Tag Archives: god’s provision

03. You have enough faith: Choose to exercise it.

You’ve chosen to believe, trust, and surrender. Now, choose to keep the territory you’ve gained by exercising your faith. Keep your mind on God’s provision. He will take care of you.

Choose to keep your mind on God’s sufficiency rather than the perils of the desert.

Lessons in the Desert

The Israelites were in slavery in Egypt. They watched God provide safety for them and sent devastation on the Egyptians in a series of plagues. The plagues were designed to convince the Pharaoh of Egypt to “let my people go.” But they were also designed to teach God’s people that they could place their faith in God.

Finally Pharaoh sent the Israelites out of Egypt. As the Israelites left Egypt, they were surrounded by warring nations. They had been slaves, and had never gone to war. They did not know how to fight a battle. They must depend on God for safety in their journey.

“When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, ‘If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.’ (Exodus 13:17 NIV)

God could have easily and safely protected the people through the warring land of the Philistines. Many years later he would use a little boy named David with a sling shot to defeat the Philistine giant Goliath. What stopped God from leading the Israelites through the Philistine country during the Exodus from Egypt? Was it God’s inability to deliver them? No.

We can’t say it was the Israelites’ lack of faith either. They had learned faith through God’s faithfulness over a lifetime of slavery and through their deliverance in the plagues. They had faith, else they would not have marched into the desert under the leadership of Moses.

Yet their faith wavered greatly at times. For example: “They said to Moses, ‘Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, “Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians”? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!'” (Exodus 14:11-12 NIV)

So did they have enough faith? How much faith is enough?

The faith they had was enough to start the journey, else God would never have called them into this journey of faith. But they wavered back and forth between following God and following the ways that seemed right to them. They had problems with surrender. As their mind considered the danger they faced, they began to fear rather than trust God. They wondered if God really could or would deliver them. Deep in their hearts they knew that God had proved himself to them. But they often kept their minds on the problem and not on the God who is bigger than the problem.

You can exercise your faith

You have enough faith for today. Does it look like tomorrow you may die in this desert? Everyone of the Israelites who asked that question did just that. None of the original group that left Egypt, except for Joshua and Caleb who proved their faith, were allowed to go into the promised land.

We’ll plan to study the story of Joshua and Caleb in another session. The important thing today is that we put our faith into action by choosing to believe God, to trust him, and to surrender our minds to him. Our minds are where we live. Choose to keep your mind on his sufficiency rather than the perils of the desert. In one way or another, almost everything about the Christian walk is a choice. Faith is no exception.

“And now just as you trusted Christ to save you, trust him, too, for each day’s problems; live in vital union with him” (Colossians 2:6 TLB).

You’ve chosen to believe. You’ve chosen to trust. You’ve even chosen to surrender. Now, choose to keep the territory you’ve gained by keeping your mind on the assurance that God will take care of you. Read these Scriptures every time you start to doubt or waver, and thank God for the victory he has already given you.

How much faith is enough? God has given you all the faith you need for your present circumstance. You just have to choose to exercise it.

“The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith!’ He replied, ‘If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and planted in the sea,” and it will obey you.'” (Luke 17:5-6 NIV)

You have mustard seed faith. But that mustard seed will not germinate unless it is planted in the proper environment. Plant your mind in the Word of God. Water it daily with his promises. Let the sunshine of his sufficiency dwell in your mind.

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17)

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV)

Questions for thought and discussion

  1. What stopped God from leading the Israelites through the Philistine country during the exodus from Egypt? Why would God send the Israelites into a cruel desert amidst warring nations. Could not God have transported them to safety through the Philistine country quickly and easily, sparing them the 40 years they spent wandering in the desert?
  2. Did the Israelites have enough faith as they started off for the promised land? What was their problem?
  3. Review the story of David and Goliath in 1 Samuel 17. What was different about David’s faith and the faith of those who complained in the desert?
  4. Where exactly do we make the surrender? Is it a one time thing? How can we tell when we are not surrendered?
  5. Do you have enough faith? How much faith do you need? How can you get more?

We’ll talk about faith for our problems next.

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted

04. Rid youself of selfish attitudes: Needed and honored

If our attitudes are wrong at home, they are wrong everywhere. There is only one right answer: Rid yourselves! Malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, slander can destroy a home.

Daughters of Sarah Bible Study session 4 (1 Peter 2:1-8).

We Are Needed

Does this mean we are not to have any role in the decisions of our home? Not at all. We owe it to our husbands to share with him our insights on the issues we face together. But we are not to force these insights upon him. We are to offer them in love with respect for the leadership role that God has given to him. The Bible says, “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind” (2:1).

Rid yourselves! Rid is an action word. We tend to think of this Scripture as referring to someone else. Or we think it refers to our attitudes toward other people in general. We need to bring this verse home where it hurts. If our attitudes are wrong at home, they are wrong everywhere. This is not multiple choice. There is only one right answer: Rid yourselves!

In your home, toward your husband, is there

  • malice?
  • deceit?
  • hypocrisy?
  • envy?
  • slander?

“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation” (2:1)

A newborn baby craves only one thing — pure milk. When we are born again, we are born to crave God’s pure milk. We feed on it. We are nourished. However as we grow, and develop an appetite for more solid food, we often turn away from God’s wholesome word to the delicasies of the world.

“Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly — mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? (1 Corinthians 3:1-3).

We are like a two-year-old whose favorite word is “me.” We stomp our feet if we don’t get our candy bar. We bang our head on the wall when our husbands fail to live according to Godly standards. We sulk and pout when our husbands attempt to lead us against our “better” judgment. What we don’t realize is that our role of submission is just as important, and just as honorable, in the kingdom of God as our husband’s role of leadership.

We Are Honored

Where is a wife to turn when her husband fails to honor her as he should?

“As you come to him, the living Stone — rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him — you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says: ‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame'” (2:4-6).

Are you rejected by others, maybe even your husband? You are chosen by God. Think about it: not just accepted, but chosen! You are “…chosen by God and precious to him.” He uses the same words for you that he uses for his Son when he calls him a “chosen and precious cornerstone…” You are chosen and precious.

By submitting, we are not accepting a role of second class citizens. Some husbands may treat their wife as though they were inferior. But the wife who submits her heart and actions to God is highly honored by God. He himself was rejected by men and he understands the plight of a wife whose husband has rejected his responsibility to care for her in love. The real problem is not our husbands. The problem is our own hearts.

We Are Obedient

“Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone,’ and, ‘A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.’ They stumble because they disobey the message — which is also what they were destined for (2:7-8).

Many women stumble at the command of submission. They fall because they disobey. They miss God’s best.

Let us rid ourself of the selfish attitudes that keep us from God’s best for us. Let us submit to God and experience the security and richness of a life rooted deeply in the Cornerstone of life itself, Jesus Christ our Savior.

Prayer

Lord, help us to rid ourselves of attitudes that hinder us from being obedient to you by respecting the authority you have given our husbands. Thank you that we are “chosen by God and precious to him” as we are built upon the foundation of your Son, “a chosen and precious cornerstone.” Thank you that you promised us that “the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” Amen.

Questions for Discussion

  1. What should we do when we do not agree with our husband’s decisions for our home?
  2. How do the attitudes listed above from 1 Peter 2:1 hinder us from being the wives God has called us to be?
  3. How can we rid ourselves of these attitudes?
  4. How would you respond to someone who argued that to submit to our husbands as head of our home is to acknowledge that we are inferior to them?
  5. Explain how our role of submission is just as important and honorable in the kingdom of God as our husband’s role of leadership.

Next

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted.

03. Live by faith: Trusting God’s faithfulness

We are no longer ignorant of God’s requirement of submission to his faithfulness. Our submission to God is demonstrated by submission to our husbands. Anything short of that is rebellion against God.

Daughters of Sarah Bible Study session 3 (1 Peter 1:17-21).

We Are Accountable

God has called us to take the ultimate step of trust in His faithfulness. “Your faith and your hope are in God….” (1 Peter 1:21). By submitting to our husbands, we are trusting God to intervene for us if needed. We are totally dependent on God. There is no safer place.

What if He Leads Me to Sin?

But what if my husband leads us into sin. Will I not be held accountable? The Bible has much to say about submission to our husbands. Yet no where in Scripture does the Bible address how a woman is to respond if her husband asks her to actively participate in a direct sin. There is a good reason for the Bible’s silence on this issue. When a woman submits to her husband in an act of total submission and sacrificial obedience to God, God will never allow her husband to require her to actively participate in a direct act of sin. She is “shielded by God’s power” (1:4).

What if He Forbids Me to Serve?

God will never allow his children to be placed in a position of having to choose between two opposing commands. It may seem so at first. But if she looks to God, he will provide a way of escape. God may allow a husband to deny his wife the privilege of actively participating in commands that God has given. For example, a wife may desire to tithe or be active in church and her husband may forbid it.

“Her husband may confirm or nullify any vow she makes or any sworn pledge to deny herself. But if her husband says nothing to her about it from day to day, then he confirms all her vows or the pledges binding on her. He confirms them by saying nothing to her when he hears about them. If, however, he nullifies them some time after he hears about them, then he is responsible for her guilt” (Numbers 30:13-15).

God may allow her husband to deny her the privilege of certain acts of commitment and worship. But even as her husband denies it, he is unknowingly providing her opportunity for a more supreme sacrifice of commitment and trust in God by submission to her husband.

“Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear” (1:17).

“Man” in this verse is referring to “mankind,” both male and female. We call on a loving heavenly father. In our father’s eyes we are judged individually and impartially. We are accountable before God to be the wife he has called us to be. Whether our husbands fulfill the role God has called them to as Godly leaders is immaterial to our responsibility before God. It is also immaterial to God’s provision for us. God will judge us impartially and provide for our needs as we are faithful to the wifely role of submission he has given us.

We Are Secure

How can this be? We are bound together as one flesh. Our livelihoods are bound together. Yet the God who created male and female, who ordained marriage, who hung the stars — this God will move heaven and earth if necessary to meet the needs of a wife who faithfully submits to her husband and trusts in her God! We no longer have to live in emptiness and defeat.

“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake” (1:18-20).

We are “chosen…for obedience.” Christ was chosen for the sacrifice that would pay for our disobedience!

“Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God” (1:21).

“Your faith and hope are in God…” When we as wives refuse to submit to the leadership role God has given to our husbands, we are placing our faith and hope in our own ability rather than in our God. We are deliberately choosing to live outside God’s will. That is the most dangerous place on earth to be!

God has called us in some ways to take a step of faith even greater than that to which he has called our husbands. He has called us to willingly submit to the judgment of another whether that judgment is sound or unsound. God has called us to take the ultimate step of trust in His faithfulness.

“Your faith and your hope are in God….”

Prayer

Thank you, Oh Lord, our Judge, that you stepped down from the bench to long enough to give your life for our redemption. You have demonstrated a love that we can trust. We bow in submission before your throne. Amen.

Questions for Discussion

  1. Is submission to our husbands always compatible with obedience to God?
  2. Has God ever shielded you by his power from a wrong action someone required you to take?
  3. Why is it dangerous to live outside God’s will?
  4. What should we do if our husbands lead us away from what we feel is God’s plan?
  5. How does the Scripture “Your faith and hope are in God…” apply to marriage?

Next

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted.

02.Take control by submission: Given to God

We Are Submissive. Submission to God is not passive! Submission is actively taking control of our selfish nature and handing the control to God. Only then can he provide us his best.

Daughters of Sarah Bible Study session 2 (1 Peter 1:6-15).

Submit in Faith

How can a wife submit to her husband, who is at best imperfect and sometimes fails to lead in right directions? We submit through faith in our mighty God! We submit joyfully in the freedom of God’s protection.  We submit actively in the holiness made possible by grace.  In our last session, we learned that we are “chosen…for obedience” through the “sprinkling by his blood,” into “an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade — kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time” (1:4-5).

In our own power, or our husband’s power, there is always vulnerability for the things we value to “perish, spoil, or fade,” no matter how wise our plans. As we submit to God’s plan in faith we are “shielded by God’s power.” No matter how poor our husband’s decisions may be, we are shielded! We may suffer some consequences with him, yes. But we will not be overthrown. Our God will see us through. We have his word!

Submit Joyfully

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1:6-7).

Our submission to our husbands is a monitor of our faith in and submission to our God. It is not enough to submit reluctantly or grudgingly. Submission sounds like a passive word. We want active control. Yet this is not different from what we want in every area of our lives. God says, “No.” He requires us to give control of our lives to him. Only then can he provide for us his very best.

Submit in Freedom

If our husbands have control, does that not override God’s control in our lives? No. As the leader of our home, our husbands are to submit to God’s control as well.

But what if my husband doesn’t submit to God’s control? That frees me from this requirement of submission. Right?

We are just looking for excuses. God says neither we nor our husbands are given ultimate control. God requires submission as an act of obedient faith. God never requires submission so he can get control. God already has control!

This frees us to submit to our husbands knowing that even if our husbands rebel against God, they cannot lead us into areas where we are not, by faith, “shielded by God’s power!”

Submit Actively

We don’t want to be passive. We want to be active, and that is exactly what God has called us to! The submission that God requires is never passive. It must be active obedience to and acceptance of God’s plan for us. How can we actively submit to our husbands and ultimately to God?

“Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1:13).

Ah, the control that we so desire! But not control of our husbands. Ours is a higher calling: self-control. We must prepare our minds for action by acknowledging that God is our ultimate authority. We must determine to cooperate with God by embracing God’s plan of submission to our husbands.

We must be self-controlled. No longer can we allow ourselves to assume the leadership role in our homes. We must relinquish control of our homes and take control of our attitudes, thoughts, and actions. We must discipline ourselves to submit to our husbands in accordance with the command of our God.

Submit in Holiness

We must not allow our minds to dwell on the possible consequences of what appears to us to be poor judgment on our husband’s part. Our hope must be “fully set” in God’s grace. Because of his grace, Jesus lives in us by faith. Jesus is being revealed in our lives every day as we submit to God’s authority. Ultimately Jesus Christ will be revealed in all of his glory in power on high. We will be there with him, partakers of his grace that gives us acceptance in his love!

So now, as wives, we are faced with a choice. God says, “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do” (1:14-15).

Prayer

Lord, give us the courage to submit, and teach us the way day by day. Amen

Questions for Discussion

  1. Why is it harder to submit to our husbands than to submit to God?
  2. Can we submit to God without submitting to our husbands?
  3. How does submission set us free?
  4. How can we be self-controlled?
  5. What is the ultimate goal of obedience in verses 14-15?

Next

See also: What we believe about submission

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted.

01. Chosen for God’s best: Chosing to obey

Daughters of Sarah Bible Study session 1 (1 Peter 3:1,1:1-5).

We are chosen for provision, protection, obedience, and forgiveness when we choose to follow Christ. As wives, are we willing to obey what God shows us regarding submission?

Chosen for Provision and Protection

Christ chose to submit to God and death on the cross. This is explained in 1 Peter 2, and we are chosen to follow his example, to submit “in the same way” Christ did: “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands…” (1 Peter 3:1) By following Christ’s example, we receive God’s provision and protection.

As wives, most of us have convinced ourselves that this Scripture does not apply in our own circumstances. It can’t mean we are to submit to our husbands if their decisions are not in line with what we understand God’s will to be. Yet upon closer examination we realize this passage was written especially for us when our husbands are not Christians or fail to make decisions in line with what we understand to be God’s direction. Read the rest of the verse:

“Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives,” (3:1).

Do you have the courage to look into what God is saying? If so, be prepared to make some changes. 1 Peter 3:1 is a key verse for us. To understand what God means by, “In the same way,” we must start at the beginning:

“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance” (1:1-2)

This Scripture is written to those who have accepted Christ as Savior and Lord and thus have become part of God’s elect. He has elected those who accept his Son for special blessing, provision, protection, and honor.

Notice first that we have been “chosen.” From the beginning, the God who had all foreknowledge of the situations we would face in our marriages today chose you and me!.

Chosen for Obedience

What are we chosen for? First we are chosen for obedience. Because we are chosen, we are immediately faced with a choice. Our choice is: “Will I choose to be obedient or disobedient to God’s choices for me?” In the context of being a wife, and the question of submission to our husbands, am I willing to obey what God shows me? That is the only question that matters.

This is not a question of whether our husbands are capable; or whether they are worthy of leadership; or whether we can do a better job. Those areas are for God to decide. The question for me, ultimately is not whether I will submit to my husband. It is whether I will submit to my God. I have been “chosen…for obedience.” Will I choose obedience or disobedience to God? If we are unwilling to submit to God here, at the foundation of his call to us, how do we dare to judge our husbands for their failures in the leadership areas God has called them to?

Chosen for Forgiveness

God knew we would blow the obedience issue before we ever started. We have not always chosen to submit to our husbands. But the real problem is that by choosing not to submit to our husbands in the ways that God has ordained, we have chosen to rebel against God’s design for us. So the second thing that God chose us for is “sprinkling by his blood.” I thank my God that his choices for me have the power to overcome and rescue me from the wrong choices I have made!

I am chosen for obedience. Because God knew I would fail in obedience to God, he chose me for forgiveness, for redemption through the blood of Jesus Christ.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade — kept in heaven for you” (1:3-4).

Chosen to Choose

This is a hard choice God has called us to make. It always seems that it would be easier to have someone else’s choice — to be required to make someone else’s commitment. Commitment is never easy. Commitment to God by submission to another human has to be one of the toughest callings God has ever required. But it brings with it the richness of God’s protection and blessing in a way that frees us as nothing else can.

We are “chosen…for obedience” through the “sprinkling by his blood,” into “an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade — kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time” (1:4-5).

Prayer

Lord, the topic of submission is a place that we don’t want to go. We would like to write something else into what you are saying in your word on this subject. But we cannot. You have told us that our submission is ultimately an act of commitment and submission to you.

Thank you for the privilege of saying “yes” to you, Lord. Thank you that we can give you the gift of our desires and even the security we feel at being in control. We trust in a greater security of your control and your desires for our good, Lord.

We don’t want to go to the topic of submission. But we choose to go there because that is where you have called us, and we go with you, Lord. Thank you for leading us safely through all the troubled waters we must travel as we submit to your plan for us. Amen.

Questions for Discussion

  1. What does it mean to you to be chosen for obedience?
  2. How does being chosen cause us immediately to be confronted with a choice?
  3. If our husbands are not following God in their lives, should we follow their leadership? How does this work?
  4. Why is submitting to our husbands so important?
  5. If God had chosen us for obedience without choosing us for redemption, where would that have left us?

Next

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted.