Our complete surrender to God is the only way to reach our glorious end: there is no better way and no other road that can take us there.
God desires a set apart people and a set apart heart. His eyes search the land looking for a heart that completely and utterly desires him. Only when we give up possession of all that we hold dear will we be fit vessels for the Lord’s use and only then will our victorious completion be assured.
1 Kings 20:1-4 Amplified Bible (AMP)
Ben-hadad king of Syria gathered all his army together; thirty-two kings were with him, and horses and chariots. And he went up and besieged Samaria, warring against it.
2 He sent messengers into Samaria to Ahab king of Israel and said to him, Thus says Ben-hadad:
3 Your silver and your gold are mine; your wives and your children, even the fairest, also are mine.
4 And the king of Israel answered and said, My lord, O king, according to what you say, I am yours, and all that I have.
What a powerful example of “Surrender”! The king held nothing back– not even his children! There was no struggle, no haggling – only complete surrender.
This is what it takes to make it to the end. Indeed, surrender is what it takes to make it through each hour, each second of the day. To live in surrender is to live completely in God. It is to put our small hand in his and trust him utterly. That means trusting ourselves into his care; trusting his will for our lives, trusting him to carry the load of our day-to-day stresses and life’s struggles.
It is only when we forget whose hand we’re holding that fear and doubt overshadows us. It is only when we take our hand out of his hand that we stumble and fall. But so long as we keep our hand in his hand we will never fail. Ms. Corrie ten Boom declared this truth, “Jesus is Victor!” And he’s victorious all the time – why not trust him?!
There is a story in the bible that exemplifies the difference between those who wisely place their dependence in God and those who foolishly rely upon their own strength or the strength of human flesh. It is the story of two kings, a father and a son.
In 2 Chronicles, chapters sixteen thru twenty we find the stories of King Asa and King Jehoshaphat.
King Asa was a great and mighty king who ruled the southern kingdom of Judah. He was great because God made him so. He began his reign well by removing the idols from the land and declaring the Lord as the one and only God. He returned the silver and gold to the temple of the Lord and when the nation was faced with invasion from the army of Ethiopia, King Asa called on the name of the Lord and God heard his cry. King Asa led his army in a fixed fight: the hand of the Lord covered them; they routed their enemies and came home with the spoils of battle. He continued his reign in this vain during the following years but in his thirty-sixth year something changed.
King Asa was once again faced with danger from a rival kingdom but for some reason he chose to place his faith in man rather than in God. He took the silver and gold out of the temple of God and used it as a bribe to garner aid from an opposing king. The bribe worked and together he and his ally defeated the hostile nation but King Asa’s triumph was short-lived.
2 Chronicles 20:7-9
7 And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said to him: “Because you have relied on the king of Syria, and have not relied on the Lord your God, therefore the army of the king of Syria has escaped from your hand.
8 Were the Ethiopians and the Lubim not a huge army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet, because you relied on the Lord, He delivered them into your hand.
9 For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars.”
Unfortunately, King Asa did not grow wise as he aged; instead he became foolish and prideful. He sought the aid of man over the surety of God’s providence; he displayed his stubbornness by not turning back to the Lord and he mistreated the man of God and other innocents in a fit of anger because of the chastisement he’d received from the Lord. Two years passed and the king became ill yet, even in his illness, Asa continued to look to and depend on human aid rather than on God.
The royal physicians could not cure him thus the foolish king spent the remainder of his life in excruciating pain. Sadly, King Asa’s his pride had separated him from the all-powerful God he’d once served so faithfully.
Then Jehoshaphat’s reign began…
This king’s heart took delight in the ways of the Lord and scripture has it that “he prepared his heart to seek God.” He honored the Lord God as the only God. And he went further in demonstrating that honor than his father before him.
He sent out teachers to all the cities of Judah to teach the people the word of the Lord, he destroyed the wooden images everywhere and when rebuked by a prophet for an erroneous decision he’d made, he did not rebel but instead received the word of correction and worked harder to honor God than before.
Then came his testing.
Once again Judah was faced with an invasion from a combined force. King Jehoshaphat responded by calling for a fast for the nation; they would beseech the Lord together. Jehoshaphat led the people in prayer and humbly proclaimed the sovereignty and power of the Lord. He ended with this simple declaration, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.” (2 Chronicles 20:12)
Remember what the prophet had told his father? “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.” Can you imagine God’s eyes searching and the eyes of his people searching and their eyes lock? The Lord had found the hearts he’d been searching for and the Lord began to work on their behalf!
He turned the enemy armies against each other before Jehoshaphat and his people reached the battle field. The war was won before they got there; all that was left for them to do was to collect the spoils!
The Dry Brush and the Tree:
Jeremiah 17: 5-8
5 Thus says the Lord:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
And makes flesh his strength,
Whose heart departs from the Lord.
6 For he shall be like a shrub in the desert,
And shall not see when good comes,
But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness,
In a salt land which is not inhabited.
Sounds like King Asa doesn’t it? Asa didn’t recognize the prophet’s wisdom and he was cursed with separation from the Lord. When God sets us apart, he sets us apart from the world not from Himself. Sin and willful pride separated a once wise king from his God. To depend on one’s own strength is folly; it is to be desolate of reason and peace. It is like being ‘in a salt land which is not inhabited.’
Jeremiah 17 continues:
7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord. (God is our hope!)
8 For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.
When we stand firmly planted by the water we will always yield the fruit of the spirit! Wasn’t it Jesus who told the woman at the well that he had water she knew not of, water enough that she would never thirst? He was talking about the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of God yields never ending fruit!
Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV):
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
It behooves us to stand firmly planted, to root ourselves in God – ‘abide in me and let my word abide in you’ – this is a command. We can only be blessed if we obey.
Let’s take a look at someone else who obeyed the Lord’s command.
The Prophet Is Called – Jeremiah 1:4-10
4 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying:
5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
Before you were born I sanctified you;
I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”
What is it to be sanctified?
1. To set apart for sacred use; consecrate.
2. To make holy; purify.
3. To give religious sanction to, as with an oath or vow: sanctify a marriage.
4. To give social or moral sanction to.
5. To make productive of holiness or spiritual blessing.
This is what God did for Jeremiah and it’s what he’s done for those who have taken the water of life which is the Holy Ghost. He has sanctified us with his spirit and his blood. He has set us apart! And he does so with purpose. Jeremiah’s purpose was to serve as God’s prophet – God also has purpose for us!
God said, “Before you were born I sanctified you…” His word through King David draws an image of God’s sanctification before birth that brings joy to the heart!
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
What a confession, what a blessing! Let’s look at Jeremiah’s response to this calling.
Jeremiah 1 continued –
6 Then said I:
“Ah, Lord God!
Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.”
7 But the Lord said to me:
“Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’
For you shall go to all to whom I send you,
And whatever I command you, you shall speak. (When God calls we must obey.)
8 Do not be afraid of their faces,
For I am with you to deliver you,” says the Lord.
9 Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me:
“Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.
10 See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms,
To root out and to pull down,
To destroy and to throw down,
To build and to plant.”
Beloved, God never ordains without purpose nor does he give purpose without power – he gives power to everyone he calls!
The Holy Ghost is more than our Comforter; he is the power of the living God. Additionally, our purpose and our power is in the word of God. This is why He commands us to abide in him. The study of God’s word is not optional. The word of God is the bread of life: no one can live without it. We have to drink of the water which is the Holy Ghost and eat the bread of life in order to fulfill the purpose God has ordained for us.
God’s word is so powerful, he only needed to speak and the world was formed! Do you know we were birthed by the spoken word of God? Paul writes that we are living epistles. The Word of God living and breathing in the flesh.
God came to earth in the form of a living man: we are made in the image and likeness of God. If the power of God, which is the Holy Spirit, dwells within us, beloved do you know how much power lies inside of us?!
God says this about his word in Jeremiah 1:12, “You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled.”
God didn’t speak us into existence just to leave us alone, he watches us from beginning to end to see that his (living) word is fulfilled (completed)!
All that remains for us to do is to accept his word and surrender all to him. The benefits of surrender far out-weigh the trials and tribulations we must face. Take this time, right now to make up in your mind to once again, lay it all before the Lord and surrender everything to his keeping and you too will flourish like the tree that is planted by the water.