Glimpses of grace seen in the everyday

Posts tagged ‘prosperity’

Divine Irony

Job is a drama in at least three acts.  An irony where poor Job, as well as his friends, are totally oblivious of the real drama behind the scenes.

First (after Job is introduced), Satan shows up in God’s throne room and makes a bet with God that he can make Job sin.  God consents, confident that his model child, will not fail.  (I wonder, would God bet on me?) 

Then the curtains close on the heavenly stage and our attention is redirected to the earthly stage where Job is hit with one tragedy after another.  He endures days and nights of grief and suffering along with wave after wave of harangue from his so-called “friends.”  Everyone is sure that they are right, and here’s why:

1.  Job’s perspective:  a)  He knows he hasn’t sinned.  b)  Good people are not supposed to suffer.  c)  God is in control of all that happens.

Job’s conclusion:  God is being unjust, so Job desperately seeks an audience with Him.

2.  Job’s friends’ perspective:  a) Job is suffering.  b) Suffering is always the punishment for sin, just as prosperity is always the reward for righteousness.  c)  God is just.

Their conclusion:  Job has sinned and needs to repent.

3.  God’s perspective:  a)  Job is the model of righteousness.  b) God is both just and wise, but not limited to human standards.  c) His purpose is beyond the knowledge of  the humans.  Then in chapters 38-41, God blows them all away from a whirlwind with a tour of His magnificent power in creation.  No answers for the questions they asked–just He Himself!!! 

In the third main part of this drama, Job gets the prize!  He has endured and won.  He receives restored health, double his original wealth, and another whole family, including 3 gorgeous daughters. 

But most of all, God is vindicated. 

How can this story help me when I look at what’s happening to me, those I care about, my nation, and the world around me?  In Job’s darkness, his expression of hope shines all the brighter:

But he knows the way that I take;
when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.  (23:10)   Rainbow

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How Wise Was Solomon?

The fabled wisdom of Solomon:

—Choosing wisdom as his “one wish” from God (Wow, what would I have chosen?  I think the request in itself was pretty wise!) (1 Kings 3)

–Threatening to cut a baby in half to determine who was the real mother         (1 Kings 3)

–Thrilling audiences from far and wide with brilliant lectures on botany and zoology (1 Kings 4:33-34)

But how wise was he when he flaunted God’s list of guidelines for kings in Deuteronomy 16:16-20:

–Do not accumulate a lot of horses, especially not from Egypt.

–Do not take many wives.

–Do not accumulate vast amounts of wealth.

–And DO copy out God’s whole law, READ IT daily his whole life, and OBEY it!

Solomon had everything going for him:  God’s special favor, wisdom, wealth, fame, a huge and peaceful kingdom.  And God’s promise of an ongoing prosperous dynasty IF he would remain faithful. 

So what did he do?  He threw it all away, violated every one of these regulations.  His heart turned away from the God who had lavished favor on him to the gods of his myriad wives. Sad smile  Read the sad story in 1 Kings 10:23 to 11:13. (I have lots of “sad faces” in the margin of my Bible beside the stories of the kings of Israel and Judah.)

So what about me?  Will I cling to God when things go well, or do I need problems to keep me holding tight to His hand?  By God’s grace, I choose the former.

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