Not What You’d Expect - 5.5.2024 Bulletin

Not What You’d Expect

The Bible is replete with examples of God interacting with humans and making promises of actions He will or will not do.  Indeed, one would expect to find God's Word showing how He sees to His creation.  Many times however God's plans have gone much differently than what we would have expected as humans. 

One of the earliest examples is of course Abraham, Sarah and Hagar.  God promised a child to Abraham, but as we know, Abraham thought he needed to help God out in the process.  God always intended for the child of promise to come from Abraham and Sarah despite their age; in fact, this would be one way for God to show His power, and that nothing is impossible for Him to accomplish. While He blessed Ishmael and his descendants are among us to this very day, that was not God's design for bringing forth the Messiah.

Think about David and Goliath.  Nobody would expect a young shepherd boy would prove to be a Warrior of God, not even his brothers or his king.  Yet God preserved David in this battle and delivered Goliath the giant into his hand.  To this day David and Goliath is one of the best-known stories from the Bible.  Even atheists know this story, and it has become an idiom that people may use in their everyday life.  If you said, "I'm off to fight my Goliath", even the people who never darken the doors of a church building are going to know what you mean.

A common statement that people will make is "I don't know why God did that" or "Why didn't God do this?".  And of course, "If I was God, I'd...."

This is an understandable statement, and I think if we are honest, we'll find we've all said or thought such things ourselves.  Yet we must remember Isaiah 55:9. We are but mortal humans with a finite understanding of the world.   Even our greatest minds and philosophers are operating with only a tiny part of the whole grand scheme of God's universe. Why didn't God just send Satan straight to Hell after his rebellion?  Why didn't Jesus come forth immediately after Genesis 3:15 to solve sin?  And why does God allow evil, pain and suffering to exist in the world today? 

While we can glean insight from diligent study and we should give every effort to this, we are mortal humans.  It is beyond our ken to fully understand God and His ways in our mortal life.  But He has given us enough to know we can safely trust His promises and His methods.  Truly ours is not to question, but rather, as one of our hymn’s states, to "Trust and Obey."  God is in complete control, and He always sees His will accomplished.  There is no reason for us to doubt that this will continue even to the present day.  We are humans with the same nature as all the characters we read of in the Bible after all.

Of course, it's natural that we humans want to have the full story and to understand why God works the way He does.  Each of us are the main character of our own story, are we not?  Yet we should consider the story of Job.  His friends held the belief that if you do good, you'll always be blessed, and if you are suffering, it must mean you have committed a sin.  However, the book of Job quite clearly rejects this belief.  Sometimes evil people prosper, and good people suffer, contrary to what you'd expect.  Yet in this and in all other matters, God's ways are higher than our ways.

That brings us to today.  God is still active in the world and in our lives today.  As it relates to our lives, James 4:13-15 shows us how to manage our expectations.  Of course, this verse does not mean you never plan for the future or set goals.  But it does mean that we do not know what will come, or what God may have in mind for us.  Thus, we should be mindful of our expectations and ensure to keep them in line with God's plan for our lives, which He will bring to pass.  His ways are higher than our own even in our enlightened year of 2024, and He sees the whole picture from start to finish. 


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