In this sermon, we are going to take a look at what it means to learn to trust in God and show that trusting in God is a little different than having faith in God.
I don’t have to tell any of you that we live in uncertain times. Whether it’s our nation and the world, as Mr. Pulliam was saying; “You look at the middle east, that’s where Christ said to focus”. That is specifically where Christ focused in Matthew 24 and Luke 21, He said watch the Middle East. That’s when you’re really going to know. So our Savior tells us where to focus our attention when it comes to the fulfillment of end time prophecy. He was very right on that. Sometimes maybe even conditions or circumstances in the church, not only in United, but the church of God in general. We all know and understand that we in United are a part of a larger body of people. Mr. Pulliam was talking about anyone who’s repented of their sins, been baptized for the forgiveness of their sins, accepted Christ as their Savior, have had hands laid upon them who have received God’s Holy Spirit - they are a part of the body of Jesus Christ, the Church of God. Whoever they are and wherever they are. So we know that we have brethren around the world, not only those of us in United. And there are many prophecies in the Bible about the church as we approach the time of the end as well, and we don’t always know how God is going to work things out in our lives or in the world or in the church.
So, what I’d like to discuss today; the title of my sermon is “Learning to Trust God”. I’d like to review and talk about our lives in the church, our personal lives and our many years in the church and maybe I’d like to take you back to think about when God called you and when you were a “babe” in the faith, in the church when God was just calling you. Or maybe those of you who have grown up in the church. The older ones of us God called us maybe when we were a little bit older and many of you second and third generation Christians you’ve known God and His way and His truth all of your life; have been a part of the church your whole life. What a great blessing that is to have grown up in the church, but even if you grow up in the church there comes a time when mentally, emotionally and spiritually you mature and you begin to grasp that this wasn’t just Mom or Dad’s religion or whatever; that God was calling you and you made that commitment as well. So we’re going to take a look at what it means to learn to trust in God and show that trusting in God is a little different than having faith in God. I’ll explain what I mean as we go along.
Here is a definition from Webster’s Dictionary (A definition) of trust, let’s begin with that. Webster’s Dictionary gave several possible definitions. The first one was: trust is a firm belief in the honesty and reliability of another. You stop and think about the human beings in your life. Who do you trust the most? Another human being that you can think of; someone that you have come to trust, you know them well enough and over a period of probably many years even though you know no human being is perfect and we all make mistakes and we can all slip and sin, nevertheless you’ve come to trust that person to be converted and to have the Spirit of God. So you know that they’re motivated by the Spirit of God to strive toward being honest and reliable. So keep that definition of trust in your mind as we go through these Scriptures.
And here’s how I’m approaching this message and you could apply it whatever way helps you the most or works for you. I asked myself, “What’s the difference between faith in God and trust in God?” This is just me; I’m not giving some official church definition or whatever, but it’s helped me to come to understand trust in God better, for me personally. I have faith in God, the Bible definition - He who comes to God must believe that He is, you know that He exists and that He’s a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him, Hebrews 11, I think its verse 6. So it says that if you have faith in God you really believe that He is real. That He exists and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Well, I believe that. I have faith in God, I believe He’s real; I have no doubts in that. I’ve proven that a long time ago like I think everybody here today has. You believe in God; you have faith in God. But then I asked myself another question. Bring it right down to me and my own personal life, - how much do I really trust God with my life and everything in my life? How much have I trusted Him since He called me and put me into the church and into His ministry? How much have I really trusted God? And for me there’s a little difference. I never doubt that He exists and that He’s real. That doesn’t even come into my mind anymore. That I think most of us have proven that; we know that and believe that with our whole heart. And so the journey for me from here on, and especially recently in these present circumstances that we’re going through in the church and for my ongoing learning and growing as a Christian and as a minister, I have to ask myself almost every day, “Father, Jesus how much do I trust You today, to take charge, to be in control, to work everything out according to Your will, Your plan and Your purpose in Your church and in Your work and in my life?” And that’s a different question for me; how much do I trust God.
Let’s begin to look at the Scriptures and we’re going to look at some Biblical examples to see what it means to trust God. Let’s go first of all to 2 Corinthians chapter 1 and we’ll read verses 8-11. Paul is writing to the brethren here of course:
2 Corinthians 1:8-11 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 8 For we would not, brothers, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life:
9 But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raises the dead:
10 Who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;
11 You also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed on us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.
American King James Version× For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: … he’s referring here to an incident in Acts 19, when in Ephesus Paul was preaching powerfully there for a length of time and he really stirred up trouble through his preaching because this was the temple of Diana, the goddess was there and that was their main goddess at the temple and a lot of merchants made money producing the images and idols of Diana and the worship of this Pagan goddess and Paul was so effective and powerful that he got them turned against him. It was a big business in the city of Ephesus and you can go back and read that and it said the crowd gathered together and it’s almost unbelievable to read that story. For two solid hours they were so mad and angry and upset with Paul they were chanting, “goddess Diana, goddess of Ephesus” and worshipping her, two hours the Bible says. It was turmoil and disruption in the city, anger and upset because of Paul and his preaching against this pagan goddess and pagan worship. So that’s what Paul was talking about here and he says,… “that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life…He thought that was the end because of this mob and their anger. And he said…” 9 Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves,…Now I’ve not been there yet; I am where I am now in the church and what we’re going through and maybe sometimes you feel like you’re going to die, but I’ve not been where Paul was, where he literally thought well this is it here. Doing the work of God and it looks like this may be the end-the sentence of death. And he goes on and says… that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead,…so in that statement it makes me think Paul was thinking, well even if they kill me at least I’ll be in the resurrection… 10 who delivered us from so great a death,… and of course he’s writing now about that event and God delivered them… and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us, 11 you …brethren…also helping together in prayer for us,…and that’s what I know many of you brethren and many around the world are praying for all the ministers, praying for everybody in the trial that we’re going through, just praying to God. Many of you have written and emailed and said that we’re praying for all of you. Paul wrote that to the Corinthians…that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us through many. And that gift was God’s protection.
God did hear and answered so here’s an example of where Paul facing a huge trial in his life serving God and doing the work of God was reiterating and commenting on a situation where he thought he was going to die or be killed but put his trust in God and it’s an important example. Let’s go forward to 1 Timothy 4. Paul was an amazing man and God uses him in the New Testament more than any other writer because of his example I think. His incredible example although there were so many others faithful to God, many wonderful apostles and servants, Paul did write more than any of them.
I Timothy 4:9-10 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. 10 For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God,…you’ll see this emphasized in many verses we’re going to read we trust in the living God; God is alive and whenever you face a trial in life, or in the church or in the world where you just see no answer how in the world is this going to work out, you just say, God we trust in you, the living God and nothing is impossible for you, you alone see and know all….who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.
We need to always remember that don’t we. To trust in this living God who is the Savior of all men, especially those who believe. He knows the hearts of all men. Same book chapter 6, notice what it means to trust in God. Writing to Timothy and giving him instruction for others he says,
I Timothy 6:17-19 Command those who are rich in this present age…now you might be sitting there thinking well, that’s not me, but I think you all know that compared to the average citizen of the world, we Americans are all rich. You look at our clothing, our homes, our cars, our foods, our gadgets, we are wealthy. We’re the wealthiest people and have been. It’s beginning to change for some who are out of work and I know there are many who struggle financially. I’m aware of that, I’m just saying that you and me compared to the average human being on this earth today, we are rich so let’s apply it to ourselves…. not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. 18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, 19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
So we all know there’s a warning in the Bible to do your best financially, plan prepare for the future, but don’t put your trust in the money. It could be here today and gone tomorrow, very quickly. Aaron Dean was explaining in one of the council meetings when we were talking about the finances of the church and things along that line, he just happened to mention what has happened in the past at times in national emergencies that the government has the power to confiscate. It confiscated all the gold, you couldn’t have gold. Even people’s savings, they have war powers or emergency powers and the president and the government can make a decision, he said if it were necessary that all the money a person has in certain accounts could be just confiscated. So you can have all this that you think you are saving in a bank or somewhere but unless you’ve got it at home in a bag under your bed as people had during the Great Depression, you don’t know that you’re going to have it for sure at all. So there just isn’t any security at all in our money or even in gold or any of those things. So this is very important on this subject of trust - don’t be putting your trust in your wisdom and knowledge and understanding of how you’re going to somehow preserve your money or wealth or your riches. I admire those who have that knowledge and understanding and it’s good. It’s not a bad thing, that’s a good thing but never put your trust in it the Bible says.
Let’s go back to 2 Samuel 22, we’ll read the first three verses. We also know not only Paul, but David was a wonderful example of a man who learned to trust God. He learned to trust God. He had ups and downs and fears and worries and you read that in the book of Psalms, but we’re going to read first here in 2 Samuel but he certainly is a man who did grow spiritually and we all know God called him a man after his own heart and that’s what we read now and when we think of David despite all of the mistakes and sins that he committed, we know that he’s going to be king over Israel when Christ returns. A man after God’s own heart.
2 Samuel 22:1-3 2 Samuel 22:1-3 1 And David spoke to the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul:
2 And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer;
3 The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my savior; you save me from violence.
American King James Version× Then David spoke to the LORD the words of this song, on the day when the LORD had delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. 2 And he said: and here’s the words of a song that David wrote
“The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
3 The God of my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn…or strength…of my salvation, My stronghold and my refuge; My Savior, You save me from violence. And then notice verse 31 of this same chapter 31 As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him
And so as we all are on our journey whatever our trials may be, it’s always each day I think, asking ourselves as I have been doing lately, “God, I have no doubts you’re there, I know you’re hearing me, I know you’re hearing everybody’s prayers, everybody in your church, all my brothers, they all believe in you, they’re praying to you. Help me to trust in you; your guiding hand in all of these matters. Your will be done.”
Let’s go to the book of Psalms following through on a little more from David before we get into some examples of this kind of trust. Living examples that God has recorded for us of people who trusted in God. Let’s go to Psalm 37 first of all and here David says:
Psalms 37:3-5 Psalms 37:3-5 3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shall you dwell in the land, and truly you shall be fed.
4 Delight yourself also in the LORD: and he shall give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
American King James Version× Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. 4 Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Eventually, that doesn’t mean instantly or immediately or just when you’re praying about it or just when you feel you need that desire. I know people especially back in Seattle where LeAnn and I pastored for almost 15 years before coming here. We know so many intimately and we know there are people still single, struggling, who have wanted to be married and desire that, men and women and it just hasn’t worked out for them and it’s a heartache in their lives. And then there are examples of when it has worked out and so I bring that out because I read this and one of them said, “I try to delight myself in the Lord and pray to Him and faithful to Him and He will give you the desires of your heart” and they just don’t give up. Don’t give up trusting God. Just don’t give up even when you get discouraged, just don’t give up, keep trusting Him. He will bring it to pass.)
5 Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass
v. 39-40 But the salvation of the righteous is from the LORD;… as we heard from Ken Pulliam in the sermonette, only God can grant eternal life. That’s salvation; ending up in His Kingdom and living forever with Him and Christ and all the saints…He is their strength in the time of trouble. 40 And the LORD shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, And save them…why?… Because they trust in Him.
So, learning to trust God is one of the things that helps us to deal with those emotions that churn within us. We all have feelings and emotions and we can churn internally when we’re going through conflict and uncertainty and all. It’s only by just sometimes pouring out your heart to God until you’ve kind of just shed your tears and poured out your emotions and feelings to God alone in prayer that He sooths you. You kind of feel that answer coming to prayer where He settles your fears, your anxieties or worries. Let’s go to chapter 52 verses 6-8 of Psalms.
Psalms 52:6-8 Psalms 52:6-8 6 The righteous also shall see, and fear, and shall laugh at him:
7 See, this is the man that made not God his strength; but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness.
8 But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.
American King James Version× The righteous also shall see and fear, And shall laugh at him,…we’ll see it’s talking about a man who does not trust God… saying, 7 “Here is the man who did not make God his strength, But trusted in the abundance of his riches, And strengthened himself in his wickedness.” 8 But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever.
So David knew he was going to live forever and that he would trust in his God forever and ever. That’s very encouraging isn’t it brethren. Let’s go to Psalm 56. This is very beautiful and I’ve read many times in the last six months or so.
Psalms 56:3-4 Psalms 56:3-4 3 What time I am afraid, I will trust in you.
4 In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do to me.
American King James Version× Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. 4 In God (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?
So it’s always good to remember. Notice verse 11 in this same chapter where David added:
v.11 In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?
And so it is trust in God the Bible brings out where it’s this learning process after you’re called that God is trustworthy; not only is He real, not only does He exist, not only does He keep His promises but you can trust Him and that whatever He allows in your life, He’ll see you through. He’ll help you, teach you, strengthen you and be with you. You can trust God; He will not give us more than we can bear no matter how hard it is. Notice Psalm 112 verses 5-7.
Psalms 112:5-7 Psalms 112:5-7 5 A good man shows favor, and lends: he will guide his affairs with discretion.
6 Surely he shall not be moved for ever: the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance.
7 He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD.
American King James Version× A good man deals graciously and lends; He will guide his affairs with discretion…or with wisdom 6 Surely he will never be shaken; The righteous will be in everlasting remembrance. 7 He will not be afraid of evil tidings;… and notice this His heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.
His heart is established, he will not be afraid. So in the context of what helps to quell or calm emotional anxiety and worries and fears is this thing that is called trust in the reliability of God. You can trust in Him; He’s true to His Word. To me it’s another step beyond my faith in God-do I trust God every day in everything of my life and does it keep me, when I’m uncertain and unsure, does it keep my heart steadfast and steady and stable and strong. Notice Psalm 118
Psalms 118:8-9 Psalms 118:8-9 8 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.
9 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.
American King James Version× It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in man. 9 It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in princes.
That’s why I asked you at the beginning of my message, thinking of somebody personally that you love or know or are close to, husband, wife, good friend, brother, sister, mom, dad, whoever. Humanly speaking, who would you say if you could write down a name, I trust this person more than anyone else in my life. I would trust them with my life. That’s an amazing thing to be able to have someone. I have a number of people like that in my life. Number one my wife LeAnn. I completely, totally, 100% trust her. And I could go on with my children whom I know and love and also many friends in the church. Many friends in the church over the years whom I’ve come to know and trust them. Not with my salvation or eternal life, but as far as a friend and someone with whom you could stand arm to arm, back to back with whatever it is you’re convicted of or believe in. And we’ve all been through this in the church. You know what we’re going through in the church today is another episode or chapter of what God has taken His church through down through the centuries; through trials and tests that we go through with each other internally, and they’re the toughest trials. I would say the hardest trials that I’ve had in the church have not been persecution externally or things along that line, they really have from the time God called me into the church, the biggest trials were internal trials and tests that tested my faith in God and then secondly how much did I trust God. And I’ve learned as you have, you learn that you can trust God. You don’t always understand everything that He’s doing and what is going on, and you don’t have to if you trust Him. You just know that by experience and by the trials you’ve already been through, that if you give it up, and quit fretting and worrying, not that you ever stop being deeply concerned as we are now for what’s happening in the church. I think it’s the number one thing on most of our hearts and mind spiritually, and I don’t have all the answers. Never will have, only God does but I know He’s fully and completely in control and I trust Him.
Now we’re going to look at maybe one of your favorite Scriptures in all the Bible on trusting God, it’s certainly I would say probably number one scripture. I read this every day, every single day especially the last few months, every day, probably more than once and I’ll take my Bible to work with me; I take it every day and put it right there on my desk and keep it open.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Proverbs 3:5-6 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not to your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths.
American King James Version× Trust in the LORD with all your heart,.. and my heart is where I feel emotions and anxiety and pain occasionally…And lean not on your own understanding; it’s so easy to lean on my own understanding of things which may not be complete or right. I know that, so don’t depend on my own understanding… 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,…that means in prayer and everything you do, acknowledge Him and lean on Him, not your understanding… And He shall direct your paths. In the margin it says He shall smooth your paths.
Wonderful Scriptures, so something we need to have deep down in our psyche as I’m sure you do and that’s why you’re here today standing strong as a Christian is because you are learning to trust God. Let’s look at a few examples from Scripture; we’ve looked at justa few on what it means to trust God and what trust can do for you. Trust can help you to let go and letting go is a process you have to go through every day. It’s like I’ve got to get up and eat and drink again, unless you’re fasting, you’ve got to go through that renewal process of renewing the strength of the body, through physical nourishment and as we all know spiritually you have to do exactly the same thing. Just because I did it yesterday, prayer and Bible study and meditation, doesn’t mean I don’t need to do it today or tomorrow. I know you all know that because you’re sitting here and you’ve been around a long time, many of you, so you understand. I’m just sharing things I’ve learned and am continuing to learn. I know we all want to keep learning and growing for the rest of our lives because I know we all know that what is really going to matter is how we all end up when this trial is over and this age is over and our lives are over and more of us are getting closer to that time. We never know how many years we have left. All that is going to matter ultimately as we look back on this period of time in the church right now, all that is going to matter is that we did learn and we did grow. And that God prepared us for eternity and for service in His Kingdom. So we all are looking forward to that, but let’s look at four examples of trust in God. Three of them are Biblical examples and one of them is going to be the example of a member in God’s church that I want to tell you about of trust in God.
Let’s go to the book of Esther to see this example of trust in God. The well-known story of Esther chapter 3, but no matter how well we know it, I find that when I go back and review it again there’s always more things that jump out at you, so in Esther, chapter 3 read verses 8-11 it says:
Esther 3:8-11 Esther 3:8-11 8 And Haman said to king Ahasuerus, There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of your kingdom; and their laws are diverse from all people; neither keep they the king’s laws: therefore it is not for the king’s profit to suffer them.
9 If it please the king, let it be written that they may be destroyed: and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver to the hands of those that have the charge of the business, to bring it into the king’s treasuries.
10 And the king took his ring from his hand, and gave it to Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the Jews’ enemy.
11 And the king said to Haman, The silver is given to you, the people also, to do with them as it seems good to you.
American King James Version× Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, “There is a certain people scattered and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of your kingdom; their laws are different from all other people’s,…so he’s talking obviously about God’s people, the Jews and God’s laws…and they do not keep the king’s laws. Therefore it is not fitting for the king to let them remain…so we know the story of the evil Haman and how he influenced the king to issue a decree 9 If it pleases the king, let a decree be written that they be destroyed,…these people who will not obey the king and will not keep the king’s laws…and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those who do the work, to bring it into the king’s treasuries.”…so he’s saying probably he’s going to steal this money from the Jews they were going to kill to use as payment to those who will help carry out this evil deed… 10 So the king took his signet ring from his hand and gave it to Haman,…and we all know the law of the Medes and Persians that whenever the king gave his word and it had the signet stamp on the decree, you could not change it… the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews… 11 And the king said to Haman, “The money and the people are given to you, to do with them as seems good to you.”
I don’t think we can imagine if something like that were to happen in our country, that things could change so drastically enough in the government that there would be these decrees against keeping any day maybe but Sunday, or whatever, the mark of the beast and all of that the Bible talks about in the future. Because we’ve never been under that, we’ve lived in America, a free country. We have freedom of religion. We don’t worry yet about coming to church, meeting on the Sabbath, what’s going to happen to us but we don’t know what lies ahead and imagine what it would have been like for the Jews at this time. I think the best way is just to imagine that we were there, one of them, or this were happening to God’s church, God’s people. And picking it up in chapter 4 verse 1:
Esther 4:1 Esther 4:1When Mordecai perceived all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the middle of the city, and cried with a loud and a bitter cry;
American King James Version× When Mordecai learned all that had happened, he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city. He cried out with a loud and bitter cry…you know, among his people, dropping down in verse 7 And Mordecai told him…this was one of Esther’s servants, verse 5 mentions his name as Hathach and Mordecai told him…. all that had happened to him, and the sum of money that Haman had promised to pay into the king’s treasuries to destroy the Jews. Reading on through verse 9… 8 He also gave him a copy of the written decree for their destruction, which was given at Shushan, that he might show it to Esther…he’s saying to one of Esther’s servants, a eunuch appointed by the king, take this to Esther and show it to her…and explain it to her, and that he (Mordecai, her uncle)might command her to go in to the king to make supplication to him and plead before him for her…the Jewish…people. 9 So Hathach returned and told Esther the words of Mordecai.
We know the story don’t we. Notice verse 11 “All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that any man or woman who goes into the inner court to the king, who has not been called, he has but one law: put all to death,…so anyone who is presumptuous enough to show up, to enter the court to appear before the king without permission, without being summoned, without prior approval etc. would be put to death…except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter,…if that happened, then they would be allowed, they would be forgiven, they would not be sentenced to death…that he may live. Yet I myself have not been called to go in to the king these thirty days.” Esther said, I have not received a call from the king, he does not want to see me, he will let me know when he wants to see me and it could be the sentence of death. Then drop down to verse 14, he told her … For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”… We know that well known Scripture don’t we, and notice what Esther did then - verse 15-16 Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day…a three day fast… My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law;… and again these words that I think most of us know by heart-if I die, I die….and if I perish, I perish!”
Are you to the point with your trust in God, that no matter what it is you’re dealing with, where you can say in your life, “God, if I die, I die but I put my trust in you”? And that’s what Esther did as this young queen. A wonderful example of coming to that point of completely trusting God with her life. So that’s one amazing example put in the Bible for us.
Another one is the book of Daniel, and Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. Turn there with me to Daniel chapter 3 and we’ll see it’s all about trust. That’s what is spoken about - the incredible trust they had in God. They not only believed He was real, but even they admitted, “Well even if He doesn’t save us, even if He lets us die we still trust Him”. Let’s look at this example:
Daniel 3:8-18 Daniel 3:8-18 8 Why at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews.
9 They spoke and said to the king Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live for ever.
10 You, O king, have made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of music, shall fall down and worship the golden image:
11 And whoever falls not down and worships, that he should be cast into the middle of a burning fiery furnace.
12 There are certain Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded you: they serve not your gods, nor worship the golden image which you have set up.
13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king.
14 Nebuchadnezzar spoke and said to them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not you serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?
15 Now if you be ready that at what time you hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of music, you fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if you worship not, you shall be cast the same hour into the middle of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer you in this matter.
17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.
18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods, nor worship the golden image which you have set up.
American King James Version× Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and accused the Jews. Here we go again-Satan always trying to destroy and kill God’s people. 9 They spoke and said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever!..these Chaldeans who were coming to King Nebuchadnezzar to try and destroy the Jews… 10 You, O king, have made a decree that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, shall fall down and worship the gold image;…you can imagine it moving through the streets of the city and everybody once they heard that coming had better fall down and worship or else it’s the death sentence… 11 and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace…and they told the king here… 12 There are certain Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego;…these were Daniel’s friends… these men, O king, have not paid due regard to you…you know there are always those who are trying to turn them against God’s people…They do not serve your gods or worship the gold image which you have set up.” 13 Then Nebuchadnezzar, in rage and fury, gave the command to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. So they brought these men before the king….imagine this angry king, furious at them, life and death…. 14 Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the gold image which I have set up? 15 Now if you are ready at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made, good! But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?”… Well again, this is a wonderful example to remember isn’t it? No matter what you deal with in life, and it is a matter of how much do I trust God…. 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter…a translation today like the NIV or New Living word this verse more clearly translate it this way, “we have no need to defend ourselves in this matter O king, your majesty.” They spoke to him with respect…. 17 If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace,..that’s faith in God, they knew God could do it…. and He will deliver us from your hand, O king….one way or another we know God can do it, but notice what they added in verse 18 , that’s trust….. 18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”
That was putting their lives in the hands of God because you and I know the end of the story - they didn’t when they made that decision standing in front of this furious king who could destroy them. They respectfully gave him their answer, “Our God is able to deliver us, but if he doesn’t, throw us into the fiery furnace, that’s our answer, and so he did! And verse 19… Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. He spoke and commanded that they heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated… Again, we’re familiar with this story and then we’ll pick it up down in verse 27 and 28. They were thrown into this fiery furnace… 27 And the satraps, administrators, governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together, and they saw these men…remember the story said back there, they looked down and there was four of them. Not only Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego somebody else was there with them, and it says they saw these men… on whose bodies the fire had no power; the hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them… Amazing… 28 Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants…who what?… who trusted in Him, …that’s the answer. They said, “God we believe in you, we have faith in you, we know you are real, we put our trust in you, we put our lives in your hands, so a wonderful example of trusting in God. ….and they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God!
Another wonderful example is Job. Let’s look at Job chapter 13 and here’s an amazing Scripture. One that I think we could all maybe write down or memorize or maybe look at our faith or our trust in God and look at Job. We know Job went through horrendous trials; the loss of family, the loss of his wealth, the loss of his health, tremendous trials. Now look at the Scripture.
Job 13:15 Job 13:15Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain my own ways before him.
American King James Version× Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him…. Even if God let’s me die; he was going through this trial, remember? And here’s an interesting thing about God, that God reveals here in this book of Job…..Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him…and I think you can tie that in with verse 3 of this same chapter where Job said,.. 3 But I would speak to the Almighty, And I desire to reason with God.
You know the Bible reveals in the book of Job especially, that it’s ok, you know get down on your knees in prayer and off by yourself and talk to God, and reason to God and ask Him to help you understand this. Job did a lot of reasoning with God, “God what about this and what about that, and what do you want me to do, what am I supposed to learn?” I find it fascinating what I think is most amazing is the incredible attitude of Job that he had come to finally at the end of this book. And this kind of summarizes it to me - God though you let me die in this trial and in this test, I will trust you. Chapter 23, Job knew the end result of all of this. He didn’t know how this trial was going to end, but he knew he could trust God and notice what he said:
Job 23:10 Job 23:10But he knows the way that I take: when he has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
American King James Version× But He knows the way that I take; …yes, God knows that for each one of us, every single one of us, He knows the way we choose or take….When He has tested me, …..proven me, refined me, perfected me…..I shall come forth as gold.
That’s the end result isn’t it? That’s God end result for each one of us and for all of us His people is to perfect us that we might come forth as gold. To trust Him.
The fourth example, and final example that I said I was going to give you is somebody in God’s church, and I’d like you to be thinking as I tell you about this member of God’s church, thinking of maybe someone that you know who is just like this man I’m going to tell you about. This man has been a long time friend of mine. I’ve known him since he was a teenager; I was the first minister to ever visit him in the church back in the mid nineteen sixties in central California when I pastured in the bay area of California. He was a prospective member and asked for a visit. I went over to visit him as a teenager so I’ve known him a long time. Later on in his life he moved to Seattle and he was a bachelor. I’ve told you of this man before; he ended up being shot in the back. He lived in an apartment downtown Seattle and it was a man who’d been released from a mental institution by the state and obviously shouldn’t have been, but pulled out a gun one day and shot. The man’s name is Doug Knott, I’ve told you about Doug. He shot Doug in the back and got him high up here and paramedics were called and were there quickly and saved Doug’s life. From that moment, this happened about early nineteen eighties when he was shot like this, and Doug became quadriplegic, paralyzed from the neck down. Then when I was sent to Seattle the first time in 1980, I got a call from this man who is older now, his name was Doug Knott. I went to visit him and he was quadriplegic and he said, “Mr. Luker, do you remember me?” I said, “No, I don’t. Help me out.” Then he told me the story of that first visit when he was a teenager way back in the sixties. And he said, “You know God called me way back then and I never gave my life completely to Him. I never totally surrendered my life to Him. I know he called me; I’ve known the truth and so I want you to counsel me and baptize me.” So I reconnected with Doug and over a period of time counseled with Doug and baptized him and he was a member of God’s church. I say was a member of God’s church because this man that I’ve come to know and love and respect greatly died this past week. I’ve never known anyone who lived as long as a quadriplegic, totally paralyzed from the neck down, I baptized him in the mid eighties-got him up to about here because of the hole in his throat, the tube they put there and the respirator that keeps him breathing, you know you can’t completely put him under. They said don’t do it; I got advice and they said don’t do it, you’ll drown him so I got him under as far as I could and I’m sure that was acceptable to God. And so Doug has been a baptized member of God’s church for over 25 years and all of his years in the church were as a man totally paralyzed from the neck down.
He never left the church over any of the trials or problems, never gave up, never quit. Imagine yourself in this state of Doug Knott. I can’t imagine if that were the trial that God decided to give me. And I ask you to think of others that would be wonderful examples and there are many others in God’s church around the world. We know of many; this is somebody that I happen to know because I visited him all the time regularly. And whenever I thought how hard my life is, how tough it is and my trials and my problems, I’d go visit Doug. I could get in the car, I could drive, I could do this and I could do that. Doug couldn’t do anything by himself or for himself. Couldn’t get up, couldn’t feed himself, couldn’t go to the bathroom, couldn’t wipe himself, couldn’t do anything by himself. It had to be done by everyone else - his nurses and yet, Doug Knott, I never once visited him when he complained at all. Never once did I ever in all these years of knowing Doug did I ever hear him complain about his condition. In fact, the thing that I will always remember about Doug, what he told me is that, “I know God loves me, I know he wants me to be in His kingdom and have eternal life.” And he said, “I believe he let this happen to me to prepare me and help me to build the character and to trust Him.” So Doug had to learn to just trust God every day. How do you do that for 25 years as a quadriplegic? Wanting to get up and go and do and thinking that maybe God will perform a miracle and heal me now. Well, Doug is dead and his funeral was performed yesterday by Mr. Steve Shafer who replaced me in Seattle but I sent a nice message and LeAnn also put something on the Facebook for Doug as well. The Facebook page for Doug Knott; many wonderful comments and I just sent something to be read there, but I will never forget Doug. I wish I’d been able to fly back and be there but it happened last Sunday he died and the council meetings began Monday and I couldn’t leave. I’d have loved to have been there. I know Doug, I know his family. But Doug Knott, not only these wonderful Biblical examples, but now his suffering, his trial is over for all eternity and I wrote the next time we all see Doug, he’s going to be jumping with joy. He talked about that day when he’d be able to walk again, and live again, and that day now for Doug is going to be just like that. He went to sleep and he’s going to wake up with that new body and he’s going to be happy. Doug Knott learned one day at a time to put his trust in God and that’s how he made it that long. Because I asked him, “Doug, how do you do it?” I think I mentioned to you that one of his nurses was a Vietnam veteran. A tough ole guy and he worked as a male nurse; I got to know him real well and he said, “I’ve never met anyone like Doug. Every day I go in and help to take care of him and he’s not negative, he’s not down, he’s not discouraged and I don’t know how he does it.” I think I do. He knows God and he put his trust in God and basically that’s what Doug told me that one day. There’s certain things about Doug that I’ll never forget that he passed on to me that are going to help me and only God’s Holy word and all of these wonderful examples, but a real life example of one of God’s children that He called who had an incredible trial and made it into God’s kingdom because he put his trust in God one day at a time. And he lived for 25 years as a baptized member of the church.
In conclusion brethren, turn with me to one more final Scripture in Isaiah 26, a beautiful scripture that summarizes the subject of trust in God.
Isaiah 26:3-4 Isaiah 26:3-4 3 You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you: because he trusts in you.
4 Trust you in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:
American King James Version× You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. 4 Trust in the LORD forever, For in YAH,…that is the Eternal… the LORD, is everlasting strength.
So brethren, let us continue to learn to trust God so that we too can have this perfect peace that comes from putting our trust in God.