"Into the Rainbow" painting by Ann Marie Bone

Today: Psalms 37:1-9; Luke 4:38-44; Luke 5:1-16; Numbers 15; Numbers 16:1-35

Psalms 37

“Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalms 37:4

Everybody loves the second half of Psalms 37:4. But the promise rests upon the first half; it is conditional. Psalms 37 is filled with beautiful promises, but they are all conditional:

  1. Promise: God will give you the desires of your heart
    Condition: If you delight yourself in the LORD
  2. Promise: God will do it [give you the desires of your heart]
    Condition: If you trust in Him and commit your way to the LORD
  3. Promise: You will inherit the land
    Condition: If you wait for the LORD

I’m not just being a party pooper by pointing out the conditions. I’m being real.

Every promise of God is TRUE. Every. Single. One. But these promises must be viewed in context if you want to legitimately count on them. I’ve seen lots of folks pull these sweet sounding promises out of context, disregard the conditions, and try to claim gifts that are not promised. Then they are so disappointed when God doesn’t perform the way they think He should. Bad theology is slippery ground.

The conditions are important. God doesn’t just throw His promises out haphazardly. HE keeps His word. EVERYTHING He says is TRUE. So He is very selective with His promises. And they usually come with guidelines.

"The Great Catch" painting by John Swanson

Luke 4

I find it so fascinating that demons always recognized who Jesus was. They understood Jesus’ identity even when no one else did.

Jesus tells us again His purpose in Luke 4:43: “I must also preach the kingdom of God to the other cities, because I was sent for this purpose.”

The physical healings and miracles were a byproduct of His great compassion. But His true reason for coming was always to spread the message of salvation.

Luke 5

The story of Simon Peter catching fish after Jesus tells him to cast out his nets is one of my favorites. (If you haven’t yet watched the video series “The Chosen,” I highly recommend it. They do a wonderful job of this scene.)

After a disappointing night of fruitless fishing, at Jesus’ direction Simon’s nets caught so many fish that “their nets began to tear.” They filled two entire boats with fish “to the point that they were sinking.” (v.7)

Simon was seized with amazement at this miracle. He dropped to his knees and cried out, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” (v.8) This was Peter’s salvation moment. He had already witnessed Jesus performing miracles. Jesus had just healed his own mother-in-law. Yet this particular miracle was the one that cut to the core of his soul. This miracle opened Peter’s eyes to understand his desperate need for a Savior.

It’s not enough to acknowledge the miracles. The demons obviously also believe in Christ’s deity (and they tremble, we are told in James 2:19). Salvation comes when it gets personal, when we understand, as Peter did, that we are sinful and in need of Christ’s salvation. Only when we understand that are we willing to leave everything and follow. When we really understand that, our entire lives are changed.

Numbers 15-16

Some of the 70 men that God had appointed decided to mutiny against Moses and Aaron. God’s response is swift and horrifying.

I’m often shocked that men who have witnessed such incredible miracles (pillar of fire, red sea parting, manna, etc.) would dare to defy God. We live in a time when many people openly defy and curse God. Yet the ground doesn’t open up and swallow them. Many of them have huge fame and live lives of wealth and ease.

I sometimes wonder if more people would follow God if He performed more stunning miracles today. But they probably wouldn’t. Miracles DO exist today. They surround us constantly. We stare at God’s glorious miracles all the live long day and yet we cannot see them. We people are such obstinate creatures. We are blind to God’s miracles just as the Israelites were.