By Sandy Shaw
At a time when serious sin had invaded and pervaded the earth, the world which had been created and made by God, required to be remade. He was the only one able and capable of doing what had to be done.
When God created this world – at each stage of Creation, God saw that it was good – and when He created man, He saw that it was very good.
“God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.” Genesis 1 verse 31.
No one today would say this world was very good. Something had gone wrong. Sin had come in to spoil and ruin what had previously been perfect.
“Sin” – the word which is seldom used, or even referred to, today – the Creation account in Genesis gives us the essential details.
Noah was chosen to be a significant part of God’s plan, and an Ark was constructed to save fallen Creation. Seven of Noah’s family and a specific selection of animals were kept safe and secure aboard the Ark, until the deluge was over, and the danger past.
Genesis Chapters 6 to 9 explain what actually happened – and later, Jesus Christ had no problem referring to that catastrophic Flood, as historical. Matthew 24 verses 37 to 39. The way of restoration and repair was made by God.
At a time of painful sore servitude in Egypt, having heard the cries of His people, Almighty God intervened, raising up Moses, appointing him Leader and Liberator of two million slaves. The Exodus record provides the occasions of confrontation, miracle, and victory.
The way to freedom was made by God.
At a time when disobedient beleaguered and humiliated Israel was imprisoned in cruel Babylon, as a consequence of their being deaf to the prophets God had sent, Isaiah was inspired and motivated to preach a word of comfort – to fortress and fortify people – who were in a mess of their own making – such is the amazing grace of our gracious God.
At a time when everything appeared quite bleak, spiritually speaking, God sent John the Baptist to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah and Savior, Jesus Christ.
John did what God had sent him to do – but at great personal cost. That is often the way.
Frequently our greatest moments in service and ministry arise when it is most inconvenient.
At a time of darkness, confusion and religious legalism, God in His mercy and love and grace, sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world.
Jesus’ prime task was to save his people from their sin – his agenda and itinerary was made by God.
When Jesus saw people suffering and sick and sad – he had compassion on them. Matthew 9 verse 35 to 36, and Chapter 14 verses 13 and 14. Check the Scriptures – let God speak to you.
Compassion is more than feeling sorry for people – and deeper than pity.
Jesus did something real and relevant – with miraculous results.
He healed and fed, and touched as only he could touch – challenging the religious leadership of the day, where it was hard and harsh and self-seeking.
The Gospels are overflowing with Christ’s dealings with needy people.
At a time when despondent desperate disciples were locked away in that Upper Room, the resurrected and risen Lord Jesus Christ appeared, and spoke words of peace to very troubled hearts and minds. John Chapters 20 and 21 point us to that light which will never go out – no darkness can ever overcome it.
There are seasons when all seems lost – and suddenly – or not so suddenly – God acts, moves, and speaks – and raises up a leader who leads with the anointing power of the Holy Spirit.
At this time, when mankind is in a moral muddle, the commands and guidance and direction which God has given, in the Old and New Testaments, remain relevant and appropriate, if man is going to recover, be renewed, and restored.
Listen to Jim Packer of Regent College, Vancouver, – “Our consciences will not be educated in the ways of God, unless we expose them to the ethical sections of the Epistles.”
Remember that challenging saying – “Seven days without the Word makes one weak.”
At such a time, it is time to be immersed in the Scriptures – to know our Bible – to know our God – not just to know about God, but to know God – our God. We can know Him – we can come as close to Him, as we choose to.
Jesus said, “Come to me all you are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11 verses 28 to 30.
In a deeply troubled and stressed world, here is Jesus Christ offering what so many long for and seek.
Come – bow down – put your head in the yoke – be yoked alongside me – and let us plough this world’s field together. What a glorious way to serve. As a carpenter, Jesus may have made the smoothest yokes in Nazareth, but it is still a yoke!
When the world, made by God, appears to be in danger, know how God has acted and reacted and responded in the past – know how God has saved and rescued mankind from various critical circumstances.
At a time of environmental and climatic confusion, know that the climate ordered and sustained by God continues to be under His capable control and care.
When we might need something further – consider this scene in the life of Moses, recorded in Deuteronomy Chapter 1.
With only a week to live, and now quite old, Moses continues working as fully and faithfully as he can. He brings the nation before him.
Moses addresses the people of God, having led them for forty years. We know exactly where and when this incident took place. Moses told the people what had gone so terribly wrong, and why it had gone so wrong.
The journey, from Egypt to the Promised Land, which should have lasted around eleven days, has taken 40 years – the result of rebellion and grumbling.
God had given Israel this Promised Land, but they would not go in and take possession of it.
How many people have refused to take possession of what God has freely given and offered? Suffering can be the painful consequence.
Many Israelites, who had left Egypt, have died – but God carried this nation as a father carries his son.
A father carries his son, when his son is tired, sick, weary or disabled – or when he holds his son to embrace him.
The wilderness journey is a symbol. It is a picture of our pilgrimage through life, even when we are, in Christ.
We experience disabling wounds, various infirmities, and deep painful hurts.
At such times, God comes and carries his sons and daughters – in the valleys – when we are low, and unable to raise ourselves – or when we feel alone and abandoned.
It is then His hand grabs you and lifts you up. You may not see His arm with your eyes.
You may not be aware of what is happening at such an hour – but they are there, lifting you, keeping you, holding you – carrying you, to where He wants you to be.
As you emerge and arrive safe and secure, you look back, with thanksgiving.
Our gracious God can be trusted totally, and relied upon utterly, to act once again.
You were made for a purpose. God’s purpose cannot be thwarted.
A young lad of eight made a wooden boat. It looked very good. He went off to the seaside on holiday, and with great excitement he took his boat down to the beach to sail his creation. Off it went – but it kept going off – further and further away – until he realised he had lost it. It was gone.
On the final day of the family holiday he looked in the toy shop window – and there was his boat. Someone had found it and rescued it. Pointing this out to his dad, father encouraged him to go in and buy it.
Out he came, with his prized possession in his arms, and with these words – “I made you – I lost you – I have bought you back – you are twice mine!”
“Made by God!” That is you. Bought by Christ on the cross – and sealed with the Holy Spirit.
“Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven – who like me His praise should sing”
Stand. Stand – firm and strong – in these challenging days. Be courageous and bold. Fulfil that to which the risen and living Lord Jesus Christ has called you.
Made by God – for a world marred and scarred and broken by sin – and sin’s sad consequences. – that is you.
Made by God – transformed in body, mind and soul – to stretch out a loving hand to those who are hurt and weak and broken – that is you.
Made by God – to be part of the answer to this world’s massive struggle – that is you.
“Almighty God – gracious loving Father – how can I give thanks enough – I bow and worship. I am twice Yours – created and ‘born again’ – rescued – bought – a new creation – restored – I praise You. All this is for a purpose – to stand and serve in this fallen broken hurting world – where there is fear and disappointment and worse. Help me – use me – in Jesus Name. Amen.”
Sandy Shaw is Pastor of Nairn Christian Fellowship, Chaplain at Inverness Prison, and Nairn Academy, and serves on The Children’s Panel in Scotland, and has travelled extensively over these past years teaching, speaking, in America, Canada, South Africa, Australia, making 12 visits to Israel conducting Tours and Pilgrimages, and most recently in Uganda and Kenya, ministering at Pastors and Leaders Seminars, in the poor areas surrounding Kampala, Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu.
He broadcasts regularly on WSHO radio out of New Orleans, and writes a weekly commentary at http://www.studylight.org entitled “Word from Scotland” on various biblical themes, as well as a weekly newspaper column.
His M.A. and B.D. degrees are from The University of Edinburgh, and he continues to run and exercise regularly to maintain a level of physical fitness.