Weekly Wisdoms for the week of August 29, 2005
Exodus 14 records the story of how the Hebrews escaped from bondage and slavery in Egypt. On their way out of Egypt, they camped in the desert near the Red Sea. They thought God was leading them out of Egypt. However, Pharaoh led the Egyptian army to where the Israelites were, and he trapped them against the sea. The Israelites must have felt betrayed by God, for it looked as though he didn't follow through on his plan to lead the Israelites out of captivity in Egypt. But God was faithful to his word -- he didn't let his people down. He led them through the Red Sea and delivered on his promises.
You have probably faced times when you thought that you could never do something, never complete a particular task, or never make it to the finish. However, if God has promised you something, then you can be confident that God will get you through the difficult times in order to bring about his promise.
This is true in Joseph's life. God took him through years of pain and suffering for an ultimate benefit; Joseph realizes this and, in Genesis 50:20, says, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." God had a bigger plan for Joseph's life, and God didn't let him down. God led Joseph through his struggles.
This principle is also true in your life. Even though you may be going through extremely painful times, do not fear for God will get you through the hard times you face (see Psalm 23:4). If God took you to it, He'll get you through it.
At its heart, the Gospel is the story of a God who so deeply loves you and me that he was willing to humble himself, to suffer, and to pay the ultimate price just so that we could personally know him. We were powerless; there was nothing we could do to know God. Yet, he loved us so much that he gave us an opportunity to know him.
Romans 5:6-8 gets at the heart of how deeply God loves us: You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
We didn't earn or deserve God's love (we were still powerless and we were still sinners). However, God loved us anyway, because God is love (1 John 4:8) -- that is, his nature is love. God can't help but to love us, because that's what he is.
In Ephesians 2:4-5, Paul writes about the nature of God's love for us: Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions -- it is by grace you have been saved.
Nothing you do can cause you to earn or deserve God's love. You can't earn God's love, but he loves you anyway -- that's why it's called grace. God loves you, because he is love not because you have earned his love.
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