Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
Select a thought to read by choosing a collection, the month, and then the day:
“For the people do not turn to Him who smiteth them neither do they seek the LORD of hosts.”
One of the most frustrating issues that confronted God’s prophets in ancient Israel was the people’s refusal to receive suffering as being from God. God did His part; He chastened His people when they drifted toward the ways of the heathen. He warned, He pleaded; He hurt for them; still, they would not turn to Him and His Law. Instead, the professional prophets convinced them that Jehovah was only a God of love, and not of judgment (cp. Mal. 2:17). It was Baal, they proclaimed, who was withholding the rain, and other gods who caused people other problems. Therefore, the Israelites feared and worshiped those other gods in order to win their favor.
Isaiah lamented that when the Israelites suffered, they did not turn to the One who was really causing them to suffer: Jehovah their God. But they did not turn to Him because they did not understand that He was the one who was sending that suffering to them. This frustrated the Lord as well as those who understood the truth. “What is the point of chastening you any more?” He said (to paraphrase Him). “You will rebel all the more. From the sole of your foot even to the top of your head there is nothing but bruises and sores, where I have beaten you” (Isa. 1:5-6).
False teachers today sing the same tune that the ancient false prophets sang: “God is love, and that is all, for Satan is the god of all the bad things that happen to you.” As long as people believe that trash, they will never turn to the One who is chastening them. They will never ask Him why; they will never change their ways; and they will never grow in grace to partake of His holiness (see Heb. 12:9-10).
There is nothing more profitable to your faith than to learn that it really, really is true that “Jesus is Lord of ALL”, just as the Bible says. He is Lord of your blessings and joys, and he is Lord over your troubles and sorrows. Wise Job understood this, and when his whole life was torn apart, he wept and sought the One who had torn his life apart: God, not Satan. When his distraught wife begged him to surrender his faith, he replied (Job 2:10) in genuine faith, “What? Shall we receive good at the hands of God and not evil?” It is so very important that we read the next line in the Bible because in it we are told that everything Job had said was true!
We may rejoice and fear God during our good and pleasant times, but it is also true that we should be still and fear God in the times of His stern discipline. He is in complete command of the circumstances of your life in both cases. This is the way of light and life, and few there be that find it.