Today’s Thought and Text of Encouragement:
“As thy days, so shall thy strength be.”
Deuteronomy 33: 25
“No day without its duty; no duty without strength to perform it.”
Today’s Study Text:
“So (Elijah) arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and nights to Horeb, the mount of God.”
1 Kings 19: 8
“Only In The Strength Of God”
“Commitment to God is simply the willingness to do what He has asked of me. And whenever God asks something of His children, He also provides the strength and grace to accomplish it.”
How often do I try to make my way through the day in my own strength?
How successful am I when I try to accomplish what it is that I need to do in my life, without asking for God’s help?
“O Lord, I do not ask for tasks equal to my strength; I ask for strength equal to my tasks.”
“God is our Refuge and Strength (mighty and impenetrable), a very present and well-proved help in trouble.”
Psalm 46 1
I love the words of Psalm 46. You can’t read this passage of Scripture, written by the sons of Korah and sung by treble voices as an anthem to God, without coming away believing that indeed, God is the Source of our strength. Repeatedly, the Lord is referred to as a Refuge and Stronghold. A High Tower that serves as a prominent watch-place, where the vulnerable can be alerted to any foe that may try and terrorize the unwary.
The singular point of Psalm 46 is that even if the earth is shaken to its core; even if the waters roar; even if the mountains tremble and swell, our God’s strength is so great, we have nothing to fear. God’s strength empowers us to withstand the strongest onslaught that can be thrown at us.
At the end of Psalm 46, we find these words: “The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our Refuge, our High Tower and Stronghold. Selah, pause and calmly think of that!!” (Psalm 46: 11).
With Psalm 46 as our backdrop, let’s take a moment to visit Elijah, who by now has awakened from his time of sleep and from having two meals provided by a heavenly messenger. By this point, it is likely Elijah was beginning to feel a little better, at least physically, for our study text tells us he was prepared to undertake another journey. Elijah accomplished this feat because he “went in the strength of that food forty days and nights to Horeb.”
I’m not trying to be comical but when I read this text I thought to myself, “That was some kind of heavenly power food that Elijah ate!” WOW -- it lasted for 40 days! I know a lot of companies that would love to market food which gives you all the energy you need to sustain you for forty days.
Whatever this food was, one thing we know is there was a big difference between the journey Elijah took on his own from the palace in Jezreel and the journey to Horeb designed and guided by the God of heaven and earth.
When Elijah took off running out of Jezreel with the queen’s hit squad behind him, he certainly left unprepared -- with no water or food. But we find that when God sent Elijah to Horeb, referred to as the Mount of God, He gave Elijah, as the messenger from heaven told him, food for the journey, for he went in strength! What a way to go! Infused with heavenly power.
This point brings us back to the words of Moses in Deuteronomy 33: 25, Amplified Bible. By the time these words were spoken by Moses, the children of Israel had endured over forty years of wilderness wanderings. Nearly an entire generation had died off in the desolate desert. Now, encamped on the border of Canaan -- the Promised Land -- Moses, who was 120 years-old at the time with undimmed eyesight and a clarion ring to his voice, encouraged the people whom he loved and cared so dearly for, to keep walking in the pathway laid out by their heavenly Guide. As Moses came to the end of his exhortation, he offered this phenomenal promise: “As your day, so shall your strength, your rest and security be.” I love the way The Message Bible paraphrases this text: “Your strength like iron as long as you live.” (Deuteronomy 33: 25).
I have to admit, I didn’t awaken this morning feeling as though I had strength like iron. But an interesting thing happened as the day progressed. I have a personal prayer routine which begins my day. I’ve had this special practice ever since I came home from the hospital after our car accident. I knew, within a few days of my arrival at home, that getting up early each day would take more strength than in the past. With over forty broken bones and many of those crushed in bits, I found myself challenged some days even to get moving. So before I climb out of bed, I pray -- several special prayers which mean a great deal to me. And I daily speak the words, “As your day, your strength will be.” Frankly, some days, when my strength isn’t at a high level, I may have to adjust the “To Do’s “ that I think are all-important. But an interesting yet marvelous thing has happened through the years.
Day by day, I’ve found I’m more dependent on using the heavenly strength my Father gives me to accomplish the tasks He intended for me to do. What I’ve come to realize is that in the past, so much of my day was filled with Dorothy’s plans. And then when I didn’t have the strength to do everything, I couldn’t understand why God had let me down and why I frequently felt I didn’t have strength for the journey.
Maybe the very same thing has happened to you. And you may want to ask yourself, “Is the reason my strength is at low ebb because I’m wearing myself out by latching onto endeavors that are not on God’s “To Do” list for me each day?”
Author Andrew Murray offers this perspective on God’s infusion of strength into our lives when he observes, “Since God Himself is a steadfast Rock, the foundation of all certitude and steadfastness, it must be by faith or holding fast to God that (we) can become steadfast (or strong).”
This leads us back to Psalm 46 where the singers raise their voices in proclamation and adoration of our God who is our Strength for He is our Stronghold, our Tower, and our Fortress. Strength we can count on every day.
What a difference it was in the life of Elijah, when he embarked on the journey to the Mount of God in Horeb for he was clinging to and guided by his Father whose infusion of strength gave him all he needed for the journey. Strength for the day was given to Elijah and it is given to you and me as we walk with God each day.
“Do not forsake me, my Strength, I beseech You.
When the storms beat hard I may have betrayed You,
But let me return to You now.”
Gregory of Nazianzus
“May the strength of God pilot us.
May the power of God preserve us.
May the wisdom of God instruct us.
May the hand of God protect us.
May the way of God direct us.
May the shield of God defend us.
May the host of God guard us
against the snares of evil,
against the temptations of the world.
May Christ be with us.
Christ before us, Christ in us, Christ over us.
May Thy salvation, O Lord be always ours this day
and for evermore, AMEN.”
“Grant, O God, Your protection;
and in Your protection, strength;
and in strength, understanding.”
Ancient Welsh Prayer
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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