Nothing Beyond Our Capabilities
Sometimes people think they know their capabilities better than God does. This is seen in those who will refuse to obey God, saying that they are not “able” to do what God says. What we need to understand is that God does not command us to do anything that is impossible for us to do.
In Exodus 4:10, God told Moses to go to Egypt and tell Pharaoh to let His people go. He said this because He knew Moses could do this. Moses responded by saying, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech, and of tongue.” Moses had the attitude of those today who think that they are not capable of doing what God said to do. As a result, Moses angered God (Ex. 4:14).
When God called Jeremiah to be a prophet, Jeremiah thought that he was too young. God told him in Jeremiah 1:7-8, “Do not say I am only a youth: for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the LORD.” God does not ask us to do anything beyond our capabilities!
In Matthew 25:14-30, we read about the parable of the talents. Remember that when the man had called his servants to him, he gave one servant five talents, one two talents, and the third servant, one talent. We find that while the man was gone, the first two servants made good use of their talents, gaining double their money. The third one did nothing with the money, but gave it back to his master untouched. This man was cast into outer darkness where there was weeping and gnashing of teeth. His money was then given to the servant who had ten talents.
Why did this happen? Was this man punished because he had less than the others and was not able to do exactly what they did? No. He was punished because he had the ability to do something with that money and refused to do it!
The spiritual application for us is that we may not be able to do what “so and so” does, but we do have abilities and must be about using them! God expects us to be useful in His kingdom by obeying all His commands (Jn. 14:15)! We dare not say we are not capable of obeying God.
Not only does God not command us to do any more than we are capable of doing, but He also will not allow our temptations and struggles to be greater than we can bear. Paul wrote, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted above beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (I Cor. 10:13).
God is concerned about the well-being of mankind. God’s word is given to us so that we might know His will and go to Heaven. He does not command us to do anything that is beyond the grasp of our physical or mental abilities (II Tim. 3:16-17; I Pet. 4:11; Phil. 4:9).
Christ Reigns Over Man Today
Our Lord Jesus Christ rules over us today. This is a fact that is lost on much of the world. After His resurrection and ascension, Christ sat down at the right hand of God to rule and reign over us. Daniel saw this day in his vision recorded in Daniel 7:13-14. The fulfillment of Daniel’s vision is seen in Acts 1:9-11 when Christ “came to” God and sat down at His right hand. Paul said that Christ is reigning now, and “must reign til he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (I Cor. 15:25-26). Since death has not been destroyed, we know Christ is reigning today.
In the book of Ephesians, Paul discusses Christ’s resurrection and ascension and says, “Which he (God) wrought in Christ, when he (God) raised him (Christ) from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And has put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that fills all in all” (Eph. 1:20-23). Friends, Christ reigns over us today. We may not want to think about it, some may even deny it, but when all is said and done, Christ reigns today! God told His Son, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of your kingdom” (Heb. 1:8). Based on the truth that Christ reigns over us today, what does this mean to us?
1) It means man has no authority over himself. Jesus pronounced that He had all authority. “Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All power is given to me in heaven and in earth” (Matt. 28:18). If Christ has all authority in Heaven and earth, then how much does that leave for anyone else? Friend, let us be submissive to our King!
2) It means that man has no legislative power. Some take upon themselves the job of lawmaker. You see this in those who hear Christ’s words and declare, “I know the Bible says that but....” Sometimes people will hear the word of God read plainly and state, “That is your opinion.” If you or I are guilty of this, then we are trying to be the lawmaker! Friends, that job has already been taken! Christ is the lawmaker today (Jas. 4:12). His law is found in the New Testament, and will not change. It is high time we accepted it and obeyed rather than fighting against it!
3) It means that we will be punished if we do not do as the King says. Paul wrote the Thessalonians and told them that on the last day, Christ would come, “In flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and that do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (II Thess. 1:8-9). Let us not be found in rebellion against the King. Rather, let us become citizens of His Kingdom through faith in Him (Jn. 8:24), repenting of sins (Lk. 13:3), confessing our faith in Christ (Matt. 10:32), and being baptized for the remission of sins (Mk. 16:16). What is keeping you from doing what is right? Don’t defy your King, Jesus Christ!
“Remember Lot’s Wife”
Luke 17:32 is a short verse, and it has reference to what happened to Lot’s wife as the family fled from Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19. As Lot and his family were leaving (II Pet. 2:6-9), they were warned not to look back to the city lest they “be consumed” (Gen. 19:17). And as humans are wont to do, when Lot’s wife was told not to look back, she did that very thing and “became a pillar of salt” (Gen. 19:26). Having been promised safety by God through obedience, when she sinned, she paid the penalty for her disobedience. Certainly, when we think about our lives and the experiences that we have had; we can see that remembering is vital to our not repeating the same mistakes over and over again. Let us consider Lot’s wife and learn lessons from her error.
Luke 17:32 teaches us that God keeps His promises. Just as God promised destruction on whoever looked back to Sodom in Genesis 19, God has promised eternal damnation for those who do not know God and do not obey His word. Paul said, “Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (II Thess. 1:6-9). God has promised “rest” for the people of God (Heb. 4:9). God has also promised an eternity of living in the presence of God and Christ in Heaven to those who are His children (Jn. 14:1-6; Rev. 7:15-17). Seeing that God kept His word in the Old Testament, we know He will keep it today (Rom. 2:7-11)!
In remembering Lot’s wife, we learn that God will not allow the wicked to continue indefinitely. Sodom and Gomorrah came to an end in Genesis 19. When God was through, there was nothing left but ashes and smoke (Gen. 19:28)! The lesson we must remember is that regardless of the sin, whether “public” or “private”, God knows about it, and we will answer for it. In Numbers 32:23, we learn, “Be sure your sin will find you out.” Solomon said, “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good” (Prov. 15:3). Yes, God knows when we have sinned, and we will answer for it if we do not repent and turn to God (Ecc. 12:13; Rom. 2:16; I Tim. 5:24-25; Acts 3:19)!!
By remembering Lot’s wife we learn that just because a place seems great, this does not tell you what is on the inside! Lot, in Genesis 13, “pitched his tent toward Sodom” because he saw the well-watered plain (v. 12). By Genesis 14:12, he was in the city, and by Genesis 19, he was sitting in the gate of the city. Though rich, this city was wicked because of homosexuality and simply put, they were “sinners before the Lord exceedingly” (Gen. 13:13, 19:5). This “vexed” Lot’s righteous soul (II Pet. 2:7). Yet, remember that he went there voluntarily because of the physical goods he thought he could enjoy! Let us not be fooled into thinking that physical prosperity equals spiritually soundness! Many times, it is exactly the opposite!
86,400 is a large number, isn’t it? Imagine having $86,400 in your bank account! What might you do with it? What if someone had 86,400 gold bars? How rich might someone be who could own 86,400 houses? Certainly, one would be most blessed if he were able to have 86,400 close friends. Yet, we are not speaking of those things when we refer to the number 86,400. 86,400 equals the number of seconds in a day!
Each day affords us 86,400 seconds of time in which to serve God, to work, to sleep, to raise children, to eat, to enjoy hobbies, and everything else we do. How are we using this time? Someone made the observation of how difficult it would be for one to spend $86,400 each day with the stipulation that he could not save it, nor “invest” it, because at the end of the day, he would lose any money he had not spent. This is similar to our gift of 86,400 seconds. The seconds we have this day will be used up in this day, and at the end of the day, they are gone forever! We have no “roll-over seconds”, or “do-overs”! There is no retrieving the seconds from this day once they are gone!
With this in mind, how are we using our time? Do we appreciate this gift like we should? Time should not be “killed,” “wasted,” etc., but savored and used wisely because it is precious and finite. This fact is stated often in the Bible. Moses asked God to, “teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Ps. 90:12). Man’s life has been compared to a vapor in Scripture (Jas. 4:14). It has also been compared to grass or a flower, which “withers” and “falls” in time (I Pet. 1:23). Job said, “Man who is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble” (Job 14:1). He also said, “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle and come to their end without hope” (Job 7:6). The apostle Paul emphasized the brevity of life when he stressed the importance of obeying God “now” (II Cor. 6:2). It is written, “Today if ye will hear his voice, do not harden your hearts...” (Heb. 3:7-8). Notice that all of these verses emphasize the precious possession we call time. It fascinates me to consider the fact that our eternal God (Ps. 90:2) actually inspired men (II Pet. 1:20-21) to dedicate portions of His Bible to reminding man not to waste time! Since He has done this, I had better take heed!
Knowing that our life is brief at its longest (Jas. 4:14), and that our lives can end, or be irreversibly changed in a moment (Prov. 27:1), is there any wonder that we see a continued emphasis in Scripture on one doing what is right “today”, while we still have the opportunity? 86,400 seconds per day seems like a lot of time (and it is). On the other hand, these seconds move very rapidly.
86,400 seconds is all we have been given for this day. HOW will we use this precious time? Will it be used in selfishness or godliness? If the Lord wills, and we wake up to a new day tomorrow, HOW will we use the 86,400 seconds given to us on that day? The world has given us far too many “distractions” wherein we are encouraged to waste our time. (I say this as one who is guilty of wasting time, too!) Yet, let us resolve today to stop wasting time and make the best use of our time we have on earth (Eph. 5:16; Col. 4:5)!
“Noah Condemned The World By Faith”
How many times have we heard people say words to the effect, “If you tell me that there is only one way to Heaven, then you are condemning me (or my family, etc.).”? Is this a valid charge?
Friends, when one takes a stand for the truth, he will be condemning those who are not following the truth. Please read Hebrews 11:7 to see a Biblical example of what we are discussing. “By faith Noah, being warned of God of events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.” The Bible says that when Noah built the Ark, following God’s plan to the letter (Gen. 6:13-22), he condemned the world. How did Noah do this? How could he have condemned the world when he was simply doing what God said?
First, he condemned the world by living by faith (Heb. 11:7). When God told Noah what to do, he did it without question (Rom. 10:17; Gen. 6:22). Noah heard God’s word and obeyed. This is living by faith! As a result of his words and example, his family followed his lead (I Pet. 3:20). Sadly, the rest of the world refused to listen to God (through the preaching of Noah, II Pet. 2:5) and drowned in the Flood. Notice that Hebrews 11:7 begins and ends stating that Noah lived “by faith”. Therefore, through his faith, Noah condemned the world.
He also condemned the world by heeding the warnings of God (Gen. 6:13). In contrast, when the people heard Noah’s preaching, they refused to heed God’s warnings and get into the Ark. When Noah was warned of “things not seen as yet,” he heeded the warning. In like manner, we are warned by God of an eternity in Hell for our disbelief and disobedience. Are we heeding the warning of the Lord who has said He will come “in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (II Thess. 1:6-9)? Consider this carefully.
Finally, he condemned the world by preparing for the coming flood. Noah’s preparation of the Ark showed that he not only believed in God, but believed God. He believed the warnings and then acted upon what he had heard. Those who have faith today will also do what God says to do (Rom. 10:16). Christ gave a similar warning in Matthew 25:1-13, where we see that those who were prepared were rewarded and those who refused to prepare were condemned. It was the same in Noah’s day! Noah prepared for the Flood, and in so doing, condemned a world of fools!
Noah condemned the world at that time because he followed God and had the backbone to stand for his convictions and preach God’s word to others. He did God’s will regardless of the consequences to himself or his family. There are too few people like this today. Let us stand behind God’s will and have the backbone that was characteristic of Noah! Have we complained that someone was “condemning” us? Perhaps it was because they were doing God’s will, and we were not! Let us repent while we still can (Lk. 13:3; II Cor. 6:2).