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I Will Strengthen You and Harden You to Difficulties

Isaiah 41:10

Isaiah 41:4  Who has performed and done it, calling the generations from the beginning?  ‘I, the Lord, am the first; and with the last I am He.’

Isaiah 41:8-20
But you, Israel, are My servant,
Jacob whom I have chosen,
The descendants of Abraham My friend.
You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth,
And called from its farthest regions,
And said to you, You are My servant,
I have chosen you and have not cast you away:

Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

Behold, all those who were incensed against you
Shall be ashamed and disgraced;
They shall be as nothing,
And those who strive with you shall perish.
You shall seek them and not find them—
Those who contended with you.
Those who war against you shall be as nothing,
As a nonexistent thing.

For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand,
Saying to you,  Fear not, I will help you.
Fear not, you worm Jacob,You men of Israel!
I will help you, says the Lord
And your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.

Behold, I will make you into a new threshing sledge with sharp teeth;
You shall thresh the mountains and beat them small,
And make the hills like chaff.
You shall winnow them, the wind shall carry them away,
And the whirlwind shall scatter them;

You shall rejoice in the Lord,
And glory in the Holy One of Israel.

The poor and needy seek water, but there is none,
Their tongues fail for thirst.

I, the Lord, will hear them;
I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.

I will open rivers in desolate heights,
And fountains in the midst of the valleys;
I will make the wilderness a pool of water,
And the dry land springs of water.
I will plant in the wilderness the cedar and the acacia tree,
The myrtle and the oil tree;
I will set in the desert the cypress tree and the pine
And the box-tree together,

That they may see and know,
And consider and understand together,
That the hand of the Lord has done this,
And the Holy One of Israel has created it.

 

God cannot harden us to difficulties if we never experience any.

It’s one thing to read about famine and starving children in Africa and to feel pity and quite another to know first hand what it is like to be truly hungry or to watch your child grow weaker because they have not eaten.

It’s one thing to read the Bible and nod in agreement that God is all-knowing, all-seeing, ever-present, completely in control, and will take care of you no matter what and quite another to have to trust Him to provide.

Yes, God does bless His children.  There is nothing wrong with prosperity or good times or blessings.  God is a God of loving kindness and tender mercies.  The Bible tells us so in many places.  The Psalms tell us He will give us the desires of our heart and that He delights in the prosperity of His children.

The Bible also tells us over and over that we are to trust Him.  Be still and know that He is God.  To keep our eyes on Him and to grow in faith.  How can we ever trust Him or truly believe He is Who He says He is or He will do what He says He will do if we never experience situations that require that kind of faith?

You trust daily that the bridge you drive your car over will support you.  In fact, you believe it so much that you probably don’t even know the number of bridges you cross just to get to work or the supermarket on a regular basis.  But we see in the news from time to time that bridges do give out.  That people do die.  Sinkholes open in what was considered to be solid ground.  Rains loosen dirt and mudslides cause million dollar homes to slide off mountains in California.  Earthquakes and hurricanes cause icons of steel and mortar to tremble and sway and twist as if they were made of string.

Once you have personally experienced the failure of what you took for granted the next step is less confident.  Less sure.

We think nothing of complaining about our jobs or the chore of paying bills until we have no job and no money to pay our creditors.  It’s easy to take for granted climate control and clean hot and cold water until no job leads to no money and no money leads to no power.  Suddenly the thermostat in your home is rendered no more than a wall decoration and no amount of effort can cause water to pour from a faucet.  What then?  Do you truly believe that God will supply all your needs?  Do you truly trust that He is in control and hears your prayers and will come quickly to answer?

Many people believe that “God helps those who help themselves” is a Bible verse but actually it was Benjamin Franklin who quoted those words.  Still, even if it is not in the Bible word for word is it not still a handy maxim?  God surely seems to support the concept of being all you can be and working hard.  The story of the ant and the grasshopper is in the Bible as well as the parable of the talents.  2 Thessalonians 3:10 says, “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.”

So, what does God expect of us?

Do we scramble around and put forth every effort to make things happen for ourselves?  Do we take lemons and “turn them into lemonade”?  Do we borrow?  Do we sell all that we have?

No matter what we do the first thing should always be to consult God.

Psalm 146:3Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.

Psalm 121:1-2  I will lift up my eyes unto the hills, from whence comes my help. My help comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth .

Proverbs 3:5-6  Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.

Matthew 6:8     your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Matthew 6:33    But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

The second thing is to remember that God is in control.

Psalm 71:20    Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up.

Proverbs 19:21    Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

2 Corinthians 4:7–10   But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies.

Ephesians 1:11   In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of Him Who works all things according to the counsel of His will.

1 Peter 4:19    So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

Isaiah 45:6-7   That people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things.

Daniel 4:35     All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”

The third thing is to realize, accept, and embrace that there is a purpose for all things.

Romans 5:3-4     We also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance produces character; and character produces hope and hope does not disappoint us, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Philippians 4:12     I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

2 Corinthians 1:8–10    For we were so utterly, unbearably crushed that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death so that we would rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He who rescued us from so deadly a peril will continue to rescue us; on him we have set our hope that he will rescue us again

2 Corinthians 4:16–18      So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.

2 Corinthians 12:9    But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Genesis 50:20   As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.

Exodus 9:16   But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.

Do no be afraid.  God is with you.

Psalm 56:3    What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.

Psalm 91:1–2, 5-6, 9-12   You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust.” You will not fear the terror of the night, or the arrow that flies by day, or the pestilence that stalks in darkness, or the destruction that wastes at noonday. Because you have made the Lord your refuge, the Most High your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, no scourge come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.

Psalm 91:14–16    Those who love me, I will deliver; I will protect those who know my name. When they call to me, I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble, I will rescue them and honor them. With long life I will satisfy them, and show them my salvation.

Psalm 112:1&7    Praise the Lord! Happy are those who fear the Lord, who greatly delight in his commandments.  They are not afraid of evil tidings; their hearts are firm, secure in the Lord.

Psalm 119:28     My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.

Psalm 119:50     My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.

Proverbs 3:24-26     When you lie down, you will not be afraid;Yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet.  Do not be afraid of sudden terror, Nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes; For the Lord will be your confidence, And will keep your foot from being caught.

Proverbs 29:25   The fear of man brings a snare, But he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted.

Isaiah 12:2   “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.”

Isaiah 35:4–5     say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.

Isaiah 43:1–3    Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God.

God’s Ways are not man’s ways and man cannot understand the mind of God.

Isaiah 40:28–31    Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Uplifting Quotes from Warriors of Faith

Share A Verse“There is no circumstance, no trouble, no testing, that can ever touch me until, first of all, it has gone past God and past Christ, right through to me. If it has come that far, it has come with a great purpose, which I may not understand at the moment. But I refuse to become panicky, as I lift up my eyes to Him and accept it as coming from the throne of God for some great purpose of blessing to my own heart.”

 – Alan Redpath

Share A Verse“While the Lord calls me to be wise and discerning, he reminds me often that his discernment cannot dwell in a cynical distrustful heart. With Him, there is no hidden agenda and no ulterior motive. His gifts are free for the taking but I cannot take these gifts if my hands are already full of my own weapons of self-protection. Therefore, He asks me to lay down the shields that I have forged for protection and pick up the shield of faith in their place. He asks me to take Him at His Word.”

– Katherine Walden

Share A Verse“I will trust Him. Whatever, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him; in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him; if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. My sickness, or perplexity, or sorrow may be necessary causes of some great end, which is quite beyond us. He does nothing in vain.”

– John Henry Newman

Share A Verse“You have trusted Him in a few things, and He has not failed you. Trust Him now for everything, and see if He does not do for you exceeding abundantly above all that you could ever have asked or thought, not according to your power or capacity, but according to His own mighty power, that will work in you all the good pleasure of His most blessed will. You find no difficulty in trusting the Lord with the management of the universe and all the outward creation, and can your case be any more complex or difficult than these, that you need to be anxious or troubled about His management of it?”

– Hannah Whitall Smith

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One comment on “I Will Strengthen You and Harden You to Difficulties

  1. a_l_henley
    March 14, 2014

    Reblogged this on Intrepid Didymus.

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This entry was posted on July 12, 2013 by in All Sufficient God, Benefits of Serving God, Blessed, Calm, Christianity, Comfort, Compassion, Daniel, Deliverance, Devotion, Ephesians, Exodus, Faith, Faith, Faithfulness, Favor of God, General Epistles, Genesis, God, God, God Hears Our Prayers, God of Restoration, God Our Defense, God Our Refuge, God Our Rock, God Our Salvation, Gospels, Grace, Guidance, Help, Hope, I Peter, II Corinthians, Inspiration, Isaiah, Kindness, Knowledge, Life, Light, Love, Love, Majesty, Major Prophets, Matthew, Meditate, Mercy, New Testament, Obedience, Old Testament, Pauline Epistles, Peace, Pentateuch or The Five Books of Moses, Philippians, Power, Praise, Prayer, Promises, Protection, Proverbs, Provision, Psalms, Rejoice, Relief, Righteousness, Romans, Safety, Seek, Sovereign, Spirituality, Strength, Thanks, Trust, Truth, Understanding, Victory, Waiting on God, Wisdom Books, Wonders, Worship and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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