This blog focuses on the quest to know and please God in a constantly increasing way. The upward journey never ends. My prayer is that this blog will reflect a heart that seeks God and that it will encourage others who share the same heart desire.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

II Chronicles: Asa

King Asa "did good and right in the sight of the LORD" (II Chronicles 14:2). He removed the foreign altars and high places and destroyed the idols (14:3,5). "Asa's heart was blameless all his days" (15:17). Asa followed God personally, and as king "he commanded Judah to seek the LORD God" (14:4).

Realizing that God's blessing resulted from following God, Asa told the people, "The land is still ours because we have sought the LORD our God; we have sought Him, and He has given us rest on every side" (14:7). God had done exactly that, starting Asa's reign with ten years of peace. God repeatedly emphasized that the land was "undisturbed" (14:1,5,6). "There was no one at war with him during those years, because the LORD had given him rest" (14:6).

In spite of the prevailing peace, Asa built fortified cities with abundant defenses. Eventually, the time came when he needed his large army of 580,000 warriors. Ethiopia attacked with an imposing army of 1,000,000 men and 300 chariots. In this daunting challenge, Asa demonstrated his trust in the God he had always followed. When Asa came to the battle, his dependence was not in his valiant warriors, but in Almighty God. He called out, "LORD, there is no one besides You to help in the battle between the powerful and those who have no strength; so help us, O LORD our God, for we trust in You" (14:11).

God responded to Asa's trust with a resounding defeat of the Ethiopians. In response to Asa's prayer, God "routed the Ethiopians" who "fled." "So many Ethiopians fell that they could not recover." They were "shattered," and there was "very much plunder." Asa's army pursued them all the way to their southern border where they "destroyed all the cities." The "dread of the LORD" fell on the Ethiopians. Judah "despoiled all the cities" and took "much plunder"; they "struck down those who owned" livestock and "carried away large numbers" of animals (14:12-15).

After the dramatic victory, God confirmed His hand of blessing on Asa by sending a prophet with this message: "The LORD is with you when you are with Him. And if you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you" (15:2). The prophet recalled that God had historically responded to Israel's cries of dependence. The prophet concluded by urging, "Be strong and do not lose courage, for there is reward for your work" (15:7).

Asa "took courage" from this message (15:8) and actually increased his efforts for God. Previously he had removed the idols from the cities of Judah; now he removed "the abominable idols from all the land of Judah" as well as from "Benjamin and from the cities which he had captured in the hill country of Ephraim" (15:8).  Additionally, he "restored the altar of the LORD" (15:8).

Asa then gathered his citizens and the God-seeking immigrants from Israel for a great sacrifice accompanied by intense dedication. Those who feared God "entered into [a] covenant to seek the LORD God of their fathers with all their heart and soul," and they declared that "whoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel should be put to death" (15:12-13). The people sealed this covenant with an oath and with great rejoicing. Asa removed his own mother from being queen because of her idol worship. Finally, Asa donated his own treasures for use in the temple. God blessed this heightened devotion by giving "rest on every side," with "no more war" for the next twenty-five years (15:15,19).

Sadly, when the next conflict came, Asa did not rely on God as he had previously. King Baasha of Israel was fortifying a border city, trying to prevent his citizens from defecting to Judah. Instead of calling out to God, Asa sought help by sending treasures from the temple and palace to the king of Aram. Asa asked the king of Aram to break his treaty with Baasha and fight against Baasha instead. The plan worked. When Aram began capturing Israel's cities, Baasha abandoned his confrontation with Judah and turned to fight Aram.

In this seemingly successful resolution, Asa seized abandoned materials to reinforce his own cities. Asa lost, however, the treasures he had surrendered, and that wasn't his only loss. God sent a prophet to rebuke Asa, revealing that if Asa had not allied with Aram, he would have had the opportunity to conquer him. The prophet reminded Asa of the much stronger threat in the past, when God had given great victory due to the trust placed solely in Him. The greatest loss was that of God's blessing. The prophet declared, "The eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. You have acted foolishly in this. Indeed, from now on you will surely have wars" (16:9).

Asa's heart for God was never the same again. He relied on man in the conflict with Baasha, and he did the same a few years later when he became severely ill. In spite of his serious illness, Asa "did not seek the LORD, but the physicians" (16:12). Asa's saddest response was toward the prophet who rebuked him. "Asa was angry with the seer and put him in prison," just for delivering God's message. Asa also "oppressed some of the people at the same time" (16:10). Asa had lost his tender heart.

I believe the primary reason for this change was because Asa hated war and wanted to avoid it at all costs. He knew the peace he enjoyed early on was connected to his seeking of God and therefore placed importance on following God. Even in peaceful times, Asa strengthened the military and the defenses. After the victory over Ethiopia, Asa escalated his devotion in response to the prophet's message that peace was a reward for seeking God. Then after decades of peace, when he saw the hint of war, he immediately took steps to remove the threat - steps that did not involve actual fighting on his part. Perhaps most telling was Asa's response to the prophet's message; when told that his kingdom would now face wars due to his failure to seek God, Asa became so angry that he put the prophet in prison and took out his frustration on his own people.

War was Asa's sensitive spot. For most of his life, God's blessing prevented Asa from facing the thing he dreaded. When war eventually threatened again, God could have handled the new situation just as easily as He had in the past. In the conflict with Israel, in the later wars, and in his illness, it was not too late for Asa to call on God for help. Unfortunately, when God allowed a threat and then predicted additional wars, Asa forsook God, angry that he had to face what he most wanted to avoid.

Because of the contrast between his earlier and later years, Asa's life provides a poignant example of God's blessing being on those who seek Him. When Asa sought God, he experienced an incredible victory and a nearly unbelievable stretch of peace. When Asa failed to seek God, he faced losses beyond what could be measured militarily, in addition to entering a time of wars and physical illness. Early success, even prolonged success, does not guarantee life-long success. Asa fell by refusing to humbly submit when God's choice conflicted with his own desires.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

II Chronicles: Abijah

Abijah was a godly king who ruled Judah for only three years. The entire account of his reign (related in II Chronicles 13) is focused on a single incident, which God uses to reveal the impact of Abijah's heart for God.

Abijah's significant event was war with Jeroboam of Israel. This war is not a surprise. Although Rehoboam, Abijah's father, had obeyed God's instruction not to go to war with Jeroboam at the time the kingdom divided, nevertheless there were continual wars between the two men (12:15). It is completely logical that the war would carry over into Abijah's reign. In fact, Jeroboam may have seen an opportunity to launch an especially aggressive attack against the new and inexperienced king.

The battle scenario was not good for Abijah. As a new king, he faced a leader who had fought for years. Abijah actually had an exceptionally strong army of 400,000 men. Unfortunately, Jeroboam was coming against him with twice that many (13:3). Not only that, but Jeroboam had a sinister battle plan. He was going to set an ambush so that Abijah's soldiers would be surrounded with an army behind them and an army in front of them (13:13-14). The situation was daunting.

Abijah had other disadvantages. He had not been led well or taught well by his father. Whether deliberately misinformed by his proud father or whether simply left to interpret history on his own, Abijah did not quite have accurate or complete understanding. It seems that he only partially understood the reason that the ten tribes had deserted his father. He placed the blame on the rebellious Jeroboam who led people away (13:6-7), rather than acknowledging his father's unwise response that caused the people to reject him (10:15-16). Abijah also misunderstood his father's failure to stop the secession militarily. He thought his father had been too young, too inexperienced, and too weak to stop Jeroboam (13:7); he did not realize his father had stood down militarily in direct response to God (11:4).

Abijah also failed to fully grasp what had happened with the priests, Levites, and other God-followers who had come to Judah from Israel. He thought that Jeroboam had forcibly driven them out (13:9), when in reality, those godly men had chosen to move to Judah (11:13-16). There is even some doubt whether Abijah fully understood worship. When he challenged Jeroboam regarding being true to God, his focus was on the rituals that the priests and Levites faithfully observed: offering burnt offerings, burning incense, preparing showbread, cleaning the table, lighting the lamp, and doing these things daily (13:10-11). Considering the training Abijah would have received from his father, the confusion and partial understanding is not unbelievable or even surprising.

What is more important is the truth that Abijah did understand. He knew and believed the promise of God that David's descendents would continue as kings (13:5). He knew that Jeroboam could not successfully overthrow God's plan (13:8). He knew that neither the size of Jeroboam's army nor the false gods he worshipped would be enough to bring victory (13:8). He knew that those man-made idols were really not gods at all (13:8-9). He knew that forsaking the true God would lead to disaster, and that following God faithfully was the source of help (13:9-10). He knew that God was with him (13:12). He boldly declared the truth as he warned Jeroboam, "You have forsaken Him. Now behold, God is with us at our head. . . . O sons of Israel, do not fight against the LORD God of your fathers, for you will not succeed" (13:11-12). Abijah's faith was firmly fixed in God.

Jeroboam, not heeding the warning, attacked. He put the ambush into effect, and the army of Judah was surrounded. Abijah and his army cried out to God; the priests who were with them blew their trumpets. With their confidence and hope in God, these brave soldiers then gave a battle cry, and "God routed Jeroboam and all Israel" (13:15). The soldiers of Israel fled. 500,000 (more than 60%) of Israel's soldiers were killed. Abijah and his army were able to capture several cities and villages. King Jeroboam was so weakened by the defeat that he never attacked again; in fact, God killed him. Israel was subdued to the point that peace followed for at least ten years. What looked like inevitable disaster for Abijah and Judah turned completely around. Instead it became a great victory for Judah, and the disaster fell on Israel.

The Bible leaves no doubt as to why this reversal occurred. Abijah and his people trusted in God. They had been following God. They cried out to God in their trouble. God gave the victory. "God routed Jeroboam" (13:15). "God gave them into their hand" (13:16). "Thus the sons of Israel were subdued at that time, and the sons of Judah conquered because they trusted in the LORD" (13:18).

Rehoboam, when confronted by God, had once declared that God was righteous, but Abijah took that declaration and made it the controlling belief of his heart. Abijah faithfully followed God. He was confident in the promises of God. He had great faith even when faced with a seeming impossibility. He courageously declared that faith even when it could have made him look like a fool.

God did not censure Abijah for his incomplete understanding. God did not judge him for his heritage or background, even when those things left Abijah with some disadvantages and shortcomings. Instead God responded to the sincere trust and belief in his heart. God saw a man who was dedicated to faithfully following Him, to declaring His truth, and to trusting His promises. God honored that sincere effort, that child-like faith, and that unshakeable confidence in Him. God's response to Abijah's trust not only left Judah with an incredible victory that confirmed their trust in God, but it also had a long-term impact, leaving Judah at peace for many years.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

II Chronicles: Rehoboam

King Rehoboam's story is circumstantially dramatic and historically momentous. As soon as Rehoboam became king, Jeroboam returned from exile and challenged the throne. Influenced by bad advice, Rehoboam spoke harsh words that caused ten tribes to secede in rebellion, after which all-out war was narrowly averted. Rehoboam's successes included strengthening his country's defenses and receiving some loyal refugees. Just as Rehoboam's kingdom seemed firmly established, his land was invaded by King Shishak of Egypt, resulting in cities being captured and even the capital being threatened. Territory was lost, citizens were forced to serve Egypt, and some of the country's greatest treasures were carried away. Throughout his reign, Rehobaom had constant wars with Jeroboam. The losses of Rehoboam's kingdom overwhelmingly surpassed the gains.

Rehoboam's losses were directly linked to his relationship with God. Although Rehoboam acted foolishly in the matter of the dividing of the kingdom, "it was a turn of events from God that the LORD might establish His word" (II Chronicles 10:15). God even told Rehoboam, "This thing is from me" (11:4). Rehoboam's godless decision cost him dramatically. The second major loss was in the attack by Shishak. Again the reason was clear. "Because they had been unfaithful to the LORD, . . . Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem" (12:2). God gave Rehoboam this more personal message: "You have forsaken Me, so I also have forsaken you" (12:5).

Rehoboam did not overtly hate God; at times he even showed spiritual sensitivity, but ultimately he did not acknowledge a need for God nor welcome a relationship with Him. Rehoboam repeatedly asserted his independence. He did not consult God in his responses to the people that led to the dividing of the kingdom; in fact, he did not even mention God (11:6-14). When the ten tribes rebelled, Rehoboam relied on his own resources as he gathered a powerful army (11:1). Rehoboam flaunted his own strength as he built defensive cities, strengthened fortresses, and equipped the military (11:5-12). He relied on his own wisdom as he married wives, delegated his sons, and catered to their desires (11:18-23).

Rehoboam reached a point that he gave up any pretense of following God. "When the kingdom of Rehoboam was established and strong, he and all Israel with him forsook the law of the LORD" (12:1). When it came down to it, Rehoboam had one source of strength upon which he relied: himself. Even after his overtures toward God, his life is summarized with these words: "So King Rehoboam strengthened himself in Jerusalem and reigned" (12:13).

Part of Rehoboam's independence rested in whom he chose to listen to. The dividing of his kingdom came because he ignored the wise counsel of "the elders who had served his father Solomon" (10:6). Instead he embraced the foolish counsel of "the young men who grew up with him and served him" (10:8). The results were a disastrous rebellion and political secession that he could not have imagined.

Rehoboam had opportunities to listen to God, and his responses on two significant occasions show some sensitivity. The first event was immediately after the secession, when he was preparing to go to war with Jeroboam. God sent the prophet Shemaiah with a message: "You shall not go up or fight against your relatives; return every man to his house, for this thing is from Me" (11:4). Rehoboam obeyed; he "listened to the words of the LORD and returned from going against Jeroboam" (11:4).

The second major event was the attack by Shishak. During the attack, God again sent Shemaiah, who declared, "You have forsaken Me, so I also have forsaken you to Shishak" (12:5). This time, Rehoboam's response was deeper than simple obedience. "The princes of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, 'The LORD is righteous'" (12:6).

Other than these two events, little is said about Rehoboam's spiritual state. Jeroboam, king of Israel, openly rejected God; he prevented the priests and Levites from serving and set up his own gods instead (11:14-15). The priests and Levites, along with "those from all the tribes of Israel who set their hearts on seeking the LORD God" expatriated to Judah (11:16) where they could worship God. The passage does not state that Rehoboam invited or even welcomed them, but he did allow them to come, and he accepted their support. Sadly, this faithfulness lasted only three years (11:17). Rehoboam's evil heart was revealed when "he and all Israel with him forsook the law of the LORD" (12:1). Because of this unfaithfulness, judgment came in Rehoboam's fifth year.

These reports seem conflicting. During the two most important events in his reign, Rehoboam listened to God. His respective responses of obedience and humility prevented a tragic war and turned back the imminent judgment of God. Everything else in Rehoboam's life indicates that he rejected God early on. The answer lies in these words: "He did evil because he did not set his heart to seek the LORD" (12:14). There is a difference between responding to an overt interaction of God and seeking Him on a consistent basis. Rehoboam responded positively toward God only when God openly confronted him. In both cases, Rehoboam responded correctly to the words of the prophet, but his heart for God went no deeper. He had not sought God in either disaster, nor did he take advantage of these potential wakeup calls to turn the direction of his life toward God. He was content to give a proper response at critical times, but not to embrace following God in his everyday life. Rehoboam was given opportunities to seek God, but he wasted them.

Rehoboam was a proud man who enjoyed his power. He acknowledged God, and at times even responded to Him, but he had no desire for a real relationship with Him. Even so, God showed mercy. When Rehoboam showed humility, God tempered and delayed His judgment, allowing conditions in Judah to return to the status of "good" (12:12). Sadly, Rehoboam's evil heart had caused great loss for himself and for Judah.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

II Chronicles: Solomon

The history of Judah's kings might seem potentially boring and irrelevant, but in reality II Chronicles is a wonderful book filled with compelling stories and powerful applications. As I recently examined the historic events and spiritual temperament of each king, I saw how God has woven those two aspects together to reveal important spiritual lessons. (All references are from II Chronicles unless otherwise noted.)

Though not a king of Judah exclusively, Solomon's story fills the first nine chapters of the book. Solomon had the great advantage of a very godly father to instruct him. David strongly encouraged Solomon to follow God and reminded Solomon of the basis for success. "Now, my son, the LORD be with you that you may be successful" (I Chronicles 22:11). "Then you will prosper, if you are careful to observe the statutes and the ordinances which the LORD commanded Moses concerning Israel" (I Chronicles 22:13).

David reminded Solomon of God's presence, encouraging Solomon to reign without fear, knowing that a faithful God would help him. "Be strong and courageous, and act; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you nor forsake you" (I Chronicles 28:20).

David prayed for Solomon to serve God faithfully. "O LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, . . . give to my son Solomon a perfect heart to keep Your commandments, Your testimonies and Your statutes, and to do them all" (I Chronicles 29:18-19).

David's influence seems to have been very effective. Solomon started out well, beginning his reign with humility, realizing how much he needed God's help. Solomon acknowledged his insignificance. "So who am I, that I should build a house for Him?" (2:10). Solomon admitted his inability. "I am but a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in" (I Kings 3:7). When given the opportunity to ask for anything, Solomon requested for wisdom. "Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people, for who can rule this great people of Yours?" (1:10).

Clearly, Solomon was spiritually sensitive. He recognized God's goodness and rejoiced in His promises (1:8-9). He fervently and publically worshipped God (1:3-6), making worship a consistent habit (8:12-15). Part of that worship was the construction of the temple. Not a casual effort nor a minor aspect of his reign, Solomon devoted twenty years, half his years as king, to the temple. Beyond his planning, Solomon added to the construction process such valuable things as heart-felt prayer, commitment, leadership in worship, and plentiful sacrifices.

Solomon's heart for God was particularly evident in his fervent prayer at the dedication of the temple. He began with these words: "O LORD, the God of Israel, there is no god like You in heaven or on earth, keeping covenant and showing lovingkindness to Your servants who walk before You with all their heart" (6:14). In his prayer, Solomon recognized the necessity of following God and forsaking sin. He claimed God's promises and humbly asked for God's blessing. He acknowledged human weakness, enumerating many scenarios in which God's people could fail Him, and asking for God's mercy toward those who would humble themselves.

God responded positively to both Solomon's prayer for wisdom and his prayer of dedication for the temple. God affirmed that He would reward obedience with blessing, that He would keep His promises, and that He would judge disobedience (7:12-22). God promised blessing to Solomon personally if he would follow Him (7:17-18). Likewise, after Solomon's prayer for wisdom, God responded, "Because . . . you have asked for yourself wisdom and knowledge that you may rule My people . . . wisdom and knowledge have been granted to you. And I will give you riches and wealth and honor, such as none of the kings who were before you has possessed nor those who will come after you" (1:11-12).

God's words were not empty. He blessed Solomon with wisdom that was admired by great leaders. "So King Solomon became greater than all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom. And all the kings of the earth were seeking the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom which God had put in his heart" (9:22-23). Solomon organized over 150,000 men in a twenty-year project to build the temple; he negotiated with foreign leaders for materials and labor. The queen of Sheba was astonished at his wisdom, admitting that "the half of the greatness of [his] wisdom was not told" to her (9:6).

God also blessed Solomon with prosperity. His wealth was legendary, with "silver and gold as plentiful in Jerusalem as stones" (1:15). He received rich gifts from other nations, filling his coffers with money and his palace with finery. He built a remarkable temple and a fabulous palace. He built various cities for settlement, fortification, storage, and military posts (8:2-6). "The LORD his God was with him and exalted him greatly" (1:1). Repeatedly the Bible states that both Solomon's wealth and his wisdom were due to God's blessing in response to Solomon's tender heart.

Based on just this account, it would seem that Solomon had a consistent heart for God and experienced nothing but wealth, blessing, and greatness. While II Chronicles does not tell the whole story of Solomon's failure, it does subtly reveal two problems. First, Solomon accrued horses, something God had warned against, as it placed confidence in military strength rather than God. Second, he married foreign wives. Chapter eight mentions Pharaoh's daughter; Solomon was sensitive enough to realize that this foreign wife should not live in the holy city, so he built a city for her (8:11). Knowing these alliances were wrong, Solomon formed them repeatedly. These foreign marriage alliances were Solomon's downfall, turning his heart away from God. His heart for God was the key factor that had resulted in God's immense blessing, but when his heart turned from its early devotion, the richly blessed Solomon lost what was most valuable.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Trite Biblical Answers

A friend's family has been going through some deep trials recently - new trials added onto years of difficult challenges. Understandably, my friend has been troubled, and she expressed both her frustration and her desire for encouragement. In her plea for help, she specifically stated that she needed more than "trite Biblical answers."

I don't consider her to be weak or unspiritual for making such a statement. In fact, I think I understand her. I believe all Christians who have gone through especially deep trials have had similar thoughts. Her words made me wonder, though, why it is that even good Biblical answers from friends do not always seem helpful in particularly trying times.

Dictionary.com defines trite as "lacking in freshness or effectiveness because of constant use or excessive repetition; hackneyed; stale." Something trite is so over-used and oft-repeated that it is no longer special and therefore fails in its intended purpose. The statement has potential to be powerful, but because it is so over-used, the intended meaning is barely noticed.

In the Christian experience, the verse most commonly accused of being trite is Romans 8:28. "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." It's a good verse. In fact, it's a wonderful verse, and it ought to bring comfort. Why, then, do Christians often dismiss it as trite? Why do they not want Romans 8:28 to be the answer that their friends share with them?

I am reminded of Job and his friends. Job's friends meant well and even said a lot of true things, though not always applicable to Job. Job responded to their oft-repeated and ineffective words by saying, "You are all worthless physicians," and "Sorry comforters are you all." That is what it sometimes feels like when a Christian receives the "encouragement" of his friends.

I would suggest that in most cases the words offered by Christian friends are good words. Often they are even the right words for the moment. These answers should not be trite. So why are they? I can think of several answers.

First, an answer can be trite when it is given in a shallow manner. The comforter might just spout off the first thing that pops into his head, without taking the time to think. He automatically knows the right thing to say in the situation, and he just says it. It might even be a correct response, but there is something offensive about the glib or thoughtless manner in which it is given. It fails in its compassion.

Second, an answer can be trite when it comes from a shallow heart. The answer may come from a person who has had a seemingly easy life, has never gone through a similar situation, and has no real understanding of the depth of the struggle. It's easy for him to give an answer, but he doesn't know what it's like to have to live out that answer. His words are ineffective because he has not entered the world of pain as deeply or in the same manner as the friend he is trying to console. The answer fails in credibility.

Third, an answer can be trite when it is underdeveloped. The person seeking help might be looking for a short answer, or the person sharing might have a limited window of opportunity. The briefness of the moment may not allow the truth to be fully explained, and the reality is that a short and simple answer does not always suffice. These types of trials are so deep and complex that they require fuller explanation based on a broader basis than a single verse. There is no simple answer, and the attempt to provide one leaves dissatisfaction. An answer that is too shallow for what is needed fails in substance.

Finally, an answer can be trite when it is vicarious instead of personal. It is possible for a friend to give a thoughtful and thorough answer that comes from compassionate understanding, and still the answer can seem trite. It is truth that someone else has learned, probably through great challenge, but the process of learning is what makes the truth meaningful. The truth, however appropriate, will not hold great depth of meaning for the sufferer until he learns it experientially for himself. While the meaning is deep for the one sharing it, it is not yet deep for the one hearing it. This answer fails in assimilation.

Practically, as someone attempting to give help, it is important to seek the most appropriate Biblical truth and give a thoughtful answer. It is also important to speak from a heart of compassion, attempting to understand the burden of the friend, and it is important to share enough of an answer to be meaningful.

As the person receiving help, it is important to realize that there is no substitute for learning the truth on one's own. Truths that sound trite when coming from a friend will hold deep meaning when the sufferer learns them for himself. The sufferer must carefully and prayerfully consider the truth shared. If the truth seems trite because it is the verse that is oft-repeated, there is a reason that it is shared so frequently. The very prevalence of the truth is proof that it has effectively ministered to many in the past, and it is the truth needed now. God must work it into the heart of the one who is currently carrying the burden.

Job's friends did not help him. Only when God spoke to Job and taught him directly did Job find the answers he needed. Sometimes learning takes time. The sufferer must settle his soul, waiting on God to work His truth into the heart. The answer may not be immediate, but when God does the speaking, He can give an answer that is vibrant, meaningful, and effective.

"This is my comfort in my affliction, that Your word has revived me." Psalm 119:50 (NASB)