Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Truth: Ignorant Fools

Sometimes in life, I act like a fool.  I can be rude & ignorant, brutish, or just downright stupid.  And usually, that side of me comes out around my family.  Mostly because, at the end of the day, they are still going to love me.  Even at my worst, my family still loves me.  Unfortunately, I know that isn't the case for some.  That when you act like an ignorant fool, your family leaves you in the dust.  But I have an amazing truth to share with you:

No matter how completely stupid you may act in this life God will never leave you in the dust.  He will only hold you closer.  Even at your worst, He will still love you.

Psalm 73: 21-24
21 When my heart was embittered
And I was pierced within,
22 Then I was senseless and ignorant;
I was like a beast before You.
23 Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You have taken hold of my right hand.
24 With Your counsel You will guide me,
And afterward receive me to glory.

This Psalmist had been there.  He had completely been a fool before God.  He had looked around at the world and decided that it was completely unfair.  The unrighteous had so many great things going for them - money, power, food, and so much more.  They seemed so blessed compared to the righteous, to those that loved the Lord (sounds familiar doesn't it?).  And God saw his heart in those moments.  He was like a beast before the Lord.  The Hebrew for "senseless" is baa'ar meaning, "stupid, brutish, like cattle" (Strong's H1198).  

Yep, that's a cow...

I have been brutish before the Lord, as dumb as a cow...    I have come to Him in anger, demanding that he heal a loved one.  I have yelled at Him and told Him it wasn't fair.  But, nevertheless, He was continually with me.  He took hold of my hand and pulled me close.  I have been at my wits end, about to fall away, like the Psalmist, "He had all but lost his hold of God; but though his feet had almost gone astray, his hand had been grasped by God, and that strong hold had kept him from utterly falling (Expositor's Commentary).  After all, our safety in temptation and our victory over it is not from "our own wisdom, for we are foolish and ignorant, but [from] the gracious presence of God with us" (Henry).

I also believe that the Psalmist realized that God, as Romans 8:28 states, was using his temptations, his trials and tribulations, for good.  Take a look at the word pierced in verse 21.  The Psalmist's heart was angry and he was pierced within.  The Hebrew for pierced means "to sharpen" (Strong's H8150).  To sharpen something is to make it better, right?  I don't sharpen a knife to make it worse.  And I don't sharpen a knife that is already sharp.  I sharpen a knife so that it can be the best knife it is capable of being.  God sharpens us in much the same way.  He doesn't sharpen us to hurt us and He doesn't sharpen us when we don't need sharpening.  We are sharpened so that we can be the best children of God that we are capable of being.

Lastly, the Psalmist notes that with Your counsel You will guide me, And afterward receive me to glory.  Even though God uses tough times for good and even though He remains through all of our foolishness, there still remains a responsibility on our part.  We have a responsibility to follow the counsel the Lord has given.  And what is that counsel?  His word and His spirit.  His word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path (Psalm 119:05).  And ...we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit, who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God... (1 Corinthians 2:12).  God is offering us guidance every single day and we must utilize what we have been given, for "if we make God's glory the end we aim at, He will make our glory with Him the end we shall for ever be happy in" (Henry).

In conclusion, there are a few things to remember when we are tempted and tried - even when we are acting foolish and ignorant, God is holding our hand and working behind the scenes to bring about good from all the bad.  However, we are still responsible for following the guidance and counsel He has given us.  And if we do, we shall forever be with Him in glory.

Beautiful isn't it?

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