Psalms 19 speaks forth a powerful message, one that cannot be stopped: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth.” (Ps. 19:1-6 NIV)
What this means is that God can use anything…ANYTHING!…to get people’s attention, to teach them about Him, to bring them to truth. No matter how people try to stop the gospel, they cannot; for when humans are hushed, Jesus says that “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” (Luke 19:40 NIV)
The Psalm goes on to spend the next 8 verses to tell of the benefits of surrender to God: “The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.” (Psalms 19:7-11 NIV)
Just what are the benefits of obedience and submission to God? The Psalm says our soul is refreshed, the simple are made wise, hearts are filled with joy, our eyes begin to truly see, and we receive great reward!
I have experienced this firsthand. The times I have fully submitted myself to God’s will, to letting Him be the “driver” of my life, so to speak, I have indeed received great reward.
One of these rewards was the gift of healing. It all started one day at lunchtime. I had been seeking God’s guidance on how to make His name known in my school, and I was overwhelmed with the desire to go for a walk. Since exercise and I have never been bosom buddies, I sensed this wasn’t coming from me. I will admit, I didn’t feel like going for a walk. Especially when my next step resulted in severe pain in my ankle. I wanted to obey, however. I knew God’s statues and commands were trustworthy, perfect and enlightening, true sources of joy, so I limped to the door and pushed it open.
Brrr! The breeze coming in the door wasn’t exactly typical of mid-summer! Late autumn was more like it! Again I was tempted to turn back. After all, surely God didn’t want me to catch a cold!
I pushed the thought aside. I couldn’t let anything distract me from following God’s command! And so I hobbled down the stairs and out onto the sidewalk. The pain in my ankle, intensified with each step. Unfortunately for me, so did the direct feeling in my heart that I had to take that walk! I decided to take God at His word. I said, “Okay, God! If You truly want me to go for a walk, You will have to do something about the pain in my ankle!”
Slowly but surely, the pain began to subside, and by the time I turned the second corner, I was walking as if my foot had never hurt. Interestingly, I didn’t seem to feel the cold anymore either…
As I walked, I began to think about what had just transpired in light of my recent quest to learn how I could make a kingdom difference at this school. Suddenly I knew: God was helping me to understand that He wanted to use me in a healing ministry! I was confident that what God had just done for me, He would do through me for others.
Over the next few years, many teachers experienced healing at my school. It wasn’t me, it was God keeping His promise of Psalms 19. With each new healing, my spirit was more and more refreshed as my faith grew stronger. My simple mind was made wise to know how to pray for these people, and each healing filled my heart with joy. I truly received a great reward for respecting God enough to be obedient to His commands, precepts and decrees.
But perhaps the biggest reward was this: Other teachers at my school began to put their faith in Jesus Christ!
The gospel message will go forth, whether we decide to participate or not. But when we respect God enough to obey, to submit to Him, to follow where He leads, we are rewarded with joy, our faith is strengthened, our spirits are refreshed, and we receive wisdom from above!
Oh, and maybe the pain in our ankles will dissipate as well!
In His love,
(To access the entire “The Sling for God” devotional series, please click here.)