I don't know how many times I've said it in the past (not often enough, I know) but I am blessed beyond measure to attend a church where the pastors are faithful to preach God's Word with truth and power, even when it is difficult or "not popular."
We have been studying through the life of David for almost a year now, and we are drawing to the end of the study. Today, Pastor Ritch spoke about David's last words, recorded in 2 Samuel 23:1-7. He began his sermon by talking about all the tragedies that have struck our country this week--Boston; West, Texas; flooding in Central Illinois. He then talked about how we can find answers to these tragedies, not in the media or from each other, but in these words of David. As David neared the end of his life, he was not focused on death, but on God's faithful promise to fulfill His covenant to David (made 30 years before). David, at the end of his life, finds confidence in God. And the message is clear--my confidence is not in how safe I feel every day, whether I am free from tragedy, whether I am getting everything I want. But my confidence is in a faithful, promise-keeping, merciful God who loves me and wants HIS best for me.
I've also been studying Hebrews this semester in Bible study, and Pastor Ritch mentioned a verse from Hebrews that went on my list of Scripture I want to memorize this year. Hebrews 10:35-36 says, "So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised."
I can have confidence that "he who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion." Death does not define my future (and because of that the tragedies from this week do not define my future), God's covenant through David to provide the promised seed (Jesus) is what defines my future.
And after all the rain we have had and the gloomy days, these verses also painted such a vivid word picture for me about what it will be like when Jesus comes back to reign on the earth, "he is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain that brings the grass from the earth."
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