Some days we feel like winners. Other days we feel like losers. But for the child of God, there’s never really a losing season. It’s important to know what the score is. I’d like to point you to the great scoreboard of the Word of God and show you some winning numbers.
If you know Christ as your Savior, the score is always 13-5, as in Hebrews 13:5: For He himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Those words were penned to a group of Hebrew Christians who were growing discouraged by opposition and threats of persecution. In writing to them, the author of Hebrews reminded them of a thrice-given promise made to Joshua.
In the Book of Hebrews, we learn that this wasn’t just Joshua’s promise. It’s a universal promise for all God’s children. The writer of Hebrews told his readers they could claim it for themselves, and so can you.
Do you feel like a loser? Do you think the score’s going against you? Maybe it is a problem at work or at home. Perhaps there’s a conflict brewing in your church. Some who are reading this article are battling physical problems, and you’re worried about your next doctor’s appointment.
Remember the score is Hebrews 13:5. The Lord has told you He will never leave nor forsake you, and that makes us more than winners through Him who loves us.
Another winning number is 46-1. In Psalm 46:1, the Lord is called a Very Present Help in Trouble. I’ve capitalized those words because they could serve as a title for God. Try using it in prayer: “I come to Thee, O Thou Very Present Help in Trouble, with my need.”
In 1947, missionaries Dick and Margaret Hillis settled with their four children in the Honan province of China. War between Chiang Kai-shek and the forces of Mao Tse-tung broke out. As bombs destroyed the neighbor’s house, the family prayed. Kneeling beside Margaret Anne’s bed, Dick noticed a dirty scrap of paper stuffed under her pillow. On it was printed in big, childlike letters these words: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
How wonderful to sleep with God’s promise for a pillow and His grace for a blanket. How wonderful to play the game of life when we already know we’ve won through our risen Christ, and that the score is 46-1!
Another number in God’s scorebook is 41-10. This is a verse all of us should memorize, for it’s one of the most comforting promises in the Bible: Isaiah 41:10—“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
The well-known commentator Matthew Henry wrote that this promise is given to teach us to depend upon God’s presence all the time, knowing that He is all-sufficient even in the worst of times. “Observe with what tenderness God speaks,” observes Henry, “and how willing He is to let the heirs of promise know the immutability of His counsel, and how desirous to make them easy.” Matthew Henry points out how every phrase is designed to bolster our spirits and meet our needs.
Whatever you are experiencing right now—wins, losses, or toss-ups—remember the numbers on God’s scoreboard. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He is a very present help in trouble. And He will uphold you by His righteous right hand until the score is settled and the final victory is won.
Sometimes in life, it’s not what you know; it’s who you know. Of course, what you know is vitally important. But think of it this way: The less you know, the more important who you know becomes.
Think about some examples from biblical history:
•A New World: God wanted Noah and his family to be the ones to populate the new world after the Flood. It meant building an ark, loading the animals, collecting food, floating for 150 days, then establishing a new human order. It wasn’t what Noah knew that was important; it was only important that he “walked with God” (Genesis 6:9).
•A New Nation: When it came time for God to create a people through whom to bring a Savior into the world, He chose Abraham. God told Abraham and his family to leave their home and travel to a land called Canaan where God promised to do something great through him. So Abraham left “not knowing where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8). It wasn’t what Abraham knew that was important; it was only important that he was “the friend of God” (James 2:23).
•A New Calling: Jesus told Andrew and Peter, James and John, and others to follow Him, that He would make them fishers of men. They didn’t know where Jesus was going, which meant they didn’t know where they were going. But they laid down their vocations and took up His. It wasn’t what the first disciples knew that was important; it was only important that they had “found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote” (John 1:45).
•A New Faith: Paul was confronted by Jesus and commissioned to carry the Name of Christ “before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:15). Paul had been called to a new faith and had more questions than answers. It wasn’t important what Paul didn’t know; it was only important that he had come to “know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings” (Philippians 3:10).
In each of these instances, people were given a new vision to consider—and very few details. But more important than what they knew was Who they knew. And the same is true when God gives us a vision for a new venture.An Abundant Harvest
In 1914 Thomas Edison’s laboratory caught on fire. When he realized how big the blaze was, Edison sent word to his family and friends, “Get down here quick. You may never again see anything like this!”
Edison lost 2 million dollars in equipment and the record of a life’s work. Walking through the rubble with his son Charles, he said, “There’s a great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God we can start anew.”
How many would be able to respond with gratitude after such loss? Giving thanks to God, Edison started anew. Many great inventions came after his laboratory burned.
How can we reap the benefits of a thankful heart all year long?
When Wayne was just six years old, his father built an ice rink in the family’s backyard in Ontario, Canada. Why? “It was for self-preservation,” his father, Walter, said. “I got sick of taking him to the park and sitting there for hours freezing to death.” All his son wanted to do was play ice hockey. He had been skating and playing hockey since the age of two, and by the time he was six he was competing in youth leagues far above his age group. When he retired from his professional career in 1999 at age thirty-eight, “The Great One” was considered the greatest hockey player ever. Wayne Gretzky knew from the beginning that hockey was his life’s calling.
Celebrated athletes like Wayne Gretzky understand the connection between purpose and passion. The deeper the conviction about purpose in life, the deeper the passion to excel. But I’m not just talking about athletes. Life is filled with people who are passionately committed to fulfilling what they know is God’s purpose for their life.
The story of Joseph reaches its emotional peak in the forty-fifth chapter of Genesis, when Joseph and his brothers are finally reunited and reconciled. Dr. David Jeremiah guides us through this moving moment in Bible history, filled with valuable insights we can apply to our lives today.All Sermons by Dr. David Jeremiah