She knew the risk of hiding the Israelite spies. But because she made the right choice and believed in the Lord God of Israel, she and her family were saved.
JOSHUA CHOSE TWO MEN AS SPIES and sent them from their camp at Acacia with these instructions: “God across the river and find out as much as you can about the whole region, especially about the town of Jericho.”
The two spies left the Israelite camp at Acacia and went to Jericho, where they decided to spend the night at the house of a prostitute named Rahab.
But someone found out about them and told the king of Jericho, “Some Israelite men came here tonight, and they are spies.” So the king sent soldiers to Rahab’s house to arrest the spies.
Meanwhile, Rahab had taken the men up to the flat roof of her house and had hidden them under some piles of flax plants that she had put there to dry.
The soldiers came to her door and demanded, “Let us have the men who are staying at your house. They are spies.”
She answered, “Some men did come to my house, but I didn’t know where they had come from. They left after sunset, just before it was time to close the town gate. I don’t know where they were going, but if you hurry, maybe you can catch them.”
The guards at the town gate let the soldiers leave Jericho, but they closed the gate as soon as the soldiers went through. Then the soldiers headed toward the Jordan River to look for the spies at the place where people cross the river.
Rahab went back up to her roof. The spies were still awake, so she told them:
I know that the LORD has given Israel this land. Everyone shakes with fear because of you. We heard how the LORD dried up the Red Sea so you could leave Egypt. And we heard how you destroyed Sihon and Og, those two Amorite kings east of the Jordan River. We know that the LORD your God rules heaven and earth, and we’ve lost our courage and our will to fight.
Please promise me in the LORD’s name that you will be as kind to my family as I have been to you. Do something to show that you won’t let your people kill my father and mother and my brothers and sisters and their families.
“Rahab,” the spies answered, “if you keep quiet about what we’re doing, we promise to be kind to you when the LORD gives us this land. We pray that the LORD will kill us if we don’t keep our promise!”
Rahab’s house was built into the town wall, and one of the windows in her house faced outside the wall. She gave the spies a rope, showed them the window, and said, “Use this rope to let yourselves down to the ground outside the wall. Then hide in the hills. The men who are looking for you won’t be able to find you there. They’ll give up and come back after a few days, and you can be on your way.”
The spies said:
“You made us promise to let you and your family live. We will keep our promise, but you can’t tell anyone why we were here. You must tie this red rope on your window when we attack, and your father and mother, your brothers, and everyone else in your family must be here with you. We’ll take the blame if anyone who stays in this house gets hurt. But anyone who leaves our house will be killed, and it won’t be our fault.
“I’ll do exactly what you said,” Rahab promised. Then she sent them on their way and tied the red rope to the window.
Quoted from Joshua 2:1-21 Contemporary English Version)
For a young shepherd boy, fighting a giant battle-hardened warrior might seem daunting, almost insurmountable task. But David faced and defeated Goliath because of his faith in what God can do for him and His people.
DAVID OBEYED HIS FATHER. He got up early the next morning and left someone else in charge of the sheep; then he loaded the supplies and started off. He reached the army camp just as the soldiers were taking their places and shouting the battle cry. The army of Israel and the Philistine army stood there facing each other.
David left his things with the man in charge of supplies and ran up to the battle line to ask his brothers if they were well. While David was talking with them, Goliath came out from the line of Philistines and started boasting as usual. David heard him.
When the Israelite soldiers saw Goliath, they were scared and ran off. They said to each other, “Look how he keeps coming out to insult us. The king is offering a big reward to the man who kills Goliath. That man will even get to marry the king’s daughter, and no one in his family will ever have to pay taxes again.”
David asked some soldiers standing nearby, “What will a man get for killing this Philistine and stopping him from insulting our people? Who does that worthless Philistine think he is? He’s making fun of the army of the living God!”
The soldiers told David what the king would give the man who killed Goliath.
David’s older brother Eliab heard him talking with the soldiers. Eliab was angry at him and said, “What are you doing here, anyway? Who’s taking care of that little flock of sheep out in the desert? … You came here just to watch the fighting, didn’t you?”
“Now what have I done?” David answered. “Can’t I even ask a question?” Then he turned and asked another soldier the same thing he had asked the others, and he got he same answer.
Some soldiers overheard David talking, so they told Saul what David had said. Saul sent for David, and David came. “Your majesty,” he said, “this Philistine shouldn’t turn us into cowards. I’ll go out and fight him myself!”
“You don’t have a chance against him,” Saul replied. “You’re only a boy, and he’s been a soldier all his life.”
But David told him: Your Majesty, I take care of my father’s sheep. And when one of them is dragged off by a lion or a bear, I go after it and beat the wild animal until it lets the sheep go. If the wild animal turns and attacks me, I grab it by the throat and kill it. Sir, I have killed lions and bears that way, and I can kill this worthless Philistine. He shouldn’t have made fun of the army of the living God! The LORD had rescued me from the claws of lions and bears, and he will keep me safe from the hands of this Philistine.
“All right,” Saul answered, “go ahead and fight him. And I hope the LORD will help you.”
Saul had his own military clothes and armor put on David, and he gave David a bronze helmet to wear. David strapped on sword and tried to walk around, but he was not used to wearing those things.
“I can’t move with all this all this stuff on,” David said. “I’m just not used to it.”
David took off the armor and picked up his shepherd’s stick. He went out to a stream and picked up five smooth rocks and put them in his leather bag. Then with his sling in his hand, he went straight toward Goliath.
Goliath came toward David, walking behind the soldier who was carrying his shield. When Goliath saw that David was just a healthy, good-looking boy, he made fun of him. “Do you think I’m a dog?” Goliath asked. “Is that why you’ve come after me with a stick?” He cursed David in the name of the Philistine gods and shouted, “Come on! When I’m finished with you, I’ll feed you to the birds and wild animals!”
David answered: You’ve come out to fight me with a sword and a spear and a dagger. But I’ve come out to fight you in the name of the LORD All-Powerful. He is the God of Israel’s army, and you have insulted him too! Today the LORD will help me defeat you. I’ll knock you down and cut off your head, and I’ll feed the bodies of the other Philistine soldiers to the birds and wild animals. Then the whole world will know that Israel has a real God. Everybody here will see that the LORD doesn’t need swords or spears to save his people. The LORD always wins his battles, and he will help us defeat you.
When Goliath started forward, David ran toward him. He put a rock in his sling around by his straps. When he let go of one strap, the rock flew out and hit Goliath on the forehead. It cracked his skull, and he fell facedown on the ground. David defeated Goliath with a sling and a rock. He killed him without even using a sword.
(Quoted from I Samuel 17:20-50 Contemporary English Version)
FINDINGS PUBLISHED in the Atlas of the Human Planet 2017, reveal the grim prospect that imperils the human race. Noticeably, according to the researchers, four decades worth of satellite data show that “global exposure to natural disasters has doubled since 1975, largely as a result of population growth and development.” More specifically, it tells the following:
Earthquake is the hazard that accounts for the highest number of exposed population. The number of people living in seismic areas has increased by 93% in 40 years (from 1.4 billion in 1975 to 2.7 billion in 2015).
In 2015, 414 million people lived near one of the 220 most dangerous volcanoes and could suffer from the consequences of eruptions.
Tsunamis affect coastal areas in many regions, but dangerous areas are more concentrated in Asia. Japan has by far the highest amount of built-up surface exposed to tsunamis, followed by China, and the United States of America.
Flood, the most frequent natural disaster, potentially affects more people in Asia (76.9% of the global population exposed) and Africa (12.2%) than in other regions. The world population potentially exposed to flood is around 1 billion in 155 countries in 2015. 11% of the area built-up on Earth is potentially exposed to this hazard, too.
Cyclone winds pose a threat to 89 countries in the world and exposed population increased from 1 billion in 1975 up to 1.6 billion in 2015, (about 24% of the world population). In 2015, 640 million people are exposed to extremely strong cyclone winds. China is by far the country with the largest number of people potentially exposed to storm surge as consequence of tropical cyclones: 50 million of Chinese people live in coastal areas included in the hazard area and this number increased by a factor of 1.5 in the last 40 years.
Job suffered one disaster after another, but he never lost his faith in God
In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. He had seven sons and three daughters, and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.
His sons used to hold feasts in their homes on their birthdays, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would make arrangements for them to be purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular custom.
One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. The LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”
Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”
Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”
“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has and he will surely curse you to his face.”
The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” (Job 1:1-12)
The test of Job
One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, and the Sabeans attacked and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you.”
While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The fire of God fell from the heavens and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”
While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”
While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and your daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”
At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:
In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
On another day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him. And the LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”
Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”
Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.”
“Skin for skin!” Satan replied “A man will give all he has for his own life. But now stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.”
So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head.
Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes.
His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!”
He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”
In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.
After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before.
The LORD blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. And he also had seven sons and three daughters. The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch. Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers.
After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so Job died, an old man full of years.
(Extracted from Job 2:1-10 , 1:13-22 , 42:10, 42:12-17, NIV)
HOW FAR would you go to help a friend, a neighbor, or even someone you don’t know who is in dire need of assistance? Undoubtedly, varied are the ways to show one’s concern for the poor, the marginalized, and those struggling in life. As members of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ), it is our Christian duty to demonstrate our love and compassion to someone in need for God to abide in us (I John 3:17).
Loving our fellowmen
The Bible, in no uncertain terms, makes clear that the most important commandment is to love God with all one’s heart, strength and soul (Mark 12:28-30). For this reason, we joined the Church Of Christ because we truly believe that it is only in this Church where we can render proper reverence, service, and worship of God. In having done so we will receive salvation on Judgment Day.
Moreover, to ensure our salvation, our Lord Jesus Christ taught the second most important commandment that we should fulfill:
“The second most important commandment says: ‘Love others as much as you love yourself.’ No other commandment is more important than these. The man replied, ‘Teacher, you are certainly right to say there is only one God. It is also true that we must love God with all our heart, mind, and strength, and that we must love others as much as we love ourselves. These commandments are more important than all the sacrifices and offerings that we could possibly make.” When Jesus saw that the man had given a sensible answer, he told him, ‘You are not far from God’s kingdom.’ After this, no one dared ask Jesus any more questions.” (Mark 12:31-34 Contemporary English Version)
Hence, according to Christ, loving our fellowmen is the second most important commandment. As Christ’s servants, such genuine and altruistic love must be manifested in our lives—it is something we should not avoid doing.
Manifestations of love for humanity
We can show such love for our fellowmen, especially the needy and impoverished, by doing humanitarian work. This is the reason the present Church Administration encourages us to be mindful of the plight of many less fortunate people who need help, sharing or giving material resources as much as we can or extending varied expressions of charity. This in accordance with Christ’s teaching as elucidated in His parable about the Good Samaritan, thus:
“A teacher of the Law came up and tried to trap Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to receive eternal life?’ Jesus answered him, ‘What do the Scriptures say? How do you interpret them?’ The man answered, “Love the Lord our God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind”; and “Love your neighbor as you love yourself”.’ ‘You are right,’ Jesus replied; ‘do this and you will live.’ But the teacher of the Law wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, ‘Who is my neighbor? Jesus answered ‘There was once a man who was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho when robbers attacked him, stripped him, and beat him up, leaving him half dead. It so happened that a priest was going down that road; but when he saw the man, he walked on by on the other side. In the same way a Levite also came there, went over and looked at the man, and then walked on by on the other side. But a Samaritan who was traveling that way came upon the man, and when he saw him, his heart was filled with pity. He went over to him, poured oil and wine on his wounds and bandaged them; then he put the man on his own animal and took him to an inn where he took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. “Take care of him,” he told the innkeeper, “and when I come back this way, I will pay you whatever else you spend on him”.’ And Jesus concluded, ‘In your opinion, which one of these three acted like a neighbor toward the man attacked by the robbers?’ The teacher of the Law answered, ‘The one who was kind to him.’ Jesus replied, ‘You go, then, and do the same’.” (Luke 10:25-37 Good News Bible)
The Church Of Christ today remains unwavering in its commitment to our destitute and disadvantaged fellowmen, in fulfilment of Christ’s mandate. This was recently highlighted by its walk-for-a-cause campaign, the Worldwide Walk to Fight Poverty. It aimed to raise awareness of the miserable condition of millions of our fellowmen gripped by abject poverty and to help them alleviate their sorrow and suffering. This and other charitable acts and projects initiated by the Church worldwide are made more significant in the light of unusual catastrophes, disasters, and tragedies that continue to occur on a daily basis. Indeed, there is no end in sight to extraordinary occurrences affecting many people today that call for each off us to prove our concern and compassion for others for the good of humanity.
God’s early servants fulfilled His commandment to love and help their fellowmen. Job helped the poor, the orphans, and the widows (Job 29:12-13). Apostle Paul showed his charitable act by bringing “contributions of charity and offerings” (Acts 24:17 Amplified Bible). In addition, a disciple of Christ named Tabitha was “rich in acts of kindness and charity which she continually did” (Acts 9:36 AMP2015).
Presently, the Church Of Christ, under the leadership of its Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, continues to extend its help across the globe to the poor and needy, members and nonmembers alike, through acts of benevolence and generosity especially to the victims of disasters and calamities.
Those who help the needy and are concerned about the poor—not withholding their love for fellowmen especially when they have the means to do so—are not on the losing end because God lays I store His blessings for them:
“ … You must never have bad thoughts about a person that needs help. You must not refuse to help him. If you don’t help that poor person, then he will complain to the Lord against you. And the Lord will find you guilty of sin. Give the poor person all that you can. Don’t feel bad about giving to him. Why? Because the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you do.” (Deut. 15:9-10 Easy-to-Read Version)
“Happy are those who are concerned for the poor; the LORD will help them when they are in trouble. The LORD will protect them and preserve their lives; he will make them happy in the land; he will not abandon the to the power of their enemies. The LORD will help them when they are sick and will restore them to health.” (Ps. 41:1-3 GNB)
Above all, eternal life will be received by God’s servants who obey His commandment taught by Christ to care for the needs of others, especially the poor. The Bible made this very clear:
“Once a man came to Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he asked, ‘what good thing must I do to receive eternal life?’ ‘Why do you ask me concerning what is good?’ answered Jesus. ‘There is only One who is good. Keep the commandments if you want to enter life.’ ‘What commandments?’ he asked. Jesus answered, ‘Do not commit murder; do not commit adultery; do not steal; do not accuse anyone falsely; respect your father and your mother; and love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ ‘I have obeyed all these commandments,’ the young man replied. ‘What else do I need to do?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If you want to be perfect, go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven; then come and follow me’.” (Matt 19:16-21 GNB)
God’s blessing is with those who obey, but His punishment is meted out to those who don’t. This was shown in the extraordinary events that happened in the life of God’s servant, Jonah.
Nineveh was the capital of he Assyrian Empire. The Bible describes it as a city guilty of evil plots against God (Nah. 1:9), cruelty in war (Nah. 2:12, 13), idolatry, prostitution, and witchcraft (Nah. 3:4).
To warn the people of Nineveh of the judgment that would befall them, God sent the prophet Jonah to persuade them to repent.
THE WORD OF THE LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”
But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the LORD.
Then the LORD sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship.
But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us, and we will not perish.”
Then the sailors said to each other, “Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity.” They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah.
So they asked him, “Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?”
He answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land.”
This terrified them and they asked, “What have you done?” (They knew he was running away from the LORD, because he had already told them so.)
The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?”
“Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.”
Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. Then they cried to the LORD, “O LORD, please do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, O LORD, have done as you pleased.” Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. At this the men greatly feared the LORD, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows to him.
But the LORD provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.
From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God. He said:
“In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me.
From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry.
You hurled me into the deep, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me.
I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.’
The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head.
To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever.
But you brought my life up from the pit, O LORD my God.
“When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple.
“Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.
But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you.
What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the LORD.”
And the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.
(Quoted from Jonah1:1-17; 2:1-10 New International Version)
Illustration by Nestor G. Malgapo Sr.
HAVE YOU NOTICED how the calamities and disasters of late are becoming more unusual and bizarre? The high-magnitude earthquakes occurring in greater frequency during the last decade.1 The fierce storms that cause severe floodings, on one side,2 while sucking dry some shores, on the other.3 The ensuing famines as reflected in the rising rates of hunger and poverty.4 News of such disasters can already be disheartening to observers. How much more is it for the surviving victims and their affected loved ones?
But even if we are nowhere near the calamity-stricken places, we also face problems of our own. Our daily troubles may not be as catastrophic as those captured in media reports but they can also be devastating and seemingly insurmountable. In fact, we also find ourselves in uncertain situations that test the limits of our inner strength and confidence.
When problems hit us where they hurt the most, how must we cope? As members of the Church Of Christ, what should we always remember in the face of the obstacles we never thought we would go through?
Our hope is greater than our troubles
God is our hope. Life’s tragedies can be unimaginably difficult, but the help that comes from God is far greater than any unusual disaster. The Bible tells us:
“God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us.” (Eph. 3:20 The Message)
What God can do is far beyond the sphere of our limited knowledge, capacity, and imagination. His power is infinite and wondrous. No problem cannot be solved by God’s help.
Not only do we have God to rely on; we also have His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, to give us “the strength to meet and overcome every difficulty and circumstance” (Phil. 4:13 Last Days Bible). Rather than panic or cringe in fear, let us take courage in believing that God can and will help us even in ways no one could guess or expect.
God’s help: felt and experienced
Experience has proven how wondrous God’s promised help can be. Thankfully recounting how God rescued the Israelites from their fierce enemies, the Psalmist said, “If the LORD had not been on our side when our enemies attacked us, then they would have swallowed us alive in their furious anger against us” (Ps. 124:2-3 Good News Bible).
Enemies are not just people; even situations of circumstances that run counter to our favor can be as menacing and overwhelming. But as what the early servants experienced, “the LORD … has not let our enemies destroy us. We have escaped like a bird from a hunter’s trap,” for, indeed, “Our help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth: (Ps. 124:6-8 GNB).
That is also the experience of the faithful Christians in the first century led by the apostles. Through all the persecutions, distresses, and difficulties they suffered, they found God’s grace sufficient, His loving-kindness more than enough, and His mercy always available regardless of the situation. And with the power of Christ that dwelt in them, they overcame their weaknesses and emerged strong—truly able, truly powerful and truly drawing from God’s strength (II Cor. 12:9-10 Amplified Bible 2015).
Learning from our overwhelming burdens
When Apostle Paul confidently asserted on behalf of his fellow Christians then, that they were glad and well-pleased with sufferings, it was not as if the trials they faced were light and easy. In fact, during the apostle’s missionary journey to Asia, what he and the brethren went through completely overwhelmed them. “The burden was more than we could bear,” said Apostle Paul, stressing that they even told themselves, “this was the end.” Nevertheless, because God saved them from imminent death, the apostle realized that such overwhelming experience taught them a valuable lesson: to trust not in themselves but in God (II Cor. 1:8-10 Phillips Translation).
What it means to trust in God
Trust in God cannot be faked. Those who truly trust in God are the ones who (1) fear, (2) revere and (3) worship Him (Ps. 31;19 Amplified Bible).
To fear God is to hate evil Prov. 8:13). God-fearing Christians, therefore, renew their lives completely. They don’t lead sinful lives.
To revere God is to be obedient to His will, for those who are reverent before Him live in responsive obedience (Phil. 2:12 MSG). They don’t just pick and choose which commands to obey. They follow all of God’s teachings uncompromisingly.
To worship God, His servants gather themselves together to sing hymns, offer prayers, give offerings, and hear His words inside the temple or house of worship (I Cor. 14:26, 15; Heb. 13:15-16; Ps. 5:7; Isa. 2:3). Those who trust God don’t forsake such meetings for worship (Heb. 10:25).
Therefore, those who trust in God renew their lives completely, keep on obeying His commands responsively, and fulfill their duty to worship Him constantly. In so doing, they have the assurance that God’s help will always be available for them, especially when they need it most.
God is waiting for us to ask for His help
When terrifying things happen, it will be a terrible thing for us not to approach God and ask for help. The Lord God expects His people to call on Him:
“I’ve made myself available to those who haven’t bothered to ask. I’m here, ready to be found by those who haven’t bothered to look. I kept saying ‘I’m here, I’m right here’ to a nation that ignored me. I reached out day after day to a people who turned their backs on me, People who make wrong turns, who insist on doing things their own way.” (Isa. 65:1-2 MSG)
Let us not disappoint God as done by those who ignored Him. Doing so will not help us get through our troubles but will only make things worse. No matter how severe our hardships are, we must keep on worshiping God, obeying His commands, and renewing our lives. For, when we prove hat we fully trust and take refuge in Him, we will be able to surmount any unusual tragedy or disaster in life:
“My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, … God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” (Eph. 3:14-20 MSG)
By MARLEX C. CANTOR
Based on the lesson taught by the Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, during his pastoral visit to the Local Congregation of Muntinlupa, Ecclesiastical District of Metro Manila South on September 30, 2017
1Tyagi, H. (2014, October 25). Worldwide Surge in ‘Great’ Earthquakes Seen in Past 10 Years. Retrieved from www.nbcnews.com
2Loria, K. (2017, September 26)). This Hurricane Season Has Been Exceptionally Bad—And It’s Not Going To Get Any Better. Retrieved from futurism.com
3Meyjes, T. (2017, September 10). Ocean Disappears As Hurricane Irma Sucks All Sign Of Water Away From Beaches. Retrieved from metro.co.uk
4Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters. (2017, September 13). Cred Crunch Newsletter, Issue No. 48 September 2017-“Disaster Data: A Balanced Perspective”. Retrieved from reliefweb.int