Tag : strength-2
Tag : strength-2
There is no escaping the hurricanes of life that can blow in unexpectedly. Illness, deaths of loved ones and betrayal can happen in an instant. The uncertain times we are living in can turn us upside down. If it were up to me, I’d stay in bed and pull the covers over my head—but that is not what God calls us to do. In 1 Corinthians 16:13 Paul said, “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.”
I took Hebrew last year. I had always wanted to learn Hebrew and while I do not remember all the words I studied, there is one word that stuck and it is “hazaq.” It means “strong.”
This word “hazaq” is used in Joshua 1:9. You probably know the verse: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Be “hazaq” and of good courage; do not be afraid. God was encouraging Joshua because he was about to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land and there would be a lot of opposition and war in order to capture the territory.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there is a lot of opposition in the world today and we need to be hazaq. I believe we are living in the end of the days prophesied in the Bible. What a privileges to be alive in this season but God chose us for this time in history because we have Chutzpah. Chutzpah is a Yiddish word for the confidence or courage that allows someone to do or say things that may seem shocking to others. In our case, we as believers should not afraid to speak the truth! We will not back down from what we have seen and heard in Christ Jesus.
The prophesy about end times is happening in front of us. Isaiah 5:20 says people will call good evil and evil good. We are seeing that in our own country. The police are bad. Lawlessness is good. Morality is bad. Anything goes is good.
Daniel received many prophecies but in Daniel 12:4 he was told that in the end of time many will run back and forth and knowledge will increase. We’re not living in the Little House on the Prairie anymore. We are over extended. I know I am and running to and fro, to this meeting and to another. On zoom for school meetings and in person for others. Juggling a thousand different things. I am a learner and I love using search engines to look up facts about something I want to know more about. We don’t have to wait for the morning paper to arrive to find out what is going on in the world. Do you remember those days? When the newspaper didn’t show up, you felt disconnected from the world. Those days are gone and now we simply navigate to www.foxnews.com.
It’s all a sign.
Persecution and censorship is also increasing for Christians. Our words and actions are under scrutiny—we can only stand for truth with the undergirding of the hazaq of the LORD.
Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:10, that he’d rather boast about his weaknesses, so that the power of Christ would dwell in him because when he is weak, then he is strong. Isaiah 40:29 says God “gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.” Psalm 73:26 encourages, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
We can only arise in God’s power. The pandemic, now the war over in Ukraine. The crazy weather patterns, the lawlessness. It is a scary time in which we live. It would be easy to shut down and hide in a corner. But as men and women of faith in these last days we have our marching orders.
I played competitive tennis for about ten years, but I knew when it was time to stop when I started tearing every ligament in my body. One day, I pulled my back muscle and I could not get up. It took two women to help me walk. So humbling.
And that is how we need to be in these End Times. We cannot stand alone. We cannot walk one step without God raising us up. We also need each other. Let’s drop the competitiveness and unify to accomplish the work of the LORD.
We have to humble ourselves, fall to our knees and let the LORD infuse His hazaq into our being. It’s the only way we will survive. It’s the only way we can be used as a mouthpiece that glorifies Him.
It’s the key to arising in His power.
My husband and I visited our son, daughter-in-law and new grandchild, William, over Easter weekend and decided to take a walk around their neighborhood. There’s a pond in their development, but in order to get to the walking path around it, we had to cross a field. That seemed simple enough, but halfway to the pond I found myself on the ground, writhing in pain. My foot apparently got caught in a hole, cleverly disguised with a grass covering. As a result, I badly injured my foot.
At first I thought my foot was broken because it hurt so bad, but I was able to stand and walk back to the house—slowly.
Three days later, it is bruised and still swollen and I leave tomorrow for a speaking engagement in Atlanta.
How should I handle this?
Should I complain to God?
Should I cry because I am injured going into a speaking event?
Or should I be grateful that I have the ability to still walk?
I have chosen the latter. I know “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
Setbacks are a part of life and we can choose to trust God in the midst of them or feel sorry for ourselves. Peter said, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.”
Looking back on Easter, Jesus suffered far worse than a sprained ankle on my behalf.
So if you are dealing with any kind of setback, you have a choice to move forward in God’s strength or to allow it to shut you down. God’s strength can always see us through any trial.
We all have insecurities but there are probably one or two that come out more often than others. Maybe you don’t think you’re good enough, pretty enough or smart enough. Whatever the case, the volume on our perceived shortcomings is turned up when we face a difficult situation.
For example, the biblical patriarch, Moses, stuttered, and did not feel he was a good talker. When God called Moses to go back to Egypt from and demand that Pharaoh set the Israelites free from slavery, this was one of the reasons why Moses did not think he was the man for the job. “’Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue’” (Exodus 4:10, NIV).
Moses eventually moved forward and did what he was told, but when the request backfired and Pharaoh increased the hard labor, the Israelites were upset and would not listen to Moses anymore. When God told Moses to give it another try with Pharaoh, the stuttering patriarch brought up the same insecurity. “If the Israelites will not listen to me, why would Pharaoh listen to me, since I speak with faltering lips?” (Exodus 6:12, NIV) As if God did not hear him the first time, he says it again in the same passage: “But Moses said to the LORD, ‘Since I speak with faltering lips, why would Pharaoh listen to me?’” (Exodus 6:30, NIV) LBW Translation: “See God, I told you I was a terrible speaker!”
We all know the end of the story. After Egypt experienced ten God-given plagues, Pharaoh did let the Israelites go, and it did not matter whether Moses had trouble spitting words out or not, the LORD still worked through him.
This can be a lesson for all of us. I think God receives the most glory when he takes our weaknesses and infuses His strength into us so we can carry out His plan. People are amazed. Wasn’t that the girl who was always so gawky? Isn’t that the one who wore coke-bottle thick glasses? Isn’t she the one who never said a word? Where we get into trouble is when we use our shortcomings as an excuse for why we cannot take a step of faith into a calling.
Today, will you hand over your perceived weakness to God? Will you ask Him to turn your fragility into an asset that defies human reasoning? Remember the words of the Apostle Paul: “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).