“I thought that for me he would surely come out… 2 Kings 5:1-19 Sometimes our arrogance gets in the way of the blessings God has for us. Don’t make things more complicated than they need to be! The graciousness of God’s grace does not require that we be someone of exaggerated importance, only that we are willing to seek His voice, trust his will and humbly walk in His way. Then we will receive all that he has already intended us to have.
“…if the prophet had commanded you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? How much more, when all he said to you was, ‘Wash and be clean’?” 2 Kings 5:1-19
You have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance… 1 Kings 17:1-24 The widow had done everything the man of God (Elijah) asked her to do. For this her son dies? What at first thought to be a blessing (the presence of God), now appears to be lost hope. As a widow, the son represents life. Her hope being that in his maturity, he would care for her in her old age. Certainly now her obedience would not be diminished! Like so many things in life what happened to the widow happens to all of us. We blame our selves for situations beyond our control. Yet, the challenge put before God I believe can only come from our confidence in knowing who God is. Elijah knew what to do. Perhaps in part, the reason God sent him there; specifically to the widow in the first place. God has no desire to conjure up past sins but rather to redeem and reconcile those who in obedience, call upon his name. As surely as he restored the life of the widow through the life of the son, we too shall be restored.
Remember your word to your servant; because you have given me hope. This is my comfort in trouble, that your promise gives me life Psalm 119:49-72
“Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain…” Ruth 1:19-2:13 One of my most favorable times as a child was when I attended kindergarten at “Just Five Folks,” and we took a trip to a recording studio and made a record! It was years later during a conversation with my mother about those days that she told me that she did “days work” in order for my sister and I to attend, she had traded cleaning services for our tuition. Of course this is one of the many things my mother did in her short lifetime in order that I might have those favorable memories. This past week, it was the readings in the Book of Ruth that brought this and other memories to mind which helped me to further understand waste, gleaning, obedience and abundance. We have a tendency to either over or underestimate a lot of things like time, money, and food to name a few. In some respects this can become a resource for others. For example my mother needed us to be in kindergarten because she was still in college. The woman who ran this private kindergarten needed someone to clean her home because she apparently didn’t have time (or desire) to do it herself. In any event I benefitted from my mother’s willingness to “glean” as a result of this woman’s over or perhaps underestimation of her time. We must not forget that abundance in life is not necessarily measured by money alone. Education was very important to my mother. She would go on to receive a second degree and we her three children would achieve 8 degrees between us. Perhaps today we may find ourselves gleaning, but we must remember that Ruth’s journey was “ordained” by God. Spiritually, nothing is ever wasted according to God’s hand.
So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When they came together, the LORD made her conceive, and she bore a son…. They named him Obed; he became the father of Jesse, the father of David. Ruth 4:1-17
And when he was twelve years old…the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. After three days they found him in the temple… Luke 2:41-52 I’ve known several people who have consciously felt called in to the presence of the divine at very early ages. Why some and not others – who knows? What’s important is getting to the point of understanding that divine spirit does exist. Divine presence leads to truth about who we really are and to whom we really belong. Up until that point however we often go through struggles concerning obedience. To whom do we listen and follow? This passage however brings up a question for me to which I wrestle with its implications. At the age of 12 does Jesus dishonor his parents by not remaining with them or was he honoring God by remaining in the Temple?
I once had a five year old child tell me one day in Sunday School class that he did not like being compared to a sheep because sheep were stupid animals and he wasn’t stupid. No doubt this kid was beyond his years but I can’t help wondering if the Pharisees felt this way about Jesus’ sheep metaphors. One thing is for certain, the sheep were at least smart enough to know when they were being called by the Good Shepherd. Perhaps sheep aren’t the brightest of animals, but if we can achieve half as much wisdom to know the Savior’s voice when he calls us, we can all be just as smart. I believe if we can learn to always hear God’s voice, the following will get easier; perhaps as easily as sheep.
John 10: 19-30 Jesus answered, ‘I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me.
Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want
The suffering we face today began with disobedience. Thus, taking responsibility is after the fact. Therefore, what is more important for us today is first discerning the will of God. Because if we can discern the will of God and through baptism, make the decision to follow God, it stands to reason that we will make decisions that glorify God. Yet even today we don’t always make the right decision and furthermore make excuses for the wrong decisions that we make. Discernment is more involved than just understanding difference. It involves actively using our senses in relationship with how we experience God. It is important that we understand not only our relationship with God but also, God’s relationship with us. Paul, in his letter to the Hebrews reminds us of this relationship, for a little while made lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honor. Because of this we have an obligation to pay greater attention to who we are as God created us. Although it was a decision of disobedience by the first human beings that brought the suffering we face to this day, God in history has continued to deliver his people through obedience. If we suffer for choosing to do the right thing and go the way of the Lord, that being obedience to God’s will, then let it be so. For not only is history on our side, through Christ we know that our salvation is perfect through suffering. Who then can be against us? Who then will dare to ask who we are? Our discernment and decisions we choose will make it clear.
Disobedience and Excuses; God’s Relationship With Us; Who are you?