Lesson 1 -- first quarter 2010
December 6, 2009
© Copyright 2009
What would it take to turn my bitterness away in favor of sweetness?
Does it matter to God that a name-loaded Bible passage is burdensome to me?
How readily do I accept an "outsider" into my circle?
How well do I relate to a repentant "sex sinner"?
Is there room in my congregation for Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba?
I really like that portion of Ruth 4:13.
God planned that child!
Yet, there's nothing new there. I believe God plans every child, "viable" or not.
Blessed be the Sovereign Creator!
"Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name" (Isaiah 49:1).
"And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me" (Isaiah 49:2).
Can you believe that God planned you? Perhaps you learned once upon a time that your conception was an "accident." Or maybe your birth parents rejected you. You may even be the result of an immoral relationship. Another possibility is that you have physical, mental or emotional restrictions. Maybe your life just doesn't seem to have purpose and design. Can you say in faith, "From the bowels of my mother hath He made mention of my name"?
I like the word picture in verse two. God has made me to be His arrow. And a polished arrow at that! He has hidden me in His quiver. I am one among many. Where do I fit? What will I ever be good for? Nobody seems to notice me or care about me. But the Archer knows all about me, knows right where I am, and has a unique mission for me. As He shaped me, He designed me according to that mission. Everything in my life has been used by Him to prepare me for the successful execution of that mission. Do I have a lot against me? Not if I stay in the Archer's quiver at His disposal!!
Your parents may or may not have planned for your conception. That makes no difference; Ephesians 1:11 refers to "the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will." The timing and location of your birth were predetermined by God so that you might effectively fulfill His plan for you. And He has brought you to this place and point in time in order to use you.
You were born so that God might call you "unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord" (1 Corinthians 1:9). Imagine! God made you so that He might enjoy your comradeship, your companionship, your friendship, your fellowship! Do you "begin the day with God...go through the day with God...conclude the day with God"? That is one of the reasons for your birth! Might He feel let down? I hope not.
You were born as raw material from which God might build a person "conformed to the image of His Son" (Romans 8:29). What experiences and influences do you allow in your life that God can use in the process of reshaping you? If we could see the damage we do to His handiwork when we read the wrong things (for example), we would not be so careless. Evaluate your life to see if you are cooperating with or working against God's work in you. Make yourself available and moldable. You were born with a high purpose -- to become the conformed image of Jesus!
You were born to reproduce yourself, to "bring forth fruit" (John 15:16). As God perfects His work and His image in you, He expects your help in accomplishing that same work in someone else. "We are laborers together with God" (1 Corinthians 3:9)! Now this business of reproduction is a sobering thing. I will be reproduced in others. God purposes that such a reproduction be in "the image of His Son." So how is your life before others? Are you an example of and to the believers? That's your mission! Your success here contributes to that of others.
"Awesome!" suffers from chronic overuse, but it certainly serves as an appropriate reaction to God's purposes for you. I challenge you to find other biblical reasons for your birth. I can think of four others:
This concludes my comments based on the passage for the International Bible Study. To read my comments on the alternate lesson developed by Christian Light Publications, click here: Preparation for the Messiah.
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