Oct 16 2011

Our False Comforters

Subject: ProvidenceRLW3 @ 8:43 pm

When adversity comes upon us, many voices clamor for our attention and action. Just as Job had not one but three friends to advise him in his hardship, so we too have three familiar, loud voices that are very quick to offer us advice.

The voice of the world calls our adversity or calamity ‘bad luck’ or ‘karma’. Since the kosmos is ruled by the impersonal god of Chance and Randomness, Fate must be against us. They offer us two familiar responses. We can either choose to strengthen our resolve to overcome our Fate through sheer determination and effort or we can lash out in bitterness against the people or things who brought about our demise and then shrink into the corner to wallow in the debilitating false comfort of self-pity. In the end, the former choice leaves our soul hardened, exhausted and angry; the latter will see us shriveled, crippled and twisted.

The voice of the flesh entices us to anesthetize our pain by by letting loose and engaging in each and every form of sin that it can find.

 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in licentiousness and lewdness, not in strife and envy.1

Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament points out that each of these works of the flesh2 are in the plural form: revelries, repeated drunkenness, multiple acts of licentiousness and lewdness. If we heed this voice, by the time we finish debauching ourselves, we feel so defiled by our sin that the original problem no longer seems so bad.

The most insidious voice belongs to the devil himself. Disguising himself as the voice of reason and maturity, he will inevitably suggest that our setback merely serve to prove that God doesn’t really love us; that we have been playing a big religious game and are finally seeing life ‘for what it really is’; that the Bible may be true for others but certainly not for us; that God has singled us out.

After all, doesn’t God promise to bless those who serve Him? And look at you! This is blessing? This is how He rewards you?…

You expected too much. Did you really think that God actually cared about the details of your life? Did you really believe that He was actually watching over you? Wow! Were you ever dreaming!

Children believe in that stuff. You just need to grow up and face reality. Did you really think that you were that important?

He takes the very pain, disappointment, loss and confusion that should press us to run to “the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,”3 and presents them to us as “evidence” or “proof” that God has abandoned us.

Jesus said that “there is no truth in him (the devil). Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies.”4

There is another voice, but am I willing to listen?

  1. Rom 13:13 NKJV []
  2. Gal 5:19-21 []
  3. 2 Cor 1:3 []
  4. John 8:44 NASB []

May 31 2008

God’s protection

Subject: Protection,Providence,ThankfulRLW3 @ 5:29 pm

It is very easy to minimize God’s protection in our lives. How much doesn’t happen to us because He silently directs our steps? I believe that I was spared driving into a tornado this week. You can read the details here.

It is easy to look at the storm chasers and imagine that it isn’t that difficult to avoid a tornado. However, towing a car behind an old pickup with loose steering is difficult enough with the strong wind shifts from both oncoming and passing big rigs. Something as small as the slants or grooves in the road tended to redirect the truck in ways that I didn’t want. And, when towing a car, your reactions have to be measured and controlled lest you create a greater problem by whipping the towed vehicle behind you. With the winds generated in a tornado affected area, I would have had to pull over to the side of the road. I would have been a sitting duck.

Daily we are faced with small choices that form and mold our hearts. The fact is that God does actively protect His children. The only question is will we recognize it and be grateful or will we cynically explain everything away.

“How do you know that you would have been at that place when the tornado hit?”

I don’t. But, I do know that my plans would have had me driving through that very around the very time that the tornado touched down. And I also know that my plans were foiled by an unexpected event.

“It was your own negligence that caused the unexpected event, not God.”

That might be true. However, I would query back, “Why didn’t I tighten the lug nuts? I am not a careless man. In fact, I am very responsible. Why would I overlook something so crucial, especially on a long term project that is so close to being completed?”

I have chosen to believe that God really was watching out for me. I have chosen to give Him thanks. I am willing to look foolish. I am willing to be accused of being a little melodramatic. If that is the cost of maintaining a trusting, grateful heart, it is a small price to pay.

Jan 27 2008

“Big doors often swing on small hinges.” -A.W. Pink

Subject: Faith,Obedience,ProvidenceRLW3 @ 5:34 pm

This morning, the importance of obeying God in the smallest of things was reemphasized in my heart.

:1 And a man of the house of Levi went and took as wife a daughter of Levi. :2 So the woman conceived and bore a son. And when she saw that he was a beautiful child, she hid him three months. :3 But when she could no longer hide him, she took an ark of bulrushes for him, daubed it with asphalt and pitch, put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river’s bank. :4 And his sister stood afar off, to know what would be done to him. :5 Then the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river. And her maidens walked along the river’s side; and when she saw the ark among the reeds, she sent her maid to get it. :6 And when she had opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby wept. So she had compassion on him, and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.” :7 Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for you?” :8 And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go.” So the maiden went and called the child’s mother. :9 Then Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed him.  Exo. 2:1-5 (NKJV)

Here are some of A.W. Pink’s comments from Gleanings in Exodus:  

“Scripture informs us that it was neither affection nor infatuation but faith which was the mainspring of action. (Heb. 11:23) Faith “cometh by hearing” (Rom. 10:17): the parents of Moses must, therefore, have received a direct communication from God, informing them of what should happen and instructing them what to do. And they believed what God had told them and acted accordingly.”

“Should it be asked, Wherein is the faith of Moses’ parents to be seen? The answer is: In overcoming the fear of the king and in trusting God’s protection for the preservation of the child. And is not the strength of their faith evidenced by the selection of the place where the young child was put, after he could be no longer hid in the home? Surely the parents of Moses took him to the very last spot which carnal reasoning would have suggested. The mother laid him “in the flags by the river’s brink”! But that was the very place where the babies were drowned! Ah, is not that the last location we had chosen? Would not we have carried him as far away from the river as possible?”

“It was neither by chance nor accident that Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the river that day, for there are no accidents nor chance happenings in a world presided over by the living God. Whatsoever happens in time is but the outworking of His eternal decrees—’for Whom are all things, and by Whom are all things’ (Heb. 2:10). God is behind the scenes, ordering everything for His own glory; hence our smallest actions are controlled by Him. It is because that whatsoever happens in time is the outworking of God’s eternal decrees, that ‘all things are working together (the verb is in the present tense) for good to them that love God, who are the called according to His purpose.’ ” (Rom. 8:28)

“Big doors often swing on small hinges. God not only directs the rise and fall of empires, but also rules the fall of a sparrow. It was God who put it into the heart of this Egyptian princess to go to the river to bathe, and to that particular spot where the ark lay amid the flags; as it was He who caused her to be moved with compassion (rather than with indignation at the defiance of her father’s authority) when she beheld the weeping child. And it was God who caused this daughter of the haughty monarch to yield submissively to the suggestion of Miriam, and made the princess willing for its own mother to care for the little child.”  

Frequently, it it the little things that are most important.

He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.”  Luke 16:10

It is the “the little foxes that spoil the vines.” (Song 2:15)

I would recommend that you print the title of this post, frame it and hang in a place that you will regularly see it to encourage your heart that God is intimately involved with your life and that your choices and actions matter.