This weeks memory verse: He is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and the Master [Lord] of all masters [Lords]~ 1 Tim. 6:15 (HCSB)
Welcome to my first post 0f 2011...what I call my Proverbs 31 Journey. I am excited about where God is leading my heart in this. I pray I have the strength and ability to walk it boldly (and the time). You see, I am far from being that women we read about in Proverbs 31:10-31. I encourage you to go read this passage again no matter how familiar you are with it. Try reading it in a different version of the Bible you are not as familiar with.
The Proverbs 31 Woman can be threatening and someone we would rather ignore when we think of our own personal weaknesses and failures. The opposite is really true...she should be our mentor and someone we strive to become, even with our weaknesses and failures. Like you, I have done plenty of studies from this passage of scripture but due to unpleasant adversities and circumstances in my life this past year, God has drawn my heart back to this passage and has instructed me to go deeper. I think He is saying "enough is enough...time to get it together!" So it is time for me to get intentional as a servant, wife, and mother after God's heart.
Each month I hope to take a virtue from within these verses and concentrate on it. Study it. Even memorize it. I must warn you that if you should join me in this journey, be prepared that satan will be wicked against us. It will be necessary to prayerfully put on God's armor. It may become a battle but with God on our side, nothing is too hard for Him (Jere. 32:17)!!
I am not going to follow the order of Proverbs 31:10-31, instead I am going to prioritize each virtue and approach them as God leads. This month, we will start with the virtue of Reverencing God and what His Sovereignty means in our life. The Proverbs 31 Woman serves God with all of her heart, mind, and soul. She seeks His will for her life and intentionally follows His ways. To succeed in modeling this Proverbs 31 Woman we have to first examine our relationship with God before we approach the other virtues found in that scripture. Then, like her, we have to become intentional in this relationship. My word for 2011 is intentional...did you gather that already? As I study this Proverbs 31 Woman, I find that she is intentional in each of these virtues we will explore.
The Proverbs 31 Woman reverences God. Webster defines reverence as "honor or respect felt or shown : profound adoring awed and respect". Reverence is an action. When one truly believes in the sovereignty of God, one can reverence Him as we were created to. Though we may have gone through some horrible things in life, made pretty poor choices, failed miserably with God and others, we can move forward when we understand this concept of God's sovereignty, that God is and has always been in control of our life. When we believe this and trust in this truth then we can be confident that all things happen for His divine purpose and plan. We also have to believe that all things that happen can be used to glorify Him. Even the ugly.
Webster defines sovereignty as "supreme excellence or power; a controlling influence". God is the I AM, all powerful controller of this universe, the King of all kings and the Master of all maters. Can you say that He is all of that in your life? He is also all about love. His love, His power, His wisdom, and His truth deserves our reverence.
"God in His love always wills what is best for us. In His wisdom He always knows what is best and in His sovereignty He has the power to bring it about."~Jerry Bridges, Trusting God, Even When Life Hurts, 2008
This can be a hard concept to grasp. Most people, want to believe that the awful sin they committed was of their own free will against God, beyond His control. Others believe that the abuse they suffered at the hands of another was a result of that persons sin. Some believe the accident that took a loved ones life was just that...an accident controlled by circumstance and nothing more. My views have mirrored this until I started researching and grasping this concept of the sovereignty of God.
"...there is still another important dimension to His sovereignty in the hearts of people; when necessary, God restrains people from decisions or actions that would harm us." ~ Jerry Bridges, Trusting God, Even When Life Hurts, 2008
Can I be so bold to say that God is in control of all things in your life...the good and the bad, the glorious events and the painful events? Could it be that your suffering was part of God's plan for your life and for His glory? Is it too big for us to understand thereby requiring our trust?
"No detail of your life is too insignificant for your heavenly Fathers attention; no circumstance is so big that He cannot control it." ~Jerry Bridges, Trusting God, Even When Life Hurts, 2008
Can I be even bolder to suggest that the awful sin which you chose to participate in and now find so hard to forgive could also have been a part of Gods plan? Do you believe that God in His sovereignty is powerful enough to control everything? Could He have placed something in your path to stop you from sinning...to stop a disease from taking your loved ones life...to protect you from the abuse?
"...God is never the author of sin. Though people's sinful intents and actions serve the sovereign purpose of God, we must never conclude that God has induced anyone to sin." ~Jerry Bridges, Trusting God, Even When Life Hurts, 2008Do you believe in the sovereignty of God friend? If you do then you do believe that yes He could have stopped all those awful things but He didn't. Why? Because it is part of His plan!! If we believe this then we are glorying God, we are trusting God, believing that He is in control. No matter how painful it can be, we accept it and move forward with one purpose...to glorify Him!
"But it is the ability of God to so arrange diverse human actions to fulfill His purpose that makes His sovereignty marvelous and yet mysterious" ~Jerry Bridges, Trusting God, Even When Life Hurts, 2008
We honor and reverence God when we trust Him and believe in His sovereignty, especially when we don't understand why He has allowed adversity in our life. Allowed. A sovereign God would allow suffering and pain? Yes, even in His great love for us, He will allow pain and suffering to grow us for His glory, for His plan. And He requires us to trust Him in it and know He is in control. Trusting Him in this is not a matter of feelings, it takes will power spiritually, physically, and mentally.
"Over all the actions and events of our lives, God is in control doing as He pleases-not apart from those events, or in spite of them, but through them. ~ Jerry Bridges, Trusting God, Even When Life Hurts, 2008
My friend, I have a not so pretty track record of bad choices with life long consequences. But it is in believing that my God is so great, so powerful, so sovereign that I can rest in the fact that my past and my present is also a part of His plan for me...something He can use to glorify Him. That is amazing, and that is what I want!
Think of Joesph, sold by his brothers into slavery...part of God's greater plan. How about Job's suffering...part of God's plan. The women at the well and how she was able to be a witness for Christ....part of Gods greater plan. David and Bathsheba...part of God's greater plan? Many researchers believe Bathsheba is who the writer is describing in the Proverbs 31 passage...Solomon referencing his mother, a women who fell hard and rose high...part of God's plan to use for generations to come!!
It is one thing to know that no person or circumstance can touch us outside of God's sovereign control; it is still another to realize that no person or circumstances can frustrate God's purpose for our lives. ~Jerry Bridges, Trusting God, Even When Life Hurts, 2008
You in all your past sins and failures are part of God's plan! Can you accept that? Replace that pain and unforgiveness you carry with the comfort of that truth! Can you believe and trust in the Sovereignty of our God? This is the challenge I leave for you this week. In your quiet time each day dwell on scripture that speaks to the sovereignty of God. I will leave you a few here to reflect on:
Ps. 18:30; 33:10-11; 115:3; 121:3-4
Proverb 16:9; 19:21; 21:1, 30; 57:2
Isa. 14:27; 43:13; 46:10; 57:15
Jere. 14:22; 29:11
Rom. 8:28, 35, 37-39; 11:33
2Cor. 5:7; 12:9
1 tim 6:15
Journal about these scripture, pray them back to God. I have given you an example of doing this below. Dwell, meditate, and believe on God's sovereignty this week. This is the first step of our journey towards reverencing God and getting closer to becoming the Proverbs 31 Woman.
Oh Holy God, my Sovereign God, humbly I seek your presence, humbly I come to You in awe and amazement. Words cannot express the gratitude I have for your mercy and grace. This is your year to do what you will in my life. O Lord, God of our Fathers, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hands and no one can withstand you (2 Chron 20:6). You are the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of all kings and Master [Lord] of all masters [lords] (1 Tim 6:15). Be Lord of my life. Rule 2011! Your ways are perfect and your Word is flawless. Be my shield as I take refuge in You (Ps 18:30). Your plans stand firm through all eternity, the purpose of Your heart though all generations (Ps 33:11). Make your purpose in my life my purpose! My hearts desire is to be fully committed to serving you, loving you, and honoring you. Help me to approach this new year with a mind set and heart set of being intentional...intentional for your kingdom and your glory. I am unworthy but I am willing. Lead me my precious Savior. Lead me in this journey and enable me to be a Proverbs 31 woman for your glory. ~Amen.
Next week we will explore the Proverbs 31 Woman's faith relationship of fearing God and its correlation to this virtue of reverence.
To explore more on this weeks subject on the sovereignty of God, I encourage you to read Jerry Bridges book I quoted from. It's a painful but transformational read!!