Study from God’s Word… Psalms from the Remnant of Israel: Psalms 44, 74, 79, 80, 85, 89 … Passage for Reflection: Psalm 44: 20 – 22 … NIV 20 If we had forgotten the name of our God or spread out our hands to a foreign god, 21 would not God have discovered it, since He knows the secrets of the heart? 22 Yet for your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.
My Journal for Today: As Dr. LaGard Smith contends in his devotional for today from The Daily Bible Devotional, the question of why God allows bad things to happen to GOOD people is an age-old dilemma. And the Psalms I was led to read today from The Daily Bible in Chronological Order reflect the frustration and confusion of those in Israel, taken captive by Babylon, who perceived themselves as loyal believers of the one, true God, and were praying, in worship, to their God, in Whom they never lost faith.
Here were people who had remained true to the Old Covenant; and yet alongside their Hebrew brothers and sisters who had been disobedient and worshipped idols, they too had been swept up by the Babylonians and punished right along with the idolatrous and disobedient Hebrews whom God was allowing the Babylonians to act as His agent of punishment for their disobedience. So, what gives with that? If today, I live faithfully to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ; and my neighbor is a whore-mongering fool, why would I be allowed to have terminal cancer at a young age and he would live a healthy long life?
And that dilemma is one which believers in God and Christ will always have trouble answering for atheists who use such an argument against a belief in God. And Dr. Smith comes at the answer from one angle we should not forget; and his reasoning centers on our definition or perspective on the concept of “GOOD,” which I capitalized for emphasis in the focus question above.
When we think that we, the GOOD ones, are being punished unjustly, along side the BAD ones, are we really sure that we deserve the title “GOOD?” What about the contention of Isaiah in his pronouncement in Isaiah 53, “All we like sheep have gone astray.” Or the Apostle Paul, who wrote, in Romans 3: 23, “… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” So, really; are we as “GOOD” as we think ourselves to be when we claim that somehow we’re better than our mocking, disobedient, and godless neighbors, whom we perceive getting away with their sins.
My friends, we need to remember that the ultimate rectification and redemption for our all encompassing sin has been taken care of on Calvary; and for the remnant in Israel at the time of the Babylonian captivity, it was faith in the promise of their Messiah which would be their salvation as they, as faithful believers, being punished along side their disobedient fellow Jews. And for those of us sinners in these “PC” days (and I don’t mean “politically correct,” I mean “Post Christ”), it is our faith in the finished work of Jesus on the Cross which allows us to be redeemed and saved along side the faithful believers in the days of the Babylonian captivity.
So, when we read Isaiah pronouncing his truth about all of God’s sheep going astray in Isaiah 53: 6, we need to read on to the end of that passage, which reads, “… and the Lord has laid on Him (i.e., the Messiah) the iniquity of us all.” And we New Covenant believers, who see injustice in this world, should take heart – in our faith – in the truth of the classic passage of John 3: 16-17 [which I hope you know by heart, not needing for me to link you here].
Being “good” does not take away my “bad,” it only allows me to hide – in my faith – behind the One Who died so that my “bad” can become His “GOOD.”
My Prayer for Today: Lord, YOU are the answer for my “bad!” My faith in You allows me to pursue Your GOOD to the glory of The Father. Amen