What Do You See?

September 28th, 2009

“Lift up now your eyes and look from the place where you are, north, south, east and west; for all that you see, I will give to you and to your seed forever, says the Lord.” (Gen. 13:14b, 15)
 
It seems no matter where you turn today people are talking about “the economy” and the negative financial condition of our country. It seems to creep into every conversation with friends or even strangers. I suppose that because we are quite an affluent country compared to almost any other nation in the world, we have grown comfortable with a secure lifestyle, one that we never thought might one day be severely altered or changed. While lower to middle class Americans may feel the bulk of this economic downslide, even the “well off” are talking about it. Doctors, lawyers and entertainers alike are discussing its impact upon their careers. Television celebrities and movie stars are being sought out by the media for their thoughts on “the economy” and are appearing on shows like “Larry King Live”, late night TV with Jay Leno, David Letterman and others to discuss it.


Politically, in spite of all the campaign rhetoric promising to “fix the economy” if elected, President Obama, since taking office, has now said that the economy was worse than he had realized and consequently will not be able to fulfill many of the expectations he had envisioned and promised to do as president. Even with the passing of his “Stimulus Package” and previous “$700 Billion Wall Street Bail Out”, the president has since described these as but “small steps” toward resolving the “economic crisis” that remains. While in “reality”, the current condition of the economy has the potential of becoming the worst since the “great depression”, we as believers need to remember that there is yet another “reality”. It is the reality of “another economy” where we don’t live, operate or depend upon man for our sustenance. It is “God’s economy”, one that is not governed nor affected by a volatile stock market, the current price for a barrel of oil or by anything else that bears the mark of man’s greatest efforts for recovery. Our hope does not rest in the devising of our leaders in Washington, or any other man made source, but rather in the promises of an all sufficient living God to provide. When I was sixteen years old, I remember our pastor saying, “The same God that gave me a dime to buy bread when it was a dime a loaf will give me a dollar to buy it when it is a dollar a loaf.” Whenever our faith is being tested and we don’t know how we are going to make it, may God help us remember that one of His names is “Jehovah Jireh”, the God who “provides”. God has His own “Stimulus Package” that includes this absolute, irrevocable and unchanging truth, that He “shall provide all of your need according to His riches by Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:19) What the Lord is saying is that our every need shall be met by His infinite, immeasurable and forever abundant supply. Unfortunately, however, because of the unrelenting daily negative talk about “the economy”, many believers have joined the choir of the less than hopefuls, echoing insecurity, doubt and even fear of the future. Of all the people who have been affected by these difficult economic times, we as believers ought to be the ones who rise up above the fray, boldly declaring divine hope in an “able” God who is all sufficient, forever above and beyond the scope of our ability to comprehend. (Eph. 3:20) Another one of His names is “El Shaddai”, the “God of plenty”, who is always “more than enough”. Our needs will never surpass His abundant and all-sufficient supply. He will never lack what we need. In light of this, we as believers need to take this opportunity to openly declare God’s economic “Stimulus Package” to the world! Those who have felt no hope will find new hope, not in the promises of men, but in the power of God. The Apostle Paul said that “Your faith must not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God”. (I Co. 2:5) He also said, “The hope that we have is as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast…” (Heb. 6:19a NKJV) It is a hope that keeps us steady when the winds of doubt and fear would assail us on every side. Perhaps the hymn writer of old said it best when he so eloquently penned the words:

“My hope is built on nothing less,
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness,
I will dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name…”

LOOK AND SEE
(Gen. 13:14)

While it is so that God has given us many promises to stand on in times like these, for the most part they are “conditional” promises or promises that require something of us that they might be fulfilled. One such promise is found in Genesis 13 when God spoke to Abraham and said, “Lift up now your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward, southward, eastward and westward; for all the land that you see, I will give to you and your seed forever.” (Gen. 13:14, 15) The first thing God asked of Abraham was to “Look and See” all that He had for him. God wanted Abraham to behold the fullness of His promise. One additional note that God added for Abraham was to “Lift up now your eyes and look from the place where you are”. If we are going through a difficult season in our lives, often we find ourselves saying, “I’m just not in a good place” to hear anything from God. You may feel discouraged or even depressed and just don’t feel you have the spiritual strength to discern a Word from the Lord. Yet, the Bible speaks of many individuals who were not in a “good place” but nevertheless found a way to overcome. Paul and Silas were not in a “good place” when they found themselves in a cold Philippian jail, naked, beaten, hungry and bound in stocks. Yet the Bible says they sang praises unto God from the place where they were, and the foundation of the prison was shaken. Another example is Zacchaeus. The Bible says he was not in a good place to see Jesus when passing through the city. He wanted to see Jesus but could not because of the crowd of people that had gathered. He could not see between them or above them because he was a small, short-statured man. Yet because of His passion to see Jesus, he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree, the Bible says, “so that he might see” Jesus. (Lk. 19:4)

DECLARE & POSSESS
(Deut. 1:21, Job 22:28)

Not only does God want us to “Look and See”, but He also has called us to “Declare and Possess” all that he has for us. While the current “economic crisis” is being discussed, debated and deliberated upon daily, the Lord would have us to instead “declare” what He has promised to them that believe. Recently in our services I have been highlighting a word from Job where he talks about the power of declaring a “Word from the Lord”. He said that “when you speak a thing, that thing becomes established in you…” (Job:22:28) The power of “declaration” is an awesome thing and often preceeded the acquisition of new possessions or lands in God’s Word. May God help us “declare” those things with our lips that He wants to “establish” in our hearts. When the children of Israel came to the mountain of the Amorites, Moses said unto them, “Behold the land God has set before you, go up and possess it (or declare it as your own), for the Lord your God has given you the land. (Deut. 1:20, 21a)

ARISE & WALK
(Gen. 13:17)

Finally, the Lord has called us to “Arise and Walk” in the fullness of all that He has given us to abound. No matter when or if the economy ever “turns around”, we have the covenant promise that “God will make plenteous the work of our hands and the labor of our body” and that“all grace shall abound toward us, that we, always having all sufficiency in all things,will abound to every good work.” (Deut. 30:9a, II Co. 9:8)

IN CONCLUSION

As we endeavor to find ways to overcome not only the economic crisis but other areas of personal challenge, let us not forget the God of the ages who can give us strength and hope in times like these. The question I am asking many during this season is, “What Do You See?” What promises from God’s Word do you see Him wanting you to embrace and walk in? If you feel you are in a “bad place”, just “Lift up now your eyes. (Gen. 13:14a) If you “just can’t see” how you’re going to make it, anoint your eyes with the eye salve of God’s Word, “so that you might see”(Rev. 3:18b) The need for healthy spiritual eyesight is vital if we are to overcome. “Now therefore stand and see this great thing that you Lord will do before your eyes.” (I Sam. 12:16) Amen! And look from the place where you are”

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