Thursday, February 13, 2014

O You Troubler Of My Spirit!

Yahweh has always made it clear that it is his desire to bless everyone in the world. He created us to love us and for us to love him. He created us for a wonderful relationship. He doesn't need us because he is self-sufficient. He needs nothing outside of himself. But he chose to create us so that he could pour out his great love on us and he only required our obedience. He gave us a free will so that obedience would be by choice. He knew the risk and he knew what would happen.

Even though it has resulted in disaster for the majority of people on the earth, Yahweh made a way through Jesus, for those who so choose, to return to that loving relationship. His great desire is that everyone would find their way to him, and that's the reason we lift up Jesus, as a beacon to everyone to pass through, to be with Yahweh once again.

However, staying faithful and obedient to Yahweh in a world that is fallen, surrounded by people who don't understand, is a great challenge, especially if we allow the passion of our love to fade. This is where Jesus, our great Shepherd, needs to do things we might not appreciate, to correct us and keep us close. Some people see it as mean in the same way that people in the world see correcting a child as mean. Yet we see the results of tolerant parenting in the world today. Our Father's desire is to have us mature and ready for eternity with him, not spoiled on the pleasures of this earth.

Many of us don't see it this way. Many of us see "hardships" as mean and unnecessary. We don't understand what our Father is doing because we choose not to understand it, in the same way king Ahab refused to accept Yahweh's correction.

Ahab was a rotten king, one of the worse, and the kingdom of Israel prostituted herself to every god imaginable under his reign. Yahweh sent his prophet Elijah to bring correction and to call back to himself his children. Yahweh had always warned that relationship with him required obedience and obedience allowed him to bless his children, but rebellion sealed up his blessings. Yet Ahab saw Elijah only as a trouble maker:

Then it happened, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said to him, “Is that you, O troubler of Israel?” (1 Kings 18:17)

But Yahweh was not putting up with such accusations and told Ahab through Elijah what the real source of the trouble was:

I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and have followed the Baals. (v. 18)

Does a child blame his parents for the punishment he brought on himself? Some do but we all have enough intelligence to understand that it is the behaviour that brought the correction. This is not our Father's judgment but his correction. When you encounter hardship, and they are a result of your behaviour, don't accept people saying that it is God's judgment. There is one day reserved for judgment. No, this is the correction of a loving Father who wants to see his children grow up and become mature:

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. (Hebrews 12:7-8)

It's not all butterflies and daffodils. Life itself can have large rough patches as does our relationship with Jesus Christ. But in it all we must be absolutely convinced of our Father's love because if we love him we will trust him, even when it is a matter of correction. Most of us know when we are being corrected that it is because we have brought it on ourselves. So endure it, learn from it, and grow from it. If you kick against the Spirit in these things it means we will have to learn the lesson over again. Remember, he uses all things for our benefit.

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