God Does What He Desires To Do

Psalms 135:5–6 “For I know that the Lord is great, and that our Lord is above all gods. Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps.”

I believe that the book of James makes it clear that humans are driven to do what they do based on their desires. The problem with fallen man is that our hearts and darkened and only bring forth the desires that lead to sin and isolation from the true and living God. Redemption changes our heart so that our wanters begin to want to do that which is true, good, and wise. We still do what we desire, but those desires now want to live for God’s glory and not our own.

What’s interesting from the above verses is that the Lord does what he desires; he never does contrary. I wanted to say that he does what he desires to do just like us. But it is better to say that the reason we do what we desire is because we are created in the image of the one who does what he desires. Our great God does whatever pleases him in heaven and on earth. 

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Whirling An Argument At God

  • Read Job 22–23

In chapter 23 verse 4, Job says that he wants to lay his case before God, and would fill his mouth with arguments. Below is the Hebrew definition of the word “argument” :

tôḵaḥaṯ: A feminine noun meaning a rebuke, a correction, a reproof, an argument. The primary thrust of this word is that of correcting some wrong.

It appears Job is under the assumption that he has been wronged by God. He attributes all of his suffering to the Lord and gives no thought that there could be another source who could bring such affliction. That being the case, he desires to stand in God’s courtroom and argue his case of innocence at the bar; bold indeed. At the end of the book, God gives Job the opportunity to present his case. Job does not however take up the task, and instead places his hand upon his mouth in repentance and shame.

How many times have you felt that you deserved better circumstances than you were receiving? Maybe your home life is a wreck with a distant husband and rebellious kids. Maybe you are not appreciated at work the way you think you should be. Maybe your parents are harsh, and seem to have no idea what it’s like to live as a teenager. Maybe, just maybe, God would alter your circumstances if you had an opportunity to argue your case before him. Should you give it a whirl?

Confessing Sin And Fearing God; The Ways To Receive Compassion

Memory Verse: Lamentations 3:31–33: Day 2

“The Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not afflict from his heart or grieve the children of men.” –Lamentations 3:31–33

God has absolute sovereign freedom to bestow compassion on those he chooses. He does however promise to show compassion on at least two groups of people; those who confess and forsake their sin, and those who fear him.

He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭28‬:‭13‬ NASB)

Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. (‭Psalms‬ ‭103‬:‭13‬ NASB)

If you have found that you are in a season of grief today, remember that our God has a abundance of steadfast love. He does not afflict from his heart, and declares that he will show compassion on those who confess, and forsake their sin, and on those who fear him. You may not be afflicted on account of those two things (like Job), but it is a great place to start receiving mercy. 

Being Cast Off The Knitting Needles During Affliction

Memory Verse: Lamentations 3:31–33: Day 1

“The Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not afflict from his heart or grieve the children of men.” –Lamentations 3:31–33

When we are in times of grief, it can feel like we have been cast off forever from the presence of the Lord. This verse in Lamentations shows that those feelings are not unwarranted. Jeremiah acknowledges that God is the one who has caused grief upon the people of Israel. This affliction is described by God himself as being cast off. The promise is that he will not cast off forever; but for a time the feelings of abandonment are true and justified.

My eldest daughter Ali used to knit quite often. I remember when she would end her column of stitches she would cast off the knitting needles. When she would do this the project was complete and done being worked upon. During times of grief, the Lord at times casts us off the knitting needles even though the project of our sanctification is far from complete. He does this, according to our text, because of the abundance of his steadfast love. He does not afflict his children because he enjoys it, but rather because it is necessary. 

Reasoning With A Bit Of Both

  • Read Job 21

Zophar tries to argue in Chapter 20 that the wicked do not prosper. He saw before his eyes that Job was not prospering, and so reasons that Job is wicked. Job picks up on this line of reasoning in Chapter 21 to try and show Zophar that the wicked do prosper sometimes in this life. In other words, Job’s intense suffering does not prove himself a wicked man, nor does a man’s prospering prove that he is righteous.

The lack of this line of reasoning is one of the reasons why presuppositional reasoning is so appealing. Neither man (Zophar or Job) start out their argument by saying, “the Bible shows in Jeremiah 12:1-2 that the wicked prosper at times, therefore it can not be true that prosperity proves a man to be righteous.” 

We have the incredible benefit of having the complete canon of Scripture. We have a standard that we can reason from. The Scripture is our presupposition. It is our source of truth. It is the ground by which we reason all things true or false. This is the difference between the Evidentialist and the Presuppositionalist.

We can’t get away from using both lines of reasoning, nor should we try. In our day to day lives we need a bit of both. But when we seek to prove something with the utmost of certainty, we have no better way than to deduce a conclusion from the propositions of Scripture. We have no other source on earth of truth.

“All (men/people) have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Scott is a man, therefore he has sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. The Bible teaches that Scott David is a sinner. This I know by presuppositional reasoning.

Reasoning From Effects To Causes

  • Read Job 20 as a family:

Zophar makes a final run at condemning Job as a wicked and unrighteous man. The words he says seem ultimately true in the judgement and eternal damnation of the wicked, but he is wrongly applying this to Job. In Zophar’s world, there is no mercy. It appears that he believes all blessings come through earning them from God. I could be wrong in this assessment, but he sure seems to have a works-based theology. 

Again I grieve for Job. He longs for someone, anyone to comfort him in his affliction. Yet none will come for many chapters.

It is good for us to reason from causes to effects. If we do wickedness, cursing will follow. But if we always reason back from effects to causes, we increase our chances to error like Zophar. Wicked behavior leads to cursing, but cursing does not prove wicked behavior; as in the case of Job. We must be cautious how quickly we throw stones of condemnation. 

Let’s practice a little:

John 15:7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (Jesus speaking)

If you abide in Jesus, and his words abide in you; then whatever you wish for will be yours. True. Let’s say the wickedest person you know wishes for a new job on Monday, then lands the perfect job on Tuesday; does this mean that he/she was abiding in Jesus? 

  • Answer:

Let’s say a Christian Pastor approaches his elder board and says he wants to ask God for 100 new members in the next year. He claims the promise of John 15:7. A year rolls by and the membership has actually decreased by 25 people. Does this mean that the Pastor was not abiding in Jesus, nor was ever reading the Bible? 

  • Answer:

Waiting For Deliverance

Memory Verse: Lamentations 3:24-26: Day 5

“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. –Lamentations 3:24-26

We typically think of the word salvation in the context of redemption or regeneration. The word in the Old Testament simply means deliverance, victory, or safety. It was often used of being delivered from an enemy in war. Jeremiah probably had in mind the deliverance of the nation of Israel from the trouble they were facing at the time of the writing. 

Whether we are waiting upon the Lord to be delivered from the hand of an enemy, from the hand of suffering, or to experience the saving deliverance from sin; we are to wait quietly upon our God who reigns supreme. This, according to the words of Jeremiah, is good!

Memory Verse: Lamentations 3:24-26: Day 4: Waiting Quietly For The Lord

Memory Verse: Lamentations 3:24-26: Day 4

“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. –Lamentations 3:24-26

Waiting Quietly For The Lord

We saw yesterday that the Lord is good to those who wait for the Lord. Today we grab the modifying word quietly to describe how it is that we are to wait. 

Waiting quietly is expressed in the Habakkuk’s cross-reference.

Habakkuk 2:19 Woe to him who says to a wooden thing, Awake; to a silent stone, Arise! Can this teach? Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in it. 

The same word quietly wait is translated silent in Habakkuk. The word is describing the way an idol made of stone waits. It seems quite obvious how an idol like this might wait; it just silently and simply does nothing!

This does not mean that our Christian pilgrimage is one of laying comatose on the living-room couch day and night. But it does help us to understand Solomon’s exhortation to us in Ecclesiastes:

Ecclesiastes 5:2 Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few.

The Lord is good to those who quietly wait for the Lord!

Memory Verse: Lamentations 3:24-26: Day 3

Memory Verse: Lamentations 3:24-26: Day 3

“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. –Lamentations 3:24-26

There are so many time we pray and seem to get no answer. We dwell in a society that demands instant results for everything. We also live with our own hearts that breed forth constant and near immediate impatience. But even Daniel in chapter 10 had to wait 21 days for the Lord to answer his prayer. How much longer should you and I be willing to wait.

We can infer from our memory verse this week that God likes when we wait patiently for him. It says that he is good to those who wait for him. While Daniel waited he ate no delicacies, nor any meat or wine. How often have you fasted for an extended period of time while you waited upon the Lord? He is good to those who wait for him. Let your soul echo this truth in the sanctuary of your mind.

Memory Verse: Lamentations 3:24-26: Day 2

“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. –Lamentations 3:24-26

Jesus says in Luke, “out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” The heart appears to be the same thing as the human soul. It is the voice which lives on the inside but has no material substance. It is the quiet voice which reasons, longs, hopes, and then pushes at the doors of the lips to make known it’s desires and wishes to the world around us. Our soul can either echo truth or lies in the halls of our body.

Since our soul is not the source of truth, it is imperative that it hears the truth, reads the truth, or see’s the truth. It’s job then is to proclaim the truth in the sanctuary of our body so that we will be changed and then walk in the truth.

Jeremiah possibly had the scroll of Psalms before him while he wrote his Lamentation. Maybe he even was reading Asaph in Psalm 73:26 which reads: “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

Our job is to immerse ourselves in the truth of God’s word. We then read a verse like Lamentations 3:24 and learn that God is my portion. We take this truth and let our soul echo it in the halls of our mind so that we might, like Jeremiah, have hope.