It’s a rough one today for many birds. I have been watching a pair of Sandhill cranes, out in the open field, on this 4-degree morning. One is upright, the other is lying flat down and not moving. It looks dead. My hope is that the one is protecting a nest. They have been here for almost a month, so I suppose they have laid eggs by now. I know the turkeys are strutting around, so they must have eggs, too. Life is hard, yet somehow, they are able to survive. So, too, with humans, although we generally are able to escape from the elements. Our coats today are incredibly warm. Not so, back in Jesus’ day. Just for fun, I looked up temperature ranges in Jerusalem. For December through February, the average high/low is 56/45 degrees. That’s pretty cold considering they didn’t have thermal windows or in-floor heat. No wonder Peter was huddled around the fire while Jesus was brought to trial.
While the weather is really not a concern for us (except violent storms, of course!), we still get burdened by troubles. I suppose that will always be the case because humans are prone to wander, just as God said the Israelites would before they entered the Promised Land. We soon forget to give God credit where credit is due. Let’s take a look at God’s warning to them:
Deuteronomy 8:11-20 “Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and statutes, which I command you today, lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock, who fed you in the wilderness that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end. Beware lest you say in your heart, “My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day. And if you forget the Lord your God, and go after other gods and serve them, and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish. Like the nations that the Lord makes to perish before you, so shall you perish, because you would not obey the voice of the Lord your God.
This makes me shudder. Yes, I have eternal life, but clearly this warning applies to believers. God will not tolerate certain behavior. I can’t imagine that he will turn a blind eye to his children who act this way. No, he will correct them. How? Well, I can see him removing blessings, can’t you? Let’s look at another passage.
1 Corinthians 3:10-15 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, and precious stones, wood, hay, straw – each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.
So, we will receive testing, won’t we? What are the things we’ll be tested for? Sin, of course, which is nothing more than unbelief at its core.
Maybe our testing today is the weather. Are we in a bad mood because of it? If so, what does that say of our belief? Are we having troubles? Could it be we brought them on ourselves? Perhaps they are meant to test our reactions to them. Maybe God is moving us in a different direction and is removing blessings in one area to steer us to another. Who knows! The thing is that if we really trust God, trials and even correction should be welcomed. After all, God has our best interests at heart, does he not?
By the way, the Sandhill cranes flew away.
Father, help me to praise your name in all circumstances. Please don’t allow me to think I can take credit for anything. Remind me that everything good is a gift from you so that I may give you credit where credit is due. Father, I’m prone to wander. Please help me. Amen.
Copyright © 2018 Scott Powers