January 25, 2014
Today’s Text of Encouragement:
“There is none like unto God…who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in His excellence on the sky. The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and He shall thrust out the enemy from before Thee.”
Deuteronomy 33: 26, 27, King James Version
Today’s Study Text:
Exodus 33: 11, K.J.V.
2. “And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron, ‘Because ye believed Me not, to sanctify Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.”
Numbers 20: 12, K.J.V.
“When Your Prayers Go Unanswered”
“Hope is faith in the future tense.”
When I pray and haven’t gotten the answer I want, does it make me ever think that my Father isn’t listening or that in some way He doesn’t care for me?
Have I ever worried that I made such a big mistake or have a failure in my life that is so large it makes it impossible for God to hear me when I pray?
Is there something that has happened in my life that makes me feel as though God’s decisions may be arbitrary?
What is it that I am hoping for in my life right now?
“The God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope.”
Romans 15: 13, K.J. V.
“The future belongs to those who belong to God. This is hope.”
W. T. Purkiser
Before we continued our Biblical study of all the women in 1 Kings, I wanted to take a few weeks and take time for a deeper look into the effects a persistent and consistent prayer life have had in helping me trust my heavenly Father and trust in His power to answer my prayers.
To say that the response to this series has been overwhelming would be an understatement, and I believe it is because, as we have studied God’s word together, it has become apparent that those individuals who have chosen to put God first in their lives, by taking time for daily communion with their Father, have found their lives infused with such spiritual energy they cannot believe what God has planned for them to accomplish.
As we’ve studied the Bible, whether it was Deborah the prophetess, or Jael who took down the evil Sisera, and Ruth the Moabite, or Rahab the harlot, whose association with the God of heaven and earth revolutionized their own lives as well as the lives of those they came in contact with. Yes, prayer changes each of us in ways we cannot conceive.
However, of all the devotionals during our study on prayer, the study about “unanswered” prayers was the greatest because I believe it struck home with so many of you who find yourself in a “holding pattern” in your own lives – waiting for an illusive answer which seems impossible to obtain at this moment in time.
It may be that you have asked repeatedly for heaven’s intervention in the life of a loved one who hasn’t received the joy of a relationship with Jesus. Or possibly there is someone close to your heart who is battling an addiction to drugs or gambling or pornography or some other destructive habit. For many of you, the need for which you are faithfully praying is for a job – an honest day’s work – which will allow you to keep a roof over your kid’s heads and put food on the table everyday. And then there’s the hundreds of prayer requests we receive for healing from a deadly illness or insufferable pain that has bound itself to you night and day. Who wouldn’t want these prayers answered? Who doesn’t need our Father to step in immediately and assist us in our hour of need? I know I do and I know many of you do, too.
It is for all those unanswered requests that make us ask, “Why?” that I want to take some time to continue to look at four Biblical examples of unanswered prayers that at the time of the delayed answers, stand as shining examples of what God is doing, when the only picture we see is one of complete discouragement or abject futility. Yet, our Father often asks us to trust, that behind the curtain of darkness, He is at work, making certain His long-term eternal goal for our life is coming together perfectly, in His time, and His way.
One person I want to look at is Moses. In Deuteronomy 34: 10, we are told that, “There arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face.” The fact that Moses “knew” God and “spoke” to God “face-to-face” tells me a lot about the relationship Moses had with his Father in heaven. This was no casual acquaintance. This wasn’t some surface relationship. The Bible says God and Moses spoke “as friends.”
Let’s not forget that when the rebellious children of Israel cajoled Aaron into building them a golden calf to replace the God of heaven whom they couldn’t see and who they felt was taking too much time on Mt. Sinai with Moses, that after this act of total rejection of God, it was the presence of God, in a cloud, that came down upon His friend, Moses’ tent, in a show of Divine love for such defiant children. Time and again, these disobedient people of Israel, with rebel hearts, were insolent toward God and were rude and ungracious to Moses, until the day came, when in a fit of ill-temper, after being harangued beyond seemingly human endurance and after another demand for water, Moses, instead of striking a rock once with his staff, as instructed by God, hit the rock with great force, twice. Numbers 20: 10, 11 (KJV) really paints a vividly colored picture of the scene: “And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and He said unto them, ‘Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock? And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice; and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts, also.”
God provided – as He always does! But in this particular instance, Moses went against his Father’s instructions and we read in Numbers 20: 12 that God, Moses’ close, dear friend, informed the care-worn servant of God that he would not be leading the children of Israel into the Promised Land – in other words, Moses’ life-long dream was to be left unfulfilled. And when Moses went back to God and told his friend how sorry he was for his mistake, God’s words to Moses were, “Don’t bring this up again – the decision is final.” Talk about an unanswered prayer. This is a big one in my book! Especially after all Moses had put up with and all he had done for God!
If you want to read a passage in the Bible about unanswered prayer that will bring tears to your eyes go to Deuteronomy, Chapter 34 and read about Moses, God’s friend, and see how at the end of his life, at the ago of 120 years, he walked alone, up from the plains of Moab “unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho…Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord.” But the story doesn’t stop with Moses dying, for he wasn’t all alone at the end! Praise God! And rather than the life of Moses ending with what might look like an unanswered prayer due to the impatience of an over-wrought servant of God, this is a story of immense hope, eternal grace, and God’s fulfillment of our dreams in ways we’d never imagine.
I invite all of you who have endured, to the limits of your strength, throughout your life, only to reach what you believe to be your dream fulfilled and find that everything around you is falling to pieces, please come back tomorrow and take another look with me at Moses’ unanswered prayer, and this time we aren’t going to look at the view from a desert camp, surrounded by a bunch of griping, ungrateful people who rarely recognized the blessing that was theirs in the untiring love and tender solace of a “servant” leader like Moses. This time we are going to take a look at the heavenly view God gave Moses from the top of Pisgah. And we are going to see why a seemingly unanswered prayer, became one of the most spectacular blessings ever afforded to a human being who walked this earth.
“(She) who rises from (her) knees a better (woman), (her) prayer has been granted.”
“I asked for strength that I might achieve.
He made me weak that I might obey.
I asked for health that I might do greater things.
I was given grace that I might do better things.
I asked for riches that I might be happy.
I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life.
I was given life that I might enjoy all things.
I received nothing that I asked for.
All that I hoped for.
My prayer was answered.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.