Trust in God, Not Man; Singapore Summit; California's Tyrannical Legislation
June 13, 2018
Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the LORD… Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is the LORD. (Jer 17:5,7 NKJV)
Dr. Richard Blackaby (full bio) is president of Blackaby Ministries International near Atlanta, following his father, Dr. Henry Blackaby, who founded the ministry. He earned his M.Div. and Ph.D. at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. After 13 years as a pastor, and 13 years as President of the Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary, he now serves as Chancellor. This excerpt is from his devotional, Experiencing God Day by Day, “Trusting God First.”
The Israelites of Jeremiah's day believed they could trust in their army, the diplomacy of their king, and their foreign alliances to protect them from the powerful Babylonian empire. They gave lip service to their trust in God, but their actions showed where their faith really was: in their military and financial might. God spoke through Jeremiah to warn them that He would not bless those who trusted in anyone or anything instead of Him.
Placing your ultimate trust in anything other than God is idolatry. How can you know if your faith is not truly in God? Ask yourself these questions: Where do I turn when I experience a crisis? When I am hurting or afraid, to whom do I go? When I have a financial problem, whom do I want to tell first? Where do I seek comfort when I am under stress or discouraged?
God often uses other people as His method of providing for you. But be careful lest you inadvertently misdirect your faith toward His provision instead of toward the Provider. God may meet your need through your friends, but ultimately your trust must be in God. The Israelites were so stubbornly committed to trusting in human strength instead of God that, even as the Babylonian army approached Jerusalem, they continued to desperately seek for a person, or a nation, or an army that could rescue them. They realized too late that they had neglected to trust in the only One who could deliver them. Don’t make the same mistake as the Israelites. Go straight to the Lord when you have a need. He is the only One who can provide for you.
Placing our ultimate trust in Almighty God is a major theme in Scripture both for individuals and for nations. America’s Founding Fathers believed in the providence of God in the affairs of nations and appealed to Him often. George Washington called upon his Continental troops to seek God and the Continental Congress prayed throughout the War for Independence, periodically calling upon the people to seek God, especially before or during major conflicts in the war. And they were careful to call for thanksgiving after major victories. During eight years of war, they issued 15 nationwide calls for either extraordinary humiliation, fasting and prayer, or thanksgiving. The routine prayer days practiced in the colonies also continued to take place.
For many years, America has been in accelerating spiritual, moral, and political decline, each symbiotic with the other. God has dealt with us mercifully. He has allowed us to see the consequences of our sin through increased violence, crime, massive storms, calamities, and political failures to remind us of our need to turn to Him. God deals directly with individuals and with nations. And each of us has an impact on the welfare and destiny of our nation for good or for evil. Our sins, unrepented of, not only impact our own lives, but our families, our churches, and our nation. Our courageous acts of faith and righteousness and consistent godly behavior has great impact as well.
Even amid a confused and sin-laden society, God is using relatively small bands of believers who are wholly committed to Him and who trust in Him to access His miracles and mercies in America, despite our nation’s shocking spiritual, moral, and political divide. Amid the darkness can be seen the fruit of a growing army of believers and churches that God has stirred to humble themselves, pray, seek God’s face, and turn from their wicked ways. As that remnant grows over time, I believe God’s grace will permeate our entire nation. People and churches will be changed and the kind of righteousness that God says exalts a nation will also. While wickedness is on the increase now, the time may come when righteousness begins to supplant the evil. With the decline of wickedness and the rise of righteousness, godless leaders who have managed to increase wickedness through laws that have corrupted our children, our schools, our cities, and states will be supplanted as well.
The people of Judah experienced renewal under King Jehoshaphat. Assaulted by an overwhelming enemy force, Judah was helpless (read 2 Chr 20:1-30). “Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.” The people fixed their eyes, not on their own army or weapons, nor on some distant ally’s help. Rather, they fixed their eyes squarely on the living God, trusting Him. As they did, the prophet said, “You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord…!” They trusted God. Jehoshaphat sent singers to lead the army. But the Lord set ambushes for their enemies and when the Judean army arrived, they found nothing but dead bodies. The enemy armies had turned against themselves and not a single soldier survived.
If a remnant of believing Americans remains faithful and continues to grow, it is just a matter of time before God will use His people and our nation to open wide the doors of entire nations now closed to the gospel. We could see that happen in North Korea, if we will persist in repentance and prayer. Meanwhile, we must continue to press on in urging our fellow believers and countrymen to receive God’s grace and turn wholeheartedly to Him. More and more are turning and praying. More and more are getting the vision to be salt AND light, devoting themselves to evangelism and to transforming our culture through transformed character, teaching, and preaching of the word of God as it applies to our culture – publicly encouraging what is good and denouncing what is evil – and offering and leading communities with godly solutions.
The Call2Fall is just weeks away. It could not be at a more opportune time, following President Trump’s summit with the leader of North Korea. The door has been opened for 300,000 of God’s most precious people – Christians subjected to forced labor and death camps because of their faith in Jesus – to be released or otherwise given relief. But this is all contingent on prayer. Our eyes must not be on Kim Jong-un, nor President Trump, although we must pray for both (1 Tim 2:1-8). Our eyes must be fixed upon the Lord and our hearts trusting Him to have mercy.
We should each recruit whoever is willing to participate in the Call2Fall in the spirit of the pledge:
I will answer God’s call to fall on my knees in humility and seek His face in repentance so that He might forgive my sins and heal our land!
Singapore Summit – My wife and I joined a prayer call with over 4,000 participants on Monday evening to pray for President Trump and North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un, who met face to face to solidify an agreement to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, and to bring the standoff between North Korea and South Korea and the nuclear threat that has long existed between North Korea and the United States to an end. I have had the pleasure of visiting South Korea and praying with thousands of Christians who have been praying for this to happen for decades. They have cried out to God daily for Him to open the door for the gospel to freely be preached in North Korea and for their persecuted relatives and Christian brethren in the North to be set free.
The prayer call I took part in Monday night was one of thousands across America and other nations, some organized by Christian organizations with thousands of participants, others in private prayer circles of 5 or 10 or 15 people, many who pray together regularly, still other groups of all sizes hastily organized in a matter of hours or a couple days.
Read Tony Perkins short article Post Singapore, What is Next for Freedom in North Korea? and listen to Tony & Gen. Boykin discuss the Singapore Summit, and to Tony and FRC’s Travis Weber, Director of the Center for Religious Liberty, further discuss the implications of the Summit for religious liberty around the world.
- Heavenly Father, thank you for this historic Summit. Thank you for the fruit of the prayers of God’s people over many decades, for raising up the leaders you have used to make this happen: President Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Advisor John Bolton, and many others who have labored arduously over many weeks and months. Thank you for bringing it all together to make a new beginning. Lord, our eyes are upon You. We look not to men, but to our Sovereign Lord. We pray that you will finish the good work that you have begun, and that you will strike a blow not only to the threat of nuclear devastation, but to the human oppression and slavery that has so harmed your people in North Korea. Lord, you know this work is not completed. Keep your people at their posts. Energize us to focus and pray until security for the Korean Peninsula has been established, your people and the North Korean people are truly free, and the people in South Korea, for whom our fathers shed their blood, will rest secure from the threat that has hung over their heads for most of their lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. (Ps 9:10; 22:5; 25:20; 40:4; 44:5-7; 103:19; Jer 17:5; Dan 4:34-35; Acts 12:5; 2 Cor 1:9; 1 Tim 6:17; 2 Tim 1:3)
Finally, please add these matters to your prayer list: 1) Vice President Mike Pence spoke to the Southern Baptist Convention this afternoon, where he talked about the Singapore Summit. 2) Since April, Senators James Lankford (R-Okla.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) have been leading a bi-partisan effort to demand that Turkish President Erdogan release Pastor Andrew Brunson from a Turkish prison. Now they are trying to prevent the U.S. from selling Turkey a fleet of F-35 advanced jet fighters. 3) California’s AB 2943, which prohibits professional counseling of persons with same-sex attraction or gender identity confusion, including via books, articles, or other counseling vehicles under the consumer fraud law has been voted out of committee and now goes to the full Senate for a final vote. 4) California AB 2119, a bill requiring puberty-blocking drugs and sex change operations be performed on foster children with gender confusion is advancing in the California legislature.
Thank you for praying!