by Norm Miller
CLEVELAND, Ga. (TMNews)—Evangelist Junior Hill – a noted full-time evangelist among Southern Baptists – preached at Truett-McConnell College’s Feb. 21 chapel service from “some of the most majestic words in all of the Bible,” he said. “I believe they could change your life if you’ll hear them correctly.”
“The steps of a good man,” or a “good person,” Hill interjected, as he read Psalm 37.23, “are ordered by the Lord.”
Hill said the verse has three points of investigation and understanding: the path, person and promise of God.
There is the path, or “the direction of a person’s walk,” Hill explained. There is the “good person, who knows and follows God, who trusts in Jesus Christ,” and then there is the “promise of God,” meaning that “good people on the path of God can count on God ordering their steps.”
“Steps ‘ordered’ by God. What does that mean?” Hill asked.
Among the shades of meanings for the Hebrew word “ordered” are fashioned, prepared, or designed for a specific purpose.
Hill read Psalm 139.14-16 to illustrate the word, fashioned: “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.”
Noting God’s intent in creating people, Hill asked, “Aren’t you grateful to God you’re not a biological accident; you’re not the second thought of the sovereignty of God. You are divine creation made in the image of God just like he wanted you to be. What a wonderful consolation that is – to know that God has sovereignly made you and made me precisely as he wants us to be.”
Perhaps some in the audience feel “inferior” and “unattractive, you’re not athletically inclined, you’re not as intellectually gifted as somebody else. Maybe you’re not popular, and maybe you feel like you’re not anybody special because you don’t have all these other things,” Hill surmised.
Amid a chorus of “Amens,” Hill said everyone is “important to God. You are what God wants, and don’t let anybody ever tell you that you’re not of value to God.”
Hill said a recent survey of teens across the US asked, “What is your number one problem. What is it that bothers you more than anything else?”
Teens said they “did not like themselves. They thought they were ugly, unpopular, not gifted,” said Hill, adding that such thoughts are one cause of suicide among teens. “They have been led to believe that they are not as attractive or talented or gifted as others are. And it all goes back to not understanding that you’re curiously wrought and you’re fashioned as God wants you to be.”
Citing another meaning of the Hebrew word translated “ordered,” Hill said it also means “furnished.”
“I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread” (Psalm 37.25), Hill read.
Hill said God furnishes what his children need without fail. “Paul said that God would supply all my needs according to his riches in glory.”
Saying that God sometimes supplies needs in unusual ways, Hill related that, while seated on an airplane, he heard God’s voice, telling him to ask the man in the adjacent seat if he knew Jesus. Initially reluctant to obey, Hill relented, and the man said he was a believer. Then the two men exchanged business cards and parted company.
A few days later, Hill got a letter of thanks and encouragement from the man. And in the envelope was a check for $1,000.
“Bless God, I am going to witness to everybody I see from now on,” Hill joked.
“Now, what do you think would have happened if I sat next to that man and said, ‘Sir, I’m an evangelist. Will you give me a thousand dollars’”?
If the man had given the money at Hill’s request, then “that man would have been my supply. But since the sovereign God of heaven is my supply, God just did the asking for me,” he said.
God also sustains what you already have, he said, citing Ps. 37.16: “A little that a righteous man has is better than the riches of many wicked.”
The third way God answers His children’s needs is to “satisfy you about what you can’t have,” Hill said. “God has given you what you need, and you don’t need to worry about anything else.”
In addition to the “fashioning” and the “furnishing,” Hill noted that word “ordered” means “fitted.” Research shows that word can also describe how a potter shapes the clay for a specific purpose.
Being fitted for God’s purpose includes the believer’s willingness to be prepared for ministry as God has ordained it, he said.
“Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart,” said Hill, reading Psalm 37.4.
The order of those clauses in that verse is important, Hill noted.
“Most of us get that backwards,” he said, adding that “most of us pray, ‘God , if you will give me my desires, I will delight in you more than I ever have. … I’ll pray harder, I’ll work longer, I’ll read the Bible more if you’ll give me what I want, I will delight in you.”
Hill said he thinks God just “closes his ears” and “turns his face” away from such a prayer.
When Christians first delight themselves in the Lord, then “he will give you the desires of your heart,” he said.
“God is fitting you, he is preparing you” on his potter’s wheel, Hill said. “He is getting you ready for just what he wants you to do. Oh, don’t miss God’s best for your life.”
Closing the sermon, Hill said it wasn’t an appeal to come to Christ for salvation. Nonetheless, among the several who came forward for various decisions, one Truett-McConnell student came to Christ in repentance and faith.
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