The Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who dug a well in search of water. He dug a short ways and found no water. He knew of wells nearby which had run dry and were now muddy because people kept filling them from the water of the lake, but the water was stagnant and stale, and bacteria grew in the well which poisoned the water. So, he dug and dug, and dug some more until at last he struck a deep underground river of pure water. He and his family never went thirsty again.
He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
Hear the Words of Jeremiah the Prophet through whom the Lord said, “If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find Me.”
The outward situations are growing in intensity. Arad, Amoriates, and Bashan all fought against God’s people and lost, because of God’s power at work in Israel. They have learned much from the wilderness, and God’s power is effective in creating the impossible right before them. But the heart of the people is still ungrateful.
Principle: The power of the Spirit is simultaneously able to create powerful victory on the outside, while disciplining the weak failure on the inside. God does so when he is using beloved sinners and sinful image bearers to enact his purposes. His way of producing outward results is staggering, but even more profoundly moving is His way of training his children up close. When the people are complaining, God sends fiery serpents and they bite them, and then in the midst of the discipline God provides the cure. Do they have the heart to look to the one who wounded them to see His love and purpose for them?
Application: Do not count your outward victories as evidence of God’s approval of you. Beware your ingratitude, because it will keep rearing its head. When you fail, keep staring God in the face as you experience his discipline. In his face you will find the truth and love that makes you right before Him again. Expect God’s work to be evident beyond you, but let your primary focus be clinging to Him. He is your cloud and your supply.
So, last Friday, I didn’t start off my day reading God’s Word. The result was not pretty. I ran around all day trying to do stuff, and it be futile, and trying to plan stuff and it falling through, praying to thank Him and things not getting better.
When I finally got home, I dove into God’s Word, desperate to find Him, and get back to Him. Just one verse,and my flesh was just retching, like a man encased in darkness, who is confronted by a bright light he cannot bear at first. One verse at a time, He restored me. This is what I saw as I wrote in prayer to Him:
Your Word is like a steady diet of meat and potatoes;
You spoon-feed me, and my body convulses as light is tasted again.
O the dark shadows that lick my heart with black flames
Meets a tiny brilliant spark as white as a snowdrop.
And are cast back to their tiny black foothold
Of hurts un-relinquished by my God-hating nature.
The snow drop soothes and bathes my soul
The tears that flow are purified with salt
The embers kindle a bright new flame afresh
And I laugh to thank God for His Good word to me.
Seek His face, and the shadows will be driven away, and the dross will be purged, and the dirtiness cleansed. Seek His face!