settled: to stand firm, be stationed, take an upright position, to be fixed, to be ready, to be planted
And wherefore have you made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this evil place? It is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; neither is there any water to drink (Numbers 20:5).
When twelve spies were sent to investigate the land, they brought back grapes, figs and pomegranates for the children of Israel to taste and see. O taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the man that trusts in him (Psalm 34:8). God promised to bring them up and out of Egypt and into a land flowing with milk and honey, but they were complaining because where they were, didn’t look like what God promised. They no longer believed what was told to them.
They were tired of the wilderness, but the wilderness was necessary. They acted like their new home was the wilderness, but it was designed for them to go through, not to live in. This place was preparing them for the next place, but they didn’t like this season of their life and what was good for them was now labeled as evil.
Seed makes things grow, but even in a place that had no seed, God always made sure they were fed. There was no water in the wilderness, yet they drank water. But they were still not satisfied.
I know they say that nothing grows in the wilderness, but the children of Israel should have been growing and maturing. The wilderness journey was their time to learn how to believe, trust and to depend on God. They couldn’t see Him, but they saw His works, signs, wonders and His glory. They didn’t know Him and this was their opportunity to learn of Him. This was a time of testing to reveal to them what was in their hearts. The word of God should be hidden in our hearts, but sometimes we have things hiding in our hearts that shouldn’t be there.
The lack of seed wasn’t the problem. The problem was that they refused to become a seed. Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it can only be a single seed. But if it dies, it bears much fruit (John 12:24). To become more than a seed, it must first die. Then, it can bear fruit.
I loved that the Israelites remembered what God said, but they still didn’t believe what He said. God wanted to bless them, but if they didn’t allow Him to prepare, teach and train them for where He was taking them, what was supposed to be a blessing would become a curse.
Both the Israelites and Jesus faced temptation in the wilderness, but the difference between them was Jesus knew who He was (Son of God). When satan showed him all the kingdoms of the world and tempted him with power and glory, He already knew that the earth was His (Psalm 24:1). Also, He just didn’t know the written word, but He knew the God of the written word.
We know that the children of Israel walked a lot during their journey because the scriptures tell us that their feet never swelled and their shoes were never worn out, but not everyone crossed the Jordan and not everyone entered into the land that God promised. Jesus also walked a lot during his ministry and he walked until he walked to Golgotha. He walked to his crucifixion. He walked until he fulfilled the will of His Father.
I’m not telling you that Jesus never grew weary. According to John 4:6, he did. But like Jesus, I pray that we all walk in obedience, faith and belief in what God said until we walk into what God has promised us.
The word of the Lord is settled in heaven (Psalm 119:89). May we become settled in what is forever settled in heaven.
receive: to be given something; to come in possession of something; to accept from another by hearing or listening; to be a recipient; to act as a container for
The Jews argued among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said to them, Verily, verily, I say to you, Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you (John 6:52-53).
When those who followed Jesus heard him talking about eating flesh and drinking blood, they probably thought, This man is crazy. Is this some type of cult? Although they heard him, they didn’t understand him. This is a hard saying: who can understand it? (John 6:60). And because they didn’t understand, they complained and many of his disciples went back and walked no more with him.
For my flesh is meat indeed and my blood is drink indeed (John 6:55).
Those who heard the words of Jesus should have been able to relate to what he was saying because he was speaking their language. They knew about offering sacrifices according to the law. Words such as flesh and blood were familiar to them, but they still missed it.
For years, they had been sacrificing animals for their sins, but what they were doing didn’t last because they had to do it again and again. But now the Word was made flesh (Jesus). God sent Jesus to become both the High Priest and the sacrifice. And even though he would only sacrifice himself once, that one time would last forever.
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do (Hebrews 4:12-13).
Out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword (Revelation 1:16).
Before Jesus was pierced, he was laid on the cross. Before the priest cut the animal, it was laid on the altar. Prior to the priest cutting the animal, all he saw was the outer, but the moment he cut the animal, what was inside of it was exposed for all to see. This is what the word of God does. It exposes thoughts, motives and intentions of the heart. It shows us who we really are. In Genesis 1:4, his word divided the light from the darkness.
In order for the word to do what it was sent out to do, it will require us to lay down our will and our ways. It will require us to become a living sacrifice. It will require us to say like Jesus said, Not my will, but Your will be done. Just like the followers in John 6, some of us were raised to think a certain way – at home and in church. We were taught to believe a certain way and to do things a certain way for years, but some of the things we’ve been doing hasn’t worked.
Jesus wasn’t asking them to do something that they were used to doing. He wasn’t asking them to purchase and to sacrifice another animal. In fact, he wasn’t asking them to give Him something. He was asking them to receive something. Receive change. Receive the words of the Father and receive what His Son came to do for them.
If you don’t understand a thing, then ask for understanding and God will give it to you. I know it’s different, it’s not what you’re used to and you always do it ‘this way’, but don’t walk away from God or reject what He said because you don’t understand what He’s doing or because it doesn’t make sense right now. Anytime God sends His word, He sends it to help you, not to harm you or offend you.
Just receive it.
[Scripture references: John 6:51-66; John 1:14; Hebrews 2:17; Hebrews 10:1-14; Romans 12:1]
rebuild: to build something again after it has been damaged; repair; to return something to its original state
The Jews were imprisoned and enslaved for 70 years in Babylon. When they were led captive, Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, burned and destroyed God’s temple, the walls and gates.
We’ve read and taught about the broken walls, but have you ever thought about the broken people who returned to Jerusalem after 70 years? The temple was later rebuilt, but the walls and gates were still in the same condition – broken down and burned. Because of this, the people were in great affliction and reproach (Nehemiah 1:3). These people were hurting. They were ashamed of the condition of their city. All they could see was devastation, loss, defeat, ruin, and rubbish.
I know it sounds like what they went through was bad, but it was actually for their good. You see, the reason why they were in captivity was because they disobeyed God. If you transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations (Nehemiah 1:8). But God didn’t leave them. He didn’t reject them. He just waited for them to turn back to Him (Nehemiah 1:9).
While enslaved in Babylon, I believe they realized how good God was to them – that He wasn’t unfair or hard (when compared to the Babylonians). They realized how much He loved them. They learned that it was better to do what He told them to do rather than to do what they wanted to do. What God allowed the Babylonians to do to them wasn’t to harm them, but to help them. Just as a parent disciplines a child, the Lord your God disciplines you for your own good (Deuteronomy 8:5, NLT).
But before there was a rebuilding, there had to be repenting. Nehemiah confessed his sins and the sins of Israel (Nehemiah 1:5-11). He just didn’t tell the Lord ‘I’m sorry’ or ‘Forgive me’. He acknowledged what they did and admitted that it was wrong.
The people that returned to Jerusalem after captivity was called the remnant (Nehemiah 1:3). They were the ones that remained. They survived. Even though it didn’t feel good (the results of disobedience), they endured the chastening. Someone once said that if disobedience got you in the situation you’re in, then obedience can get you out. So true!
For years, I believed a certain way, I thought a certain way, and I behaved a certain way. Just like Eve, I knew what God said, but because what I heard sounded good and what I saw looked pleasant to the eyes, I disobeyed God. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they hid and sometimes we hide because we think that God doesn’t want to look at us anymore. We’re ashamed of ourselves and what we’ve done so we think God is mad at us or ashamed of us, but God says, If you return to Me, I’ll return to you.
I couldn’t see things clearly because of the walls (lies) that the enemy had built in my life, but every time I hear a sure word or receive revelation concerning something I’m dealing with now, the walls begin to fall. God is tearing down every belief, thought and lie of the enemy so that He can build me the way He wants me to be. Is not my word like as a fire, says the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces (Jeremiah 23:29)?
God wants to take away the old so He can give you something new – a new heart and a new spirit. He wants to remove the stubborn heart and replace it with an obedient heart (Ezekiel 36:26). Some have lost strength along the way and some have lost their trust and faith in God and in His word, but God is able to restore and rebuild those things, too.
Let God rebuild you so that you can help rebuild others.
The word of the Lord tried him (Psalm 105:19).
Joseph went through some ups and down. One moment he was reporting to his dad about what his brothers were doing. The next moment he was thrown in a pit and sold into slavery. One moment he was serving an officer of Pharaoh. The next moment he was accused of trying to assault the officer’s wife and sent to prison, yet he ministered and served even while in prison. Why do you look so sad today? (Genesis 40:7). He helped someone else with their dream even though his dream hadn’t come to pass yet.
The word, promotion, means to move forward or to advance. We use that word in school when someone goes to the next grade or level. When we use that same word in the workplace, we think it means having a title and getting more money, but when God talks about promotion, it is about developing growth and character. Promotion is not just about getting. It is about giving – to God and to others.
Joseph learned how to submit to others, to forgive, to let go of pride, and how to love. He wasn’t just going through. He was growing through and at the right time God promoted him. Pharaoh set him over his house, his people and over all the land of Egypt. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God so that HE many exalt you in due time (1 Peter 5:6).
Some years ago, the Lord told me that a promotion was coming (at another job), but I didn’t receive what God promised because of fear, laziness and I had the wrong attitude. I wanted everything to come easy. I didn’t want to go through anything. I didn’t want to endure anything and eventually I gave up. I walked off that job – the same job where God said He was going to promote me. I didn’t give the word a chance.
God still sits as a refiner and purifier of silver (Malachi 3:3). Fire is applied during the refining process because it causes what is hidden to be revealed and rise to the surface. The Lord sees the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). God doesn’t use fire to destroy us. He uses it to change us. Like silver, you and I are valuable and precious to God, but He wants to remove the dross (impurities) from the silver so that we will be ready for HIS use (Proverbs 25:4).
Some of you may not have a job, but God has given all of us responsibilities, gifts and talents. Promotion will come, but to be used the way God wants to use you, let Him separate the dross from the silver so that others can see HIM in the silver.
Don’t run from it. Don’t complain about it. Don’t give up on it. Let where you are prepare you for where you are going.
In Psalm 119, the psalmist had a lot of challenges and opposition. It wasn’t easy. He was persecuted without a cause, robbed, lied on, spoken against and his enemies dug a pit for him. They wanted him to fall. They wanted him to fail, but in spite of everything he was going through, he still told the Lord, I trust in Your word (v 42).
When you abide in the word of God, you learn the God of the word. The psalmist had a relationship with God. He knew who He was. Despite the bad things that were happening to him, he still told God, You are good and You do good (v 68). No matter what his enemies were trying to do to him, he believed that God was going to cause it to work for him. He knew that God didn’t lie. Your word is true from the beginning (v 160). His word is not just pure, but it is very pure (v 140). No one will ever find any mistakes, flaw or fault in it. It will never change, fail or disappoint. The word was tested and the test proved that the word was true.
The more I read this psalm, the more hopeful I became because this man of God refused to quit. He refused to believe that God had forsaken him. He refused to believe that his enemies had triumphed over him. You through your commandments have made me wiser than my enemies (v 98). He was determined to obey God until the end (v 112).
The psalmist didn’t go to people to be strengthened and encouraged. He went to the word. When he was afflicted, he found comfort in the word (v 50). The word gives great peace to those who love it (v 165). This man didn’t have a bible app on his phone, he didn’t have different versions of the bible nor did he have all sixty six books of the bible. He had fewer scriptures than what we have today yet he trusted God more than some of us.
Do you remember when Jesus told the man who had an infirmity for 38 years to take up his bed and walk? The Jews were angry with Jesus because He broke the Sabbath (even though He wasn’t the one who carried the bed). It is the Sabbath day. It is not lawful for you to carry your bed (John 5:10). They didn’t like that this man carried his bed, but what they shouldn’t have liked was the fact that he was carrying a sickness. For 38 years, he was carrying a burden and a weight and none of them cared. Maybe it was unlawful for them to work on the Sabbath, but Jesus told the Jews, My Father is always working (John 5:17, NLT). From the time of your birth until now, God has been taking care of you and He is working on your behalf. Out of all the people who were at the pool that day (impotent, blind, halt, and withered), Jesus only went to that one man – and He has come for you. I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly (10:10b). If He established the earth and it stands (v 90), then you shall stand also. His word will not fail concerning you.
Maybe you’re not carrying a sickness, but you might be carrying unbelief or doubt or unforgivness. God wants you healed and whole. All you need is one word from the Lord. Start with one scripture. Hide it in your heart. Meditate on it. Declare it with your mouth everyday. Keep hearing it and hearing it until faith comes. Just as the word is settled in heaven, it will become settled in your hearts and minds. Don’t be like the Israelites who, after all that the Lord had done for them, still refused to trust Him, but follow the example of the psalmist: Don’t forget God’s word (v 16), don’t stop speaking the word (v 172), and walk in HIS ways, which is His word (v 3).
If you’re going to put your trust in anything, put your trust in the word.
Prayer: Forgive us for not trusting You. Forgive us for choosing to believe a lie rather than the truth. I command every lie, thought and seed that the devil planted to be uprooted now out of our hearts, minds and souls. I bind and rebuke unbelief and doubt and I loose great faith in Jesus’ name. We really don’t have a reason not to trust You, Lord, but restore what we lost through hurt and disappointment. Restore our souls. Restore our trust in You. Restore hope. Restore the joy of our salvation. Father, make us rooted and grounded in Your word and in Your love. Amen.