Tough Shoes For A Tough Trip

Preached by Dr. Gene Scott March 21, 1976
     “Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be . . . The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms . . .”
     Deuteronomy 33:25-29
     “ALL THE PROMISES OF GOD,” that means every single one of them; “All the promises of God in Him are yea,” that is, in Jesus. He doesn’t say no; He says yes. “And in Him Amen,” or “so be it unto you.” (2 Corinthians 1:20) That means God wraps up every promise in this book and puts them in one package called Jesus, and He brings them nigh to us. “All the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen.” When Jesus was leaving, He sent the Spirit to abide, to continue making real in our lives the promises of God. That means anywhere I look in this book and find a promise to God’s people, I have it, in Him.
     That includes this promise: the Old Testament people of God included Asher, and in the Song of Moses, he says to Asher, “Thy shoes shall be iron and brass.” (Deuteronomy 33:25) Shoes are for walking and “thy shoes,” the promise says, “Shall be iron and brass.” That tells me that the trip we are walking on is a tough one. House shoes won’t make the trip. It takes shoes of iron and brass. You can’t go barefooted and, I repeat, house shoes won’t last it out.
     Now, I don’t think I am the only one following God who occasionally wishes we could just sort of float along on a feather bed or walk with soft shoes. Christianity is not easy. It’s a tough trip. We have come against the encroachment into the thinking of Christians that if you come to God, everything gets rosy. Christianity is not portrayed as tough anymore. All your problems are solved in a stroke, and you just take it easy until you settle in up there on streets of gold and listen to the harps. Not so! You who have been discouraged because the path is rocky, and you who have wondered why it just keeps on staying tough, listen.
     It’s a tough trip because God says He is going to give you shoes that are tough. Iron and brass as walking instruments are made to endure, are made to last, are made for a tough trip. It is a tough trip for the church and for the individual, but glory to God, He gives us tough shoes for the trip: iron and brass. So expect it, know it is going to stay that way, and it is never going to get any easier. It is going to stay tough, but for those who are willing to make the trip, here are the promises.
     Not only will we have shoes that last, but “as thy days, so shall thy strength be.” Circle the word thy. I like the way the Bible zeros in on me and on you. It doesn’t just spray out generalities. It says, “as thy days.” What kind of day are you having? It doesn’t matter.
     Exact, proportionate measurement: “as thy day, so shall thy strength be.” If you have got a day that takes a lot of strength to get through it: as thy day, thy strength. He is going to measure out a lot of strength. If it is an easy day, and by some wondrous act of grace you get a little “R and R,” as they say for the soldiers, and it is easier for a day or two, then He measures out a little strength. “As thy day, so shall thy strength be.”
     Don’t ever quit at the end of the day. No matter how tough it looks, don’t quit. Because God has only promised “As thy day, so shall thy strength be.” Instead of quitting now, at least you can still do it in the morning. So don’t quit now. Go to bed and trust Him to do what He says, re-create. And in the morning, there is the new measure of strength for the day. Tonight you may not think you can make it tomorrow; wait until tomorrow.
     Nobody ever cracks up over today’s problems. I have never ever counseled anybody who cracked up over today. It’s tomorrow that we are anxious and worrying about. What is worrying you today? Are you sure you won’t make it through today or is it tomorrow that’s got you anxious? Jesus said, “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” (Matthew 6:34) Tomorrow He will be there to fill the cup and, glory to God, “All the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen” to me. God’s promise to me is “As thy day, so shall thy strength be.” I know when I have reached the barrier; and, no matter how tough it gets, I know God will be there in the morning. If I just can keep from quitting tonight, tomorrow He will fill it up again.
     God, give these words the ability to capture the wide spectrum of God’s book and like a magnifying glass, bring it right where you sit. I never preach to congregations: I preach God’s Word to you and to me. “As thy day . . .” “Do you mean mine?” Yes, indeed, I mean mine. God has promised that He will not “tempt us beyond that which we can bear.” How many of you know that’s in the Bible? But He will, with the temptation . . . do what? “Make a way of escape.” (1 Corinthians 10:13) Do you know what that means literally? The King James Version is not as precise as the original. Just as unique and individual to you as the temptation (Peter says they are manifold, “diverse and many colored”), equally unique and particular to your temptation is the way of escape that God has provided. His all-seeing eye, as we say in traditional speech, already knows the temptation; and He has already worked out with precision and is applying to every individual the precise escape for you.
     Do you think He doesn’t know where you are at? He not only knows where you are at, He has already worked out the escape from your “at-ness.” That’s another one from the “Scott dictionary.” “As thy day, so shall thy strength be.”
     The second promise is in verse 27: “The eternal God is thy refuge.” Hebrew is an interesting language. It is a language of limited vocabulary. It does not have as many words as some other languages. One word means many things and many of their words are pictorial
     in meaning. This word being translated eternal is such a word. It almost boggles the mind to comprehend it. But literally the word means “the God of the front.” He is the One who is always there ahead of whatever is going on. He is never caught by surprise.
     Let me draw a picture for your mind, and it’s a very difficult one. When we watch a parade go by, we are so captured with relative figures of time, we understand that there is the “first” and the “last.” When you are watching a parade, those that went by are in front, right? Now, grab hold of your mind, because this one is tough. If we are walking in the parade, those that are in front of us, they are ahead of us. But as you watch the parade, those that have gone by you, thinking in terms of time, they are behind. That part of the parade has already happened. The others are yet to come, so what’s coming in the parade is a surprise.
     This word being translated eternal has the view of those in the parade, and God has led the parade. He is the parade Master. He knows everything that is going on. There is no evil that befalls mankind that catches Him by surprise. He is the Alpha. He is the Omega. Depending upon how you want to look at the journey, He was there first and He will be there when it is finished. All of that is embraced in this word eternal. It says that God, who is there first, is not caught by surprise no matter what your circumstance, will be there when it is over, is the First and the Last and the ever-present One; he is thy refuge. You will never get into a problem where He is not there.
     The problem of most of us is that we want Him to change our circumstances rather than be our refuge in the circumstance. We want Him to take us out of the place rather than be with us in the place. But it doesn’t matter what we want. I may want house shoes, but it takes iron and brass shoes; and He gives me the shoes to make the trip instead of removing the necessity of the trip. If I were Elijah the prophet, I may want a barrel of oil that gives me some assurance when I go to bed at night that I will have some oil in the morning, in case God doesn’t give some new oil. But God has just promised, “As thy day, so shall thy strength be.” He hasn’t promised that I can be made secure at the end of the day. He just puts the test on me at the end of the day to count on the God that gave me strength today to be there to give me strength tomorrow.
     I may want a refuge from the storm. He is my refuge in the storm. “Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; and spread forth the earth,” and gave “breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: I the LORD . . . will hold thine hand.” (Isaiah 42:5-6) “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with you.” (Isaiah 43:2) Not around them, not over them, but “through the waters” are the words of Isaiah. “I will be with you through the rivers; they will not overflow,” but you still go through them. “Through the fire, ye shall not be burned; neither shall the flames be kindled upon you.”
     Why? “For I, the Lord, am they God and thy Savior and I will be with you:” the Eternal God, the God of the front.
     I don’t know how many times during the day the enemy of our soul will come along to give confusion and thoughts to bring in fear under pressure before our strength runs out. We know that God is not the author of fear, so when that comes you can just rule it out as coming from God. If I look at circumstances that overpower me, and I don’t know where to turn, I can claim the promise, “Thou, O LORD, knowest.” (Psalm 139) I can claim the promise, the God of the front, the everlasting, Eternal One, He is my refuge.
     I pray for this church. We herald the Voice of Faith. We are running up a flag saying we are men of faith. I have said, God, give us that mark that characterizes New Testament Christians. Nothing could dim their faith. Throw them in prison and beat them up in the middle of the night with no earthly hope of deliverance, and they can sing hymns of praise to God. In the darkest center of the prison at Philippi, closed in by other prisoners, no light, very little air, and what came in seeped in, how could they sing a song in the night? Because God had said He would be with them. So why not look from that example to Him?
     We have this promise: “Thy shoes shall be iron and brass.” When it looks like we won’t make it, just stay around a while, we are going to make it. Is your strength gone? Yes, since daylight we have used up that measure and by day’s end it will be empty, but wait until tomorrow. What are you going to do if it looks dark? The Eternal God is there in the dark; and don’t doubt in the dark what God told you in the light.
     “And underneath are the everlasting arms.” You know what the word in the Hebrew means? It is another picture word. It carries the picture that if you were to find a bottomless pit, which in itself boggles the mind, but if you could state what is paradoxically a contradiction and find the bottom of the bottomless pit, underneath that are His arms. All that is in this Hebrew word, which means I will never sink or fall so low He cannot reach. He is not only the God of the front, He is the God of the bottom. That is what this verse is saying.
     Will you listen to God and His Word instead of the pressures that surround you? I am going to quit saying, “We are going to make it.” We are making it! The Eternal God is our refuge, underneath are the everlasting arms.
     If you have made a mistake, or if we have made mistakes, or someone else has made a mistake, God is an expert at picking us up. And “ye which are spiritual, restore such an one . . .” (Galatians 6:1) You who are down there, quit looking at the depth of your pit, look to Him. We have been saying, “Send the sinners, the broken ones, the self-condemned; you that feel nobody will reach down to you.” He already has! Underneath are everlasting arms. That
     means when you are falling, and when you are not falling, He has got the net ready just in case. They are everlasting arms, way down there.
     And hear this, “He shall thrust out . . .” glory to God, “He shall thrust out the enemy from before thee.” Hallelujah! “Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people,” hear it, “saved by the LORD.” (Deuteronomy 33:27-29)
     Do you know what the problem is with some of us? How many are old enough to remember that commercial that used to be on TV, which had a humorous picture of a child saying, “but Mommy, I want to do it myself!” We don’t really say it, but this is the way we do it: “But, Lord, I want to do it myself!” And we just keep struggling in our effort until He breaks us. “Happy art thou . . . O people saved by the LORD.”
     This preacher knows he frustrates not the grace of God: if righteousness came by my works, then Christ is dead in vain. (Galatians 2:21) This Pastor knows he can’t carry the load of this church or save anything, but the Eternal God, and the One with the everlasting arms, and the giver of strength, he will do it. And we can sing the song when It’s over, “Happy art thou, O God-governed ones, saved by the Lord.” What is the Lord? He is “The shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency!” And, hear it, everybody: “Thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee.” Did you hear that? “And thou shalt tread upon their high places.” Glory be to God.
     Reprinted by permission from Pastor Melissa Scott

From Margaret
There are so many little stories in the Bible, so easily missed with just a casual reading of God’s Word. In fact, this one was found in a book not often read by anyone, because it’s mostly genealogy.
     In the 4th chapter of 1st Chronicles the writer is giving a genealogy which actually begins in the first chapter starting with Adam. But in chapter 4 a man named Jabez was born. His mother named him Jabez which means “he will cause pain.“ How would you like to be born with a name like that?
     His mother gave birth to him in pain, and maybe without a lot of thought she decided that he would cause pain to everyone. We all know people who grow up with some kind of
     “stamp of disapproval” on them, and they often end up living a miserable life or even in prison.
     In verse 9 it reads: “Jabez was more honorable than his brothers.” We don’t have to go along with the opinions of family, friends or society. Jabez decided he would not fulfill the prophetic words said about himself.
     Verse 10 says Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh that you would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that your hand would be with me, and that you would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain.” So God granted him what he requested.
     There are a lot of people who claim Christianity but know very little of what the Bible teaches. To claim to know God and yet never check out His Word to us is a contradiction of fact.

How things can change. We had nearly 20 inches of snow and a week later our gorge was running.

Prayer Requests for March, 2011
For Joe Runge, Centralia, Illinois. His father just passed away.
For Earl Oswalt, Taft, Oklahoma, who has a double hernia and various other health issues.
For Stephen Clayton at Pine Bluff, Arkansas, who has a ruptured disk and pinched nerves in his back.
For Clay Huff’s sister, Cindy. She has worked as a paramedic for thirty years and is suffering “burn out.”
For Raymond (“Peanut”) Sanders at Iowa Park, Texas, for health.
For Richard Burns, Menard, Illinois, who has diabetes and takes daily injections.
For Frank Randolph at the Varner Supermax at Grady, Arkansas, who has a habeas petition in the courts.
For Alfredo Ramos, Pontiac, Illinois, for health.
For Ed Ewing, Visalia, California.
For Mike Long, at Larned, Kansas, for health. He is still retaining fluid.
For Anthony Grayson, Comstock, New York, who just filed his appeal.
For Roger Best at Holdenville, Oklahoma, who has Somnambulism (sleep-walking).
For Willie Scott at Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He is still in segregation and surrounded by evil.
For Jimmy Huff and his ministry at Colorado City, Texas.
For Willie Clark, Iowa Park, Texas, who wants to be transferred closer to his family in the Houston area.
For Michael Small’s step Mother, Suzanne, for health, and that her cancer will stay in remission. Michael is at Menard, Illinois.
For Sister Ann & all the Carmelite Nuns in Little Rock.
For Frank Williams, Jr., Death Row, Grady, Arkansas. The Attorney General is asking for another execution date.
For Freddie Lee Lott, Galesburg, Illinois, for his health, and that he stays “cancer free.”
For Willie Harper, Joliet, Illinois, that his cancer stays in remission.
For Robert Heffernan, Grady, Arkansas, for healing of a diabetic ulcer on his leg.
For Pastor Scott & her ministry (The University Network) in Los Angeles.
For all of us at Wingspread.

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