Devotionals by Chuck Swindoll

Today's Insight from Chuck Swindoll

A Horizontal Viewpoint 

When Jacob learned what had happened, the old gentleman shriveled in fear. Rather than saying, "Thank God, He is at work. Men, He loves us and watches over us. In His care we are all safe," he responded negatively and horizontaIly.

His sons had not only returned with the food they needed, but also with all of their money. They had been given grain from Egypt free of charge. All the prime minister had asked was that they prove they were not spies by returning with their youngest brother and claiming Simeon who had been left as a hostage. Yet Jacob saw none of this as God's provision. He froze in fear and focused on a worst-case scenario.

As soon as he heard they had left their brother in Egypt, he jumped to the conclusion that Simeon was dead. "Joseph is dead. Simeon is dead. Everything is against me," he moaned. He began to sound paranoid and self-pitying. "All these things are against me!"

Last time I checked, Jacob was supposed to be the patriarch of the clan, the spiritual leader. Yet, with a quick glance behind the scenes, as we sneak a peek through the back door of the tent, we see Jacob as he really is.

It's one thing for us to sit with book in hand and read the story, knowing what the outcome will be, and say with a shrug, "I'll tell you this, I sure wouldn't have done that. I would have trusted God if I had been in that situation." But would you really? Well, then why didn't you trust Him last week? What was it that kept you from seeing God's hand in that matter you couldn't handle last month? Call to mind your most recent major test. Did you rest calmly in Him? Or did you push the panic button out of fear?

Negative thinking. A horizontal viewpoint. A closed mind to something that is unexpected and new. That's why we tend to panic. Because, humanly speaking, you and I have been programmed toward defeat. We have formed habits of response that leave God out of the picture. We don't actually announce it in those words, we just model it and rationalize around it by calling it something else. And aren't we relieved God didn't put our biography into print?

Aren't we relieved our biography isn’t in the Bible?

— Charles R. Swindoll Tweet This

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Used with permission. All rights reserved.

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Through the Insight for Living radio broadcast and worldwide Internet outreach, Chuck Swindoll's practical Bible teaching reaches every major Christian radio market in all 50 states, more than 2,100 outlets worldwide in multiple languages, and an exploding Internet podcast audience. Insight for Living also maintains offices in Australia, Brazil, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

About Chuck Swindoll

Charles R. Swindoll has devoted his life to the accurate, practical teaching and application of God's Word. Since 1998, he has served as the founder and senior pastor-teacher of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, but Chuck's listening audience extends far beyond a local church body. As a leading program in Christian broadcasting since 1979, Insight for Living airs in major Christian radio markets around the world, reaching people groups in languages they can understand. Chuck's extensive writing ministry has also served the body of Christ worldwide and his leadership as president and now chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary has helped prepare and equip a new generation for ministry. Chuck and Cynthia, his partner in life and ministry, have four grown children, ten grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

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