Vol. 8-09 – 02-26-2023 – God Permits/Judges
Like Rough Sandpaper
And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the Lord, Micaiah the son of Imlah, but I hate him, for he never prophesies good concerning me, but evil.” –1 Kings 22:8
Some people imagine God as a warm fuzzy teddy bear and expect His prophets to reflect that same picture. And some people search out the Scriptures to find what they like to read or apply to their lives.
Some people. Well, maybe more than some.
There are times that it feels like rough sandpaper when God shapes our spiritual lives. We attempt to get God to handle our illnesses, tears, pain, crises, and more in just the way we want. We treat Him as our bellboy (I’ve heard that or read that before).
When we go to church “to worship” we can get messages about sin (we expect the whole of each message to be uplifting). We expect to have smiles on our faces as we exit the service, but there is that little invitation thingy. “If you have questions regarding the morning message, or want to pray, or speak regarding your spiritual needs, our elders will be at the front to help you. You are welcome to come.” We expect the preacher not to speak anything that sounds negative (particularly to our ears).
This is not a new thing; a king revealed his feelings circa 850 B.C. He did not want to hear what the prophet had to say, because he would be drawn out, and expose things about himself he wanted no one else to know. He made poor choices.
The choices we make are like windows into our character. Our hearts. Our minds. Our souls. We too often are focused on who benefits from our choices. The central concern is us.
Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, and Ahab, king of Israel had this little conference to determine how to go to war with the Syrians and take back Ramoth Gilead. Jehoshaphat was the godly king and suggested it would be good to seek counsel from the Lord. Novel idea!
The idea was to seek out a prophet of the Lord. Ahab indicated there was one, but he was not amenable to requesting him. That prophet knew too much about the king. (Re-read verse 8.) Jehoshaphat held his ground to summon Miciah. Ahab, in a backdoor, plot, sent a messenger that would protect him.
And the messenger who went to summon Micaiah said to him, “Behold, the words of the prophets with one accord are favorable to the king. Let your word be like the word of one of them and speak favorably. –1 Kings 22:13
Ahab pretended to seek counsel from the Lord. He pretended to listen to Micaiah. He pretended to listen to Jehoshaphat. He pretended.
He pretended to be someone else. What was the cost to Ahab? He died. One cannot attempt to manipulate God and just move through life. It does not work.
Do people pretend today? Pretend to seek after God, but do not. It does not work. And often, when the spiritual relationship is sullied, the restoration process uses coarse spiritual sandpaper to restore the child of God.
Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned 31 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jedidiah, the daughter of Adaiah of Bozkath. And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and walked in all the way of David his father, and he did not turn aside to the right or to the left. –2 Kings 22:1-2
Back in 1 Kings, there is a Scripture sequence of Elijah. You remember him. He was the one that battled the prophets of Baal (actually, it was God’s battle). He came down off the mountain with a victory under his belt. A mountain top experience.
Then Jezebel (King Ahab’s wife) ordered Elijah’s death. Elijah runs. We would never run. Would we? Notice some things about Elijah as he moves to escape:
- He does not pray, seeking God’s wisdom; instead, he stews in his troubles
- He does not ask what God wants him to do; he just thinks of himself
- He does not ask God to address his ministry enemy; he tries to ward off things himself
- He does not seek the wisdom of many; he broods and whines alone (without cheese!)
- He does not hear God; he is too busy mumbling about the moment
- He does not seek God; he wallows in loneliness and isolation
- He does not look to God for encouragement; he gave it his best shot and feels to be a failure
- He does not recognize God’s omniscience; he just sits, angry about life
- He does not press on with God; he has had enough, and it is easier to give up
- He does not look to God for life; he wants to die and get away from responsibility
It is time for some ultra-coarse spiritual sandpaper.
Do you think that God was pleased with Elijah? Substitute his name with yours, or the name of someone you mentor. When another crosses our path, what do they see? You are probably fairly- good at recognizing the problems in another person’s life. What do we look like in our mirrors of life? Do we need some touch-ups with that sandpaper?
Why does God permit us to get so off-track? Did you ever stop for a moment while you were reading the Scriptures and ask, “Why did God create that person?” Hezekiah had 15 years added to his life; Manasseh was born.
You do know how they publish lists of the brightest president, the worst president, the richest, the best-looking, etc.? Manasseh would be on the list of the worst in the history of the nation. Why did God permit him to be born? Who is the king’s son? Josiah.
Read those two verses above again. Josiah was 8 years old when he began to reign and reigned for 31 years. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord . . . he did not turn aside to the right or to the left.
No earthly king in the nation’s history turned to the Lord as Josiah did; there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul, and with all his might. –2 Kings 23:25
While God is not busy creating/causing evil, He patiently uses what man does to shape people to be what He always intended– (read Genesis 45:4-5; Jeremiah 29:11-14a; Romans 8:28; Ephesians 1:11).
As you read this blog, know that you have been created by our loving God who is full of mercy and grace. His desire is for every created person to come to Christ (2 Peter 3:9).
As He continues to shape us (yes, at times with ultra-coarse spiritual sandpaper, maybe even extra-course), He prepares us for servanthood and prepares us to enter into eternal life with Him. He requires a surrendering of our life to Him.
If there is something in your life that you are aware that God despises; it is an abomination to Him. He wants you to shed that thinking, speaking, and action of life. Take a moment in your quiet time to do some self-examination. Has God allowed difficulty, or even your missteps, to be used to shape or restore you?
God wants us to trust Him. He wants His character to flow through us to not only make a difference in our spiritual life but to bring that same truth into the life of one He allows to cross our path.
My prayer is that this will happen in your life.