Monday, September 8, 2014

An Active God

Sometimes, I'm tempted to believe that God doesn't much care about me or what happens in my life. Sure, I don't think he's out to get me, but I sometimes struggle to believe that he actually wants to bless me. I'm admitting to this in hopes that I'm not the only one. If you've been there, you know how disheartening that doubt can be. If God's not actually fighting for you, how will anything ever turn out?

Well, good news! God is active in the world, and he wants us to believe it. In fact, things won't go well for those who doubt his involvement in our daily lives. Think about it. If we don't expect consequences and rewards for how we behave, wouldn't it make sense to just do whatever seems like it'll make life more comfortable? Enter Zephaniah 12a-13b, where the text says, "I will punish the men who are complacent, those who say in their hearts, 'The Lord will not do good, nor will he do ill.' Their goods shall be plundered, and their houses laid waste." Yikes. Because I've totally thought that or, at least, the close cousin of that, which is, "The Lord might someday do something good in my life, but, then again, he might not decide to."

In Habakkuk 1:5, God says, "Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told." In Zephaniah 3:5, we're told that even in the middle of a wicked city, "The Lord within her is righteous; he does no injustice; every morning he shows forth his justice; each dawn he does not fail". Wow. God's not just active someday, in some situations, but Every. Morning. 

Psalm 119:68 assures us that God is good and does good and follows the thought directly with "teach me your statues," stressing the importance of obedience. In the case of Habakkuk and Zephaniah, God was about to bring judgement on his people because they hadn't been obedient. This is fulfilling the warnings in the second part of Deuteronomy 28. Though there's not a guarantee that the righteous will be spared all trouble (quite the opposite, in fact, if you consider John 16:33), they still have reason to hope and be faithful. The last few verses of Habakkuk are a beautiful illustration of how we need to trust God's goodness, even when times are hard (check out 3:16-19). Same goes for Micah 7 (look at verses 7 and 8). God's still active in the world when things are bad. As believers, he is our strength and our salvation in those times.

But! He's done much more than promise judgement. He's also promised blessing. I mentioned Deuteronomy 28. Verses 1-14 are amazing promises of blessing here on this earth for those who obey the Lord. Verse 6 says, "Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out." If God's going to bless us that often (I come and go from my house a few times a day, usually), there's no room for my doubts about God doing something good in my life as long as I stay faithful to him. I may go through hard times. I may even die in a hard time. But God is good and he does good, and those who follow him can expect that from him both in this life and in the next. He's not sitting idly by.

Your Sister

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