My God is Enough for Me
Recently I was challenged by a blog article about whether God is honestly enough for me. If I went through the fire, would I be burned? Would the flames consume me? Where would my hope be?
I went to the Bible and searched. I wanted to know, to personalize, the truths there. I found that God provided for His people in the past. In Genesis chapter 39, I found Joseph in prison. All he ever did was follow God, and his brothers sold him into slavery. In verse 2 of chapter 39, we see that “The Lord as with Joseph, and he prospered,” The household that Joseph was serving in was specifically blessed because of Joseph alone. Then, just a few verses later, by nothing of Joseph’s own fault, he is in prison. Did the Lord leave him there? No. In verse 21, we see that the Lord was with Joseph in prison and continued to show him favor. The Lord did not leave Joseph whatsoever. Because of Joseph’s faithfulness to God, we see at the end of Genesis, chapter 50 and verse 20, that not only did God show favor to Joseph because he remained faithful, God also redeemed all Joseph’s brothers and gave them food during the famine.
Joseph went through a lot, but God was in control. Later in the Old Testament, we read the story of Job. Job was brought down low because of Satan, but Satan could not do anything unless God permitted it. Job remained faithful, and God restored him.
I looked to Daniel. He and his people were carried off to a foreign land because his nation sinned. He was only a teenager, and he followed God, yet he was still taken to Babylon. It may not have seemed fair to him, but God revealed great things to him. Daniel continues to praise God, as we see in chapter 2 of his book, verses 19-23. Because of this, the king of Babylon, who had taken them captive, elevated Daniel in the palace and gave him many gifts.
Because Daniel’s friends also believed in the God of Israel and would not bow to any other, they were thrown into the fiery furnace. Yet, they walked through it and were not burned, and God was literally with them through it. The king praised their God and exalted them also.
Most likely, you are familiar with many of these stories. You may think that they were super people whom God singled out to bestow favor upon. If that were so, it would make sense that ordinary or sinful people are not especially blessed and highly favored by God, right?
Leading up to Joshua chapter 6, we see that God has promised the Israelites the Promised Land. In order to claim that land, they must follow God and defeat enemies currently residing in the land. The first city to conquer on the list was Jericho, a small but very well defended city. Joshua sends spies out into the city to survey it. The nearly-caught spies hide in the house of Rahab, the prostitute. She tells them that she has heard stories of their God and she believes in Him. Notice that these two descriptions are depicted at the same time: she is a harlot, and she believes in God. Because of her sacrifice in offering the spies a place to stay, they are not caught by the king of Jericho’s men. In addition, when the Israelites later defeat Jericho, both she and her family are spared, solely because of her faith and obedience in protecting the spies. Also, in Matthew chapter 1, we find that Rahab is in the genealogy of Jesus Christ Himself!
In Judges chapter 4, we read the unusual story of a woman named Jael. She was wise and efficient in her actions. Singlehandedly, she murdered the very king that was threatening the Israelites, and the land had peace for forty years because of it.
Amos was just a shepherd, yet the Lord gave him visions, spoke to him clearly, and called him by name multiple times. God told him how He was fed up with Israel’s sin, but He also told Amos how He would restore Israel.
People are just people. We are made from dust. We sin. We cannot follow all of God’s rules perfectly all the time. God knows this though. He created us. He knows that we do not deserve His love, mercy or grace, but He created us wonderfully in His image, and thus He made us to be worthy. He has taken on flesh and lived among us. He gets us. And He redeems us. He also singles us out and works through us, if we let Him. (I wrote another whole devotional on this several months ago; if you want it, ask me!)
One of the reasons that the people I previously mentioned were so successful is because they had their perspective right. God was enough for them. Joseph continued to do his duties with all his strength, to the glory of God. The people in charge of him as well as those around him took notice, and he was elevated. The same is true for Daniel; he was taken captive, but he served God and was elevated in the very kingdom that took his nation as prisoners. Rahab was a traitor to her city and a prostitute, but she trusted in the God of a foreign nation and was in the ancestry of the Messiah. Jael was a hostess who knew who the enemy was, had courage to defeat him, and thus was used by God to give forty years of peace to the nation of Israel. Amos was a simple shepherd who listened to God and was told how Israel would be punished and then redeemed.
Part of getting your perspective right is realizing who you are: what you’re made of and Who is in you. Genesis 2:7 and 3:19 tells us that we are made from the dust of the ground. Because of Christ’s death on the cross, Romans 7:4 tells us, we belong to Him so that we might bear fruit to God. Psalms 34:5 tells us that those who look to the Lord are radiant, and their faces are never covered with shame. Verse 9 of the same book and chapter tells us that we are his saints, and if we respect and stand in awe of Him, we will lack nothing. Romans 8: 37 tells us that we are more than conquerors through Christ.
Within our redeemed identity is a newfound purpose. We are to, as Matthew 28: 19-20 says, go and make disciples, baptize them, and teach them what Jesus commands. Do not be dismayed when problems, trials, and temptations arise, for they will surely come. In Isaiah 41:13 God tells us that He is the God who takes hold of our right hand, tells us not to fear, and promises to help us. Two chapters later in verses 1-3, we are reassured that we have been redeemed, that He will be with us through the water which will not sweep over us, and we will not be burned as we walk through the fire. The verse specifically states “when” you walk through the waters or fire, not “if”. The trials aren’t a bad thing, though. James 1:2-4 tells us to have joy in trials because they produce patience. Matthew 5: 11-12 says that we are blessed for being insulted because of following Jesus, and that we aren’t the only ones. 1 Peter 4:14 confirms this point, and adds that God is glorified and He rests on us because we have done our part in suffering. 1 Peter 4:19 also adds that we should continue to do good and commit ourselves to our faithful Creator. Acts 5:41 proves this point; the apostles had been flogged because they preached the Good News, yet once they were released, they left rejoicing “because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.” We are anointed, have the Holy Spirit deposited in our hearts, and have God’s seal of ownership on us, according to 2 Corinthians 1: 21-22.
So what’s holding you back from living your life solely for the purpose of glorifying God? Your needs will be met, Matthew 7:7-12 assures us of that. We are not alone, we have witnesses, advocates, intercessors (including Jesus), and God on our side (see Job 16:19-20 and Isaiah 58:11). We are guaranteed triumph in 2 Corinthians 2: 14. We are free to serve Him because He Himself set us free (Galatians 4: 4-7; 5:13-14). God began a good work in you by saving you from eternal death, cleansing you, and calling you to Him. He’s not going to forsake you now (Philippians 1:6). In order to be free from something holding us back, stunting our growth, or keeping us in fear, we have to face it (Philippians 1:19). “So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’” Hebrews 13: 6.
When you submit to God, others watch, and your meekness (A favorite literature teacher of mine called meekness “strength under control”) and purity will be a beauty all their own, just as the women of the Bible were (1 Peter 3: 1-5).
Follow God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. If everything is taken away from you, will you keep your perspective that we are created to praise His name? Will God, in those times be enough for you to live for?