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Monday, January 16, 2006

But What Does God Say?

While I can observe others and ponder what is going on in their minds based on what I see in their countenence and actions, I still KNOW nothing. God, on the other hand, not only sees what is on the inside, He also made them. He knows how He created the beings to be and can discern their innermost being. When we want to know about something, we should seek God's wisdom. (Thanks to Paster Bayly for pointing me back to the Bible when I would lean on my own understanding.)

I have already stated my opinion and erred my views. I thought about deleting that post, just because, well, who cares? In real life, though, you can't take back words, really. They have been said, written, posted. So they stand, and are about to be overshadowed by the Word of God. Gird up your loins, God has something to say about this:

Lets start here in Matthew 5.
Verse 14 "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.
16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."

This is very strange; it sounds as though the world will either willingly or unwillingly admire you if you faithfully shine, especially coming on the heels of what Jesus had just said:
in verses 11 "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
and 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

It might be helpful to see verses 14 through 16 in another place in Scripture. In I Peter 2:11&12, the idea is expanded just so subtly:
11 Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.
12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

Would that be the day when...

9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)

From the beginning of time, there has been this relationship between the children/followers of God and the enemies of God (which you once were...). Cain, in Genesis saw that Abel's acts were righteous, and hated him. Examples like this pepper the old testament narratives, this one is easy to find though, because it is so explicit.

The Psalms are full of statements of this relationship. Some of the most obvious follow:
13 You have made us a reproach to our neighbors,
the scorn and derision of those around us.

14 You have made us a byword among the nations;
the peoples shake their heads at us.

15 My disgrace is before me all day long,
and my face is covered with shame

16 at the taunts of those who reproach and revile me,
because of the enemy, who is bent on revenge.

17 All this happened to us,
though we had not forgotten you
or been false to your covenant. (Psalm 44)

6 You have made us a source of contention to our neighbors,
and our enemies mock us. (Psalm 80)

22 Remove from me scorn and contempt,
for I keep your statutes.

23 Though rulers sit together and slander me,
your servant will meditate on your decrees.

24 Your statutes are my delight;
they are my counselors. (Psalm 119)

At the same time, there are the wonderfully familiar words of Psalm 23 which give us hope in God for this life and beyond:
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

6 Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD

Then we have the words of Jesus:

21 "Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 22 All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 23 When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
24 "A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub, how much more the members of his household!" (Matthew 10)

12 "But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 13 This will result in your being witnesses to them. 14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17 All men will hate you because of me. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 By standing firm you will gain life." (Luke 21)

18 "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates me hates my Father as well. 24 If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. 25 But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: 'They hated me without reason.'" (John 15)

Actually, we could stop there, but then we have the words of the Apostles, inspired by the Holy Spirit of God:

11 This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother's were righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you. (I John 3)

...And the Word of God through the Prophets:

7 O LORD, you deceived me, and I was deceived;
you overpowered me and prevailed.
I am ridiculed all day long;
everyone mocks me.
8 Whenever I speak, I cry out
proclaiming violence and destruction.
So the word of the LORD has brought me
insult and reproach all day long.
9 But if I say, "I will not mention him
or speak any more in his name,"
his word is in my heart like a fire,
a fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary of holding it in;
indeed, I cannot.
10 I hear many whispering,
"Terror on every side!
Report him! Let's report him!"
All my friends
are waiting for me to slip, saying,
"Perhaps he will be deceived;
then we will prevail over him
and take our revenge on him."
11 But the LORD is with me like a mighty warrior;
so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail.
They will fail and be thoroughly disgraced;
their dishonor will never be forgotten. (Jeremiah 20)

I think that the overwhelming evidence of Scripture would indicate that any favorable vibes from the World toward Christians are either
*God's providence in the present world,
*the result of proclaiming "peace, peace" when there is no peace,
*the day has arrived when "every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God the Father."

But be comforted, brother, for
4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5 They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.

3 This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. (I John 5)

So, do they love you more than Him?


Trouble Berner said...

Thank you Rachel. You are always encouraing to me. I am truly thankful to God for placing you in my life.

Rachel Pierson said...

Dear Kim,

I make it a point to answer any one who graces my blog with a comment, but you have stumped me. In fact, I had been trying to comment one your blog, but the words of encouragement that I wanted to give you would not come to me.

Be a nerd for Jesus, rejoice in the discipline of your loving heavenly Father, and speak freely of Him in Love, rejoicing in the response.

Take from the hnd of your Father that which He has for you, knowing that He knows best.

Love in Christ,