Lesson 5 -- first quarter 2006
April 2, 2006
© Copyright 2006
What's Your Choice?
"I sing because I'm happy, I sing because I'm free...." I like that song very much. But shouldn't there be a song or two that declares our decision to rejoice and sing because we have reason to be unhappy? Yes! In fact, it seems I have heard Habakkuk's declaration sung. Remember that this prophet lived in an agrarian society where personal crop and herd production were far more critical than they are to most of us today. Yet he affirmed his commitment to rejoice in Jehovah even when all the crops and herds were wiped out.
Listen also to the affirmation of a man who surely had reason to say something vastly different: "The LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD" (Job 1:21). Had Job done differently, he would have sinned, charging God foolishly (Job 1:22). That ought to put a damper on our complaining spirits!
The Lord inspired the Apostle Paul to take this truth beyond an affirmation. Through him we receive the divine command to continue rejoicing, finding cause for gratitude in every situation.
"Rejoice evermore. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (1 Thessalonians 5:16,18).
"Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice" (Philippians 4:4).
Without question, rejoicing is a function of our mind and will, not just of our emotions. Even if our feelings dictate otherwise, we must still decide to choose a response of rejoicing and thanks giving. May we remember that the next time we decide to be grumpy or the next time sadness and discouragement assault us.
What Is God Up To?
God prepares His people. I do not believe that God would have countenanced for one bit the testing of Job...had He not first prepared him. In your own life, help the preparation process by watching the Father and studying the Manual. It can be no other way!
God knows His people. God knew Job...and knew he was ready...even for the unexpected and unexplainable. And He confidently and unashamedly stood by Job before the accuser...and "staked" His own integrity on His man. In your own life, never forget God knows you better than you know yourself--and trust Him.
God tests His people. God knew what the outcome would be. But the devil needed to know. And so did Job. Job needed to see the strength and depth of his own integrity under fire. He needed to be vindicated in the face of the doubter. Job didn't pick this test. Job couldn't have decided to skip this test, short of deciding to skip out on God.
God tests His people. Huh? Yes! Tests passed lead to more tests. That's the route to maturity and assurance. You can't refuse tests and still expect to reach the next phase. Just ask Job. Just ask licensed drivers. Despite this fact, I still meet people who would rather not take Test #1 since they see Test #2 on the horizon.
God rewards His people. Always. Without exception. Unfailingly. Predictably. One big hurdle we face here is our own willingness to trust God in this in the face of the apparent exception. Can I trust Him...though He slay me? Can I see even in death the righteous reward of a loving Father?
God protects His people. Through all we encounter is the protecting oversight of the Father.
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