These chapters, I see men who knew God was with them, and it caused them to be: Obedient. Courageous. Bold.
Noah built the ark, preparing for the flood. God told him to. He obeyed. God closed him in.
Ezra could feel God’s hand upon him. “My God was on my side,” he knew. And it gave him courage.
In Matthew–Jesus speaks, and the crowd applauds. The best teaching they’d ever heard, because they knew this man lived it. He was authentic.
“These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock.” Matthew 7:24-25 (The Message)
Stephen knew who his Rock was. And he stood on it. He recounts God’s work through time. His message ends in rebuke to his listeners–the cost, his own life.
“But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards.” Matthew 7:26-27 (The Message)
Father, when life surges and pitches around me, I pray I cling to you, my Rock. That I would build my life upon your word, and not regard it as scripture underlined, highlighted … forgotten in the storm. Amen.