Jan 20, 2020
Join us as we explore God’s ancient wisdom and apply it to our modern lives. His word is as current and relevant today as it was when he inspired its authors more than two and a half millennia ago. The websites where you can reach us are alittlewalkwithgod.com, richardagee.com, or saf.church.
I hope you will join us every week and be sure to let us know how you enjoy the podcast and let others know about it, too. Thanks for listening.
Thanks for joining me today for "A Little Walk with God." I'm your host Richard Agee.
Growing up in middle Tennessee, I had the opportunity to go spelunking in high school and college relatively often. I enjoyed the experience of exploring deep into the earth and seeing some of the beautiful formations most people never get to see. I sometimes wonder why God would create such beauty in places so inaccessible that only he could enjoy it.
Every once in a while, we would get into places we probably should have avoided. I remember going through a few spaces, cracks, chimneys, and holes I wasn't sure I would get through or back through on the return trip. The squeeze was pretty tight, even with my much thinner frame. We would wiggle and squirm for what seemed like hours to get through some of those tiny spots to get to a few of those caverns that revealed their unbelievable beauty when we finally shed light in those darkened vaults. I will never forget some of those incredible experiences.
I will also never forget a few of those close calls. The scary times. The times when we tried to climb out of those underground streams when we forgot to anchor ropes at the top of the slope and suddenly found ourselves at the bottom of a 15 or 20-foot slick stone wall ankle-deep in thousands of years of accumulated muck.
I remember one of those mistakes that took us several hours of work to get out of that predicament, four of us finally standing on each others' shoulders until the top one could reach a spot dry enough to get a handhold and pull himself up. Then we waited for another hour or so for him to find a place with rock instead of clay firm enough to hold a pivot to anchor ropes we could climb to get out of our predicament. In the meantime, the three of us tried to wait patiently.
I lost my backpack in the stream that flowed fast enough that it pulled it through an opening in the small chamber before I could catch it. The second in our threesome forgot to bring extra batteries, and of course, his lamp went out before our rescuer could return. My extra batteries were in that lost backpack. The third turned his light off while we waited since he was now the only one with extra batteries and a chance to keep us from being in utter darkness. We were not a cheerful group that day.
I wasn't a big fan of the Psalms in my youth, but this one could have calmed my heart had I learned it early and put it in my bank of scriptures for memory and meditation. David wrote it millennia before my time, but that psalm sure fit our predicament that day. Psalm 40:
I waited a long time for the Eternal;
He finally knelt down to hear me.
He listened to my weak and whispered cry.
He reached down and drew me from the deep, dark hole where I was stranded, mired in the muck and clay.
With a gentle hand, He pulled me out
To set me down safely on a warm rock;
He held me until I was steady enough to continue the journey again.
As if that were not enough,
because of Him, my mind is clearing up.
Now I have a new song to sing—
a song of praise to the One who saved me.
Because of what He's done, many people will see
and come to trust in the Eternal.
Surely those who trust the Eternal—
who don't trust in proud, powerful people
Or in people who care little for reality, chasing false gods—
surely they are happy, as I have become.
You have done so many wonderful things,
had so many tender thoughts toward us, Eternal my God,
that go on and on, ever increasing.
Who can compare with You?
Sacrifices and offerings are not what You want,
but You've opened my ears, and now I understand.
Burnt offerings and sin offerings
are not what please You.
So I said, "See, I have come to do Your will,
as it is inscribed of me in the scroll.
I am pleased to live how You want, my God.
Your law is etched into my heart and my soul." (Psalms 40:1-8 The Voice)
I read those words and think about the agonizing hours my friends and I spent standing in the muck by that stream in that cave and understand what it's like to be stranded in a deep, dark hole, mired in the muck and clay. If there had only been three of us instead of four, I'm not sure anyone could have found us or if we could have found a way out.
That's not the only time in my life I've been one person or a few minutes from disaster. As I think back through life, I realize the fractions of a second before or after a crazy driver ran a red light and would have collided with me at high speed. Or the day I left before some disaster happened in the city I just left. I remember the just in time events where moments could have meant the difference between life and death. But here I am recording a podcast to share the promise that God cares about us and knows our needs. Does he always give us what we want? No. Does he always stop the disasters in our life? No. But he cares and sees us through even the worst times of life.
When we stop and realize the Old Testament passed down through generations orally, we need to think about what we are doing today. The Hebrew Scriptures Jesus and his disciples knew were written and collected in the fifth century BC, about 1,500 years before they gave their first sermons. And remember they spoke about the events they saw. Scholars believe the earliest New Testament books, Galatians and Mark, found their way to paper around 50 AD, almost 20 years after Jesus' resurrection and ascension. So for 20 years, all their work, all their witnessing was oral. They told the stories and teachings of Jesus and God's transforming work in their lives.
The Psalmist convicts us as he continues in his song as he writes:
I have encouraged Your people with the message of righteousness,
in Your great assembly (look and see),
I haven't kept quiet about these things;
You know this, Eternal One.
I have not kept Your righteousness to myself, sealed up in the secret places of my heart;
instead, I boldly tell others how You save and how loyal You are.
I haven't been shy to talk about Your love, nor have I been afraid to tell Your truth before the great assembly of Your people. (Psalms 40:9-11a The Voice)
As we continue to move through this leap year, 2020, I invite you to think about these three verses. They convict me. I haven't been as bold as I should. I leap in my heart over the things God has done for me, but have I exuberantly shared as David did? I must admit I have not. I am not ashamed of my salvation. I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Have I enthusiastically shared the good news with the world as did Peter and Paul and those who traveled with them? No.
Perhaps we, including me, can leap into the fray, be bold in our witness, talk about your love, and not keep you in the secret places of our heart. If we share what God has done for us, not parrot what the Bible says, I think we can impact the world for Christ as we failed to do over the last several decades. Let's leap to our feet and let his spirit help us in this mission.
You can find me at richardagee.com. I also invite you to join us at San Antonio First Church of the Nazarene on West Avenue in San Antonio to hear more Bible-based teaching. You can find out more about my church at SAF.church. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed it, tell a friend. If you didn't, send me an email and let me know how better to reach out to those around you. Until next week, may God richly bless you as you venture into His story each day.
Scriptures marked THE VOICE are taken from THE VOICE (The Voice): Scripture taken from THE VOICE ™. Copyright© 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.