Monday, June 7, 2010
Discerning God's Will Together Part IV
We asked the question, “Why God did created the heavens and the earth and all that is in them?” The answer from scripture was that - God created the heavens and the earth and all that is in them in order to make known the magnificent, perfect, and harmonious character of God to the angels, both good and bad and to the nations inhabiting this planet.
The first question that should come to your mind about right now (or last Saturday) is, why? Why does God want his character to be revealed, reflected, magnified, imaged forth, or otherwise made known? I think the answer can be found in at least two propositions. The first is very elementary and has been actually touched upon:
• He is worthy
God, alone, in his absolute perfection, holiness, omniscience, omnipotence, self-sufficiency, and supremacy is worthy to have this indescribable character displayed before all of heaven and earth in order for all of heaven and earth to give praise, worship, and submission. There is no god like our God!
“Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god. Who is like me? Let him proclaim it. Le him declare and set it before me, since I appointed an ancient people. Let them declare what is to come, and what will happen. Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any.” (Isaiah 44:6-8, ESV)
The second reason is...
• His character was impugned in heaven and earth
Ephesians 3 makes a very interesting statement in a matter of fact way. As a matter of fact if we are not carefully reading the text, it is most often missed. Paul is sharing with the Ephesians that he is in prison, not as a prisoner of Rome, but a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of the gentiles. Paul has been imprisoned for the sole purpose of writing at least four letters; Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. He does not look at his imprisonment in the dark, damp, demeaning dungeon called the Mamertine Prison as not God’s will.
He was there to write of the mystery that had been hidden from eternity of the gospel. They mystery that had been hidden was the fact that through the gospel God would reconcile both Jews and Gentiles to himself. This was a great mystery to the Jews. It was inconceivable that Gentiles would be fellow heirs with the Jews, be of the same body with them, and even be partakers of the promise in Jesus Christ. So Paul would say, “Don’t cry for me Argentina.” In other words, don’t worry about me – God worked his perfect purpose out so that I would be in this prison at this time for your sake.
Then he says something very peculiar – “…so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in heavenly places.” Where? In the heavens! Be known to who? Rulers and authorities. Who are these rulers and authorities?
They are angels. Why would God want to display the mystery of redemption to angels? God’s character, his most glorious, majestic, brilliant, effervescent, magnificent character was maligned and called into question first in heaven by Lucifer.
Isaiah 14 is considered to be the fall of Lucifer from grace into sin. Verse twelve reads, “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, I will ascend into heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will set on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” (Isaiah 14:12-14, ESV)
The angels saw Lucifer rise up against God in an attempt to be as God. They saw apparently one third of the angels follow Lucifer in this rebellion. More than likely the holy angels who did not sin, cried to God, “Destroy him! Destroy this monster who dared to be You! Crush him, smash him,” they most undoubtedly cried to God. But God did not crush Lucifer, he did not destroy him or annihilate him. God cast him from heaven to the realm of the earth.
We see his work again in the Garden of Eden in Genesis. Once gain he maligns the character of God. This time, not only is it in front of watching angels, but it is in front of the representatives of the human race, Adam and Eve. First in the heavens, and now on earth the glorious character of God is called into question.
“Did God actually say…”, sneered Lucifer now Satan. “You will not surely die,” purred Satan as he represented God as a liar. “…God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God…” This was what Satan had wanted, he wanted to be like God, the Most High.
God’s character was maligned and challenged both in the heavens in front of the angels and on earth in front of man. God did not destroy Lucifer, the fallen angels, now demons, nor Adam and his wife. No, God chose to vindicate his character and demonstrate to the angels and to mankind that he is the only God, that he is the most high, that he is not a liar, and that he is worthy of the praise that goes on in both heaven and earth. Therefore, everything that takes place is used by God to garner praise for his name and character. This is why God can and does use sin, wickedness, and evil, the wicked, and even Satan to accomplish his will and bring glory to his name.
God knew the hatred and jealousy in the hearts of Joseph’s brothers. God took and used that hatred to accomplish an eternal decree or purpose. God covenanted with Abraham to make him a great nation and to give him a land.
God sent Joseph into Egypt, albeit, the hard way; as a prisoner to be sold as a slave. Joseph did not know it at the time, but God chose to use his brother’s hatred to keep his promise to Abraham. No sir, when his brothers were plotting to kill him that was part of God’s purpose. When his brothers threw him in the pit, that was part of God’s purpose. When they sold him to a passing caravan that wasn’t accidental or even convenient, that was part of God’s purpose.
Don’t you think God could have gotten Joseph to Egypt any other way? If God determined to keep his promise to Abraham by having Joseph as the number two man in Egypt provide food and grain for Jacob’s family don’t you think there were easy ways to get him there?
Tomorrow, Lord willing we will pursue the thoughts of the third faulty view that lends itself to the thinking that “some things that happen aren’t necessarily God’s will” - a faulty understanding of what God intends to accomplish by His will.
Posted by Gregg Metcalf at 1:00 AM