Thursday, August 20, 2015
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There's a spot in Vermont that our family has loved to visit for years. And God introduced us to some wonderful friends who made it possible for us to stay at the place they own. Even to get there is beautiful! First, we drive through the Adirondack Mountains in New York State. And then we enter the Champlain Valley of Vermont. And as we're leaving the one range of mountains we're looking at the next range; the scenic green mountains of Vermont.
Now, the inn we stay in is in the valley between the two. So when we arrive, we look West at those mountains we've just been through, and we look 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 the Mountains of Tomorrow."
We just visit that valley between those 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 of the history of God's ancient people in our word for today from the Word of God in 2 Chronicles 20.
Jehoshaphat is the Jewish king, and it says, "Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, 'A vast army is coming against you'." Well, frankly, this threat is overwhelming. But this godly king doesn't get overwhelmed. Maybe nervous and scared, but not overwhelmed. We find out how to live this way when we listen to some of his prayer to God.
"Oh Lord," he says, "Are you not the God who is in heaven? Power and might are in your hand and no one can withstand you. Oh Lord 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 they have built in it a sanctuary for your name."
Now, you know what he's doing? He's looking back at the mountains of yesterday: the walled cities, the barbaric tribes the Jews had to conquer, the taking of a Promised Land they didn't even have an inch of yet, and all the challenges of living since then and building 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 His power, and His faithfulness.
Then the king looks ahead at the mountain of tomorrow; this vast army coming. He says, "Oh Lord God, we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us." By the way, that feeling of powerlessness might be right where you are right now. "We do not know what to do (he says) but our eyes are upon You." Not the vast army. "Our eyes are upon You." And the Lord's word to his servant, "Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army, for the battle is not yours but God's."
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 really 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 is always something to thank Him for and always something to trust Him for. First, you've got to look back at the amazing works God has already done, and specifically thank Him for them. Your confidence grows as you remember all He's already done.
Then you look ahead and you see all those 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 were looking pretty discouraging for an extended time, our bookkeeper reported to me another day of pretty limited income. And then, knowing better than anyone the pressures that we faced, he smiled and he said, "Another day to trust Him, huh?"
See, the battle is the Lord's. Those four words say it all about this day and about each tomorrow in your life. It's another day to trust Him. As you thank God for what He did in the mountains of yesterday and you trust God for what He is going to do in the mountains of tomorrow.