Mark 6:2-3 “When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. ‘Where did this man get these things?’ they asked. ‘What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?’ And they took offense at him.”
They, the people, were amazed at Jesus’s teaching but they took offense at Him. They completely missed the truth and work of Christ before them. In verse six we see that Jesus was amazed at their lack of faith and he could not do many mighty miracles because of it.
It is amazing to see the unbelief that is in the church today. I was thinking the other day that when I have my morning devotions, my quiet time in the Word, that I am actually holding in my hands the ‘very Word of God.’
We know that His Word is flawless and we can trust it because God is not a man that He should lie, but He is the truth; His Word is Truth. So, when we read His Word and we see His great promises and how past generations took these promises to heart and acted on them, we see how the Lord did great things. The result was that the people marveled and gave glory to the Lord.
It was in 1963 Seville, Spain that I came to realize more powerfully the importance of the Word of God for direction in my own life. I had joined a new youth movement called Operation Mobilization for the summer and worked in the land of Spain. I was only going for the summer and then would come back to America to finish my education and become a pastor.
However, during the time in Spain the Lord was speaking to me powerfully through His Word, as well as through the experience of working in a foreign land. The question often in my mind was: should I stay on in Operation Mobilization or go back to the USA and pursue my studies. Word had just come that a team would be sent to India the following fall and it ‘grabbed’ my attention. So I prayed about it – waiting on the Word from God.
It was during this time of decision on whether to stay in OM or to go back to school in the USA that I was reading Nehemiah 6:2-3: “That Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, ‘Come, let us meet together in one of the villages in the plain of Ono.’ But they thought to do me mischief. And I sent messengers unto them, saying, ‘I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?’”
It was the latter part of that verse that really spoke to me. God was using me in Spain, but more than that He was doing a great work in my own heart and this verse jumped out at me and gave me the answer on whether to stay or leave. My decision was to stay! Looking back after all of these years – did I make the right decision? I would have to say “YES!” Yes, I did! It was the Word of God that spoke clearly and directed my way.
Many years later I was the director of OM’s ship the M/V Doulos in Latin America. We had sailed to Mexico and down the East coast of Latin America – mainly Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina, where we saw a tremendous response to the message of missions, books going out and young people wanting to join the ministry.
The OM leadership as well as the ship leadership, decided that after visiting Europe the ship should return to Latin America, proceed through the Panama Canal and go down the East coast of Latin America, sail through the Magellan Straits and then on to Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil before heading back to Europe and continuing out to Asia.
Two things happened that we did not count on. First, war broke out between Argentina and Great Britain over the Falkland (Malvina) Islands and we did not know what to expect and what would happen to the 50 or so British citizens that we had on the ship. Secondly, the economic situation in Latin America had deteriorated drastically and left the ship in a desperate financial state. So again, what should we do?
I called the department heads of the ship together, explained the problem that we faced and asked for their advice. They all felt that we should turn the ship around and go back to where we had come from, but they left the final decision up to me. What should we do – go on or turn back, I asked the Lord. I knew that if we turned back we would miss two key countries – Argentina and Brazil, but the way ahead looked impossible.
Again, having my morning devotions with God’s Word along with praying over the situation, I read the same passage in Nehemiah and again the words jumped out to me, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?” God spoke to me, and told me to go on and just trust Him, and this is what we did. God worked in miraculous ways and we saw a great response.
The reason why I give these two examples is to show that God’s Word is “quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
Over these many years of being in the ministry, the Word of God with His true and trustworthy promises therein, kept me going!
Remember, God is NOT a man that He should lie. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. We will find that when we take the Rhema Word He gives us, and then we faithfully act upon it, our most holy faith in God grows.