Wednesday, February 27, 2013

My Help Comes from the Lord


My Help Comes from the Lord

 

“I will lift up my eyes to the hill from whence comes my help?  My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.” – Psalms 121:1-2

When the alarm went off this morning, this verse ran through my head. But so did a mass of sinus congestion, and yuckiness!  Being sick and feeling a bit of poor, poor, pitiful me, I slapped the alarm and rolled over.  I figured I would excuse myself from Bible study and writing this morning in hopes that more sleep would make me strong enough to get through the day.  Things never go well when we depend on our own strength, yet that’s exactly what I had in mind.  But the verse continued going through my head.  Thirty minutes later, because I am stubborn, I finally understood that what God was saying was, “Get up! I’ll help you!”
It’s funny how God works His message to us.  My study this morning was in Acts 13 & 14, giving me a beautiful example of God’s help to His servants.  Paul had been preaching with Barnabas in Antioch when the Jews rose up against him.  Acts 13:51-52 says, But they shook off the dust from their feet against them, and came to Iconium.  And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” Paul was becoming a master at enduring persecution.  Not only was he able to just walk away from the hatred of the Jews in Antioch, but he was “filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit”. 

In Iconium Paul preached the gospel of Christ again, and many believed.  But the Jews there hated him also, and they “stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brethren.”(Acts 14:2) But Paul didn’t run away.  They stayed.  They stood their ground and spoke the word of God boldly, and performed miracles through the Holy Spirit.  But once the Jews had gained power against them, and threatened to stone them, they left and went to Lystra.
In Lystra Paul was preaching again, not being stopped or weakened in his faith, and not fearing the Jews.  Then the Jews from Antioch and Iconium came to Lystra.  They were hunting Paul down.  When they found him, Acts 14:19-20 says, having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city. And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.     

Paul was stoned to the point that they supposed him dead.  They dragged him, lifeless, out of the city.  Many believe Paul in fact did die, but received his life back when the disciples gathered around him.  Regardless of whether he died, or very nearly died, the rest of this passage is remarkable!  Paul got up. 
The stoning would have left Paul with open wounds and deep bruises, and possibly broken bones.  But Paul got up.  He went into the city, and the very next day went to Derbe.  Derbe was TWENTY MILES from Lystra!  After being nearly dead the day before and dragged outside the city, Paul has the strength to walk twenty miles, and start right back to preaching God’s word.  Surely God must have strengthened Paul, for there is no other way he could have recovered so quickly.  Paul later writes in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

God is quoted by the Prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 41:10 saying, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”  So let’s lift our eyes up, and look to Him when we are weak.  The one that made Heaven and Earth is our strength.  Whatever we face today, we have the promise of God that he will give us strength and help.  We are being held up, supported, by His righteous right hand.

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