Oct 19, 2012

Behold, He has kept me alive...

English: Painting of Hebron
English: Painting of Hebron (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Today I mark my 54th year of life and, by human reckoning, I can expect more yesterdays than tomorrows. At times like this, I like to meditate on Joshua 14:6-14.

“Then the people of Judah came to Joshua at Gilgal. And Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, “You know what the LORD said to Moses the man of God in Kadesh-barnea concerning you and me.

“I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land, and I brought him word again as it was in my heart. But my brothers who went up with me made the heart of the people melt; yet I wholly followed the LORD my God.

“And Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land on which your foot has trodden shall be an inheritance for you and your children forever, because you have wholly followed the LORD my God.’ And now, behold, the LORD has kept me alive, just as he said, these forty-five years since the time that the LORD spoke this word to Moses, while Israel walked in the wilderness.

“And now, behold, I am this day eighty-five years old. I am still as strong today as I was in the day that Moses sent me; my strength now is as my strength was then, for war and for going and coming. So now give me this hill country of which the LORD spoke on that day, for you heard on that day how the Anakim were there, with great fortified cities. It may be that the LORD will be with me, and I shall drive them out just as the LORD said.

“Then Joshua blessed him, and he gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh for an inheritance. Therefore Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite to this day, because he wholly followed the LORD, the God of Israel.”

What applications does this passage have for one's life today?

With my great-grandfather, Andrew John Hemmingson,
on the day of my baptism.

First, the promises of God are sure. He will deliver. In my case, not only was I born into this world on Oct. 19, 1958, on Nov. 2 of that year I received the promise of eternal life in holy baptism. This has proved a source of hope throughout the trials that I have face, a hope buttressed by the many unmerited blessings I have received along the way as well.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:3-7

Second, as long as you are drawing breath, God has a purpose for your life. As it was God who gave you life in the womb, it is God who preserves your life and who gives you the strength to do whatever tasks He has set before you.

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb.” Psalm 139:13

“Thus says the LORD who made you, who formed you from the womb and will help you....” Isaiah 44:2

“Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.'

”But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles...” Galatians 1:15

“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, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. “ Ephesians 1:1-12

“...And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20

So I am pleased to report that after weeks of high political tension, the national election has come and gone without an escalation of violence. We still face almost daily power outages, the highest rate of inflation in South America, and crime in the streets. But we know that God is with us, that all things are accomplished in His good time, that it is never too late to start anything, and, above all, nothing can separate us from the love of Christ (Romans 8:39).

And as always we thank God for those of you who support us through prayer and donations, because He continues to bless us through you.
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