Salvation Belongs to the LORD

God is sovereign over salvation. He uses means, such as gospel preaching but also works directly opening the hearts of His own so they hear and believe.

Today’s Reading

Psalms 1-3; Acts 16:1-15

Selected Verses

Salvation belongs to the Lord; your blessing be on your people! Psalm 3:8

One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.  Acts 16:14-15

Reflections

The Psalmist was in dire straits. According to the title of Psalm 3, David wrote this during his exile from Jerusalem while his son, Absalom, briefly overthrew his father’s kingdom. David turned to God in the crisis, recognizing that only the Lord could save him. “Salvation belongs to the LORD,” he affirms. Absalom had skillfully won over the people of Israel to support him. David fled Jerusalem. But it seemed inevitable that David would be assassinated and Absalom would take firm control of the kingdom.

Yet, “salvation belongs to the LORD.” David held to that truth, and, against all odds, Absalom listened to David’s planted advisor, Hushai who purposely gave him bad advice. Absalom followed it, and died in the ensuing battle (2 Samuel 17-18). God saved David’s life and kingdom. The odds set by probability cannot limit God.

Lydia was a worshiper of God, a Gentile woman who believed in the God of Israel and the moral law of Moses without adopting the dietary and ceremonial laws. Luke tells us that the Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what Paul said. Without the intervention of the Holy Spirit, neither a Lydia nor anyone else is able to hear and believe the gospel (Jeremiah 13:23; John 6:44, 65; Romans 9:16; 1 Corinthians 2:14; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; 2 Timothy 1:9-10).  God saved Lydia spiritually. [1]

Think about it

God saves kings and Gentile women, like David and Lydia. How does the truth that “salvation belongs to the Lord” affect your prayer life and your daily confidence in Him? Can you lie down and sleep, knowing the Lord will sustain you? Trust Him when in danger for He saves.  Proclaim the gospel to others knowing that God opens hearts as He wills and saves lost people.

[1] The Reformation Study Bible notes p. 1945

Timing and God’s Providence

Today’s reading: II Samuel 21-22; Luke 22:1-30

1 Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year. And David sought the face of the Lord. And the Lord said, “There is bloodguilt on Saul and on his house, because he put the Gibeonites to death.” II Samuel 21:1

22 For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!” Luke 22:22

The mature disciple of Jesus Christ knows that nothing happens by chance or luck, but God orchestrates all of life down to the minutest detail. This occurred in David’s time, Jesus’ time, and in our time. We can be reassured as we grasp the truth of God’s providence in our lives.

A famine came upon Israel. David understood that it was not due to bad luck or some unfortunate coincidence. He knew that God ruled over the harvest whether it be light or heavy. David turned to the Lord for answers and guidance. The Lord revealed to Him the reason for the famine. It had to do with the guilt incurred by Saul over the breaking of a treaty with the Gibeonites and the attempt to annihilate them. Though the treaty itself was foolish and based on deception, God held Israel responsible to maintain their integrity and honor the treaty perpetually (Joshua 9). Seven of Saul’s descendents were executed to satisfy the demand for justice. The famine ended.

In Luke’s account of Jesus final days before His arrest, trial, and crucifixion we are allowed to see all the forces at work to bring about His sacrifice at that time and in that place. The chief priests and scribes were plotting to kill Him; Satan was entering into Judas; the disciples were preparing for the Passover and arguing about who of them was the greatest. Meanwhile, Jesus was serving and teaching them the meaning of His death.

In a matter of a few hours all these protagonists would converge in the Garden of Gethsemane, and the final act would begin on Jesus’ earthly ministry. Was it a coincidence? No, not at all. It was by God’s decree that all this would come about for the salvation of the nations.

What about the apparently random incidents in your life? Are they really random or are they carefully sent by God according to His plan? How would it change your attitude toward interruptions and “bad luck” to have a clearer conviction about the providence of God in your life? We may not always understand what God is doing in the midst of the happenings of our day, but we can always be sure it is Him who is doing it, and He has a purpose and plan for our good and His glory.