The Wisdom and Faithfulness of God

When current events are perplexing, bewildering, and maddening, we do well to stop and consider the wisdom and faithfulness of God. He always wins.

Today’s Reading

Psalms 88-89; Romans 10

Selected Verses

 If his children forsake my law
and do not walk according to my rules,
 if they violate my statutes
and do not keep my commandments,
 then I will punish their transgression with the rod
and their iniquity with stripes,
 but I will not remove from him my steadfast love
or be false to my faithfulness.           Psalm 89:30-33

Then Isaiah is so bold as to say, “I have been found by those who did not seek me;
I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.”  But of Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.”  Romans 10:20-21

Reflections

The Psalmist laments deeply the loss to Israel of God’s apparent abandonment of them.  He reasons that God’s covenant with David was to maintain his offspring on the throne forever, conditional on the obedience of his descendants.  Clearly the conditions were not met. David’s descendants were a sorry lot, for the most part.  After Solomon, the kingdom was divided and Rehoboam ruled over Judah alone.  Idolatry became the norm in both Judah and Israel.  Eventually foreign powers conquer those kingdoms and take the people into captivity.

But God promised to keep the Davidic line alive while punishing the rebellion of the kings in that line.  How would He do this? What did His promise really mean? We learn from the New Testament that God sent His Son through the Virgin Mary of the line of David to be the King forever.  Jesus was also called the “Lamb of God” (John 1:29).  He took away the sins of the world. He became the High Priest Whose offering was perfect and removed forever the need for further sacrifices (Hebrews 10:11-14).

Paul longs for Israel to recognize their Messiah as their King and High Priest.  In another move showing God’s wisdom, He sends the gospel to the Gentiles, and they believed it.  Yet this move was, in part, to make Israel jealous of the blessing they were missing. Paul says that Isaiah had foretold this strategy.  Ironically, those who sought to be righteous by their own efforts [the Jews] did not obtain it while those who did not seek God and His righteousness [the Gentiles] found justification before Him by faith in Jesus.

Think about it

In light of world events and apparent chaos, consider the wisdom and faithfulness of God.  Praise Him that His ways are not our ways and that He has triumphed over sin and Satan. He has won the battle.

When You Despair over the Lost

What believer has not felt some level of despair over his or her unsaved loved ones? What can we do?  Scripture gives us some positive steps to take.

Today’s Reading

Psalms 85-87; Romans 9

Selected Verses

Will you not revive us again,
that your people may rejoice in you?

 Show us your steadfast love, O Lord,
and grant us your salvation.  Psalm 85:6-7

I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.  Romans 9:2-3

Reflections

The Psalmist calls out to God for Israel to again experience His blessing.  He remembers past days when they knew the Lord’s forgiveness and enjoyed His favor in the land.   Now, that favor has been withdrawn.  God is indignant with them.  What can be done?  The writer calls on the Lord for restoration.  Only He can bring revival to the people.  The Psalmist calls on God and he is confident in Him.  He recognizes their foolishness, but he knows that God’s love and faithfulness are greater than the waywardness of His people.

Paul also agonizes over Israel.  He sees them foolishly ignoring all that God had given them.  Look at the list of blessings they have uniquely received:

They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.  Romans 9:4-5

What had they done with what they received?  They wasted it.  They turned away from their Messiah, who is God.  Indeed, they crucified Him!  Paul’s anguish is palpable.  So much so that he even states that he would give up his own salvation if that would bring them to Christ.  Of course, it would not, but we get the picture of the depth of his despair about the Jews.

Think about it

What believer has not felt at least some level of despair over his or her unsaved loved ones?   What can we do?  Paul prayed for Israel.  Psalm 85 gives us the right approach in our prayer.  Remember God’s blessings in the past.  Confess any sins that need confessing in the present.  Ask God for mercy and to give life to those who are dead in their sins.  Trust God to do what is right in His time.  Praise Him for His righteousness.  Wait on Him.  Repeat daily, as needed.

 

God’s Wisdom and Sovereignty

Today’s reading: I Kings 1-2; Luke 22:54-71

So the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon. I Kings 2:46b

61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly. Luke 22:61-62

Human history is filled with foolishness and wickedness, but God rules over all and uses even the wrath of man to praise Him (Psalm 76:10).

Adonijah, yet another spoiled son of David, like his brother Absalom, attempted to grasp the throne of his elderly father. He had significant support from Joab and Abiathar. David acted quickly and successfully to thwart Adonijah and set up Solomon as the new king. Solomon did not immediately put Adonijah to death, but he did put him on probation.

It wasn’t long before Adonijah made his move. He asked permission to marry Abishag, the beautiful Shunnamite woman, who had cared for David on his death bed. Solomon saw where Adonijah was going with that request. He had him executed immediately.

Adonijah’s death led to Joab’s. Within three years, Solomon had cause to execute Shimei for his violation of probation. The result of all this: the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon. God used the evil of people to bring about His purpose for the kingdom.

In a similar way, God used Peter’s denial to contribute, in a small way, to the purpose of salvation through the offering of Jesus Christ on the cross. Perhaps even more importantly, God used Peter’s denial to teach him how great his need for mercy and salvation was. Peter was so sure of himself a few hours earlier (Luke 22:33), but he had to learn the depth of his sin and the greater depth of God’s grace toward him. God again used evil to bring about His good purposes both for Peter and for all His elect people.

Do you despair when confronted by sin in yourself and in the world? Remember that God is wise and sovereign. He will do all that He decrees. He will be glorified even in the evil that goes on day in and day out. His kingdom will be established  forever.  It will far exceed that of Solomon in every way.