The final principle of abundance that Derek lays out is that we are not to let circumstances interfere with what we are believing God for. It is our responsibility to keep your eyes on the promise and meet the conditions God has laid out. We can know God’s abundance.
It’s good to be with you again, as we draw near to the close of another week. Our theme this week has been God’s Abundance. I do trust you’ve found it helpful and inspiring.
In my previous talks this week we’ve examined four principles from God’s Word on which our faith for abundance must be based. The first principle—God’s provision is in His promises. The second—The promises are our inheritance. The third—All God’s promises are now available to us through Christ. And you’ll remember I emphasized three short important words, “all, now, and us.” All God’s promises are now available to us through Christ. Fourth, the promises are the expression of God’s will. God never promised to do something that it was not His will to do.
Today I’m going to share with you one more vital principle connected with God’s promises.
This is the fifth principle and the last one that I’m going to share. It is this: The fulfillment of God’s promises does not depend upon our circumstances but upon our meeting God’s conditions. Here is where so many people miss out. They find the promises. They set out to claim their inheritance. They find something tremendous and wonderful that God has promised and they’re all excited and enthused, and then they look at their conditions and their circumstances, and they say, “Well, God couldn’t do it in this situation, my situation’s too difficult; of course God really intends to do that, but in my particular situation, it just wouldn’t be possible.” That’s one big mistake that we continually make. Instead of focusing on the promises, we turn away and look at the situation and so we miss out on the promises.
One thing I want to say is, we do not need to try and make things easy for God. God wants to work in such a way that the glory goes only to him. You remember I pointed out more than once the purpose of God’s promises and the purpose of God’s abundance is His glory and in a certain sense, the more impossible it is, the more the glory goes to God.
There are lots of examples of this in the Bible. Let me just quote one or two or three. First of all, when Israel crossed the Jordan into the Promised Land and you’ll remember that was a pattern for us, the Jordan was in flood. It was the highest, it flowed the fastest of any time of the year. God didn’t want to make it easy. He chose it when it was most difficult.
Or you can think of God’s dealings with Gideon. Gideon started out with 32,000 men to fight the Midianites and God said, “You’ve got too many men, let some of them go, if they’re afraid, let them go because if you win the battle with 32,000, people will say Israel did it by their own power. So, Gideon said, “Well, if there are any people that are afraid, let them go home.” 10,000 went, 22,000 were left. God said, “There’s still too many, take them down to the brook and let them drink, and the ones that lap like a dog; they’re the ones you can take.” Only 300 met that condition. So from 32,000 God whittled the army down to 300 because he wanted the glory for Himself. He wanted to exclude the possibility that Israel had done it without God.
Another example that always appeals to me is Elijah calling down fire on his sacrifice on Mount Carmel. He didn’t call down fire on a dry sacrifice. He went out of his way to wet it and he not only wet it once or twice, he drenched it in water three times until the whole sacrifice was drenched. Water was in the trench all around it; it was as wet as anything could ever be. But when the fire fell from heaven, it burned up the sacrifice, the dust, the stones, the water in the trench. God didn’t need Elijah to make it easy and Elijah knew that. He deliberately made it difficult. He wanted the Israelites to know God did this; it’s not something that man could do.
So never make the mistake of assuming that God could have done it if it had been a little easier. Don’t try to make things easy for God.
One really outstanding example of this principle is Israel and their journey through the wilderness for forty years. And I just want to read to you the comment of a well known Bible teacher on this tremendous act of God, caring for three million people in the wilderness for forty years. This is what he says:
“It is not the great achievement of the Red Sea crossing by Moses and the Israelites that is so stupendous and miraculous. The awesomeness of the Wilderness Journey is the fact that approximately three million people were sustained for forty years in a small, dry, fruitless desert. Have you thought of what it must have been like to merely exist from day to day with every human means for survival out of reach? Let us look at a few facts to see how impossible it would have been for Moses and his people to rely upon their own means of subsistence: ‘To get through the Red Sea in one night they had to have a space at least three miles wide, so they could walk 5,000 abreast. If they walked doublefile, it would have been 800 miles long, and it would have taken them 35 days and nights to get through. At the end of each day of the journey they would have needed space two-thirds the size of the state of Rhode Island for them to camp. This would have been a total of 750 square miles. The amount of food for consumption alone is absolutely astounding when you consider the fact that they were traveling in a country where there was no abundance of natural food to be found. Just the amount needed to keep from starving would have added up to 1,500 tons a day. But to feed them the way we would eat, it would take at least 4,000 tons. Just to haul it would take two freight trains, each one a mile long. At today’s prices it would cost $4 million a day! [and that’s a long while before inflation, at least $10 million dollars.] Then consider the amount of water required for barest necessities of drinking and washing dishes each day. It has been calculated that they would have to have 11 million gallons every single day. Think of the gigantic task of hauling water. It would have taken a freight train with tank cars, 1,800 miles long!’”
Now consider those figures and bear in mind, they were not for forty years, they were for every day of the forty years. In other words, God placed His people by His own decision and plan in a situation where every natural source of supply was not available and He did that to let them know that He is Almighty, that He keeps His promises, that He can be relied on, that He’s not limited to any particular set of circumstances or any particular situation, and what was true for Israel, is true for you and me. So bear that in mind, the fulfillment of God’s promises does not depend upon our circumstances, but upon our meeting God’s conditions. Don’t get your eye off the conditions onto the circumstances because that’s how you lose your inheritance.
Now I’m going to briefly share an experience of my own. In the deserts of North Africa, during World War II, when I was serving as a hospital attendant with the British Forces, I became sick with a condition which hospitalized me for one year on end. In the hospital I concluded that the doctors were not able in those circumstances to cure me. I turned to the Bible and I found the promise of God, one that’s lived with me ever since.
I’ll share it with you. It’s in Proverbs, chapter 4, verses 20 through 22.
“My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.” (KJV)
That speaks of God’s Words and God’s sayings. It’s addressed to God’s child, “my son,” and it says that if we partake of God’s Words and God’s sayings in the right way, they will be life to us and health to all our flesh and the alternative translation for health (in the margin) is medicine. So, I saw there was a clear promise that God had provided me with healing and health through His Word if I would take His Word as my medicine and in my desperation I was naive enough to determine I would do that. I determined that I would take God’s Word as my medicine. I determined that I would do it exactly the way that people normally take medicine, three times daily, after meals.
The army placed me in one of the most impossible climates in Africa, in the Sudan. The worst thing for my condition was heat. The temperature where I was stationed went up to 126 degrees almost every day. And so, if I had looked at the conditions, I would have said, “Well, God could do it somewhere else where the temperature’s cooler, but He can’t do it here,” but I saw the principle. God’s promises do not depend on the circumstances and so I refused to look at the circumstances; I looked only at the promise. I focused on it and for about three months, every day, I took God’s Word, solemnly, as my medicine, three times daily, after meals and I want to testify that the medicine did all that was claimed for it. It brought me complete and permanent healing and health in one of the most unhealthy climates in the world. You see, the fulfillment does not depend on the circumstances; it depends on the conditions. I’m sure that early in my Christian walk God put me through that experience to let me learn that lesson and I want to share it with you again with emphasis. The fulfillment of God’s promises does not depend upon our circumstances; it depends upon meeting the conditions. If you’ve found the promise that you need, don’t focus on your circumstances; meet the conditions.
Our time is up for today. I’ll be back with you again next week at this same time—Monday through Friday. I’ll be continuing with this theme of abundance. I have so much more to share with you!