Thursday, August 25, 2005
There is a spot in Vermont that our family has loved to visit for years. And God has introduced us to some wonderful friends who make it possible for us to stay at the place they own. Even the trip up there is beautiful! First, we drive through the Adirondack Mountains of New York State, then we head into the Champlain Valley of Vermont. As we're leaving the one range of mountains, we're looking at the next range - the scenic Green Mountains of Vermont. The inn we stay at is in the valley between the two. So, when we arrive, we look West at those mountains we have just been through, and East at those mountains we plan to explore tomorrow. It's a great place to be.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Mountains of Yesterday and Tomorrow."
We just visit that valley between the mountains. I believe God intends for us all to live in a valley like that.
To see that kind of living in action, let's go to a dramatic example in the history of God's ancient people. Our word for today from the Word of God is in 2 Chronicles 20. Jehoshaphat is the Jewish king when "some men came and told Jehoshaphat, 'A vast army is coming against you'" (vs. 2). The threat is, frankly, overwhelming. But this godly king doesn't get overwhelmed - maybe a little nervous and scared, but not overwhelmed. We find out how to live this way when we listen to some of his prayer to God.
"O Lord, are you not the God who is in heaven? ... Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand You. O our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham? They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for Your Name" (vs. 6-8). Can you tell what he's doing? He's looking back at the mountains of yesterday - the walled cities and barbaric tribes the Jews had to conquer - the taking of a promised land that they didn't have an inch of, and all the challenges of living since then, including the building of an incredible temple to God. And Jehoshaphat is grateful to God for making all those mountains that once looked so big into monuments to His love and power and faithfulness.
Then, the king looks ahead at the mountains of tomorrow - this vast army. He says, "O our God, we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us" (vs. 12). Maybe that feeling of powerlessness is where you are right now. He says, "We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You" (vs. 12). And the Lord's words to his servant, "Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's" (vs. 15). The King is now trusting God for the mountains of tomorrow.
Right there is the picture of a victorious life of faith - a life in which nothing is overwhelming - living in the valley between what God has done and what God is going to do. To put it simply, God leads you in such a way that there's always something to thank Him for and always something to trust Him for! First, you must look back at all the amazing works God has already done and specifically thank Him for them. Your confidence will grow as you do. Then you look ahead at the huge challenges in front of you and you trust Him for those; the same God who brought you through all the mountains before.
At a time when our ministry finances had looked pretty discouraging for an extended time, our bookkeeper reported to me a day of pretty limited income. And then, knowing better than anyone the pressures we faced, he smiled and said, "Another day to trust Him." The battle is the Lord's.
Those four words say it all about this day and each tomorrow in your life. It's another day to trust as you thank God for what He did in the mountains of yesterday and trust God for what He's going to do in the mountains of tomorrow.