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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
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His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
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[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
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Thursday, November 05, 2009
Ten Minute Thought...
I have set aside fifteen minutes this morning to blog. Not much, but I am a fairly fast typist.

Christian, have you ever consider God's faithfulness in the light of Jacob's faithlessness? Because this is a brief post, I will leave you to scour Genesis for the exact references yourselves, but consider that God chose to bless Jacob before Jacob was born. The covenant of Abraham and Isaac would pass to Jacob, the younger twin, and not to Esau. It was decided before Jacob and Esau had ever done anything, whether good or evil.

We know that scripture says, at a time before these twins were born, "Jacob I have loved, and Esau I have hated." and much is made of this in circles that discuss election and predestination, because clearly, Jacob was chosen by God long before Jacob determined to "choose God"; and it is clear that Jacob's eventual choice was something that God had predestined to happen. But this post isn't about the obvious, though there are some who would contend that this is obvious; no, this post is about the life of Jacob as it pertains to the relationship between God choosing him, and his choosing God.

Recall that Jacob was not exactly a righteous man. He took advantage of his brother Esau to gain his brother's birthright, then later, he deceived his father to gain Esau's patriarchal blessing, you know, where Isaac intended to name Esau as the family heir, and declare that after Isaac's demise, Jacob should serve and respect Esau as he had previously served and respected his father? But Jacob stole that from Esau through deceit.

Later, when Esau comforted himself with the thought that he would murder Jacob as soon as Isaac died, Jacob decided that his only recourse was to flee.

Was this (Jacob) a man of faith at this point? Was God pursuing Jacob because Jacob was so stalwart and faithful? Jacob well well aware of the promises God had made to his fathers; that is, Jacob would have known already what God had ordained for him, but did Jacob allow God to bring these things to pass, or did he work to bring these things to pass in his own power? In his own power, surely. A man who trusts that God is working doesn't lie and cheat to get what God has promised him. When his deceits finally stirred Esau's murderous wrath, it wasn't to God that Jacob ran. He ran to his relatives, putting his hope in a clever escape rather than in God's promises.

Yet even as Jacob fled, God came to him in a vision, and renewed the promise made to Abraham, but Jacob's response was even then less than faithful - that is, it wasn't Jacob's faith motivating and moving him when he said, "--IF-- you do this, --THEN-- I will follow you.

It is pretty hard to miss who is pursuing whom. The question we ask is whether God was pursuing Jacob because of Jacob's great faith/faithfulness, and the answer is also obvious - No.

Why do we ask these things? We ask them because I know that some who read this will know this much, that Jacob became a man of great faith in spite of his faithless beginnings. It took decades to bring this about, just as it take years for water to erode stone - but water does eventually erode stone, and here (in the case of Jacob) that is just what it did. Understand this - If God can change a man like Jacob who at first trusted only in himself, and whose "walk" was, at the first, filled with deceit and self effort - will God not do the same for all whom He has chosen? That is, did Jacob turn into a faithful man because he was pursuing God, or did Jacob turn into a faithful man because God was pursuing him. It is obviously the latter.

Some of you reading already believe yourselves to be children of God, but you struggle under Jacob's burden (as it were) - that is, you know yourselves to be children of God through the promise of the new covenant, and yet even knowing this you look to your own faithfulness rather than God's faithfulness as the evidence of your sonship. This happens (in part) because deep down somewhere, you still believe that it is your own effort that keeps you on the path. For this reason you find Christianity difficult: if your sonship rests in your ability to stay faithful, then every failure of (and in) your faith testifies to you that you are not a child of God. You are not looking to Him to keep you, but are looking to your own effort to secure His promise of sonship.

Look to Jacob therefore, and remember, oh troubled one, that it is not by your own might that you were chosen, nor by your great obedience that you were and are kept and loved - but that God has set His heart on you in spite of your failures, and is working in you, drawing you to Himself through every life experience even those which take years and decades to play out. God is in it for the long haul, having known all that would pass before He chose you. Your failure does not "surprise" God - He knew you would fail, and when, and how - and chose you anyway.

Do not rest/trust, therefore, in your own faithfulness, for you will fail, and each time you do your rest will be disturbed, your faith will be shaken, and your hope will dwindle. If you follow that path it will lead you to a cold, dead, faith. Instead look to Christ who has died for you when you were yet a sinner, and to God who called you to Himself through Christ long before you were ever inclined towards Him.

God is at work in you Christian, and though every believer pines for the day when we will be fully formed, yet if today we lack the maturity that we so hunger for, let us not be discouraged or think God is absent. Let us see the record that God has given in scripture - let us rehearse the history of men such as Jacob, men whom God formed into pillars of faith over the course of their entire lifetime. God can do a great work in a day, and He has given exceptional men to the church here and there - but I think there are far more Jacobs than John the baptists in the world.

So be encouraged you who look to yourself and wonder why it is taking so long. Start looking to God.
posted by Daniel @ 7:14 AM  
3 Comments:
  • At 5:15 PM, November 05, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It is an easy trap to fall into to think that since I did not live up to my expectations set for this day, then I must not be truly saved. Paul's analogy of a race is good to keep in mind. Running a marathon involves not just the one-foot-in-front-of-the-other running of the actual race, but the months and months of training and preparation. Maybe some of us need to realize that we are still training for the race so that we can be ready when the gun goes off?

    Jennifer

     
  • At 6:18 AM, November 15, 2009, Blogger Barbara said…

    Spurgeon gave a wonderful sermon on this topic, and I have referred to it often just in conversation with coworkers and in fellowship with sisters and brothers in Christ. Besides being a clear indictment regarding Jacob's undeserving behavior, it is a tremendous exposition on, as he put it, "salvation all of grace, and damnation all of sin". Much comfort there.

     
  • At 7:44 AM, November 15, 2009, Blogger Daniel said…

    I will definitely have to give that sermon a read, thanks!

     
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