Do you have a plan to seek God through His Word every day? Do you know that there is a Bible resource that you can put on your phone, tablet, or computer that is free to everyone called the You Version? Not only is it a mobile Bible, but within this application, there are hundreds of reading plans from which to choose. Some of the plans take just a few days to complete, while others are set up for an entire year.
There are thematic plans that will point you to what the Bible says about different topics like how to overcome worry or fear and plans that point us to the hope we have in Jesus. Some of these plans have a devotional thought attached to them. If you aren’t a good reader, there is an even an option to have the daily plan read to you. And some of the devotionals are presented in a video format. There’s literally something for everyone in this one FREE resource!
I want to encourage you to utilize this great tool for your benefit. After all, you are spending a greater amount of time at home. And without options like going out to dinner or to the movies, etc. you have more time to spend alone pursuing God. Start off with a shorter plan, and carve out 30 minutes to read from his word, possibly listening to or reading an accompanying devotion, and then inviting God to lead you in a way that will help you to become a greater leader of the people he puts in your path.
Well, this morning, in my daily reading plan, I was reading in Genesis, the story of Jacob wrestling with God. Every time I read that story I am taken by Jacob’s determination that shows itself toward the end of their wrestling match. God says to Jacob, and I’m paraphrasing, “Let go of me Jacob, it’s almost morning and we’ve been going at this long enough.” Notice how Jacob responds. He says, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” (Genesis 32:26) Jacob had a sense that this wrestling match was not about God bullying him or showing him who is boss. But he was determined to discover God’s blessing in the midst of his difficulty.
After reading that I was reminded of the time, right after Solomon finished building the Temple. We are told that one night, God appeared to Solomon and blessed the temple as the place where God would be present to accept sacrifices offered to Him. It was certainly a time for celebration, but notice what God says next.
“At times I might shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or command grasshoppers to devour your crops, or send plagues among you.
In other words, there will be times when God allows us to endure extreme difficulties when we are forced to depend completely on Him. Then God says these words that we would do well to memorize as a constant reminder of His love for us.
14 Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.
We can look at our present situation in many ways. I believe the most productive way to view it is to treat it as an opportunity to step away from things and activities that, at times, are more distracting than helpful. If we would use this time to humble ourselves and recognize our deep need for God, and pursue him with the eyes of our hearts wide open, God will speak to us, restore us, and bring healing to this world in which we live.
But God wasn’t finished. He goes on to say:
15 My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to every prayer made in this place. 16 For I have chosen this Temple and set it apart to be holy—a place where my name will be honored forever. I will always watch over it, for it is dear to my heart. 2 Chronicles 7:11-16
So, God was instructing Solomon that this temple was a place where He would live and bless. Hundreds of years later, however, Jesus introduced a new covenant or arrangement between God and His people. And in this new covenant, he declared that the temple was no longer a building made of “bricks and mortar”. Instead, we would be the temple – flesh and blood temples – so that the awesomeness of God would go wherever we go and be a blessing to whomever we meet. This is how the Apostle Paul described it.
19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
I don’t know how long we are going to be sequestered from what has been “normal” in our lives. But what I do know is that God isn’t surprised by this. He is present and at work in our reality, and he never wastes an opportunity. My prayer is that you and I will also take full advantage of this opportunity to not only seek God’s face, but make the decision to turn towards him, fully surrendered and humbled, so that he can complete the work he began in us. It’s a work that will provide renewed purpose and hope – not only to us but everyone around us!
So, after spending some planned time with God today, maybe you could say to Him something like this.
“No matter how long this lasts, I’m not going to let go of you, until you bless me.” And while we’re holding on and waiting for his blessing, let us humble ourselves, and pray, and seek God’s face, and turn from our wicked ways. And then I am confident that we will hear from heaven and He will forgive our sins and restore our land.