What is your life?

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”–yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
(James 4:13-17)

Today’s passage is a reminder for us that life is short, we are but a mist that will soon vanish away. God is eternal, so as we look to the temporary work here under the sun, we need to look to Him who is beyond the sun. We must look to things eternal for our perspective as we deal with things temporal.

My business pursuits may seem so important and pressing, but my integrity and character and my eternal soul will last far longer than whatever business I am engaged in today. God wants us to work, have jobs, make business plans, and go out and try to make a living. He’s not against that at all, just read Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. What He is warning us against constantly in Scripture is to keep our head in heaven while we are taking care of matters here on earth.

My choices and plans are constantly to be run through the filter of the Lord’s will and His purposes. As we plan and look to the future of our business and our jobs, we need to line up our business plans with God’s plans. “Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will do this or that.'”

The Lord is able to give you much more than this

Then Amaziah assembled the men of Judah and set them by fathers’ houses under commanders of thousands and of hundreds for all Judah and Benjamin. He mustered those twenty years old and upward, and found that they were 300,000 choice men, fit for war, able to handle spear and shield. He hired also 100,000 mighty men of valor from Israel for 100 talents of silver. But a man of God came to him and said, “O king, do not let the army of Israel go with you, for the LORD is not with Israel, with all these Ephraimites. But go, act, be strong for the battle. Why should you suppose that God will cast you down before the enemy? For God has power to help or to cast down.” And Amaziah said to the man of God, “But what shall we do about the hundred talents that I have given to the army of Israel?” The man of God answered, “The LORD is able to give you much more than this.” Then Amaziah discharged the army that had come to him from Ephraim to go home again. And they became very angry with Judah and returned home in fierce anger.
(2 Chronicles 25:5-10)

King Amaziah is said by the Scripture to have done “what was right in the sight of the Lord, but not with a loyal heart” (2 Chronicles 25:2).

As we see in the above passage, Amaziah tried to hire 100,000 soldiers from their evil neighbors to the north, the nation of Israel. God sent a prophet (a man of God) to tell him, “Don’t do that!”

An interesting exchange happened between King Amaziah and the man of God. The King asked, “But what about the money I’ve just invested?” What is the response of God through the prophet?

“The Lord is able to give you much more than this!”

What a powerful statement. Amaziah was concerned about money and what he would lose. God is concerned with obedience and trust in His provision.

King Amaziah had invested cash in soldiers from a wicked nation. Clearly he had not asked God’s advice on this prior to taking this action. So, now he has a choice, doesn’t he?

Do I follow my current course because I do not want to lose out on my investment? What will happen when I tell those Israelite soldiers to go back home? Will they get angry?

Or do I trust that if I follow God, He will more than provide for anything I have lost in investing in the ways of sin?

This is not to say that if we walk away from our sinful path that God is going to send piles of cash and prosperity our way as a reward. But He has certainly promised to provide for us abundantly if we forsake the ways of the world to follow Him. That provision most likely will have little to do with material wealth, but God’s provision (in whatever form that takes) is of infinitely better value than any temporary payoff here on earth (Hebrews 11:24-26).

So, what happens if:

  • We as a congregation have invested lots of time, money and energy into a program, course of action, or “ministry” that we later find out through study has no Biblical authority? Walk away from it, “The Lord is able to give you much more than this!”
  • We as individuals have devoted our lives and resources into a pathway that has taken us away from God? What about the things we will lose when we walk away? “The Lord is able to give you much more than this!”

Then Peter said, “See, we have left all and followed You.” So He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.”
(Luke 18:28-30)

I waited patiently for the Lord

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth–praise to our God; many will see it and fear, and will trust in the LORD (Psalms 40:1-3).

How long am I willing to “wait”? It seems that with the speed of technology and life we are not willing to wait very long for anything.

God promised the Israelites they would receive the Promised Land, but it would take 400 years (Genesis 15). Abraham was promised at 75 years old that he would have a son through whom God would extend His blessings and promises. He had to wait 25 years for the promised son, Isaac, to be born.

Jacob thought he lost his son Joseph to wild animals when Joseph was only 17 years old. It was 22 years later, when Joseph was 39, that Jacob finally learned that his son was safe and sound.

I waited patiently for the Lord

Again, how long am I willing to wait? When I pray for an answer from God, do I demand immediate results? What if you have to wait decades for the real answer? Or, what if you never receive that specific answer you wanted from God? Will you still wait patiently for Him?

I will leave you with two more passages for today.

He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:29-31).

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance (2 Peter 3:8-9).