When I was growing up, we had three television channels.
When I was growing up, we had three television channels in England: BBC One, BBC Two and ITV. Later, when I was about nine, a new channel was added – the not very imaginatively titled Channel 4. Today, with regular TV, satellite / cable and internet based TV there are a huge choice of different channels available, with content across the spectrum of good, bad and ugly. If what’s on one channel is not particularly appealing to you, there is no need to stay focused on that one channel. There are plenty of other options available, including turning TV off. But this post is not about the wide choice of TV channels that we have available today! This post is about the channels which God uses to get provision and blessing into our lives.
God has a huge number of different channels.
Usually when we are believing God for something, we have no idea what is going on behind the scenes. Usually we are not aware of the people that God is speaking to concerning us. Sometimes however, a possible channel of God’s provision may make itself known – not in the form of the actual provision, but in the form of a promise. Initially this can be a great encouragement, but the longer it takes for the promise to be fulfilled, the less encouraging that particular channel becomes. In fact, when that promise seems to be failing to materialize, it can be extremely discouraging. This is where you need to be looking to the Source (i.e. God) and not focus on any one particular channel. That channel may open up and allow God to use it, or it may not, but it really doesn’t matter. Like with modern television, God has a huge number of different channels available that He can use – most of which we are completely unaware of. I am not saying that promise will not be kept, I am saying put your trust in God and not in man.
The temptation in this type of situation is to flick through the possible channels.
More often though, from the natural point of view, it can seem like nothing is happening concerning what we are believing God for. The temptation in this type of situation is to flick through the possible channels God could use in our minds, trying to think of ways of bringing to pass what we are believing for. Don’t do that! Allow God to work and don’t interfere – the title of one of my previous posts sums it up: ‘Back Off & Let God Work!‘. As Christians, its important to learn how to wait. In Genesis 26:1 a situation occurred where Isaac could have taken things into his own hands. The verse tell us that, “Once during Abraham’s lifetime, the fields had not produced enough grain, and now the same thing happened” (Contemporary English Version). Isaac would have been well aware that during the famine of Abraham’s time, Abraham had gone down to Egypt and so the logical thing to do would be to follow his father’s example. However verse two records how God appeared to Isaac and said, “Stay away from Egypt! I will show you where I want you to go” (Contemporary English Version). Isaac listened to God, he stayed put and then he followed God’s totally illogical instructions to sow in the land, despite the famine. The result is recorded in Genesis 26:12-13, “Isaac sowed seed in that land, and in that year he reaped a hundred times what was sown. The Lord blessed him, and the man became rich and kept getting richer until he was very wealthy” (Christian Standard Bible).
The key to Isaac’s success was that he listened when God spoke and he obeyed what God said.
Of course the key to Isaac’s success was that he listened when God spoke, and he obeyed what God said. If you want to experience success God’s way, like Isaac did, you need to do the same. So it is important that you hear when God is speaking to you. You may think that God is not speaking to you, or that God doesn’t speak to people anymore except through the Bible, but let me tell you that that is not true. You can read more on how to hear from God in my post, ‘Stop Wandering In The Dark‘ or about why you may have trouble hearing from God in ‘How To Block Out God’s Voice‘. Isaac trusted God, listened to God, and obeyed God. Because Isaac did this he got extremely good results. The same can not be said for Naomi. Of course we know the end of Naomi’s story, we know that God brought good from a bad situation. God has a knack of using something that Satan has planned for evil and bringing good out of it. Satan had no idea that God was going to use what he was doing to bring Ruth out of Moab – the woman who would be an ancestor of the One who (according to the prophecy in Genesis 3:15) would crush his head. But until Ruth’s marriage to Boaz, the story of Naomi did not have many good results. Let’s take a look at her story.
They looked for their own channel of provision.
Ruth 1:1 records that as during Isaac’s time, “…..there was a famine in the land“. However unlike Isaac, Naomi and her husband, Elimelech do not appear to have trusted God to provide for them. Instead they looked for their own channel of provision. They decided to leave Bethlehem, to leave the ‘House of Bread’ and go to the country of Moab. The Israelites were not supposed to associate with the Moabites, let alone move to live there – look at Deuteronomy 23:6 in the Easy to Read Version: “You must never try to make peace with the Ammonites or Moabites. As long as you live, don’t be friendly to them”. The results of Elimelech & Naomi ignoring what God had said, and not trusting Him to provide for them were disastrous – Naomi’s whole family died in the land of Moab. Naomi even took to confessing negativity over her life and having others confess it too. On top of that she did what many people do today – blamed God for what had happened. Ruth 1:20-21 in The Message records that Naomi told everyone, “Don’t call me Naomi; call me Bitter. The Strong One has dealt me a bitter blow. I left here full of life, and God has brought me back with nothing but the clothes on my back. Why would you call me Naomi? God certainly doesn’t. The Strong One ruined me”.
Trust to God to provide.
It was not God who caused Naomi’s problems though. God had not ‘ruined’ her, as she claimed. It was all a result of the decision to find their own channel of provision rather then trusting God to supply. Don’t make the same mistake as Naomi. Trust to God to provide and then continue trusting God to provide. Never look for your own channel of provision and don’t allow yourself to get so focused on one channel that you take yours eyes off of your God who is your source. Trust God whether you can see things happening or not, remember it is through faith AND patience that we inherit the promises. If God’s way seems to be full of detours and delays, you can be sure there is a good reason!
If you have any further questions or thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment.
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