Is God behind all suffering here on earth

At Bijbelvorsers, vereniging voor Bijbelstudie – Bible Scholars, Association for Bible study on June 29, 2011 at 9:42 am was written by Bible scholar Marcus Ampe. Until 2014, December 22 it got 400 viewings

Often we do find people saying it is a vengeance of God when people suffer. By earthquakes, tsunamis and other disasters they like to warn people that it is a penalty from God and that they should change their way of life.

The central character of the Book of Job, Job (Arabic: أيّوب, Ayyūb‎), as portrayed by Bonnat

In the ancient Hebrew writing The Book of Job we can find a story of the suffering Job and the attempted explanation of these events by his friends. But at the end we also do get to know God’s answer. This is so much different from what lots of people do want us to believe.

In some Christian denomination the preachers even do focus on the terror. They proclaim that it is God who punishes the evil doers. And because the people do such wrong they and their environment has to undergo all the suffering.

If that was not enough they even tell those people that after all the suffering on this earth it shall not be finished. God shall punish them even more. (That is what they tell them.) Those preachers say that those evildoers are going to be tortured for ever after they die. They present them a picture of a hell, which is going to be a torture room full of fire for all those people who sinned veraciously. They want to give the others, who did some little sins, some hope, and present that they also have to face some extra punishment, but that will only happen for a short time in the purgatory.

But as you shall see when you read the Book of Books,  the Bible, you shall be able to come to the conclusion that this is not the truth they are telling. They do the same thing as the friends of Job and try to mislead the people who have trust in them.

In the world around us we are able to find believers and non-believers. People who do good and people who do wrong. Those who do bad things have mostly the opportunity to be confronted with more problems than those who do good. But do not make the mistake, that the ones who do good shall have it always good. No, also they can become confronted with a lot of badness and have to suffer a lot. Their doing good is no free way to have a life without problems.

Perhaps you think it being righteous that everything goes well with such people who do good. But you’ll notice that the world does not turn like that. Everywhere you look you shall be able to find good an bad things.

Throughout the history of humankind we found a lot of troubles coming over people who had nothing to do with it. Wars seem to be insurmountable. History books have pages over battles between different people. Those battles brought a lot of pain to many people. But it are not only such big events which can bring pain to humans or animals. Even the flora world came and still comes into problems many times

Job's Evil Dreams (illustration)

Job’s Evil Dreams (illustration) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the Book of Books, the Bible, we can find a Guide Book to Life and a Guide to our Suffering. Each of those Books in that Library can give us the the power to change. We can find the history of humankind but especially also the history of the chosen people, who wanted to stay under the wings of their Creator, the Only One God.

It is normal that when we live that we wonder what on earth we are doing here. It is not so weird to question the reason of us being here and to think about what we have to do or to think about what is expected and by whom here on earth.
Would there be a reason to be here, and to go through all those problems to grow up, to get a job, a way of living, etcetera.

Do you know there is a Higher Being who took care that we can find the answers to many life questions? His Words are written down by patient scriptors who opened up a world of knowledge which had first to be brought over verbally, then written on tablets, later scrolls and at last found a better way to got multiplied so that They could become available to as many interested persons as possible. Thanks to Gutenberg and many Biblestudents the Words of God became spread over the whole world and were put against the human teachings of several persons and institutions which proclaimed being spokesmen of God.

But be careful, as you shall be able to see in the book of Job, those so called friends can bring misleading messages and even can tell you things which are not according the Truth. Therefore we always have to listen carefully but also look at their sayings and compare them with other sayings or with reactions on their words.

Also in the book of Job we get to hear at first many things about God, which seem to be very acceptable. Some denominations use those words of the friends quite often to tell their story of the picture. But they forget to bring into attention the lost chapter of that Book, when God gives His reply to Job and his three friends. For some people that chapter does not give them the satisfying answers, but their at least we get the real answer from God who we do have to believe.

The bible is full of examples of difficulties people had to encounter. But the Book of Job is in a certain special, because it treats the subject of Suffering in particular.

We can find a more than blessed man who had at first nothing to complain of. But at a finger click everything can change quickly. Such a wealthy man got pulled down under until he did not see any light any more. Though he considered himself as a man of God he did not see any use any more to live longer. He just wanted that his life would come to an end soon, because he had enough of all those problems.

As in the other stories of the assemblage of scriptures we can find an example of a person in need who can not be helped by his friends. We get to see that man is not always the right guide nor able to help sufficiently. Perhaps people can give us wrong advice. But we may find that there are also others who sincerely try to help us but who are also not always able to bring the right solution.

In the Holy Scriptures we do find on several places One Helper who always came back into the picture. Several people were helped by Him and it is not because we do not seem to get any answers or signs from Him this day that He would not be around us. Job also thought that God had abounded Him. Do you think at certain moments that God has left you? Do you think God would leave you on your own?

Look very carefully around you and you shall be able to see the Hand of God. He is there at places where you would not expect Him.

Today we can have the opportunity to find God His Words at our coffee-table. The only thing is that we do have to take the Book and have to open it and read it. Without reading it we are not going to get as much answers as God is willing to give to us. Also in our time of affliction He is there to guide us, but we do have to want to see His stretched out arm. Let Him carry you through the storms.

The Bible is not just a book from and for the old days. It still can be very very useful. Also today we find a lot of people who are wrongly accused of something. More and more we can find people being bullied. This often because they dare to be different or to do good. It is as if today the world does not like people who want to be goodhearted. Working hard and doing what is expected from you by the higher ones is being looked at as being week. The world today does not like to have people who want to live according to rules, morals and ethics, and they prefer to scum them.

In case we have to face problems it can be good to look at the problems of some one else like Job.

Let us be aware that everything we have to undergo in this life can be a learning experience. Even from the moments we do not like we can learn. We also can learn from suffering. The experience of the pain, having to face problems can bring us to moments to look for solutions and give us the chance to grow stronger.

I do agree than we have to make a big shift in our attitude how to look at that suffering. But we should be able to manage.

The Book of Job can be a very good teaching tool for us to make a new start or to find new ways to dope with our suffering and with all the problems which seem to be too much for us.

Therefore I would like to advice you to take that Old Book at hand and to read it. Perhaps my Bible Study I wrote on our ecclesia site can help you to go through it and to see solutions to your own situation.

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Please do find out in the Bible Study at the Christadelphian Ecclesia Brussel-Leuven.

  1. Bad things no punishment from God
  2. Profitable disasters
  3. Facing disaster fatigue
  4. Fragments from the Book of Job #1: chapters 1-12
  5. Fragments from the Book of Job #2: chapters 12-20
  6. Fragments from the Book of Job #3: chapters 21-26
  7. Fragments from the Book of Job #4: chapters 27-31
  8. Fragments from the Book of Job #5: chapters 32-37
  9. Fragments from the Book of Job #6: chapters 38-42
  10. Fragments from the Book of Job #7 Epilogue
  11. Let us recognise how great God is

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Additional reading:

  1. A world in denial
  2. Why Think There Is a God? (3): Why Is It Wrong?
  3. Philosophy hand in hand with spirituality
  4. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #15 Exposition before the Creator
  5. A risk taking society
  6. Securing risks
  7. God does not change
  8. יהוה , YHWH and Love: Four-letter words
  9. Bad things no punishment from God
  10. I Can’t Believe That … (2) God would allow children to suffer
  11. Science, belief, denial and visibility 2
  12. Fragments from the Book of Job #3: chapters 21-26
  13. Newsweek asks: How ignorant are you?
  14. We are ourselves responsible
  15. Weekly World Watch 24th – 30th Oct 2010‏
  16. Reacting to Disasters
  17. Certainty in a troubled world
  18. Tragic coach crash in the Swiss Alps
  19. If there is bitterness in the heart
  20. A great man does not lose his self-possession when he is afflicted
  21. The blessing of a broken leg
  22. Signs of the Last Days
  23. National Natural Disaster and Bible Prophecy
  24. I Only hope we find GOD again before it is too late !
  25. Just be yourself…
  26. What happens when we die?
  27. All Souls’ Day
  28. Fear and protection
  29. Bible a guide – Bijbel als gids
  30. Finish each day and be done with it

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  • The Secret Book of Job (npr.org)
    the tornado went away. Wait, wait – the things the tornado said came to pass. My harvest was bountiful. My flock stretched out like the sea. My wife, she gave me more children, 10 sons. And once again, she held her head high in the marketplace, servants trailing after her. And only I heard her sobs at night.
  • ‘The Norton Anthology of World Religions: Volume II’ (rss.nytimes.com)
    the selected Jewish writings show that contrary to some popular assumptions, religion does not offer unsustainable certainty. The biblical story of the binding of Isaac leaves us with hard questions about Abraham’s God, and later, when Moses asks this baffling deity for his name, he simply answers: “Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh”, which can be roughly translated: “Never mind who I am!” The Book of Job finds no answer to the problem of human suffering, and Ecclesiastes dismisses human life as “utter futility.” This bleak honesty finds its ultimate expression in Elie Wiesel’s proclamation of the death of God in Auschwitz.
  • The Norton Anthology of World Religions (3quarksdaily.com)
    At a time when religious faith is coming under intense scrutiny, “The Norton Anthology of World Religions” is presenting a documentary history of six major faiths with sufficient editorial explanation to make their major texts intelligible across the barriers of time and space. – See more at: http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2014/12/the-norton-anthology-of-world-religions.html#sthash.msely1Oh.dpuf

     

  • Leviathan wins best film award at IFFI in Goa (in.rbth.com)
    The film is a modern reworking of the biblical book of Job. It is set on a Barents Sea peninsula and tells the story of a man who struggles against a corrupt mayor who wants his piece of land. 
  • In One of William Blake’s Final Works, the Engraved Trials of an Unfortunate Soul (hyperallergic.com)
    When his younger brother died of tuberculosis in 1787, the Metropolitan Museum of Art explains, Blake “reported discovering his wholly original method of ‘relief etching’ — which creates a single, raised printing surface for both text and image — in a vision of Robert soon after his death.” This technique also meant he had total control over his books, even if it involved incredible patience, including writing backwards onto the plates for the types of dense borders that are part of the Illustrations of the Book of Job.
  • Is Atheism a Specifically Western Phenomenon? (the-american-interest.com)
    dam Garfinkle, the editor of The American Interest, asked me this question. He told me that he had met a Saudi who claimed to be an atheist: What does this mean? We know atheism in its Jewish or Christian context, as a rejection of the Biblical God. What would atheism mean in a Muslim, or Hindu, or Buddhist context?
  • Russian film Leviathan nominated for Golden Globe awards (tass.ru)
    A 2014 Russian drama film Leviathan directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev has been nominated for the Golden Globe’s Best Foreign Language Film.
  • Wrestling with the Big Questions: A Day In Job at LICC (bibleandmission.redcliffe.org)
    The book of Job speaks a compelling word of honesty and hope into the deepest and most difficult of human experiences. Job’s story of suffering and the process he goes through with his comforters and with God is just as relevant for Christians and local churches today as we wrestle with our own questions and the questions of those around us.

Hidden Treasures

Each human being has instinct like any animal. Each person is created in the image of God and does hear the inner Voice of God. That is the Treasure in us which we do have to look for and to uncover.

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Additional reading:

  1. What is life?
  2. Creator and Blogger God 2 Image and likeness
  3. Creator and Blogger God 3 Lesson and solution
  4. Creator and Blogger God 5 Things to tell
  5. Looking at three “I am” s
  6. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  7. Not bounded by labels but liberated in Christ
  8. Sharing a common security and a common set of values
  9. Faith antithesis of rationality

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  • Dna (meredithlbl.com)
    God created us in such a complex way, I’ve never understood how anyone could doubt that he’s the creator. I look at the string of beautiful chromosomes and know divine design is truly a miracle.
  • God doesn’t need human sacrifices (houseofthedread.wordpress.com)
    God doesn’t ask you to kill people. God doesn’t demand that you kill people. God doesn’t want you to kill people.Stop invoking the name or cause of God in your decision to destroy people created in his image.
  • Mother Nature is Being Threatened (postanyarticle.com)
    mother nature is being threatened by our modern lifestyles. Because of our neglect, certain species of plants and animals have disappeared. Because of our uncontrolled development, even the mineral deposits under the earth are no longer as abundant as before.
  • “I recalled another golden rule:” (insideacrowdedmind.wordpress.com)
    What is far more difficult is to love fellow human beings with all their imperfections and defect
  • God is a Lover (ryandueck.com)
    God as a punitive, implacable father, hovering menacingly over our every thought and action, waiting for us to make a mistake.
  • Move The World (jsb10711.wordpress.com)
    The more human beings that we can band together in unity… the longer the lever.Unity is brought about by knowing that God is our real strength… our boundless support.
  • Two Types of Human (newheavenonearth.wordpress.com)
  • together (judikruis.wordpress.com)
  • The Liberating LORD of Peace, Part 3: the Revealer #TheNewPacifism (politicaljesus.com)
  • Ferguson: One Christian’s View (anotherchristianblog.org)

Africanaprincess

Psalm 17:14 King James Version (KJV)

14 From men which are thy hand, O Lord, from men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure: they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes.

The Lord has given men whom He has called hidden treasures in their belly. These hidden treasures are to be used for the Glory of God. These treasures will set men apart so that the people will know that God has given them favor.  The treasures are waiting to be discovered by you, so God can use you greatly. Are you ready to discover the treasure within you?

Be Blessed!

Related Topic

Step Out and Shine

Picture credits to http://christinemareebell.files.wordpress.com/

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Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound

Victorious!

Amazing Grace by Len Matthews

Today’s reading is Ephesians 2.

Certainly, I hope you will pursue what God wants you to do for Him today. However, take some time today to remember what God has done for you. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved–and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Talk about Victory. Praise the Lord!!!

Tomorrow’s reading is Ephesians 3.

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Re–forming ourselves

Looking at the world today, with its spiritual health in chronic condition it is not bad to take in consideration what happened in the old times and to look at the readings of today Sunday November the 2nd.

It was a difficult time for Hezekiah with the land suffering greatly as a result of his father’s failures as a spiritual leader. But Hezekiah was single-minded in what he purposed to do in Judah. His declaration “it is in my heart to make a covenant with the LORD God of Israel,” was said with the realization of just how far the nation had fallen. He could see that it was not a holy nation before their God. There was a need for deep, far reaching change with the people. Initially there would be opposition, complacency and even mockers (30:10) but Hezekiah had faith that God would bless what he set out to do.

The Kings record (2 Kings 18:5-7) has this to say about this man:

– “he trusted in the LORD God of Israel, so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor who went before him. For he held fast to the LORD, he did not depart from following Him”

and it continues

“The LORD was with him; he prospered wherever he went”. God, through Hezekiah brought about a great reformation in Judah, a time of refreshment for those who sought their God.

“20 And thus did Hezekiah throughout all Judah; and he wrought that which was good and right and {1} faithful before Jehovah his God. {1) Heb [faithfulness]} 21 And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart, and prospered.” (2 Chronicles 31:20-21 ASV)

Hezekiah is a tremendous example for us to look to. With “a purpose of heart” he continued to walk with his God throughout his reign. He continually scrutinised every aspect of his life as one ‘who trembled before God’s Word’. Like all of us, Hezekiah wasn’t without fault, he stumbled, made mistakes and wavered before certain trials, but in his mind, there was always only one path before him.

The writer to the Hebrews exhorts us (Hebrews 12:12)

“therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet.”

We should strengthen ourselves but also help others to be strong enough to go on the right path, up to the Kingdom of God.

Reform

2 November — Mark Vincent – Stirling

English: Roman custom of proclamation of emper...

Roman custom of proclamation of emperor on the shield. King Hezekiah. From Chludov Psalter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is an exhortation about reform, inspired by today’s reading from II Chronicles 31.  It had been desperately needed; Israel’s spiritual health was in chronic condition.  But thanks to the remarkable enthusiasm and leadership of King Hezekiah, the people had been galvanised into change.  In chapter 30 they had kept the Passover, and now, at the beginning of chapter 31 they bring their idols to destroy them:

“Now when all this was finished, all Israel that were present went out to the cities of Judah, and brake the images in pieces, and cut down the groves, and threw down the high places and the altars out of all Judah and Benjamin, in Ephraim also and Manasseh, until they had utterly destroyed them all.  Then all the children of Israel returned, every man to his possession, into their own cities.”  (v.1).

It was an act which showed initiative and determination.  It would also have involved a considerable amount of effort.  The verbs that are used are quite graphic: ‘break … in pieces’, ‘cut down’, ‘threw down’, ‘utterly destroyed’.  The action they took was drastic and decisive.

How do we bring this home to ourselves?  What would we have brought to cast upon the great pile of smashed images?  What bad habits and slovenliness have crept into our own lives that must be cut down?  What altars have been erected that must be thrown to the ground?

The physical activity of bringing idols and destroying them, of chopping down groves and throwing down altars must have had considerable power for those who were involved.  We rarely if ever have the opportunity to join in with something so graphic.  But perhaps this is our loss.  Reform may be no less necessary in my life or in yours.  To think about what (metaphorically) I might have brought to that pile of destruction is a very worthwhile exercise.

The trigger for this great change in Israel’s behaviour was, in large measure, the example and leadership of Hezekiah.  This is an instructive point.  The people were quite capable of making the sacrifices they made as they threw away their old lifestyle, but they needed a trigger or a catalyst to inspire them to do so.  They were not self-starters.  This highlights one of the reasons why we need instruction and exhortation on a regular basis.  It also highlights the way in which our own actions can serve to ignite discipleship and self-sacrifice in others.

Reform is about re – forming, forming or constructing something again.  We have to be careful, of course, that what we form is the right thing.  It is all very well bringing our idols to the trash, but if all we do is go back to our workshops and start building them again, then we may as well have spared ourselves the effort.  “For if I build again the things which I destroyed,” says Paul, “I make myself a transgressor.”  (Galatians 2 : 18).  He is referring to this very danger.

Instead, clearing out those things in life that ought not to be there is an opportunity for forming again those things which should – an opportunity to build again into our lives structures and habits, patterns of behaviour, which will help us on our journey to the kingdom.

Each of us has tremendous potential to do this, and to contribute to the brotherhood’s wider work and responsibility of manifesting Christ to the world in which we live.  Far more so, in fact, than we some times imagine.  This is exactly the point that comes out of II Chronicles 31.  The people surprised themselves and surprised their leaders, by the extent of the commitment and sacrifice that they were capable of when they put their minds to it.

This can be seen in the collection of the tithe later in the chapter:

“And as soon as the commandment came abroad, the children of Israel brought in abundance the firstfruits of corn, wine, and oil, and honey, and of all the increase of the field: and the tithe of all things brought they in abundantly … and laid them by heaps (margin: ‘heaps, heaps’) … And when Hezekiah and the princes came and saw the heaps, they blessed the LORD, and his people Israel.” (v.5,6,8).

The people responded with such generosity that it took four whole months to collect the mass of substance that they brought!  There was heaps of it, quite literally.  Charity, generosity, and spirituality overflowed; the people responded with all their might.

The heaps of provisions the people brought for the Lord’s service contrast with the heaps of destruction now strewn about the cities of Judah – the heaps of destroyed altars, idols, and groves.  On the one hand, we can bring things of the old way to be destroyed, and it is very important that we take this call seriously – but the Truth is not primarily an exercise in removing the negative. We each have good and positive things to bring, and this is a crucial element of discipleship.  We may surprise even ourselves by how much we can offer when we really put our minds to it.

As we reflect now on the sacrifice of Christ and the abundant provision he has made, it is up to us to bring our offering, obedience full and free, to respond with a full and open heart from the abundance, which God has given us.

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  • Assyrian Kings Insidious Spirit of Compromise (k2globalcommunicationsllc.wordpress.com)
    There is in The Lords Church, throughout all Christendom, a spirit so insidious, relentless, as to seem to even the well seasoned-christian [in so much that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Matthew 24:24 KJV] as reasonable.  The Spirit of Compromise.  This spirit works its evil by lies, incremental-ism, very rarely with large movement that would expose it for what it is, who is behind it and its goal.  When I drive past a Methodist church flying the perverts rainbow flag, not God’s Rainbow of Promise, Catholic Church goes full on sodomite, etc. The Lords Church steeped in Ecumenical-ism with Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Satanism, Judaism,  has serious issues brought about by the spirit of compromise and society suffers the consequences.
  • Zephaniah: The Day of the Lord Part 1 (joshuaasipper.wordpress.com)
    God’s Judgment on Judah (Southern Kingdom) In Nahum (which David did such a great job teaching) Go proclaims the fall of the Northern Kingdom (Israel), so by the time the Babylonian occupation and destruction come to Judah, Israel has already been basically obliterated by Assyria. So, when Zephaniah begins in Chapter 1, he gives a terrifying image of how God will destroy His people: vss 1-6 “The word of the Lord that came to Zephaniah the son of Cushi, son of Gedaliah, son of Amariah, son of Hezekiah, in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah.
    +
    Zephaniah highlights the obvious hypocrisy going on in Judah’s service toward God. Molech was an Ammonite god represented usually as a man with a bull’s head, to whom the people of Israel sacrificed their children. Molech was the antithesis of the one true God. So, when His people turned from Him to such an abomination, He simply couldn’t stand it!
  • Open Heavens Devotional Monday – 13/10/2014 Judah by Pastor E.a. Adeboye (princeadetokunboolaoye.wordpress.com)
    The name ‘Judah’ means praise. Judah was chosen to be the chief and ruling tribe of the twelve tribes of Israel (Genesis 49:8-12). The sceptre of a king and the office of a lawgiver were all allotted to Judah. Genesis 4:10 says:“The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.”Judah is a similitude of the church. In Judah, we can see a shadow of the things to come with respect to the church. Just like Judah, believers are the royal priesthood, expected to show forth the praises of God (1 Peter 2:9-10).
  • 31 Days with the Savior: Family (mlsgregg.com)
  • Listen: Pray Always, Part 4 (The Prayer Motivator Devotional #591 with Daniel Whyte III) (blackchristiannews.com)
    Those who speak from God to us we should in a particular manner desire to speak to God for us. He is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee. The great prophet is the great intercessor.
    +
    When the interests of God’s church are brought very low, so that there is but a remnant left, few friends, and those weak and at a loss, then it is time to lift up our prayer for that remnant.Our prayer motivator quote today is from J. Oswald Sanders. He said: “It is impossible for a believer, no matter what his experience, to keep right with God if he will not take the trouble to spend time with God. Spend plenty of time with him; let other things go, but don’t neglect Him.”
  • The ancestors of Jesus (georgehach.wordpress.com)
    Ahaz was the father of Hezekiah. Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh. Manasseh was the father of Amos.
    +The Gospel of Matthew links the Old and New Testaments and contains many references that show how Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecy.Jesus entered human history when the land of Palestine was controlled by Rome and considered an insignificant outpost of the vast and mighty Roman Empire. The presence of Roman soldiers in Israel gave the Jews military peace, but at the price of oppression, slavery, injustice, and immorality. Into this kind of world came the promised Messiah.

    +
    God’s work in history is not limited by human failures or sins, and he works through ordinary people. Just as God used all kinds of people to bring his Son into the world, he uses all kinds today to accomplish his will. And God wants to use you.

  • The Privilege of Our Approach (hisimagenme.wordpress.com)
    Go straight to God, don’t ‘pass go’, don’t ‘collect $200′, don’t call a friend, don’t check the Internet for further information, don’t do or say or act in any way shape or form except to with reverence and absolute trust go to God…and approach Him with the issues we have, our hurts and confusions, our fears and frustrations, and joys and celebrations. Lay them out before Him and expect and wait for His counsel.

    The first thing Hezekiah did was go before Adonai. He could have went to Isaiah. After all he was the anointed prophet of God there. His counsel could hardly have been in error. He likely would have told Hezekiah to do what he did anyway. It certainly would not have been a ‘sin’. But what King Hezekiah was learning was that God, Himself’s first and greatest desire is that each would seek Him for themselves.

  • Guest Post: Doubt (pastorericdykstra.com)
    What’s so awesome about this story is how humble Hezekiah is. Not once does he start counting up his men, or calculating the rations he has in the city, or discussing terms of peace with his advisors, or whatever else kings do when they’re under siege. He immediately goes into mourning, essentially, and searches for God’s wisdom. He knows that there is no way that he, Hezekiah, could defeat Sennacherib – he’s heard the stories, and he sees the massive army.

    But while he’s so humble, he’s also incredibly confident in the power of his God. God said that he will deliver them. So when he gets that intimidating letter, he takes it and spreads it out in the temple, and asks for deliverance so that everyone will know that God is the boss.

    In that moment, his faith is being tested; he has a whole city to care for, and if God were to fail them, they’d all be screwed. But instead of re-evaluating everything he believes, he takes the problem and lays it out before God. Pointing to it, he says, “I know what you promised. This seems to contradict what you had said before – but, I really can’t make this happen on my own, so I’m going to keep trusting you to take care of it. Deliver me so that everyone knows who’s in charge here.”