Come let us reason together

Devotional thoughts for September 2021

(Click here to read Monday Musings ... where I discuss the thinking that led to this article.)

“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land; But if you refuse and rebel, You shall be devoured by the sword”; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” (Isaiah 1:18–20, NKJV)

No one should be trusted to interpret the Bible reasonably until he or she has been proven in reasoning. This is different than being saved, however — which although involves reasoning — is more about submitting… about releasing yourself to the Father’s drawing (John 6:44) … about releasing yourself to the Holy Spirit… about being born again (John 3:3).

But once you are a child of God, there are many choices ahead of you… choices that may determine whether you “eat the good food of the land” … or whether you get “devoured by the sword.” The Lord calls us to reason with him about such things… and unless you are getting continual “words from God,” you’ll find his reasoning in the Bible.

I don’t want you to get the wrong idea, though. God is not reducible to an algorithm… like if do this, God will do that. Prosperity preachers leverage that idea by saying, if you have enough faith, God will make you rich. On a good day, that’s hooey. On most days that’s charlatanism.

But let’s not go too far the other way. God teaches that algorithm in his word. He is not shy about setting up contingencies. He says that he will use cause-and-effect to both reward and punish. But the thing that goes over most people’s heads is that he does this over lifetimes.

So, although God promises to — and is seen to — respond positively to positive spiritual behavior and negatively to evil behavior, he does so “in the main” — and that’s what trips people up. “In the main” is not instantaneously. It may take the better part of a person’s life for him to see how the “downs” contributed to the overall good. Impatience is the hallmark of immaturity. It has launched many a bad decision. But most importantly, it is the enemy of peace.

In the book of Acts, the leaders of the Jews were so upset with the progress of “The Way” that they plotted to kill the Apostle Paul. They failed, of course… but this was still a “down” on the scale of ups-and-downs. But this “down” caused Paul to be sent to Felix… where he testified to anyone in earshot about Jesus Christ. Here’s where patience comes in.

We read about Paul’s detention in a single second, but it represents two years of his life! “When two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, but because Felix wanted to grant a favor to the Jews, he left Paul in prison.” (Acts 24:27, NIV).

Now, spiritually obtuse people put Paul in jail. But consider the opportunities. How many in that place came to believe in Jesus Christ in those two years? We won’t know for sure until heaven.

 

(Mainsail Ministries articles often have a preamble where I discuss the thinking that went into them. These are called Monday Musings — and if you haven’t read the one associated with this article — consider doing so at the following link: 20210830 God wants us to reason with him ).

(For comments, or to join the Monday Musings mailing list, contact us at mainsailep@gmail.com)