Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Discerning God's Will Together Part VI
Ever since the fall of man we have been born with a defective heart. This defect is of the greatest magnitude possible.
“The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick, who can understand it.” (Jeremiah 17:9, ESV)
We suffer from a condition that beyond our imagination and even full understanding. Sin has permeated our entire being, body, soul, and mind and has imprisoned us in absolute bondage. All that we do, even the “good” that we do is tainted, stained, or permeated by sin. The greater challenge is that human beings sin against one another in the most atrocious, egregious, and acidic manner possible.
In this post I want to tackle two tremendously hard events that I hope will give you further insight. The first is Job.
We know the story well, or at least we should. One day, messengers begin arriving at Job’s tent in rapid succession. Each messenger gives a report of disaster and destruction of Job’s crops and animals. The final messenger approaches and tells Job that all ten of his children are eating and drinking in the oldest sons home when a great wind came and collapsed the house, killing all ten of his children.
Where was God? Where was his sovereign and omnipotence when the house collapsed falling onto and crushing his ten precious children? God was in his domain and on his “throne.” He had just finished a debriefing meeting with angels he had preciously dispatched throughout the earth. Unimaginable and inconceivable to our minds, Satan shows up at this session. You know (and if you don’t read Job 1-2) the conversation that took place.
God challenged Satan. The Hebrew gives us a little clearer picture of what took place. God knew that Satan had already been harassing Job somewhat and he asked him, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” Satan replied, “Does Job fear God for know reason?”
The loss of Job’s crops, animals, children, and even his health was the result of God demonstrating to Satan that Job worshipped God for the right reasons. God knew that these losses as painful as they were would drive Job deeper in intimacy with him, thereby magnifying the character of God.
That is amazing to me. Remember, all that God does is motivated by his desire to be praised and worshipped. He created us to magnify his great character. God’s glory is of the utmost importance to God.
I said that our hearts are deceitful and they are wicked. Actually Jeremiah said that and you can find that truth and principle throughout both the Old and New Testament. Here is one way that our heart deceives us.
We as humans have a built in need for happiness or satisfaction. We also want satisfaction immediately. From the earliest days in the crib when we are hungry we cry, when we are wet, we cry, when we want cuddled, we cry – we don’t know what all these things are yet, but we want satisfaction for everyone of them. As we grow older the pattern doesn’t change. We want to be happy and satisfied, although the definitions of both of these situations are different in everyone. We usually find our satisfaction and happiness every where but the one place we are to find it, God.
We find satisfaction in life itself, art, music, drama; people, family, spouses, sex, alcohol, drugs, thrills, hobbies, careers, and … God designed us to find ultimate satisfaction and happiness in him.
God doesn’t give up or quit. He is always at work engineering various means to draw us to him self in order for us to find total happiness and satisfaction. God will even use painful means, or the sin of men, or our own sin to draw us unto himself. Why? In order for God to receive the highest glory. God will be glorified. Everything that God does is motivated for his glory. Even the wicked, who were created for destruction will give the highest glory to God. "If God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath" (Romans 9:22), that's what will be glorified! His wrath will be glorified and his power will be glorified. And their failure to be satisfied in him will produce that kind of glorification.
Do you want to glorify God the most with your life and experience his glory the most? Then the answer is: Pursue maximum satisfaction in him. That's what so many Christians have never heard, and they have a hard time believing. Contrary to our thinking, we are not number one on the hit parade of the universe. God is.
So, how does this tie in your experiences? If we have not come to where we find our greatest satisfaction in God, God will use whatever means he chooses to bring us to that position. Due to our sinful human nature it rarely is a new car, bigger house, Caribbean Cruise that he uses.
No, God will use the abandonment of our own families, the loss of a job, a painful divorce, a cheating spouse, cancer, a foreclosure, slander, false accusations, death of a child to bring us closer to him and to love him more and to find our absolute satisfaction in him. You say, how can that be? Those are so painful they almost drove me out of mind and to despair.
So many things take the God’s place in our hearts and since our hearts lulled us into a state of unawareness by its deception and wickedness we don’t know we love and cherish things more than God. In absolute unawareness we cherish and treasure the things in our lives that are most precious and familiar to us. There are times God chooses to “wrest” those things from us in order that we might cherish, treasure him as the most precious thing in our lives.
We hit my word count for today. I will address the second scenario tomorrow. I also hope to tie into some of the comments from today. Stay tuned.
Posted by Gregg Metcalf at 1:00 AM