Week 32 August 5 - 11, 2018

During hurricane warnings in a coastal land, locals are typically the first to leave home and seek shelter that is “high and dry.”

These residents usually waste no time boarding up their windows and bolting out of town as soon as they hear about something brewing on the horizon.  

Simply put, they have already been taught by the wind and waves that when facing the eye of the storm, it is often better to retreat than to remain.

For many of us, when we are in a season of spiritual storms we too need to pack our bags and retreat to a safe place that is higher and drier than the impending surge.   

Psalm 61 is a lament psalm where David mourns over the constant storm he is facing as King of Israel. He admits the fragile state of his soul during these struggles with his many enemies, but he also finds hope in seeking the shelter of God’s protection and restoration as a rock that reaches higher than all his misery.

In verses 1-3 David states, “Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.”

Through these inspired words of David, we too can take a lighted path towards safe and dry ground as we retreat into the eternal presence of God as our higher rock.

First, as we seek God’s presence and protection in our spiritual storms, we need to remember that God is a rock that is higher than the water can reach. In the midst of our struggles with health, relationships, jobs, or personal finances, it is so difficult to remember that the sovereign God of the universe stands over and above our situation. There is no situation in our fragile human condition that He is not fully aware of or that He doesn’t have complete control over. This does not mean that He will remove all storms from our life, but instead that He is a safe place to run to for protection because although the waves can ravage us they can never reach Him.

Secondly, God is a rock that is stronger than the water can move.  Even though we can get tossed back and forth by the tidal waves of doubt, frustration, and bitterness, the strength and resolve of the Lord is immovable. He is the same person from eternity past to eternity future. He never gets tired, never loses joy, never compromises His holiness, and never breaks a promise He makes to His people. When He tells us in the storm that He will never leave us nor forsake us, we can stand firm on His words because they are dependable in a world that is not.

Finally, we must believe God is a rock that is safe and secure long after the water has subsided. Sometimes, when the Lord enables us to survive a storm we leave the rock and descend to lower ground thinking that we can continue living in our own strength and not His. We forgot how desperately we needed God for safety and shelter when the clouds were dark, and now that the sun is out we think we can handle the rebuilding project ourselves.

However, God enabled us to struggle in the storm to remind us that we still need Him in the sunshine. He doesn’t want us to just retreat to a higher rock when the weather is bad, but to build our house on the same solid rock when the weather is good.

Thankfully, in our personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, we finally have a strong spiritual home that does not require flood insurance. In Christ, we can celebrate that there is no rock that is higher, no refuge that is safer, and no tower that is stronger and more secure. While the winds may blow and the waves may crash upon our shorelines at different seasons of life, we have a Savior who has already weathered the hurricanes of sin and death, and He invites us to come in from the storm and abide with Him.

Retreating to a Higher Rock

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MORE GLITTER FROM

THIS WEEK’S GOLD

Lessons on Loving an Adulterer

God’s covenant commitment to Israel despite her repeated unfaithfulness is something the Lord wanted His people to understand clearly. So, he instructed the prophet Hosea to purposely marry an unfaithful woman named Gomer and remain committed to her when she fled to the arms of another man. As the prophet records in Hosea 3:1, “And the Lord said to me, ‘Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins.’”

The Sin of Self-Sufficiency

In 2 Chronicles 26:1-23, we encounter the dramatic rise and fall of King Uzziah. In a 52-year reign over Judah that began when he was just 16 years old, Uzziah experienced an abundance of blessing and prosperity because he lived in the fear of God. But, in verses 15-16, we witness his immediate downfall when he stumbles into the sin of self-sufficiency. The passage states, “…his fame spread far, for he was marvelously helped, till he was strong. But when he was strong, he grew proud, to his destruction.” His pride led him to enter the Lord’s temple unlawfully to burn incense, and he was then stricken with leprosy for the rest of his life.

A Cornerstone Confession of Christ

Simon Peter is often referred to as “the Rock” because of the name given to him by Jesus after Simon confessed in Matthew 16:16, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” However, when Jesus comments in verse 18 “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church,” He is saying, He is not building His church on Peter’s character but instead on Peter’s confession. What Jesus is saying is that the Church will be built on the foundation of His identity as the Son of God, and those who belong to His church will be unified in their confession that He is the Christ.

Week 33 Readings:  August 12 - 18

-Day One:  2 Kings 15-16; Matthew 21

-Day Two:  Isaiah 1-3; Psalm 9; Matthew 22

-Day Three:  Isaiah 4-6; Matthew 23

-Day Four:  Micah 1-4; Psalm 10; Matthew 24

-Day Five:  Micah 5-7; Matthew 25   

TOOLS FOR NEXT WEEK’S TREASURE HUNT

Tips to Keep You on Track

          Next week’s readings will continue our study in the Minor Prophets as we encounter all seven chapters of the book of Micah. This prophetic writing not only highlights the peaks and valleys of Israel’s relationship with God because of continual sin and unfaithfulness, it also captures the concept that the Lord is a person where both justice and mercy meet together as one. He is the judge who scatters Israel among their enemies because of their covenant violation, but He is also the redeemer who will rescue His flock because of His own covenant faithfulness.

          As you read Micah, notice in chapter five how this prophecy ultimately points to Jesus Christ. If you look closely you will see how Christ is the second and greater David, as the long-awaited Shepherd King from Bethlehem who will secure salvation for His people. Micah 5:4-5 says, “And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth. And he shall be their peace.”