In Exodus 14:13, Moses told the people "Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today." Verse 14 tells them why they should respond in that manner; "the LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent." Many times the Israelites are told the LORD is the one who fights for them (Deuteronomy 1:30, Joshua 23:3, 2 Chronicles 20:29, Nehemiah 4:20). Yet, in the very next verse, the LORD tells Moses, "Tell the people of Israel to go forward."
What a great lesson for me. I am to fear not and stand firm knowing the LORD is my salvation, and He fights for me, but I am also responsible for moving forward in doing what He has instructed. I must confess, I often want the first (God's action) without my participation. It is as if I expect God to prove Himself again before I do what I know is my responsibility.
Lord God, You are my refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble. Thank You that I know that to be true. May my knowledge of that truth stir me to respond swiftly to Your direction.
After being told they must forgive each time a brother repents after sinning against them, the disciple's response is "Increase our faith!" I always laugh when I read their reply. Notice the exclamation mark at the end of their statement. It is as if they are saying to Jesus the only way that is possible is if You increase our faith. I love Jesus' response. Basically, He says you already have the gift of faith, therefore do as you are commanded—just do your duty.
When I am slow to forgive or when counseling a believer who says I can't forgive, this is the verse to which I turn. Jesus makes it very clear that as a servant we are to do as we are commanded and consider it our duty, not something for which we should be praised. We seem to think forgiveness on our part is something special, but Jesus tells us this is the only proper response.
Thank You for forgiving all my sin, Jesus. I want to be as gracious as my Lord and Savior in forgiving the sins of others. Thank You for the gift of faith. When I struggle to forgive, I know it is not more faith I need. What I need is a more resolute trust in You and what You have done and are doing.
Job 32 introduces us to a fourth friend of Job's who sat silently until the other three stopped answering Job. The next six chapters are Elihu's response primarily to Job, but he also addresses Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. Elihu begins by admitting his youth compared to the other men but recognizes wisdom does not necessarily come with age. Since God does not include Elihu in His correction of the other four men, it appears He approves Elihu's counsel. So it would be wise of us to listen to this young man's arguments and insights.
Father, forgive me for thinking myself wise. You alone are the only wise God. May my advice and counsel be Your wisdom and not my own. Please surround me with men and women whose counsel is from You no matter their age.