Mark Huddle - On Being Settled

Hymn 259

Colossians 1:23, "If ye continue in the faith, grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven, whereof I Paul am made a minister."  I have been thinking of this matter of being settled.  A few days after September 11, we were driving through Seattle.  Above were military planes - they passed over lots of times.  We had seen commercial planes doing this before but not F15s.  We never thought we would ever see this.  Was it necessary, no.  It was an overreaction, yes.  It was proper to shut down all commercial planes, yes, but we did not need F15s flying over the major cities of America to protect the people.  It was an overreaction.  The reason for this was that the U.S. was unsettled, so they over-reacted.  God wants us to be settled because if we are unsettled we will overreact and it will be obvious that we are unsettled.  We are all dust and dust is prone to be unsettled but in God, we can be settled.  Jesus saw the precious privilege of being a part of the kingdom that would not be moved, for God is settled and God's kingdom is very settled.  There may be an issue if we remain part of this kingdom, but the kingdom is very stable and there is no issue that it will continue.  Satan has very effective tools to unsettle us, to come to the condition where we will feel uncomfortable in the presence of God.  We need to be settled in Christ, be settled in the Holy Spirit, and then settled in God. 

Psalm 1 speaks of the tree planted by the river and the roots going to the source.  Then there is fruit.  There will never be quality spiritual fruit if we are not settled.  Peace, rest are some of the things that settle us.  There are a few people in the Bible who were settled.  We are like dust.  It is so easily unsettled, just takes a puff of wind and it is all disturbed.  Noah was settled into the work of building the ark - this was the work God had for him to do and he settled right into it.  It took a long time and it was not without opposition.  When the ark was getting big enough, people would be asking questions, "Why build the ark?"  He would tell them how God felt about sin.  His neighbor would say to him, "Do you think that I am a sinner?"  Noah stayed settled.  Joshua was settled, "It does not matter what you do but, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."  He was settled.  Ruth was settled in following Naomi, Jephtah was settled in sacrifice, Daniel and his three friends had it settled - they were not going to bow down to the gods of the king of Babylon.  When the music played, they were to bow down.  A little voice would be telling them, "Now is a perfect time to adjust your shoelaces."  If you think that these men had faith before they entered the fire, now think of the faith they had after the fire!  If we settle things, God will do things for us and we will have more faith than we ever had before. 

An anchor, pillars, a foundation are pictures of being settled.  There are many things in life that are not fair.  If we are not settled, these things are going to move us.  Ecclesiastes 4:4, "Again, I considered all travail, and every right work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbor.  This is also vanity and vexation of spirit."  This is not fair.  Consider a man who works hard, does well.  Then his neighbor envies him and they cannot have good fellowship.  5:8, "If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgement and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter, for he that is higher than the highest regardeth and there be higher than they."  This is not fair - this oppression and perverting of judgement that we see around us.  5:10, "He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver, nor he that loveth abundance with increase, this is also vanity."  This also is not fair.  7:15, "There is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness."  This is not fair.  21, "Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken, lest thou hear thy servant curse thee."  This is not fair.  8:11, "Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil."  There is nothing fair.  9:14, "There was a little city, and few within it, and there came a great king against it, besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it.  Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and by his wisdom delivered the city, yet no man remembered that same poor man."  This man was forgotten, not fair.  All these things in life are not fair, life is not fair, but we need to remember that eternity is fair.  If we expect life to be fair, it will unsettle you.  God is fair and eternity will be fair, life is not fair and we should not expect it to be. 

Romans 8:28, this is a verse that has meant a lot to me over the years, it is a favorite verse, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God."  All things, all work, Paul could say we know, he was not guessing, not hoping, but things will work for good, these promises are for the new testament church, they are not for everyone and this verse helps to settle us.  If we think that things work against us, we will get distressed, disgruntled, and frustrated but we know that all things work for us.  This makes a tremendous difference to our attitude and spirit, when we know that all things work for us.  In our experience, we cannot choose dark or fine days but we can have faith to believe this verse and it will make a difference to our spirit.  Luke 22.42, Jesus prayed three times asking his father to remove this cup.  This was the hardest struggle that Jesus had faced up to this point.  It was not something that he had settled for the first time, but it was to keep them settled.  "Not my will be done" is a prayer that is important but one thing is more important when we pray, "Thy will be done."  If we are willing to pray this prayer, we will find that there are more angels sent to us to strengthen us.  This prayer comes more important with the passing of time. 

In the beginning of Jesus' ministry, the words of Jesus were simple words coming from the depth of His heart.  When greater challenges came, His words were just keeping things settled.  Jesus often spoke of the crucifixion from the beginning of His ministry.  In Matthew 14, we find Peter on the water.  He saw the waves, the storm.  Though Peter was an experienced fisherman, he was afraid.  He had every reason to be, for once a year the wind came from the east and blew very hard.  The mariners did not move far from the shore on the Sea of Galilee.  Peter was walking towards Jesus, and started to look around.  Then he started to sink.  The key for Peter being settled again was to focus on Jesus.  Peter could have minimized the storm to 6 inches high and not 6 feet high or 26 feet high.  To maximise or minimise the waves was not the problem -  Peter's safety rested in focusing on Jesus. 

When we were young on the farm, I remember seeing a coyote.  In the spring of the year, the coyotes were hungry and they looked for a lamb.  So I saw the coyote and then saw dad.  He had a rifle.  He just slipped out of the house quietly, just watched the sheep and the lambs.  We saw the coyote make a grab for a lamb but the lamb just ducked under the belly of the mother.  He just walked around the mother, showed his fangs and then makes another grab, but the lamb would just duck around the other side.  As I watched this, I could not understand why Dad did not do anything but he just waited and watched.  Later I knew better why, Dad saw the whole picture where I could only see part of the picture.  Dad did not want to hit any sheep behind the coyote.  Secondly, he did not want the coyote coming back.  I was impatient because I only saw a part of the picture.  So I got unsettled, but Dad was patient and settled.  We want to make it easy for God to show us the whole picture and it will settle us.

Psalms 23, David lists 10 qualities, 10 reasons why he wants to be a sheep, to be led, to lay down, etc.  Then the last, "I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."  He had things settled, he thought of the benefits of being a sheep, he expressed his purpose.  As we focus on the benefits, it will help us to be settled, for if we focus on other things, it will unsettle us.  People in the world count sheep to go to sleep but we count our blessings to keep awake. 

Matthew 18 speaks to us of the spirit of a little child, tells of offences, unforgiveness.  These are things that will unsettle us, so the key to being settled is to have the spirit of a little child.  Firstly that helps us to be settled and will also help those around us to be settled.  Luke 15 has three parables.  One is the story of the prodigal son who was a waster - he made some bad choices and went into the far country.  There, the fun ran out as always.  He came back to a feast.  He appreciated now the love and care of his father, the compassion.  He had the best of the best but feasts don't last forever and he needed to be able to work with his older brother.  If the younger son remembered in his spirit, the bread in his fathers house, in the world the bread ran out, he would be able to work with his brother, focusing on his father and on his father's house.  It would not be easy to work with his brother who did not like him, but it would give him balance if he focused on his father and his father's provision. 

In the north of Alaska, we stopped on the top of a mountain pass and saw some sheep.  Among the sheep was a lamb.  It was doing well, it was settled but some things were happening.  There was a golden eagle, the biggest eagle of all, an enormous bird taking a pass over the lamb, pass over and over to try to knock the lamb off the mountain top.  Then, he would be able to feast on the lamb.  He came close a few times but that lamb was balanced, it did not overreact.  It watched and kept close to the mother, a balanced watch and a balanced walk.  The lamb did not overreact to the cliffs, did not overreact to the eagle but in its balance, there was safety.  The blood of Jesus helps us to be settled for one thought that tries to unsettle us, "I wonder how ever I could be forgiven, I have believed enough in what His blood can accomplish," this is absolutely sure and this thought will settle us. 

Acts 4:29, here the church prayed for boldness.  They did not pray for God to change the situation, but prayed for boldness.  In the prairies, there is some soil that is light.  There are two things that you can do to settle the soil.  You can plant rows of trees and you can plant the seed by direct drilling, not ploughing the soil.  Leave the stubble as this holds the soil in place.  It is the life in the trees and death in the stubble that holds the soil together, both sides.  Life and death help to settle us for there is lots in our nature and in the world to unsettle us.  We do not need perfect circumstances to be settled:  the car can break down, the cows can come out through the fence.  We don't look to that but for what God makes available to us to settle us, which stabilizes us in His kingdom and makes us happy.  Be an influence for good.  We can be settled and stable, and there is every reason that we would be.


* These notes are timely for our present day as we sometimes get unsettled by the experiences we see around us and even happening in our Kingdom.