Words of Faith 5-16-18
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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 After John's messengers left, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: "What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind?  If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear expensive clothes and indulge in luxury are in palaces.  But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.  This is the one about whom it is written:
" 'I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.'
 I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he."
This was a tense situation. John the Baptizer was very popular among the people. He was a powerful and uncompromised voice for God who had announced the coming of Jesus. Now he was in prison and very much in danger. What was the problem here?
Jesus knew there was this human tendency to blame the person. He may have even sensed in this crowd that loved John that they were now turning on John. It would have been easy for people to say, "Well, John just didn't have enough faith... He fell away from God. He did not obey God in some area. He should search his life for sin."
This has always been a very human response. Blame the sufferer. Those around Job did it. It was very much a part of first century culture to assign blame. Even the disciples asked Jesus who was to blame for the man born blind, him or his parents (John 9).
So Jesus clarified what was going on. Jesus affirmed that John was the one who came to prepare the way and plow the ground as an unbending prophet. No one is greater. He was not in any way compromised to the ways of the world. He was not one to sway with the latest winds of the day. He did not bend according to the times. Yet, he was in prison and there was no sign that freedom for him was coming.
The hardest thing to face was that perhaps it was John's mission to announce the Messiah and then die. No one wanted to face that possibility but it was a very real one. We sometimes face that possibility as well. Why do some believers go to be with the Lord before the time we would have chosen? We are very slow to accept the possibility that God's way might be different from our way. But fundamental to our trust relationship with God is this reality proclaimed by the Lord through the Prophet Isaiah:
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord.  "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
The word for WAY is "derek" and means "a road" or a course of life or mode of action; a way of conversation and custom or manner. In essence, God says, "My customs are not your customs."
This is a vital truth in a time when people try to bend the ways of God to fit the customs of the day. More importantly, we sometimes think that we can demand that God behave in a certain way and then we call such childish behavior "faith". Nothing could be further from faith. Faith is not demanding our way or timing. Faith is trusting that God is God and that He is entirely capable of discerning and deciding what is best in every situation.
Lord, give me faith, real faith, to trust You with every situation in life. I will be happy to tell You what I think, but I want to know the joy of releasing every burden to You. In Jesus' name.