Tuesday, August 01, 2006

In "Other" Words

"There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, 'All right, then, have it your way.'" ~ C.S. Lewis ~

This week's quote reminded me immediately of a passage from Psalm 106, telling of the rebellion of God's chosen people during time of wandering in the desert:
13 They soon forgot His works;
They did not wait for His counsel,
14 But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness,
And tested God in the desert.
15 And He gave them their request, But sent leanness into their soul.
He gave them their request, but sent leanness into their soul. How many times in my own life have I clamored for something less that God's best and received it from His Hand along with leanness in my soul? More times than I care to admit.

And yet, while Psalm 106 deals with the stubborn, wayward travelers in the desert, note how it begins:
1 Praise the LORD!

Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.

2 Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD?
Who can declare all His praise?
3 Blessed are those who keep justice,
And he who does righteousness at all times!

4 Remember me, O LORD, with the favor You have toward Your people.
Oh, visit me with Your salvation,
5 That I may see the benefit of Your chosen ones,
That I may rejoice in the gladness of Your nation,
That I may glory with Your inheritance.
The Psalmist, as he reflects upon the waywardness of the children of God, begins this Psalm with praise to God for the favor He has shown His people! Tucked within the litany of Israel's rebellion and God's judgment are two verses that begin "Nevertheless. . ."
106:8 Nevertheless He saved them for His name’s sake,
That He might make His mighty power known.
106:44 Nevertheless He regarded their affliction,
When He heard their cry;
45 And for their sake He remembered His covenant,
And relented according to the multitude of His mercies.
46 He also made them to be pitied
By all those who carried them away captive.
During the times in which God has sent "leanness into our soul" it is good to reflect upon the "nevertheless's". For His Name's Sake and for our sake, He remembers His covenant and relents according to the multitude of His mercies.

From our perspective it seems that we get our way from time to time. And yet we know that all ways are God's ways and that all that He is working out in our lives, even through our rebellion and through our chastisement, is according to His perfect will, to the praise of His glory:

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

Other "In Other Words" essays can be found here.

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