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30 May 2010

pleasing god

Here are three accounts from the Bible that show men making decisions which reflect their heart and their outlook on life:

First is David, after his son Absolom has crowned himself king and much of Israel supports him. Rather than put up a fight, David takes his advisors (and a contingent of foreign soldiers from Gath who want to follow him) and leaves Jerusalem in an effort to save lives, among other things.

Then the king instructed Zadok [a priest] to take the Ark of God back into the city. “If the Lord sees fit,” David said, “he will bring me back to see the Ark and the Tabernacle again. But if he is through with me, then let him do what seems best to him.” - 2 Samuel 15:25-26 (NLT)

Second is Job, after his sons and daughters have been killed in a catastrophe:

[Job] said,
“I came naked from my mother’s womb,
and I will be naked when I leave.
The Lord gave me what I had,
and the Lord has taken it away.
Praise the name of the Lord!
- Job 1:21 (NLT)

Third is Jesus, as He's about to begin the worst physical time of His life:

He went on a little farther and fell to the ground. He prayed that, if it were possible, the awful hour awaiting him might pass him by. “Abba, Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine. - Mark 14:35-36 (NLT)

Do you see a common theme?

God apparently saw something. Here's what was said about each of these men:

David: After removing Saul, [God] made David [Israel's] king. He testified concerning him: "I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do." - Acts 13:22 (NLT)

Job: Then the Lord asked Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil. And he has maintained his integrity, even though you urged me to harm him without cause.” - Job 2:3 (NLT)

Jesus: And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." - Matthew 3:17 (NLT)

I'm not suggesting that the only reason that God said this of His Son was because Jesus always resigned Himself to do His Father's will. I'm not going for a theological debate. I'm simply looking at some common threads in how each of these men (one more than simply a man) lived life, and the way God saw each of them. I'm also not suggesting that we can somehow purchase God's love by doing things. However, The Word clearly teaches that there is a direct connection between how how we live and how pleased God is with us (not how much He loves us).

If I truly want God to look at me and say, "I'm extremely pleased with Dean," then one of the things I can't miss is that I must resign myself to completely trust that God will lead me, and follow Him over each peak and through each valley, to not fight against every negative circumstance, but rather understand that He will bring about a purpose (or has already done so) in allowing me to go through it.

Incidentally, all of this certainly runs counter to prosperity theology, and I'm reminded of friend and commenter Preston's comment a couple of weeks ago where he referred to this eye-opening editorial-style cartoon:

I'm unfortunately unable to properly attribute this image. If you know its origin (other than being posted at a ton of other blogs), please let me know.

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