Everyone has a beloved scripture. That list of favorites can actually change over time depending on circumstances, understanding of the Bible or spiritual growth. In these times, it’s essential to have something to hang onto.
Honestly, there are so many good foundational scriptures, it’s a challenge to narrow it down to just five. So, we’ll start in the Old Testament. Here are five that stand out to me with a little background and explanation.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NASV).
Jeremiah 29:11 is one of the most cherished scriptures for many Americans. Also, one of the most quoted. And, part of this scripture forms our slogan at Chipalatta: “a future and a hope.” It doesn’t matter where you are in life, God knows where you live. He knows your circumstances and even your concerns and dilemmas.
Through it all, he has a Mapquest for your life to get you from where you are to where He wants you to be. There is a future and a hope for you, there are plans for welfare and not for calamity.
Now, here’s the part you probably don’t want to hear. God will come to your rescue, but he may not take you out of tribulation and trouble today. In the prior verse (Jeremiah 29:10), he tells the Israelites it will be a while. In fact, read the entire passage in context, and you’ll see how God works.
The key takeaway is that God will be with you in the tribulation and trouble. He will comfort you, protect you and guide you, and he will make a way for you, so don’t give up on God and don’t give in to the ideas and schemes of the world around you. The plans are real, the future and a hope are genuine. The timing is critical. Your patience and understanding are vital.
2 Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all Israel, and they destroyed the sons of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem.
2 Samuel 11:1
But David stayed at home. Those five words are the words that haunted David and led to his downfall. You see, in those days, kings led their armies into battle, they were out front. They did not stay behind the lines and lead the battle from a bunker.
In the very next verse, David “meets” Bathsheba and gets into a heap of trouble. The last five words of the verse above has always spoken to me as a reminder to follow Jesus’ example to be about your Father’s business.
Be where you are supposed to be, stay focused and keep your eyes forward. God did not intend for us to stay behind the lines and stay out of the fray. Remember, of all the spiritual armor that’s provided (Ephesians 6:10-18), there is none for your back!
Are you on the front lines? Or are you staying “at home” (in a spiritual sense)? Find out where you are supposed to be and spend your time there!
3 The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.
This should give you comfort and peace, not to mention confidence and courage.
In your situation, it’s nice to know that he is “with you” and takes “great delight in you”. But how ’bout that “rejoice over you with singing”.
When Jesus was born, he had a chorus of angels singing in the heavens. But you have the Lord God Himself singing over you. The NASB version says: “He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy”.
So the next time you’re singing “woe is me” and down in the mulligrubs, look up and remember, God likes you. In fact, he’s singing a song over you right now!
I’ll take “rejoice over you with singing” and “shouts of joy” any day, what about you?
4 The Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you only will be above, and you will not be underneath, if you listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, which I charge you today, to observe them carefully.
Deuteronomy 28:13 (NASB).
Deuteronomy is chock full of commands and conditions, but also provides an insight into what God thinks about you and me, especially in the later chapters. Read chapters 28 and 30 if you need a boost in encouragement.
I have often quoted from the verse above when I pray over people or attempt to convince them of who they are in biblical terms: “You are an overcomer, you are more than a conqueror, you are the head and not the tail, you are above and not beneath.”
Deuteronomy 28, however, is one of those condition chapters in the Bible, but it’s replete with the blessings you will receive, so it’s not just a “you gotta do this” rules chapter. The first verse lays it out plainly: “If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth.”
It’s an easy exchange really and while you may find that God is firm in his conditions, He is also consisten and resolute in the blessings.
5 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23.
I could write and speak for some time on this one.
The more I learn about the heart, the more this scripture comes to life. Even in the physical world, we know that if the heart isn’t working well, other parts of your body will not function fully. In fact, if the heart doesn’t work well, it will take years off your life!
John Eldredge says: “The heart is the central issue.”
Your finances, relationships, attitude, decision-making process are only symptoms of a more significant issue, the condition of the heart. Fix the heart, the other things will go away eventually, or at least you’ll be operating on a more level playing field. If you try to fix the symptoms without addressing the, umm, underlying conditions, you merely put a band-aid on the wound. You’ll be back with another band-aid soon enough.
When you put up that hedge of protection (Job 1:10; Isaiah 5:5) to guard your heart, you’re seeking to keep out the negativity and temptations of the world. How do you guard your heart? Guard your eyes, your ears, your tongue and take captive thoughts.