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“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Accepting our chastening from the Lord

“As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come.” (Prov. 26:2).

It’s words like these that have led many today to dispense with the Old Testament. God’s mercy apparently is not evident. “Therefore,” say they, “it must be that that old God must have changed from a
hate-monger into a God of love in the New Testament. Now everything is peace and love and joy in believing.” Nothing could be further from the truth or contradict the Lord’s plainest statements. “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” (Heb. 13:8). “For I am the Lord, I change not.” (Mal. 3:6). “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” (Jn. 8:58).

“Concerning Thy testimonies, I have known of old that Thou hast founded them for ever.” (Ps. 119:152). “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” (2Tim. 2:19). “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Is. 8:20).

So the words of Solomon are reputable. The curse causeless shall not come. In other words, they won’t come without a cause; if anything terrible happens, I must search my heart for my part in the cause. I am culpable. I need to take the trouble to Jesus for His forgiveness and instruction.

If we cannot be humbled by the consequences of our sins, how else can God reach us? If we look the other way when we read Proverbs 26:2 and refuse to apply it to our desperate circumstances then God’s hands are tied and He cannot deliver us from the curses we bring upon ourselves.

Cancer? Diabetes? Horrendous troubles happening to our children, our marriage, our relations in the work place, a financial bottomless pit? A nation with a perilous national debt? Et cetera. If we will not allow these to persuade us of our faultiness and great need of renewed consecration and obedience to God and His Law, then the problems will continue and compound. And if we will still persist in our stubbornness, then we will die in our sins.

This may be hard hitting but it is purely biblical and real life. Job was attacked by Satan. Without a cause? Yes, that is what Jesus said to Satan (Job 2:3), but is that what He said to Job? No. Would the word of God contradict itself on this issue, or ever? There was a cause, and if the sin-loving multitude would read the last 10 chapters of Job and not just the first two, they would see that though God called Job righteous, Job had a real character flaw, in need of a serious character adjustment. God will call all His children righteous when He is speaking to His enemies. This is what His justification is all about. But, let’s not think He won’t find need to reprimand us once Satan leaves and He has us alone with Him.

The Holy Spirit chastens me, convicts me; I sorrow for my particular sin, turn away from it; God accepts my repentance and flat forgives me, as if I had never committed that transgression of His law. He has justified Me and I am a new man, in the power of His love and forgiveness. This process happened repeatedly to David and He wrote about it.

“Blessed is He whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.
When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long.
For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.
I acknowledge my sin unto Thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.” (Ps. 32:1-5).

Did this make David infallible from that day forward? No, we have plenty of evidence to the contrary. Some of David’s big troubles manifested themselves following his anointing and after he had ruminated on sin. The longer he premeditated, the bigger those ideas blew up when he finally acted out the sin of his daydreams.

This happened to Job. He was a righteous man. He fed the poor, defended the oppressed, brought home the homeless, visited the sick, and preached the word. He did all these good things, but he knew it. He got stuck in the very common trap of looking at all His goodness, compared to everyone else. His eyes were only partially on his Lord. And this possibly went on for some time.

Thus began the competition over his soul between the spirit of evil and the Spirit of Christ. Satan made enough gains on Job that he could legally claim him. So he made good his advantage and boldly brought his case before the great Judge. Christ had to concede to Lucifer’s case over Job. There was no denying that Job had slowly departed from God by glorying in his good performance. This was being seen in the hearts and lives of his children and wife.

Job loved His Lord; this is what ranked him so high in God’s eyes. He was seeking God. He prayed for his beloved children and their salvation. But, apparently Job had become half-hearted, Laodicean. “Thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.”

And the Lord’s answer could have been, “Depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matt. 5:23). This is always a difficult thing for the God of love to tell His children and He always has tears in His voice. Nevertheless, the judgment must stand. It was time for Job to hear the truth.

Thus Satan is quieted; the Law of God stands, the sinner’s eyes are opened to his subconscious rebellion and need of a Saviour. But as we see from Job’s case, Satan becomes a pawn in the Lord’s hand to convict Job of his unknown offense and convert him. Other than trouble, nothing else in a nice way could the Holy Spirit use to get through to Job.

The Lord was wiser than Satan. The Lord could read the signals of love from Job’s heart to his Lord. Satan can’t detect these to their full extent. He judged Job wrongly which became evident after the torment Satan brought to Job. The Lord knew Job’s end from the beginning of his trial. In the end He had a humbled, healthy, happy, holy child of God. Without his tribulation, Job could not rear up a family correctly and lay their foundation in Christ.

“And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him:
For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth.
If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the Father chasteneth not?
But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness.
Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;
And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.” (Heb. 12:5-13).

“In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the Angel of His presence saved them: in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bare them, and carried them all the days of old.” (Is. 63:9).

“Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered; and being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him.” (Heb. 5:8,9).

“Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows: for the wicked shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off.” (Nah. 1:15).

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