Saturday, February 21, 2015

When I Can't Be Trusted

"God, you can't trust me." I heard the words before I thought them.

In that morning's Bible reading, Jeremiah told Israel to serve and obey Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon. The ruler of the known world. The man who ate children (almost). Really?

Jeremiah 27 gives the command six times. Then, in the next chapter God says, "I have put a yoke of iron on the neck of all these nations, that they may serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and they will serve him. And I have also given him the beasts of the field” (Jeremiah 28:14).

But Nebuchadnezzar was a bad guy. Bad. True. God told His people to obey Him. Serve Him. Actually settle in and make Babylon a better place. Read it for yourself if you don't believe me (Jeremiah 29:4-10).

And I guess that's the encouragement. God uses wicked, evil men. He will accomplish His purpose even in His anger (Jeremiah 23:20; 30:24).

You and I make choices and God uses them. Nebuchadnezzar conquered his known world, created a city of wonder and hanging gardens that continue to amaze the world. And God used Him. That guy.

Is God sovereign? Does He have complete control? Yes. Is man free to choose and is he responsible for His choices? Yes. Both? How? I don't know. But Nebuchadnezzar is a great example.

So this is the take-away: If God used Nebuchadnezzar, He can use me. I can't trust my own heart (Jeremiah 17:9), but God is greater than my heart. And sometimes God will require me to obey the bad guy--not do bad things, but live in an uncomfortable situation I don't like in a place I don't want to be under the authority of someone who doesn't deserve it. That's okay. I'm not trusting that individual with my life, I'm trusting God. I'm not going to be there forever, just until God says, "Enough." My job is not to save the world, but to become more like Jesus in my own little orbit. And even that's too big for me (without His help).

So what are you doing? Keep doing it. How is God working? Keep your eyes open. He uses each of us with our unique personalities, gifts, influence, geographical placement--all of it--because He's really that big. And He has a plan. The choice is yours: His way or your way.

"Only, as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each, in this manner let him walk. And so I direct in all the churches. Was any man called when he was already circumcised? He is not to become uncircumcised. Has anyone been called in uncircumcision? He is not to be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God. Each man must remain in that condition in which he was called.

"Were you called while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that. For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord’s freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ’s slave. You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. Brethren, each one is to remain with God in that condition in which he was called." 
1 Corinthians 7:17-24

"Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things.  Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.

"This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us." 1 John 3:18-24

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