Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: Say you’ve been praying about something close to your heart, and there just doesn’t seem to be any answer. Nancy Leigh DeMoss says there is something you can do next.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: What do you do? You wait on the Lord. For God promises those who wait on Him will never be disappointed.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Memorial Day, May 28.

Imagine that you’re at the back of a long, long, long line or that you’ve been in a doctor’s waiting room all afternoon or that traffic has come to a complete stop and you don’t know why. These scenarios would probably make you pretty frustrated because it’s hard to wait.

Like it or not, waiting is a part of life. Nancy will give you biblical insight on waiting as she starts a series called El-Shaddai: The All-Sufficient One.

Nancy: One of our greatest needs as women, I believe, is to get to know God, to know what He’s like, who He is, His name, His heart, His character, His ways. In fact, I think that one of the greatest reasons for the struggles and stresses that so many of us face as women is that we don’t really know God because if we knew Him, we would trust Him. We would know how to respond in the midst of these pressures, the situations we find ourselves in.

This whole issue of overcoming sin . . . many of us—all of us probably—in different ways have some besetting sin, something that just keeps getting us down, overwhelming us. In each of these situations, I think we’ve got to go back to knowing God. Knowing who He is and letting that really change our lives.

So the question is how can we know God? How can we know what He’s really like, and how can that knowledge of God really change our lives? The wonderful thing about our God is that He has revealed Himself to us in His Word, in creation, in Christ. He’s revealed Himself to us.

I think one of the greatest ways God has revealed Himself to us is through His name. His name tells us what He is like. It describes Him to us. I’ve been told—I’ve never verified this myself—but I’ve been told that there are approximately one thousand names for God in the Scripture. That tells us a lot about God.

Now, we won’t list all thousand here, but what are some of those names that come to your mind as you think about names of God in the Scripture? Jehovah Rapha which, for those who don’t speak Hebrew, means the Healer—God who heals. Another one: the King of Kings. Jehovah Jireh—the Lord Will Provide. The Redeemer, I Am, Creator, the Rock, El-Shaddai, which means Almighty God. Eternal—His name is Eternal. Our Banner. Emmanuel—God with us and God in us. Savior, Deliverer—the Lord who sanctifies us.

Aren’t you glad you don’t have to make yourself holy? Aren't you glad that God is the One who does that in us and for us. He’s our Fortress. Jehovah Shalom—God our Peace. Jehovah Nissi—He is our victory. The Scripture says that "The name of the Lord is a strong tower. The righteous run into it and they’re safe" (Pro. 18:10). 

I don’t know about you, but many times a day I have need for a place of safety. When I get overwhelmed, when I get confused, when I get exhausted and the demands are greater than my strength or more than the hours of my day, I need a safe place. I need a place I can run to and be protected. The Scripture says that place is the name of the Lord. We can run into His name. It’s a strong tower. It’s a place of protection, and we can be safe.

Whether you’re a single woman here today facing issues of loneliness or issues of schedule that perhaps others may not relate to, or you may be a single mom dealing with the challenges of being perhaps in some ways a father and mother to those children. You may be an empty-nester and at a different season of your life; perhaps a widow; perhaps having been through the pain of divorce.

Whatever your situation in life—working outside the home, being a mom in the home—whatever the circumstances and situation of life, you need a safe place. You need a place to run. That place for me and that place for you is the name of the Lord.

Psalm chapter 9:10, tells us that those who know His name will put their trust in Him. Those who know His name will put their trust in Him because “you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you” (Ps. 9:10 NIV). To know God’s name is to be able to trust Him.

All of us have known people that we felt were trustworthy; and when you say that person’s name, you think, “That’s someone I can trust.” But the fact is no matter who that person is, you can’t trust them wholly. There are times when every person we know will let us down, will disappoint us, or will not be able to come through at our point of need. But to know God is to know Someone who can be absolutely, utterly trusted in every circumstance and every situation of life.

To know God’s name is to know about Him, is to know His heart, His ways, His character. So if we want to trust God more, we need to know more about Him because everything you come to know about God will make you even more sure that He can be trusted.

Then the Scripture says in that promise He has never forsaken those who seek Him. If all of the believers of all time were to give their testimony, there is not one who could say God ever failed me, God ever forsook me. Now, there are times when we may feel that He has forsaken us, but the fact is that He never forsakes those who seek Him, those who wait for Him, and those who trust in His name.

Over these next several sessions, I want to unpack for us the meaning of one of those names of God. One of those names that has been for me a strong tower, a safe place, a refuge. It’s been such a joy for me over these past days in preparation for this session to be studying again this name of God. It’s a name I find myself running to, a name I find myself drawing upon, and a name that is really impacting my life in a very special way.

The first time this name of God appears is in the book of Genesis, chapter 17. In the book of Genesis, chapter 17, verse 1, we’re told, “When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, ‘I am Almighty God; walk before me, and be blameless.’” At ninety-nine years of age, Abram, who had walked with God for many years, received a new revelation, something he had not before known about God.

This name of God, translated in most of our Bibles as “Almighty God” or “God Almighty,” is the name by which God revealed Himself to Abram at the age of ninety-nine. That name, God Almighty or Almighty God, is going to be the basis for what God then says to Abram: “Walk before me and be blameless.”

Most of us in this room have a desire deep in our hearts to walk with God and to be blameless before Him. I want to say you will never have the power or the ability to walk before God, a life that is blameless before Him, if you don’t know God who has revealed Himself by this name.

The Hebrew language that is translated here God Almighty or Almighty God is actually the name . . . What is that name? El-ShaddaiEl (E-L) and then the second word Shaddai (S-H-A-D-D-A-I). El-Shaddai. God Almighty is the way that it’s translated in most of our English Bibles, but we’re going to see that that name means a lot more than we see by the word God Almighty. It’s El-Shaddai who’s going to help us walk before God and be blameless before Him.

Abram did not know God by this name until he was ninety-nine years old, but the story that leads up to this point begins about twenty-five years earlier. So if you have your Bible, let me ask you to back up several chapters to Genesis, chapter 12. We’ll start twenty-five years earlier when Abram’s at the young age of seventy-five, and he begins a pilgrimage that is going to be fulfilled in this name El-Shaddai.

Genesis chapter 12:1,

Now the LORD had said to Abram [whose name, by the way, means exalted father; God had said to Abram exalted father]: "Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing.”

By the way, remember that when God blesses us, it’s not just so we can contain all those blessings to ourselves. It’s so we can be channels of blessing to others. All the good things that God does for us and in us are so that He can make us a blessing.

I’ve had at different times young people or even children and teenagers staying in my home for a period of time. As they would leave the house in the morning, I would say to them, “Now remember, be blessed and be a blessing.” That’s what God said to Abram. “I’m going to bless you so that you can be a blessing.”

Then verse 4, the end of verse 4 tells us, “And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.” So God said to Abram, “I’m going to give you a seed. I’m going to give you descendants, oh, exalted father! You’re going to be the father of descendants who will be blessed and will be a blessing to all of the world.” However, as God gave Abram that promise, there was one major problem.

We just read that God had said to Abram, “I want you to leave your home.” But if we just move up several verses to the previous chapter, chapter 11:30, we read the circumstance that makes this promise seem unlikely to be fulfilled. For just several verses earlier, verse 30 of the previous chapter, the Scripture says that Sarai, Abram's wife, was barren. She had no child. Not only did she not have children, she couldn’t have children. She was unable to have children.

In that context, God comes to Abram and says, “You’re going to be a father. You’re going to be an exalted father. You’re going to be blessed, and you’re going to be a blessing to the world through your descendants.” Now, Abram has a choice. Is he going to believe his circumstances that tell him he can’t have children—he can’t have descendants—or is he going to believe God? Is he going to believe the promises of God?

I’m glad that the Scripture lets us know that though Abram believed God, there were moments when he lapsed into unbelief. There were moments when he wondered, “How can this be?” And there were moments when he sought to find a way to help God out in fulfilling His promises.

Aren’t you glad God doesn’t just tell us about the faith of Abram but also tells us about some of his struggles with believing? That helps me in my struggles. When I look at the promises of God and I say, “Boy, those are great promises, but my circumstances are telling me something different.” How can I hold onto God promises when it seems that everything is to the contrary?

Having been told by God that he’s going to be a father, Abram now thinks, “What can I do to help God keep His word?” He begins to look inward first for his sufficiency. He looks at himself and he looks at Sarai, but there’s a problem. They can’t have children. Sarai is barren. So he becomes consciously, acutely aware of his own insufficiency to have children.

Isn’t that what we tend to do when God calls us to something? He gives us a promise. He says He wants to fulfill something in our lives. We first look at . . . say, “What do I have to offer God? What are my natural resources? How can I bring this about?” But so many times we look at our own selves, and we find, “I can’t do this. I’m insufficient to meet this need.”

So in chapter 15, Abram comes back to God realizing that his wife Sarai cannot have a child, and Abram offers perhaps another solution. Chapter 15 of Genesis, verse 1,

After these things [remember, Abram is seventy-five years old] the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”

It’s so great to me that in the midst of Abram’s walk with God, God kept coming back and revealing Himself, revealing that He was the One who would meet Abram’s needs.

But Abram said, "Lord GOD, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” (v. 2)

Abram said, “I don’t have a child so my servant—my trusted steward of my house, Eliezer—he’s my heir.” He’s going to ask God, "Could Eliezer be the one who counts for a child? Could he be the one through whom Your promises are fulfilled?”

Then Abram said, "Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!” (v. 3)

The culture, the custom was this servant could be the one who would receive the promise.

And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, "This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.” (v. 4)

This just looks very impossible; and in fact, it is impossible. So verse 5, God takes Abram outside—and haven’t you had this experience when you’re just feeling very small, very insufficient, and you look up into the heavens on a starlit night. That’s what God did with Abram. He said,

"Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them." (v. 5)

Well, obviously, the point is you can’t number them. There’s a God in heaven who is bigger and greater than any limitation, any circumstance, any impossibility, any insufficiency that you may be facing. Count the stars. And God said to Abram,

“So shall your descendants be." And he believed in the LORD. (v 6)

So once again, he had this moment of unbelief. “Lord, could you settle for a substitute? It doesn’t appear that Sarai and I can have children. Would you let my servant be the one through whom this promise is fulfilled?” And God says, “Nope, that’s not the way it’s going to happen. This child is going to come out of your own body. You will have an heir. And this is how you will be a blessing to the world.”

Eleven years pass. Abram’s not getting any younger, and Sarai surely is not getting any younger. Sarai is ten years younger than Abram. She’s been barren all these years. Now we come to chapter 16 of Genesis, and Abram and Sarai—you just get the feeling—are getting a little tense about this situation, a little worried. Once again, we have this lapse into unbelief.

Chapter 16 of Genesis, verse 1, “Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children.” The point is: Nothing has changed. Abram is now eighty-six years old; Sarai is seventy-six years old. They’ve been married for years. They’ve had this promise of God for eleven years, and there’s no evidence that anything has changed in their circumstances to make this situation possible. Sarai had borne no children.

And she had an Egyptian maidservant whose name was Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, "See now, the LORD has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her.” (Gen. 16:1-2)

She was just really going back to the pagan custom of the day, which was that if you didn’t have a child, as a woman if you were barren, you could have one of your female servants have a child with your husband and that child would be considered your child. So here again, they’re trying to help God out of this difficult situation. What they didn’t realize was it wasn’t God who was in a difficult situation. They were the ones in a difficult situation, but God was not hard-pressed at all.

The Scripture says Abram heeded the voice of Sarai.

Then Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar her maid, the Egyptian, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan. So he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. (Gen. 16:3-4)

Now, skip down to the end of that chapter, verse 15,

So Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram named his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram.

It’s interesting to me that God keeps giving these references to Abram’s age. I think He just wants us to see that though it’s looking more and more impossible, with God still all things are possible.

What follows is thirteen years of absolute, total silence from heaven. The end of chapter 16 tells us "Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram" (v. 16). The very next verse, chapter 17, verse 1, says, "When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him." There’s no suggestion that he had any word from the Lord in all of those thirteen years. What do you suppose he was thinking and feeling and experiencing during those thirteen years?

Some of you may have found yourself in a difficult, if not impossible, marriage for years, and there doesn’t seem to be any evidence that anything’s changing. Maybe it’s a wayward child that you have prayed over and wept over and longed for God to turn their heart. For years you’ve not seen any evidence that God is intervening in the situation.

Maybe it’s the longing for a child and you’ve waited and waited on the Lord. For years there doesn’t seem to have been any fresh evidence that God is intervening in your situation. What do you do? You wait on the Lord. You wait on the Lord. For God promises those who wait on Him will never be disappointed.

Is there something that you’re waiting on God for but you’re not seeing the fulfillment of God’s promise? Do you ever find yourself trying to help God out and God saying, “No, that’s your way, but that’s not what I have in mind.” What do you do then? You wait on the Lord.

Leslie: If you have to do any waiting today, I hope this message from Nancy Leigh DeMoss will help you keep things in perspective. It’s the first day in a series called El-Shaddai: The All-Sufficient One.

Nancy has discovered a CD that will help keep your heart at peace when you’re waiting or going through some other struggle. It’s called Hidden in My Heart, volume 2. We’ve told you about volume 1 before, and it’s meant so much to our listeners. Like volume 1, Hidden in My Heart, volume 2 includes Scripture set to lullabyes. Here’s an example.

Song from Hidden in My Heart, vol 2.:

I will seek You Lord,
Search with all my heart till I find You. 
Waiting patiently,
Longing for one word to breathe new life,
Your words are life. 

I will listen, ever listen for Your still small voice.

 

Leslie: We’ll send you Hidden in My Heart, volume 2 when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any size. 

Your donation will help us speak to women like Stella. She wrote us after discovering the rich resources at ReviveOurHearts.com. After visiting the website, she said, “Don’t ask me how I found it.” It seemed like God had led to the rescource she needed. She said,

At the time I was so desperate and crying out for God to help me. I was in tears, and crying out for help, and I found myself at ReviveOurHearts.com, listening to Nancy’s teachings. I knew then that God does still love me, in spite of all the difficulties and challenges I have being going through.

Nancy, what comes to mind when you hear that story?

Nancy: Oh Leslie, I just love reading those stories and testimonies fo God's work. I'm so thankful that ReviveOurHearts.com is available for women like Stella to find just when they need it. The website and the radio program are able to continue as long as Revive Our Hearts listeners give to this ministry. 

If you've been listening to Revive Our Hearts this month, you know that we’ve been asking the Lord to provide listener support of at least $350,000. That's because May 31 is the end of our fiscal year. Meeting this goal will help us end the year strong; it will help us continue our current levels of ministry, and also to move into some exciting new initiatives, such as beginning Spanish-language radio program five days a week in the near future.

Let me remind you, if you’ve never supported Revive Our Hearts before, your gift this month will be doubled by some friends of the ministry. They’re matching the gift of every new supporter up to $100,000 between now and May 31. Here in these last few days before the close of our fiscal year, would you pray about what the Lord might have you to give?

Leslie: When you donate any amount, be sure to ask for the CD, Hidden in My Heart vol 2.  Our number is 1-800-569-5959, or visit Revive Our Hearts.com.

There’s a certain satisfaction that comes from fixing things, but sometimes instead of trying to fix a problem, you need to step back and see what God’s going to do. Nancy will talk about that tomorrow. Please be back, for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version.

 

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

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