During my campus day, a brother in christ shared with me this:
Our LORD Jesus had taught us in his words to Martha:
…But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; “>but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:41-42 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
This was the best knowledge shared with me. Over the next three decades, through many things that happened in my life, I have tasted this truth that in life, only one thing is necessary.
In this blog post, let’s look at the behavour of 5 persons in the old testament:
In Genesis 6:8, we read that Noah found favour in the LORD’s eyes. Then after the flood, we read in Genesis 8:20-22 that the first thing Noah did was to build an altar to the LORD.
Abraham was far from perfect. He lied twice that his wife was his sister. However, the LORD chose Abraham of all people on earth. We read in Genesis 12:7 that He built an altar to the LORD. In fact, there were many occasions in which Abraham built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD (Genesis 12:8, 13:4, 13:18).
Jacob began as a man who tried to use his effort to achieve his desires. He would tempt his brother, Esau, with the stew so that he can get the firstborn right. Then later, with the instigation and help of his mother, Rebecca, Jacob deceived his father, Isaac, to get the blessings that his father intended for his brother, Esau.
However, after spending 20 difficult years working for his uncle, Laban, Jacob learned that ultimately it is God who could truly bless him. We read in Genesis 32:23-26 that Jacob sent his family before him and he was alone and he wrestled with God, saying that ” I won’t let you go unless you bless me”.
After Jacob met up with Esau peaceably and after they parted, Jacob set up an altar to the LORD (Genesis 33:20). In Genesis 35:3-7, Jacob told his family to put away foreign gods and go up to Bethel to build an altar to God, who answered him in the day of his distress and who had been with him wherever he went.
David made many mistakes. He committed adultery, he schemed to murder Uriah. In 2 Samuel 24 and 1 Chronicles 21, David was moved with pride and told Joab to conduct a census which was against God’s law (Exodus 30:12). Israel belonged to God, not to David. It was pride that drove David to count the number of people under his rule. Despite all these mistakes of David, God remained faithful in His promise to David (2 Samuel 7:8-16) that His love will never be taken away from David as in the case of Saul and that He will establish the throne of David’s kingdom forever.
Why did God took away Saul’s kingdom but promised to establish David’s kingdom forever? The reason is because of David’s intimate relationship with God. We can read about his intimate relationship with God through the Psalms that David wrote. David was always communicating with God. He always inquire of the LORD (1 Samuel 23:1-3,1 Samuel 23:4-5, 1 Samuel 23:10-11, 1 Samuel 23:12-14, 1 Samuel 30:8-9, 2 Samuel 2:1-2, 2 Samuel 5:17-21, 2 Samuel 5:22-25, 2 Samuel 21:1). David recognised that it was God who has blessed and protected him in everything. We read in Psalms 91, David wrote:
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
Psalm 91:1 , NASB
In Daniel 6:28, we read that Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian. In fact Daniel served 5 kings–Nebuchadnezzar, Evil-merodach, Belshazzar, Darius, and Cyrus. How did Daniel survived through such a difficult period? Daniel 6:10 gives us the secret to his success:
Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. Daniel 6:10, NIV
When our LORD Jesus walked on earth, He often withdrew to speak to His Father in prayer. (Luke 6:12, Matthew 14:23, Mark 6:46–47, John 6:15). If Jesus, who is the Son of God and who is also God, had to spend alone time with God, how much more, we as human beings, ought to be praying and spending time alone with God.
We live in a fallen world, our minds are constantly bombarded with fears and anxieties. We faced challenging situations everyday. We have desires and ambitions and we face obstacles, challenges and enemies. There are many options, many decisions to make. How can we with human minds that do not know the future, with human eyes that cannot see what is happening behind us, or even inside our bodies, or in the dark and in people’s minds, be able to make the right choices?
We need the LORD and only He can truly give us success. God is good. The blessing of the LORD brings wealth, without painful toil for it (Proverbs 10:22). When we recognise like what Jacob did, that only the LORD can truly bless us, we will never miss this ONE thing that is truly necessary — spending time with our LORD.