Are You Seeking?
Who Will Make Up The Hedge?
My Dad really enjoyed taking care of animals, which included a few cows. He had an upper pasture where they ate until it was about bare, then he transferred them to the lower pasture. He always called us to come help when he needed to move them to the new pasture, so we went and parked the cars in two lines between the two fence gates. We would spread out between the cars and fill in the gaps to make up the hedge. The older cows knew the greener grass was on the other side so they would go easily from one fence to another. Sometimes a new calf would not follow the herd, but would take off between one of the gaps and the boys would enjoy trying to get ahead of it to chase it back to the herd. We are still looking at Ezekiel 22:30, "And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none." I want to focus a couple days on "make up the hedge". I have often heard that a chain is no better than its weakest link. We could also say that a hedge is no better than its widest gap. I enjoy reading the book of Nehemiah, where some of the Israelites went back to Jerusalem from their captivity, and built the wall. The third chapter tells which groups built the wall, and even tells of some who "put not their necks to the work of their Lord." Each group repaired their section of the wall, and the next group repaired next to them, until they "made up the hedge" and filled in all the gaps.
"1 Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brethren the priests, and they builded the sheep gate; they sanctified it, and set up the doors of it; even unto the tower of Meah they sanctified it, unto the tower of Hananeel.
2 And next unto him builded the men of Jericho. And next to them builded Zaccur the son of Imri.
3 But the fish gate did the sons of Hassenaah build, who also laid the beams thereof, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof.
4 And next unto them repaired Meremoth the son of Urijah, the son of Koz. And next unto them repaired Meshullam the son of Berechiah, the son of Meshezabeel. And next unto them repaired Zadok the son of Baana.
5 And next unto them the Tekoites repaired; but their nobles put not their necks to the work of their Lord." (Nehemiah 3:1-5)
They had opposition, but they kept on working. At times they had to work with one hand, and hold a weapon in the other. "So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work." (Nehemiah 4:6) We don't have the individual names from each of these families, but the Lord knows their names. And they will be rewarded for their part in doing the work of the Lord. It is still the same today. The Lord knows the names of His children, and they shall receive their rewards for their service to Him. Do your part to make up the hedge.
Do You Feel Hedged In?
Susanna, our daughter, used to have a little dog named Kipper. It was sweet, and playful, but she would not stay in the yard. At first she would dig under the fence. After we secured the bottom to keep her from digging, she learned to climb over the fence. She did not realize that the fence was there for her protection. It was meant to keep her out of the busy road, and also keep her from harm from other larger dogs. This reminds me of the hedge in the book of Job. First, we see Satan's view of the hedge about Job. He saw that God had a hedge about Job which kept him safe.
"9 Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?
10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land." (Job 1:9-10)
A few chapters later, after Job lost his children, his wealth, and his health, we see that Job felt like God had hedged him in, in a bad way. "Why is light given to a man whose way is hid, and whom God hath hedged in?" (Job 3:23) Instead of seeing the hedge as protection, Job viewed the hedge more like a prison. God protects us and gives us His Word to guide us. Pastor Jack Trip used I Samuel 3:18 in his sermon Sunday night. The Lord appeared to little Samuel and he had to tell Eli some disturbing news of what the Lord was going to do. "And Samuel told him every whit, and hid nothing from him. And he said, It is the LORD: let him do what seemeth him good." But, even though the judgment would be against his own family, Eli said, "It is the LORD: let him do what seemeth him good." When it feels as though the Lord has hedged us in, we might look at it as confinement, but it will be better for us to see it as His protection and say with Eli, "It is the LORD: let him do what seemeth him good."
Seek And Ye Shall Find
My uncle came to visit Monday and I told him I would pick a squash for him from my garden. Michael helped me look and we found two good sized squash, and three cucumbers to give him as he was leaving. As we walked back to the house we were talking about what to have for dinner, and decided on a frozen pizza and salad. I said, "Oh, I gave all my cucumbers away. But, maybe I can find another one." I walked back down to the garden and prayed that if there was another cucumber there, God would help me find it. As I started down the row, I saw one, just the right size for my salad. And I thanked the Lord, because it is important to give God thanks, especially when He answers our prayers. Cucumbers have a way of hiding under the large leaves, and you really have to seek them to find them. I was happy that I found another one. Our devotional title this time has been "Are You Seeking?" I want to finish this week with Bible verses about things we can be seeking, beginning with Matthew 7:7-8 which encourages us to "seek, and ye shall find..." When we seek direction and guidance from God's Word, He will help us find the way.
"7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."
Seek The Lord
People today are seeking many things. Some are seeking someone who will love them. Others need someone who will lift them up, and be there to lean on, when life gets them down. Many are seeking for guidance, help with their problems, or strength and courage to make it through another day. You may be looking for joy in your soul, peace of mind, or hope, for a brighter tomorrow. Did you know that all of these things can be found in the Lord Jesus? Here are just a few of the scriptures that encourage us to seek the Lord.
"Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." (Isaiah 55:6-7)
"... it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you." (Hosea 10:12)
"Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD." (Psalm 105:3)
"... they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing." (Psalm 34:10)
"Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: let such as love thy salvation say continually, The LORD be magnified." (Psalm 40:16)
"Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD. Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually." (I Chronicles 16:10-11)
"But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul." (Deuteronomy 4:29)
"Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore." (Psalm 105:4)
I recently read the book of Daniel, and although he had been taken captive, he was made "ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon." (Daniel 2:48) God gave Daniel wisdom in understanding dreams, and showed him visions of what would come to pass in the future. Understanding of the book of Daniel was sealed until the end time. "But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased." (Daniel 12:4) I believe that we are in the "time of the end" and people really do "run to and fro". They commute back and forth on their daily jobs, they travel to distant places for vacation, and they even run just for the sake of running. We are also living in a time when knowledge has increased. We have all the knowledge that has been built upon, since the Bible was written. We have access to this knowledge at our fingertips and can look up answers to any question we may have, by typing, or even by speaking. But, notice that the verse does not say that wisdom shall increase. When you see how easily younger people follow foolish challenges, it seems as though they have very wisdom. One reason can be found several times in the scriptures. "And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding." (Job 28:28) "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever." (Psalm 111:10) "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction." (Proverbs 1:7) King Solomon, the wisest king, tried to teach his sons, "Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding." (Proverbs 4:7) He was telling them to seek after wisdom. Pray for wisdom. "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." (James 1:5) James also tells us, "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." (James 3:17) I want this wisdom that is from above! How about you?
Moses Gained Ground By Standing Still
Sometimes God wants us to go forward, but there are other times when He wants us to stand still. I found four verses where Moses stood still and God stood for Him and His people.
Moses stood by the Red Sea and God opened up the way. When the Children of Israel went out of Egypt they came to the Red Sea and the Egyptians came up behind them, and there was no place for them to go. Sometimes God will lead us to what seems like a dead end so that we will rely on Him to open up the way. This might come to us financially, mentally, or even physically. In those times we need to trust in God as we "stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD." "And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever." (Exodus 14:13)
Moses stood before the people on the rock in Horeb and God provided water out of the rock. Paul tells us in I Corinthians 10:4, "And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ." Jesus is our Rock, our sure foundation, and He will supply our needs, and never fail us. "Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel." (Exodus 17:6)
Moses stood on the hill and held up his hand to the Lord, and God gave the victory. Not long after the Israelites began their journey, Amalek came up against them to fight with them. "And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand." (Exodus 17:9) As long as Moses held his hand high towards heaven, Israel won the battle, but after a while his hands grew heavy. So, Aaron and Hur stood on either side and held up the hands of Moses until the battle had been won. This story tells us to keep our hands high in praise to our God, even as we go through our battles. We also learn to help others when their heads and hands get heavy during their trials.
Even after the people had greatly sinned, Moses found sweet communion with God. After the people were plagued because they worshiped the golden calf, Moses cried out to God.
"12 And Moses said unto the LORD, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight.
13 Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people.
14 And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.
15 And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.
18 And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.
21 And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock:" (Exodus 33)
How assuring to know that although we sin and we often fail the Lord, He still seeks fellowship with us and He tells us, "There is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock." Praise the Lord!
Our Last Stand
We have taken our phrase, "stand in the gap", and found some great encouragement in the scriptures. Today we are looking at our last "stand" in the Bible. The Apostle Paul said in Romans 14:10, "...we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ." While John was exiled on the Isle of Patmos, God gave him a vision of the last days, and he also saw a glimpse of heaven. He describes the scene as we stand before God in judgment.
"11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." (Revelation 20:11-15)
We will all stand before God in judgment, and we will also fall on our knees as we bow before Jesus Christ, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.
"For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God." (Romans 14:11)
"8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:8-11)