A Year-End Plea to Strengthen Your Faith for What Man Cannot Do

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Founder & Teacher, desiringGod.org

All human odds are against it happening. Namely, giving enough to cover all our 1994 expenses. We have not borrowed from any bank to get us through the lean months. We have borrowed from our own designated and undesignated reserve accounts. December is the month of reckoning.

As of Sunday, December 4, we need $200,700.00 for our General budget and an additional $78,000 for SPAN by the end of 1994. The remaining need is great. I am not merely calling you to pray, but to pray with strengthened faith that God can do this and will do it out of zeal for his own name. Here’s what strengthens my faith.

In Hosea 1:7 God promises, “I will have compassion on the house of Judah and deliver them by the Lord their God, and will not deliver them by bow, sword, battle, horses, or horsemen.” I think this shows the way God enjoys treating his people (2 Chronicles 16:9). Including Bethlehem.

There are three remarkable things about this promise.

1)  One is that Judah is not a perfect people, nor are we a perfect church. But Judah has been faithful to God’s name. The promise is not dependent on perfections, but on penitent faithfulness.

2)  Another remarkable thing is that the deliverance was not to come from any conceivable human agency. “The Lord will deliver by the Lord”—that’s an odd way to put it, but makes the point. “Not by bow or sword or battle or horses or horsemen.” How then? No human agency. Impossible.

That’s the way we feel in December, right? The numbers don’t work. A church this size cannot give this much money in two more Sundays. But what if the Lord promises, “I will do it. NOT by strategy, appeal, or any human contrivance. I am not limited to what you can imagine. I will do it by myself. I will do it in a way that you cannot imagine. Because I am jealous for my name.” That is, in fact, what I am banking on. That God will deliver by God. I know not how, nor need I know.

3)  The third remarkable thing is that God did it. The story is found in Isaiah 37. Hezekiah, the king of Judah prayed, “O Lord, deliver us from [the hand of Sennacharib] that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou alone art God.” God responded in verse 35, “I will defend this city for my own sake.” That night the angel of the Lord killed 185,000 Assyrians (v. 36). “So Sennacharib, king of Assyria, departed and returned home” (v. 37). Colossal understatement. Judah didn’t lift a finger. God did it.

The situation had been impossible. Tiny Judah surrounded by the greatest world power, Assyria. But Hezekiah humbled himself, exalted God, and appealed to God’s zeal for his own name.

So do I (with you),

Pastor John