Tuesday, February 12, 2013

February 12, 2013 … Me Versus God – Who wins?

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2013 - Day 43

Passage of the Day: Jonah 2: 8 {underlined in the context of Jonah 2: 7-10} [NLT] …  
7 “When I had lost all hope, I turned my thoughts once more to the LORD. And my earnest prayer went out to you in your holy Temple. 8 Those who worship false gods turn their backs on all God’s mercies. 9 But I will offer sacrifices to you with songs of praise, and I will fulfill all my vows. For my salvation comes from the LORD alone.” 10 Then the LORD ordered the fish to spit up Jonah on the beach, and it did.  

Contextual Study of today’s passage: Jonah, Chapter 2 [NLT] … Go to this link … 

Reference Passage #1: Ecclesiastes, Chapters 1-2 [NKJV] … Use this link … 

Reference Passage #2: Proverbs 3: 34-35 : [NLT] … {Oh how easy it is to forget this truth in our humanity!} … 34 The LORD mocks at mockers, but He shows favor to the humble. 35 The wise inherit honor, but fools are put to shame! 

Reference Passage #3: Hebrews 5: 8 [in the context of verses 7-8] : [NLT] … {If even Jesus had to learn this lesson in His humanity, no wonder it’s a tough lesson for us to learn.} … 
7 While Jesus was here on earth, He offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the One who could deliver Him out of death. And God heard His prayers because of His reverence for God. 8 So even though Jesus was God’s Son, He learned obedience from the things he suffered. 

My Journal for Today: Yesterday, if you go to my journal blog at this link - http://elderberry.blogspot.com/2013/02/february-11-2013-being-fool.html - you’ll see that I wrote of “being the fool,” explaining that the Hebrew language had specific descriptive words for various kinds of foolishness in human decision-making. And one of those was the fool who just wouldn’t listen to God, totally rejecting His will and His ways and pursuing self-directed desires. Jonah was such a fool, at least for some of his life; and when you read Jonah’s journal in the Bible book by his name, you see where rebellion against God’s took him … right into the belly of a big fish.

Even Solomon, given all the wisdom that a man could be given by God, when he wrote the Book of Ecclesiastes, came to the conclusion – after years of living life in pursuits of selfishness, idolatry, and vanity – that pursing self over Savior in life was pointless and purposeless. Both of these men came to recognize the truth which Jonah wrote in today’s highlight passage from Jonah 2: 8 that those who pursue anything other than God and His will (i.e., those who pursue idols) will end up forfeiting God’s grace and His mercies. …And my friend, that’s a big price to pay for pride, wouldn’t you say?!

And the real shocker on this lesson [see it in also written by Solomon in God’s word in Prov. 3: 34] is that even Jesus, in His humanity had to learn God’s lesson of humility as we read in Hebrews 5: 8. Now, Jesus, of course, didn’t have to go the way of Jonah or Solomon, in prideful, rebellious living to learn the lesson of Jonah 2: 8; but in 30 years of God’s preparing his Son for the Lord’s earthly ministry, God, the Father taught His son through the challenges of life Jesus faced, to always look to the Father for guidance. And Jesus did; and from His life and suffering, we can be assured that this lesson is a hard lesson to learn; and from the lives of Jonah and Solomon and yes, even Jesus, we can expect that suffering is most often the way that God gets our attention so that we can learn that obedience in pursuing God’s way is much more productive … and much less painful … than pursuing our own way over God’s.

Pursuing selfish ways over God’s ways is JUST PLAIN FOOLISHNESS; and we all, too often, have to learn the lesson of Jesus’ command of Luke 9: 23 (oh, how I hope you know that one by heart) through the lesson of self-inflicted pain rather than just following God’s will on the front end and receiving His enabling grace.

So, … as we read these truths today; are we going to just believe God’s word and obediently follow God’s will, … OR … will we have to be thrown into the belly of some “whale-of-a-trial” to learn that pursuing vane pleasures or self-directed purpose will be painful?

Our choice!!

My Prayer for Today … Lord, I do choose Your way; but if I somehow choose mine, I do want Your lesson in humility; … but please have mercy on this old fool. … Amen

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