Anxiety is a struggle for me. Is it you? The slightest turn of events and I’m flustered. How will I ever make it on time? How I am going to get this done? What if insurance doesn’t pay? What if we can’t get our money back? What if the kids get sick? Etc, Etc. All things that usually work out in time. No real reason to be worried. Right?
Devotional Scripture: Genesis 32:1-8
Key Verse: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1
Not like Jacob who had tremendous reason to be concerned when he got word his twin brother Esau was on his way with 400 men. Just a weeee bit scary considering Esau had threatened to murder Jacob twenty years prior after stealing his blessing. Hence “Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed” (v.7). Can’t say I blame him! I would’ve been an absolute mess.
Jacob’s quick response was to divide his family and belongings into two camps so if Esau attacked one group the other could hopefully escape. Now I can’t help but wonder what the ladies thought of this idea. “Are you serious Jacob? Split up? And then what? Hope and pray Esau attacks the other group? Yeah great idea honey.”
I picture them frantically trying to part ways. Both sides begging Jacob to stay with them. The servants doing their best to divide things evenly. The mothers separating the kids. “You’ll see your brothers again later. We have to go! Please Reuben now!”
Can you see it? Have you been there? Not in Jacob’s shoes exactly but so filled to the brim with worry you had to do something or you might explode with anxiety. Certain this whole surviving life thing was absolutely up to you. When in reality it wasn’t. And still isn’t. Not when you’re a child of God. Because HE is a good and loving Father who takes care of his children.
Displayed to Jacob in what should have been one of the most powerful moments of his entire life. Verse 1 says after leaving Laban “The angels of God met him.” How awesome is that! God opened Jacob’s eyes to see the army of angels traveling with him. Not after, but BEFORE, he ever got the news of Esau and his small militia. God knew it would be concerning. So he gave Jacob something to hold on to; something to stake claim in; the awesome assurance of His presence.
And Jacob didn’t just see a few angels. He saw so many he declared it to be God’s camp and named the place Mahanaim, which means two camps. His camp and God’s camp. Yet when Jacob got the news Esau was on his way he apparently forgot all about God’s camp! And ironically divided his family into you guessed it…two camps.
What in the world? Jacob, what happened? God even showed you his angel army! Indeed He did. But God’s revealed even more to us and we still struggle, don’t we? Coming unglued at the tiniest bit of bad news though we have a host verses to hold onto. Verses like Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” And Psalm 34:7 “The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.” Along with encouragement such as “I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears” (Ps. 34:4).
The problem is, like Jacob, we fail to make the connection between God’s revelation and real life – leaving us reeling with nail biting uncertainty. Shaking in our boots. Convinced America is headed to hell in a handbasket and there’s just nothing we can do about it. Powerless against the growing activist groups gaining access to our government. Terrified for our children because of an obvious moral decay and decline in Christianity.
Please don’t get me wrong. We have plenty to be concerned about. And I’m deeply concerned! But friend, we are not powerless. We simply need to make the connection between God’s word and real life! If we’re losing ground to an advancing enemy; if we’re feeling frenzied day in and day out; if we’re spending most of our time worried; it’s simply because we aren’t fighting back with the most powerful weapon there is – the very WORD of God. Ephesians 6:17 calls it the sword of the spirit for a reason. Because it’s “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword” (Heb. 4:12).
So how do you use it? Prayer. Paul says to take the sword of the spirit (the word of God) and pray at all times! It’s the only way we can fight the enemy. Who is not flesh and blood, though it may look it. The real enemy, the real battle, is “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12). I know it sounds “other worldly” to say so. But it’s truth. Our enemy is Satan and his cohort of demons who are constantly prowling around seeking to devour (1 Peter 5:8).
And I guarantee you the last thing Satan wants to see are Christians praying God’s word because he knows he’s powerless against it. So how about it – are you with me? God’s given us some amazing words, but we need to be using them, not just reading them. It’s time we fight back. It’s time we stand together as the body of Christ and pray life changing prayers rooted in the active and authoritative word of God. Not just whimsical prayers or quick pick-me-ups. But prayers that make the devil cower. Confident God’s revelation is applicable to our life today, tomorrow, and every day after. We need not fear my friend, for Christ has overcome the world (John 16:33). But we do indeed need to pray.
Father God, forgive us for not standing firmly in the truth of your Word. And for not using it effectively. You’ve told us your word is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword (Heb. 4:12) yet we quake at the advancing enemy just as Jacob did. But you’ve given us promises and truths to firmly stand upon. Help us God to stand firm. Fill us with courage and strength. For you are “our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” In Jesus precious name, Amen.
***If you would like to join me I’ll be regularly posting prayers using a variety of Scriptures on the Deeper Devos Facebook page as well as Twitter. Feel free to share them, repost them, declare them, however you feel led. Maybe together we can begin a movement of prayer this nation is in dire need of. You can follow me on twitter @staceysalsbery.