine.” 2 Chronicles 11:11.
► Jehoshaphat “waxed great exceedingly; and he built in Judah castles, and cities of store.”
2 Chronicles 17:12.
► Hezekiah gave orders for the people to bring in food for the priests and the Levites. As soon as the order went out, the Israelites gave generously of grain, new wine, oil, honey, and from the crops of their fields. They brought so much that “Hezekiah gave orders to prepare storerooms in the temple of the Lord, and this was done… Conaniah, A Levite, was in charge of these things…” 2 Chronicles 31:11-12 NIV.
► Hezekiah “had exceeding much riches and honor: and he made…. storehouses also for the increase of corn, and wine, and oil….” 2 Chronicles 32:28.
► Because the store cities and storehouses were so important for the survival of the people, when Benhadad came against the cities of Israel, he captured all the store cities of Naphtali. This strategy would cause the people to starve. 2 Chronicles 16:4.
► Ten men saved their lives by exposing food they had stored in the fields, “Do not kill us, for we have stores of wheat, barley, oil, and honey hidden in the fields. So he refrained and did not kill them.” Jeremiah 41:8 RSV.
Of course, we are all familiar with the story of how God told Joseph through a dream to store up food for seven years!
► Genesis 41:36, “That food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine.”
► Genesis 41:56, “And the famine was over all the face of the earth: and Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold unto the Egyptians.” The storehouses became the survival of nations.
The Hebrew word that is used for the ‘store’ cities is ‘micknah’ which means ‘treasure’. Wow, that’s exciting. Their store of food that they put away became their treasure. Without it they would starve.
13. WONDERFUL PROMISES
Psalm 144: 11-15 gives us a beautiful description of a people who are blessed of the Lord. One of the blessings is “that our garners may be full, affording all manner of store.” Or as the Living Bible translates it, “Barns full to the brim with crops of every kind.” The blessing of God is having enough from the harvest to store for the coming year, enough to last until next harvest. This kind of living enables us to be generous and bountiful with others as well.
Let’s turn now to the famous blessing chapter in the Word of God, Deuteronomy 281-8. God says that if we “hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to do all His commandments…” that He will “command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses.”
14. IT TAKES HARD WORK
Let’s see what God’s Word says about working hard to provide our food:
Proverbs 6:6-8, “Go to the ant, thou sluggard, consider her ways, and be wise: which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provides her meat in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest.” Some translations say, “PONDER the ant…”
Proverbs 6:8 TLB says the ants “labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter.”
Proverbs 10:4, “He becomes poor that deals with a slack hand.”
Proverbs 10:5, “He that gathers in summer is a wise son, but he that sleeps in harvest is a son that causes shame.” Repeated in Proverbs 20:4.
Proverbs 22:3 TLB, repeated in Proverbs 27:12 “A prudent man foresees the difficulties ahead and prepares for them, the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.”
Proverbs 28:19, “He that tills his land shall have plenty of bread.” Repeated in Proverbs 12:11.
Harvest time is such an important time in the year, that it is the time of greatest joy. Isaiah 16: 9,10 intimates that it is a time of SINGING, SHOUTING AND JOY.
15. PLAN AND PREPARE.
MATTHEW 25:10. “The foolish said unto the wise, give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out…. And while they went to buy the Bridegroom came…and THEY THAT WERE READY went in with him to the marriage and the door was shut.”
16. PLANT AND PRESERVE.
Where possible plant a garden and harvest it. Then preserve and dry your harvest.
17. PITY UPON THE POOR.
Proverbs 19:17 says, “He that hath pity upon the poor lends unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.”
Leviticus 19:9-10, “And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest. And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the Lord your God.”
Leviticus 23:22, "And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make cleanriddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the Lord your God.” Ruth 2:2-16.
Deuteronomy 24:19-21, “When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field, and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow: that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hands.
When thou beatest thine olive tree, thou shalt not go over the boughs again: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow.
When thou gatherest the grapes of thy vineyard, thou shalt not glean it afterward: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow.”
Proverbs 22:9, “He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed: for he gives of his bread to the poor.”
Proverbs 25:21, “If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink, For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the Lord shall reward thee.”
Proverbs 28:27. “He that gives unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hides his eyes shall have many a curse.”
Proverbs 29:7, “The righteous considers the cause of the poor.”
Psalm 37:21,26, “The righteous shows mercy, and gives…He is ever merciful and lends and his seed is blessed.”
STORING IS BIBLICAL, HOARDING IS UNBIBLICAL!
Note this: Storing food is biblical, but hoarding is evil! God’s Word shows us clearly that it is a normal way of living to store food with the motive of not only feeding our family, but feeding whoever else we can. However, if we store food with the motive of hoarding for ourselves only, we are out of God’s will.
Are you overwhelmed? Proverbs 30:25 says, “Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in summer.”
The ants don’t do this because they are big and strong, but because they are diligent and persistent! Don’t worry if the job seems bigger than you. God will be with you to help you. Just get a little at a time. Do a little at a time. Faithfulness in the little areas will bring its reward.
19. ULTIMATE TRUST IN GOD’S PROVISION.
No matter what we do to prepare, we can never be sure of the future. All we can be sure of is that our God is faithful and that we can trust Him wholly. So do what you are able to do financially and physically in the way of preparing – but TRUST GOD. He is the God of the Total Provision. He is the God Who is Enough. He is the faithful God who will never desert you. One thing we know for sure – riches are “uncertain” (1 Timothy 6:15) but our God is unfailing!
Psalm 37:3-5, 17-19, 25, “Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed…. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring It to pass….The Lord upholds the righteous…They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied…. I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.”
Psalm 37:39,40, “The salvation of the righteous is of the Lord: He is their strength in the time of trouble. And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them…because they trust in Him.”
Psalm 46:1-3, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea….” What a wonderful promise! God is our present help in trouble. He is available right at the moment we need him. He is not behind or ahead. He is present at the time we need him.
Psalm 104:27; 145:15. “The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season.”
Isaiah 41:17, “When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.”
Jeremiah 17:7,8, “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.”
Hebrews 13:5-6, “Be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
Prepared by Nancy Campbell
Above Rubies, PO Box 681687, Franklin, TN 37068-1687