When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him. (Matthew 8:14-15)
In the passage that inspired this message we see Jesus heal Peter’s mother-in-law from her illness. Taken in a larger and God revealing context we see our Lord healing her from the effects of her illness in the same we Jesus, as our Savior, heals us from the effects of our sin. He takes away her fever in the same way He takes away our death from sin. In the same way she was raised, we are also raised to eternal life through Jesus.
When she was raised her first reaction was to serve her healer. This is a message to believers that we are called into servanthood when we accept that Jesus gave His life to redeem ours. We are not called to serve out of obligation but out of love. When we can truly understand what we have been saved from, and experience the life that we have access to, we should look to serve the purpose God created us for. We should seek the purpose that Christ’s sacrifice has called us to.
God’s grace has called us out of the darkness of this world, not because we deserve it, but because His love and mercy have been bestowed upon us. Only through God’s grace and the sacrifice of His Son have you been called to Him and redeemed from your sin. You have been called for a purpose. That purpose is found in submission to your Heavenly Father. As we submit to God we are called to serve His kingdom. We are called to serve others.
Develop a spirit of gratitude as you seek true appreciation of what you have been given from a gracious and faithful God. Let your love grow along with your relationship to the Father. Share the love God has for you with others through selfless servanthood.
Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. (1 Corinthians 4:1)
O LORD, surely I am Your servant, I am Your servant, the son of Your handmaid, You have loosed my bonds (Psalm 116:16)
Throughout the Old Testament (2 Kings specifically today) I see a trend in God’s people that continues to plague us. As we study, we see God ‘delivering’ those who don’t follow Him into the hands of His people. We see God ‘driving people out’ of lands He desires for His people. God’s provision in terms of land, both to live and farm, and dwell safely is clearly repeated many times. It’s only in the people’s disobedience and ‘turning away’ that His provisions are left unprotected to be taken by foreign kings. God must continually show His people that all they have is because of Him.
God physically set His people apart in the Old Testament. Today, as believers, we are set apart spiritually as we work toward Christ likeness. This Christ likeness is a process of becoming holy known as sanctification. The definition of holy is ‘set apart.’ As God’s chosen He sets us apart from the darkness of this world just as He set apart His people in their own lands long ago.
Just like then, we still seek the things that we are meant to be set apart from. At that time people continued to offer sacrifice to the gods of the previous inhabitants. They sought comfort in the ways that God had removed from them. These types of acts were evil in the sight of God. As we read these stories of God handing over armies and land, then His people building an altar to a god that had just been conquered, it seems absurd, and it is! Yet we do the exact same thing today. God delivers us from the sinful nature of the world, He gives us Jesus to reconcile us to Him and His Holy nature. Yet each of us returns to the comforts of this world in an attempt to sooth ourselves, whether it’s food, drugs, sex/pornography, wealth, status, control, etc. The list could go on. We all miss the facts shown the Old Testament that God is the source of all of our provision, a provision that is always better than the tainted versions found on earth. The fullness found in the holy provision of God is missed by those unwilling to let God have control of their life. We should take a moment to see the mistakes by those from long ago, learn from their mistake, and ask God to be our only provision. We should trust that His provision, in His timing, will bring us into His fullness and truly set us apart.
A trend exist today where people brush aside the Laws and Protocols that God gave to Moses after the Israelites were lead out of Egypt. Just like people now, the people had a tendency to forget about God and His desires for them if it wasn’t continually in front of them. Even then, they tended to turn away from God. God lead His people with pillars of smoke by day and fire by night, He provided food and water when none were available, and He parted The Red Sea and The Jordan River! People assume that if God Himself walked up to take them by the hand, they would believe and follow. That is doubtful because everyone carries an expectation of what God would look like, and if He didn’t match that standard they wouldn’t accept Him or His provision. Proof is found when God did come to earth and was rejected by The Pharisee who had studied God and His prophecy all of their lives. They not only turned away but killed God’s Word made flesh because they disagreed with how God chose to present Himself. We all have a tendency to humanize God. We forget that what God is transcends our ability to comprehend Him fully. God, in His Grace, decided to help His chosen focus on Him through Laws and rituals that personified (1)His character, (2)kept order/ set apart His people, and (3)created relationship/brought attention to the Creator, Sustainer, and Lord of the universe. As with all things of the Old Testament, they were all shadows of the truths to come. Let’s look at a few ways we can identify with God as He shows us His character, desire for us, and desire for His kingdom.
Please look at this link and its list of the 613 commands of God in the Old Testament. Each one has a purpose to guide His people as well as create understanding of Him through their compliance.
God could have easily walked His people directly out of Egypt and into The Promised Land. As His people stood at the border they doubted whether they could defeat those who already lived in the land. They only perceived what their frail human form could accomplish while underestimating the power and faithfulness of God. Today we are guilty of the same offense. We humanize God, His judgement and His ability. We choose to only obey the things we can understand. We are left in the wilderness of this world where the grace of God still provides provision but in a way that falls short of what God intended for us to have. Are you willing to have the faith of Joshua and Caleb? (Numbers 13:30) But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.” (Numbers 14:6-9) Joshua … and Caleb …, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes 7 and said to all the congregation of the people of Israel, “The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceedingly good land. 8 If the Lord delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey. 9 Only do not rebel against the Lord.
Are you willing to walk in the guidance of a God that wants to lead you into His promised provision and eventually into His presence in Heaven? Live in communication with God and ask what His desired provision is for you. Present your questions to Him and allow His answer to guide your heart. Be willing to sit in silence and accept His answer spoken softly to your spirit. Live in Him and don’t follow the rest of the world in to a wilderness to parish apart from the light of your Lord.