(Part 15) Has God Intervened In The Affairs of Mankind And Changed The Course Of History? And If He Has, Then What Is the Basis For Him Deciding To Do So?
Life is not always accommodating to us. There are highs and there are lows.
However, God wants us to be occupied with him in no matter what state that we are in. He wants us to learn to be content in whatever state that we are in. Content doesn’t mean to sit on a chair and be quiet. It means to revolve in the mind God’s perspective concerning the situation.
The stories that we have looked at allow us to get a glimpse into someone’s life and the circumstances which befell them. They either chose to seek out God or go on in self-direction.
In self-direction we try to solve our problems without God’s help. In this case, the issue isn’t whether the problems get resolved or not.
Why is this not the issue, because the issue is for us to learn about God’s viewpoint that he wants us to reside in whether the problems get resolved or not? In many instances problems don’t get resolved. So either we learn to do things God’s way and become a witness of his spiritual qualities to others or we do things in our own power and perspective and reveal to others earthly viewpoint.
Learning and applying God’s viewpoint gives us inner victory no matter whether there is outward victory. This inner victory can be shared with other believers, helping them to address their problems with divine prescriptions.
Let’s continue to look at another story in which God intervenes in the affairs of mankind.
The Prophet Isaiah, The Southern Kingdom of Judah, and Assyria
Suggested Reading: Isaiah 30:1-33
Isaiah receives a word from the Lord concerning the Southern Kingdom of Judah. The Northern Kingdom of the 12 tribes of Israel have been invaded by the Assyrians and taken into captivity.
Assyria is now on a course to invade and capture the city of Jerusalem, which is located in Judah.
What should the leaders of Judah do?
In our own life there are times when we are aware of situations that are forthcoming that project to us a picture of financial ruin, of a tarnished reputation, of separation from our kids because a divorce settlement, etc.
How should we handle these situations?
Back in 1986 I was faced with a seemingly insurmountable situation. At this time I was hired by a church to manage a Christian Day School. I was also allowed to conduct a bible study in a fellow believer’s home. This particular believer needed some insight on a particular doctrinal topic and asked me if I would teach on it. I said that I would. As I studied for my presentation I realized that there were two ways in which this topic was viewed by the Christian Churches. I decided to teach on both views letting those know in attendance that the view that was contrary to the teachings of the church that I was involved in would be presented as an opinion.
When I arrived at the bible study the pastor of the church that I was attending showed up unexpectedly. I explained to everyone what the topic was that I would be speaking on and the two views that would be presented, one being that of an opinion. At the end of the study everyone seemed to be thankful for the teaching and we all went home. On the next day I was approached by the pastor. He was not happy that the topic was presented in the manner that it was. He decided to relieve me from continuing to teach the bible study.
The Christian Day School which was originally located on the church property had to be relocated to another location under the supervision of another church, because of financial constraints. The pastor approached me again a few days later and asked me and my family to leave the housing facility that was provided when the school was originally located on the church property.
So here I was, no longer being allowed to conduct a bible study to being asked to leave the church housing premises.
Could it get any worse?
The school year is coming to a close. I am praying to God on a daily basis for direction concerning housing. While I am working in the day school I received notification that the pastor of the different church, who is overseeing the Day School would like to see me. I stepped into his office and he explained to me that the financial arrangement that we had initially agreed to when I got hired had changed. He said that in order to be retained to teach in the school during the following year I would have to work over the summer for the church. I responded by saying that this was not part of my contract. Nonetheless, this was either a take it or leave it proposition. So I decided to leave it.
So here I am with no job awaiting me in September, no money in the bank, and the need to find housing. I prayed to God for money in order to be able to pay for my moving expenses, for a new job, and for a place to stay. I began to send out resumes to both private and public schools. One week before school openings, which is usually in September, I received a job offer from a school that was located on an island. I took the job, but still had no money. During that same week a check came in the mail. The money covered my moving expenses and more.
I have no animosity toward either of the pastors. I gave the various needs over to God, didn’t complain, and did my part by sending out resumes. God answered my prayer requests.
The rulers of Judah decide to formulate plans on their own without consulting God. Like children, they did not have the proper perspective to know what was best for them. They could have sought counsel from God by presenting their situation to one of his prophets. Furthermore, the high priest could have been consulted for direction by means of the Urim and Thummin, which were stones that conveyed direction from God. Instead they took to counsels that were held secretly and by stealth, by which they cunningly endeavored to deceive the prophets, and, as it were, to escape from the eyes of God.
1 Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin:
Think about this. They didn’t want God’s counsel!
They decided to send a caravan that was loaded with riches to give to Pharaoh of Egypt with the hope of persuading him to form an alliance against Assyria, which is contrary to God’s commands.
1 When the Lord thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;
2 And when the Lord thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them:
3 Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.
4 For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.
How many Christians make decisions without consulting God that are contrary to His word?
Why do we do this?
It could be many reasons: maybe we are no longer attending church; maybe the church we are attending is not providing a scriptural perspective on how to address various situations; and maybe we are being instructed properly, but are choosing to make decisions in our own way.
Egypt decides to “sit still”, to do nothing and not to enter into an alliance with Judah.
7 For the Egyptians shall help in vain, and to no purpose: therefore have I cried concerning this, Their strength is to sit still.
God tells Isaiah to write down the words that he will convey to him on a tablet, and record it on parchment as a memorial for posterity;
that the people are rebellious. They are those that cannot submit to be restrained by doctrine.
While they were aware of the adverse events which were approaching, they didn’t want to hear truth in all its plainness. They preferred the false prophets, who would speak unto them pleasant things, such as treating their vices with forbearance and encouragement. When this course is pursued one does not desire to be troubled with God’s name and laws.
9 That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord:
10 Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:
11 Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.
The rulers despised God’s word and trusted in oppression (oppressive measures employed to obtain the rich gifts which had to be sent into Egypt) and perverseness (deceit - which Egypt would practice on them by taking their property), that will result in judgment from Yahweh.
Isaiah 30:12 Wherefore thus saith the Holy One of Israel, Because ye despise this word, and trust in oppression and perverseness, and stay thereon:
God provides for them a divine remedy for their troubled mental state. Abandon the course that you have been pursuing and wait for my assistance. By means of quietness (a quiet disposition; not to murmur, or be troubled or perplexed, or to distrust his promises) and in confidence (trusting in Him) you shall be safe.
15 For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.
God will wait on his people with the hope that in the midst of their miseries, they will return to him and nourish their souls by his word. Those who formerly murmured against the prophets, and could not endure their warnings, would be obedient and submissive.
(from Calvin's Commentaries, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2005-2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
For the people will return from captivity, and when they do they will listen to the true guides (prophets and priests). They will be conscious of God’s leading, not being left without a guide and instructor.
18 And therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the Lord is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him.
The judgments which God allows to be brought upon them will hopefully cause them to turn from idolatry. Then and only then will they be allowed to cultivate the soil without molestation, and God will give you fruitful seasons and abundant harvests. Their livestock will eat of a mixture of various substances-as of grain, beans, vetches, herbs, hay, and probably salt, which, when mixed, "would" ferment, and which was regarded as nutritious and wholesome for cattle. There will be rivers and channels of water for irrigation. Israel’s enemy, Assyria, will be destroyed by means of an unseen divine agency. The light of the moon and sun will be as the light of seven days concentrated into one.
Judah will have a song in the night (a song of rejoicing) at the destruction of the Assyrian army.
29 Ye shall have a song, as in the night when a holy solemnity is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one goeth with a pipe to come into the mountain of the Lord, to the mighty One of Israel.
Just like Judah, God will allow things to happen in our life in order to test our faith. Hopefully, we will follow him according to his guidance and direction. If not, God will allow these calamities to impact us so that we will eventually turn to him and stop trying to do things in our own way.
Doing things in our own way causes us to be remindful of our problems and our inability to find an answer in addressing them.
Going to God and finding out how he wants us to respond to our problems will allow us to live in his victory in the midst of impending danger.
If we don’t go to God, then those who are in our periphery that are looking on will become aware that in the midst of our woes we have chosen to abandon God’s counsel and follow our own. This allows them to see that the God which we profess is not the one that we go to
when times get tough.
How about you?
Is there impending calamity in your life?
God wants to address it by giving you his counsel for you to appropriate and abide in.
So, abandon the course that you have been pursuing and wait for his assistance. By means of quietness (a quiet disposition; not to murmur, or be troubled or perplexed, or to distrust his promises) and in confidence (trusting in Him) on our part God will respond to the situation at hand with his means of defeating our foe.
And remember the word in Lk 1:37: For with God nothing shall be impossible.
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Block Island, RI 02807