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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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It Was Included in God’s Plan

Sovereignty of GodLoraine Boettner D.D.:

If the perfection of the divine plan be denied, no consistent stopping place will be found short of atheism. In the first place there was no necessity that God should create at all. He acted with perfect freedom when He brought this world into existence. When He did choose to create, there were before Him an infinite number of possible plans. But as a matter of fact we find that He chose this particular one in which we now are. And since He knew perfectly every event of every kind which would be involved in this particular world-order, He very obviously predetermined every event which would happen when He chose this plan. His choice of the plan, or His making certain that the creation should be on this order, we call His foreordination or His predestination.

Even the sinful acts of men are included in this plan. They are foreseen, permitted, and have their exact place. They are controlled and overruled for the divine glory. The crucifixion of Christ, which is admittedly the worst crime in all human history, had, we are expressly told, its exact and necessary place in the plan (Acts 2:23; 4:28). This particular manner of redemption is not an expedient to which God was driven after being defeated and disappointed by the fall of man. Rather it is “according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord,” Ephesians 3:11.

Peter tells us that Christ as a sacrifice for sin was “foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world,” 1 Peter 1:20. Believers were “chosen in Him before the foundation of the world” (or from eternity), Ephesians 1:4. We are saved not by our own temporary works, “but according to His purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before times eternal,” 2 Timothy 1:9. And if the crucifixion of Christ, or His offering up Himself as a sacrifice for sin, was in the eternal plan, then plainly the fall of Adam and all other sins which made that sacrifice necessary were in the plan, no matter how undesirable a part of that plan they may have been.

History in all its details, even the most minute, is but the unfolding of the eternal purposes of God. His decrees are not successively formed as the emergency arises, but are all parts of one all-comprehending plan, and we should never think of Him suddenly evolving a plan or doing something which He had not thought of before. (The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination)

He Stands Alone

Jesus on the CrossA.T. Pierson:

Jesus stands absolutely alone in history; in teaching, in example, in character, an exception, a marvel, and He is Himself the evidence of Christianity.

His Strength is Sufficient!

And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat.” And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank and lay down again. And the angel of the LORD came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.” And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God. (1 Kings 19:4-8 ESV)

Have you had first-hand experience of hopelessness? Have you walked through the valley of despair? I think that most of us have during some time in our lives. Long ago there was a man who was so full of despair that he prayed, “It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” (1 Kings 19:4 ESV)

When you think of Elijah the prophet, you probably think of the man who could pray and stop the rain or start it; perhaps you think of the prophet who could call fire down from the sky to consume the king’s soldiers or an offering to God which had been drenched with water; perhaps you even think of the prophet who was carried to heaven by a whirlwind.

Yet, the distressed man calling out that anxious prayer in 1 Kings 19:4 is none other than Elijah. Basically, Elijah believes he has endured all he possibility can and he asks Elijah the Prophetthe LORD to take his life. He finds himself in the valley of despair and this is just one day after his great victory over the prophets of Baal. Instead of death, however, this becomes a teachable moment in the life of Elijah. 1 Kings 19:5-8 teaches us that God provides the strength we need in our weakest moments.

Isn’t this your way? You anxiously anticipate a crisis and begin doubting that you can handle it. However, when it is over you also wonder how you ever had the strength make it through that problem. But somehow, the strength was there. Whatever problem you may face in life, if God stands with you, His strength will be yours.

Think of Elijah, Moses, and other biblical characters; look at the cross and resurrection: God is there when we suffer. He heals our brokenness. God put the broken pieces back together for Elijah and God will do the same for you. As you live and journey with God, you will discover His strength is always sufficient when you are in need.

Samuel at Gilgal

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