Trusting God

Trusting God with Our Challenges

  • 20 May 2013
  • Randy Wollf

Two people on a ropes courseIn a previous blog, I described how the Israelites suffered a stunning defeat at the hands of the Philistines (1Sam. 5:1-11). The Israelites had taken matters into their own hands by bringing the Ark of the Covenant into the battle. Their misguided attempted to secure God’s blessing did not produce a victory. In fact, not only did they lose the battle, but they also lost the Ark in the process. However, the Philistines did not escape unscathed; the Lord struck some of them with death and tumors. They finally sent the Ark back to Israel where it sat in Kiriath Jearim for 20 years (after a brief stop in Beth Shemesh). During that time, “all the people of Israel turned back to the Lord” (1 Sam. 7:2). Samuel told the people to get rid of their idols and commit themselves to the Lord. The people gathered en masse at Mizpah and confessed their sins.

Now, the Philistines viewed this national gathering as a provocation and mustered their army in response. The Israelites knew they needed God’s help, so they asked Samuel to pray unceasingly for God’s intervention. Samuel prayed and “the Lord thundered with a loud thunder against the Philistines and threw them into such a panic that they were routed before the Israelites” (1 Sam. 7:10).

What kinds of challenges do we face today? With a clean heart, let’s commit these challenges to the Lord, take action as He leads, and trust Him with the results.

Getting Tripped Up By Jesus

  • 14 May 2013
  • Randy Wollf

No Mighty Works in NazarethAt one point in Jesus’ ministry, he went back to his hometown (Mark 6:1-6). At first, the people were amazed at his teaching. Yet, they couldn’t  get past his commonness and their familiarity with him. He was a carpenter. They knew his family. In fact, the reference to Jesus as “Mary’s son” (as opposed to saying that Jesus was Joseph’s son), may point to his perceived illegitimacy.

Sometimes, Jesus and Jesus’ actions don’t fit with our preconceived notions and expectations. We get tripped up by Jesus. In this story, the peoples’ offense fuelled by their lack of faith resulted in a miracle shortage in the area. As Christian leaders, we desperately need to trust God, recognizing that His ways are beyond our ways. When we trust Him, we will see Him do the work that He wants to do.

Note: Thanks to Pastor Dave Navarro at South Langley Church for getting me thinking about this topic in his March 17, 2013 sermon, “The Scandal of the Gospel.

Raising My Ebeneezer

  • 30 March 2013
  • Randy Wollf

Ebenezer - Stone of HelpI remember as a kid singing a verse from the old hymn, Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing, that encouraged me to raise my Ebenezer. The only Ebenezer I knew was good old Scrooge from Dickens' Christmas Carol. I later learned that the hymn writer's Ebenezer call was part of a larger story in 1 Samuel 7. In this chapter, we see how Samuel led the Israelite army to victory, with the Lord's help, against their archenemies, the Philistines. After the battle, Samuel set up a stone to commemorate the victory; he named it "Ebenezer," which means "stone of help." He wanted the Israelites to remember God's faithfulness - "Thus far the Lord has helped us" (v. 12).

How has God helped you? How is He helping you today? Don't forget God's faithfulness. As we remember and share God's faithful acts in our lives, we will raise an Ebenezer that will encourage us and others to trust God with the challenges that come our way.

Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I’ll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing (second verse) by Robert Robinson, 1758