The Fragrance Of His Presence
Lord, I Believe -- And It’s a Verb
Today’s Study Text:
“Martha then said to Jesus, ‘Master, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. And even now I know that whatever You ask from God, He will grant it to You.”
John 11: 21, 22
“What I believe about God is the most important thing about me.”
A. W. Tozer
Thoughts for Consideration:
If I had been in Martha’s situation, would my trust and belief in Jesus have been as resolute?
When times are tough and my faith is stretched to the limit, do I still radiate a spirit of trust in Jesus?
“It is not our trust that keeps us, but the God in whom we trust who keeps us.”
“The more we depend on God, the more dependable we find He is.”
Sir Cliff Richard
I don’t want you to think that you may have joined a grammar class today. However, as I have, in previous times, read John 11 – way too quickly, I found that because of my speed reading, I missed out on a very important fact about the grammar in this chapter which the Apostle John chose to use. It took Audrey West, Adjunct Professor of the New Testament at the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago, Illinois, to give me a very interesting lesson on why John wrote as he did in the Gospel of John. Professor West points specifically to the word “believe” and here is what she says: “Like much of the Gospel (of John), the passage (found in John 11) points repeatedly to the importance of the act of “believing” always a verb in John, never the noun “belief.”
I find it immensely revealing that throughout Jesus’ ministry, rarely has one single individual shown such a firm conviction that not only is Jesus powerful, but as Martha believed – Jesus is also The Messiah with the power of God’s gift of life and light. With so many individuals trying to minimize Jesus to nothing more than Joseph’s son, a carpenter from Galilee; somehow, Martha not only recognized who Jesus was, she also knew what he could do.
The words which Martha spoke upon coming face-to-face with Jesus were these: “Lord ! If Thou hadst been here?” Some may read this as a soft chiding to the Master. However, I’d like to suggest that this is a statement of fact. For had Jesus been in Lazarus’ room as his breaths were slower and more shallow, I believe without a doubt, that a healing touch from the Master was all that was needed to bring the glow of life into Lazarus again. Martha could not really question Jesus’ ability – just His timing seemed flawed. As J.R. Macduff points out: “the loving eye of Omniscience had all the while been scanning that sick-chamber, marking every throb in the fevered brow – and every tear that fell unbidden from the eyes that watched his pillow? ‘Lord, if Thou hadst been here?’” We also note that Martha certainly couldn’t doubt Jesus’ ability. She had been around the Master enough times to witness His unfettered ability to provide food and heal disease. As John Macduff descriptively describes the first moment when Jesus came into the presence of Martha and their eyes first met he writes, “Faith breaks through. The murmur of upbraiding died away. He who listens makes allowance for her anguished heart. The glance of tender sympathy and gentleness met Martha’s eye, and at once hushed all remains of unbelief. Words of exulting confidence immediately succeed. ‘But I know that even now whatsoever Thou wilt ask of God, God will give it Thee.’ What is this but that which every believer exults in to this hour, as the sheet-anchor of hope and peace and comfort, when tossed on a tempestuous sea – a gracious confidence in the ability and willingness of Christ to save.” The Friend of Bethany is still your Friend in heaven today. Praise God for this wonderful knowledge and great comfort each day.
In the words of King David, “For God alone my soul waits in silence; from Him comes my salvation. He only is my Rock and my Salvation, my Defense and my Fortress, I shall not be greatly moved…Trust in, lean on, rely on, and have confidence in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him” (Psalm 62: 1, 2, 8 Amplified Bible).
Leave It All
“Leave it all quietly to God, my soul,
my rescue comes from Him alone;
rock, rescue, refuge, He is all to me,
never shall I be overthrown…
My safety and my honor rest on God;
God is my strong rock and refuge.
Always rely on Him…pour out your
prayers to Him;
God is a refuge for us.”
Based on Psalm 62
James Moffatt, 1925
“Who is among you who reverently fears the Lord, who obeys the voice of His Servant, yet who walks in darkness and deep trouble…Let him/her rely on, trust in, and be confident in the name of the Lord, and let him/her lean upon and be supported by his/her God” (Isaiah 50: 10, Amplified Bible).
“Why faithless soul, with drooping wings,
To unbelief make base surrender,
When each returning morning brings
Proofs of God’s love so vast and tender?
Though thou mayest weary grow of Him,
His love to thee can never grow dim.
Though now, perchance, His gracious face
Veil for a time its former shining,
Yet trust Him when thou canst not trace,
Clouds yet will have their silver lining;
The sun which midday storms enfold,
Will set in amethyst and gold.
Up! up! with eagle pinion rise,
Nor seek to pause on perch inglorious,
Till in the blue of heavenward skies,
Over every cloud and storm victorious,
You come, with eye no longer dim,
To fold your wings with seraphim.”
J. R. Macduff
“But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
They spread their wings and soar like eagles.
They run and don’t get tired,
they walk and don’t lag behind.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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