We Have an "Unless" God
I was standing in line at the Post Office this morning, waiting to mail a package, when I noticed the sign in the picture. Fortunately, I had my cell phone, featuring a built-in camera, so I snapped me a picture. It spoke to me, so I think I'll speak about it.
UNLESS ... "the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain." Psalms 127:1, NIV.
Well, of course this verse would tickle my fancy .. I've maintained for years that it's the Lord's involvement in what we do that produces fruit. It's not our teaching a lesson or preaching a sermon that changes lives, it's God .. via the Holy Ghost .. working in their lives afterwards, that brings about change. After all, we're only unworthy servants, doing our duty (if you don't believe that, check Luke 17:10 for what Jesus Himself said about that..). This is why Henry Blackaby pointed out, in "Experiencing God", the necessity of our looking around to see what God's doing, and then getting involved in that work.
Hey .. Jesus said that's what He did, and if it was good for Him, then it'd sure be a good idea for me.
I figure if His involvement is necessary for building a house or watching a city, that it's going to be necessary for all that I do, or try to do, in the Kingdom work. Early on, I was cautioned about "running ahead of the Lord"; I think Moses killing the Egyptian guard was a pretty good example. Moses knew the people should be set free, so he undertook the job himself, and look what it got him.
David, on the other hand, seems to have been specifically instructed on the fact that God was involved with him & Goliath, and that whole episode turned out rather well, for David.
And then, when God did tell Moses it was time for the people of Israel to be set free, it happened, in ways man could never have done.
Over the years, I've had a lot of people ask me how they can know when God is telling them to do something. My normal response is to observe that they seem to be depending on their own ability to hear, rather than on God's ability to make Himself heard.
He's good at that, if we're willing to act on what it is He wants us to do. It's been my experience that God doesn't submit His plans to us for approval. He reveals His plans to His willing workforce, who are ready to get on with the task.
There seems, to me, to be a hint of this in the ordinance of Communion. That's based on His statement that those who don't eat His flesh and drink His blood have no part in Him. See .. up and down the food chain, so to speak, it's always the higher that takes in the lower. Grass can't become cow, but the cow can eat the grass. Same goes for cows & people, and for man getting right with God. We could never get right with God unless God reached down and did something to accomplish that (which He did).
But along comes Jesus, and tells us that we are to take His flesh and blood into our very beings. That tells me that He didn't give up the ministry He started (remember how He told us to tend to the poor and the widows, and visit the captives?) ... He wants to continue it, and he wants to use your flesh and my flesh, as followers of Christ, to do it!
We're all the flesh He has, down here.
So. When we run ahead of Him, we're trying in our own strength. And we're doomed to fail in the ways that matter.
We have an "Unless God". Unless He builds the house .. visits the sick .. gives to the poor .. feeds the hungry .. teaches the class ... all while using our flesh to do it, then we labor in vain.
I just don't have time to do that, any more.
Neither do you.