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When God Steps In - A Prophetic Word - Part 4 - Shepherd of Hope

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:6-7

 

I hope you are being blessed by our study of When God Steps In – A Prophetic Word. I hope you are being edified, exhorted and comforted by what we are learning. Even if God doesn’t step in like we had hoped, even if He doesn’t part the sea or move the mountain, God gives us grace to still trust in Him. That’s a glorious life sustaining truth and promise of God from His word. That’s something that gives us hope and helps us to press on in life.

Now in our final part of this series we will touch on some other Biblical examples of when God steps in as well as circle back to the context of our original prophetic verse, 1 Peter 5:6-7. I believe that’s a fitting way to conclude our study. I hope you find it is too. I hope you find further edification, exhortation and comfort.

Examples of God Stepping In

There are a lot of other examples of God stepping in to care for His people:

 

  1. God steps in when His people are in decline. The people of Israel, under the leadership of the evil king Ahab and his wife Jezebel, had backslidden into worshipping the false god Baal. But God stepped in and raised up the prophet Elijah. And through Elijah God orchestrated a showdown with about 500 of the prophets of Baal. The odds were 500 to 1! But God stepped in. A sacrifice was set up and the prophets of Baal and then Elijah would pray to their respective gods or God for fire to come down and consume the sacrifice. What happened? God stepped in. The prophets of Baal wilted and the prophet of God worshipped. God stepped in and barbecued that sacrificial beast, and Israel was revived (1 Kings 18).

 

  1. God steps in when His people are attacked. In 2 Chronicles 14-15, at no cause of their own, King Asa and Judah (southern kingdom), even when they were doing all the right things, an Ethiopian million-man army came against God’s people. King Asa cried out to God, and God stepped in and defended His people. (But later, Asa depended on diplomacy for protection and it led to a bitter spirit in his heart and loss of blessing – 2 Chronicles 15-16).

 

  1. God steps in when we’re overshadowed by death. When in life we enter the valley of the shadow of death with our enemies threatening us, God steps in and prepares a table for us and gets us through (Psalm 23).

 

  1. God steps in when we’re persecuted for obeying His word. When we’re persecuted for doing the right thing, for standing up against oppression, and thrown into the midst of the furnace heated seven times hotter than ever before, God steps in. The three friends of Daniel would now bow to the image erected by Nebuchadnezzar. They were thrown into an oven. And in Christ literally stepped in there with them (Daniel 3).

 

  1. God steps in when were in the dark with predators all around us. When wrongly judged and persecuted for our faith and thrown into the lion’s den, when we are actually IN the den with the lions, God steps in. God literally stepped into the lion’s den with Daniel and shut the lion’s mouths. And in the morning after a night in the den, Daniel was freed, and his enemies thrown in. They did not fare as well (Daniel 6).

 

  1. God steps in when the gallows are erected. The Book of Esther is an interesting book. It is a book in which the name of God is not mentioned even once. And yet it is a book in which we see the hand of God throughout. The book of Esther is the account of a Persian persecutor named Haman who conspires to eradicate God’s exiled people from the Land. A Jew named Mordecai and his niece Esther, were raised up by God to thwart the genocide. Haman looks to have the upper hand. He even builds 75-foot-tall gallows on which he intends to execute Mordecai. But God steps in and raises up Esther “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14b). God reversed the plans and Haman ends up being executed on the gallows he had built. God has a way of turning things around.

 

  1. God steps in when we grieve and question about the future. When a national leader died and God’s people lost their security and safety, God stepped in and called Isaiah into ministry (Isaiah 6). God steps in during national crisis.

 

  1. God steps in when His people are being bullied. When an enemy surrounds us with intimidation, physical threats, and fear, God steps in. The terrorist hoard of Assyrians came up and surrounded Jerusalem. They tried to bully King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah and God’s people into submission. It didn’t work. God stepped in and in one night 185,000 enemy soldiers were put down (Isaiah 37).

 

  1. God steps in when all seems lost. When death snuffs out hope, God waits, and then god steps in. With the Jairus the synagogue’s leader came to Jesus on behalf of his daughter for healing. She died, but God stepped in in Christ and healed her (Mark 5:35-43). Lazarus was dead for four days and God stepped in in Christ and raised him from the dead (John 11). Jesus even purposefully waited two more days before resurrecting Lazarus! (John 11:6).

 

  1. God steps in to show us death is often the way to life. When our Savior Jesus was dead and buried in the tomb for three days, God stepped in and raised Him up (Mat. 28; Mark 16; Luke 23-24).

 

  1. God steps in to protect us from His wrath. When this world is screaming and shouting with lovelessness, lawlessness, lies, and licentiousness about to give birth to a period of darkness (i.e. Tribulation) like never before (Matthew 24:21; all of Matthew 24; 2 Thess. 2; 1 Tim 4:1f.; 2 Tim. 3) – and the church age is over (Rev. 2-3), then God will step in rapture His Church – 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18; 2 Thess. 2:3f.; Revelation 4:1f.

 

God has a way of stepping in just in the nick of time. God has a way of stepping in when all seems lost. God has a way of stepping in, when all hope seems lost. God has a way of stepping in when no one else can or will.

What Do We Do Until God Steps In?

So, what do we do in the meantime; as we wait on the Lord to step in? The Apostle Peter had a heart for the persecuted. He was inspired by God to write to a pilgrim church dispersed by persecution. His first epistle is written to those facing persecution and suffering. In the last chapter of Peter’s first epistle, he offers some words of comfort as well as instruction.

Church leaders be a shepherd to the flock of God looking to “the Chief Shepherd.” Receive this passage as a prophetic word to leaders in the church.

  • 1 Peter 5:1–4 – The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.

Peter tells the leaders to stick together. Oversee and take care of the flock of God. Don’t oversee the flock because you have to; or as though it were an obligation. Oversee the flock of God “willingly,” or as a great opportunity to serve Your Lord who loves you so much. Oversee the flock and care for it because such people are dear and loved by the Lord.

Don’t try to profit off of God’s people. Don’t be dishonest. Serve eagerly; with passion and excitement. Don’t be a cold task master. Be ana example of “the Chief Shepherd” who gave His life for us in love. Love those you oversee like Jesus loves them. Do that, and “you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.”

Young people submit to those more mature in the faith. This implies respect for older people. It implies being teachable. It implies cooperation, teamwork, comradery, togetherness.

  • 1 Peter 5:5a – Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your

The American historian Charles A. Beard summarized the lessons of history in the following way:

Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad with power; The mills of God grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly small; the bee fertilizes the flower it robs; and when it is dark enough, you can see the stars.[1]

Warren Wiersbe in his book On Being A Servant gives the following four pointers that he believes young people would profit from:

  1. Never take down a fence until you know why it was put up.
  2. If you get too far ahead of the army, your soldiers may mistake you for the enemy.
  3. Don’t complain about the bottom rungs of the ladder; they helped to get you higher.
  4. If you want to enjoy the rainbow, be prepared to endure the storm.

Those are truths we can all profit from!

All of you in the body of Christ be humble and submissive to one another as a whole.

  • 1 Peter 5:5b- Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for

Understand God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

  • 1 Peter 5:5c- – “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

Practice humility. Don’t be “my rights” oriented. Instead learn to live in surrender to the Lord; His timing; His will; His decisions.

Be humble and trust God’s mighty hand to exalt you when the time is right.

  • 1 Peter 5:6-7 – Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

Don’t exalt yourself. Don’t seek to exalt yourself. Trust God to exalt you. Throw or cast all your cares on Him. He cares for you. God will step in, in due time. Trust Him!

Sober up, sharpen up, shield up, for the devil is on the prowl.

  • 1 Peter 5:8-11 – Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 11 To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

The devil is on the prowl like a lion. He’s roaring because he’s hungry. He wants to eat you for lunch. Resist him. Be firm and steadfast in your faith. Be aware that you’re not the only one suffering in this world. There are other Christians suffering too. Rely on God’s grace. Never forget God calls “us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus.” Understand too that suffering and difficulty are instruments God uses to “perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” And always give Him glory. Always live for His dominion and rule.

Some more pearls to prepare us.

  1. Draw near to God – He will draw near to us James 4:7a
  2. Resist the Devil – he will flee from us – James 4:7b. Jesus came to destroy the works of the Devil – 1 John 3:18
  3. Persist – Luke 18:1-8
  4. Be a restrained/resister – 2 Thess. 2:6-7
  5. Don’t be deluded – 2 Thess. 2:8-10
  6. Love the truth like Jesus did – 2 Thessalonians 2:10; John 18:37; 14:6 with John 13:15; 1 Peter 2:21; 1 John 2:6; Romans 8:29.
  7. Pray – Phil 4:6-7
  8. Think right – 2 Cor 10:3-5; Phil 4:8-10
  9. Watch for His return – Luke 21:36

We don’t know when God is going to step in. But we do know confidently, that based on the truth and faithfulness of God and His word, God will step in. Until then, “humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”

Prayer:

Father, I come to You in Jesus’ name. Again, I humble myself before Your mighty hand and cast all my cares upon You for You care for me. I believe that. I accept that. Please give me faith to wait on Your plan. You have shown over and over again, Your faithfulness to step in to the lives of Your children. Help me to keep the examples of Your intervening actions in my mind and heart and to hope in You. Please help me to implement all I have learned in this study. Help me to trust You to use me to bring glory to Your name. Please Father, in Jesus’ name, make me what I need to be, to do what You call me to do, for Your glory, until Jesus’ returns. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

 

 

[1] From Warren Wiersbe’s book On Being a Servant, Chapter 18.

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