Saturday, August 9, 2008

God's Time and Manner

Today's Daily Soap {Scripture | Observation | Application | Prayer}
  • S: A man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. This was the same Mary who massaged the Lord's feet with aromatic oils and then wiped them with her hair. It was her brother Lazarus who was sick. So the sisters sent word to Jesus, "Master, the one you love so very much is sick." When Jesus got the message, he said, "This sickness is not fatal. It will become an occasion to show God's glory by glorifying God's Son." Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, but oddly, when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed on where he was for two more days. After the two days, he said to his disciples, "Let's go back to Judea." They said, "Rabbi, you can't do that. The Jews are out to kill you, and you're going back?" Jesus replied, "Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in daylight doesn't stumble because there's plenty of light from the sun. Walking at night, he might very well stumble because he can't see where he's going." He said these things, and then announced, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep. I'm going to wake him up." The disciples said, "Master, if he's gone to sleep, he'll get a good rest and wake up feeling fine." Jesus was talking about death, while his disciples thought he was talking about taking a nap. Then Jesus became explicit: " Now let's go to him." That's when Thomas, the one called the Twin, said to his companions, "Come along. We might as well die with him." When Jesus finally got there, he found Lazarus already four days dead. Bethany was near Jerusalem, only a couple of miles away, and many of the Jews were visiting Martha and Mary, sympathizing with them over their brother. Martha heard Jesus was coming and went out to meet him. Mary remained in the house. Martha said, "Master, if you'd been here, my brother wouldn't have died. Even now, I know that whatever you ask God he will give you." Jesus said, "Your brother will be raised up." Martha replied, "I know that he will be raised up in the resurrection at the end of time." "You don't have to wait for the End. I am, right now, Resurrection and Life. The one who believes in me, even though he or she dies, will live. And everyone who lives believing in me does not ultimately die at all. Do you believe this?" "Yes, Master. All along I have believed that you are the Messiah, the Son of God who comes into the world." After saying this, she went to her sister Mary and whispered in her ear, "The Teacher is here and is asking for you." The moment she heard that, she jumped up and ran out to him. Jesus had not yet entered the town but was still at the place where Martha had met him. When her sympathizing Jewish friends saw Mary run off, they followed her, thinking she was on her way to the tomb to weep there. Mary came to where Jesus was waiting and fell at his feet, saying, "Master, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died." When Jesus saw her sobbing and the Jews with her sobbing, a deep anger welled up within him. He said, "Where did you put him?" "Master, come and see," they said. Now Jesus wept. The Jews said, "Look how deeply he loved him." Others among them said, "Well, if he loved him so much, why didn't he do something to keep him from dying? After all, he opened the eyes of a blind man." Then Jesus, the anger again welling up within him, arrived at the tomb. It was a simple cave in the hillside with a slab of stone laid against it. Jesus said, "Remove the stone." The sister of the dead man, Martha, said, "Master, by this time there's a stench. He's been dead four days!" Jesus looked her in the eye. "Didn't I tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?" Then, to the others, "Go ahead, take away the stone." They removed the stone. Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and prayed, "Father, I'm grateful that you have listened to me. I know you always do listen, but on account of this crowd standing here I've spoken so that they might believe that you sent me." Then he shouted, "Lazarus, come out!" And he came out, a cadaver, wrapped from head to toe, and with a kerchief over his face. Jesus told them, "Unwrap him and let him loose." ... From that day on, [the Pharisees] plotted to kill him. John 11:1-44,53 [MSG] (emphasis added)
  • O: "To everything, there is a season, and a time to every purpose under Heaven." God accomplishes all on His own timeline and for His own purpose.
  • A: Far be it from me to understand God's plan completely. To know why He does what He does -- that's not my job. It isn't any of my business. Yet. But I know that God has His plans. He has His own schedule. We all will go (or won't go) at a time of His own choosing, in a manner of His own choosing. Just as the daughter of singer Steven Curtis Chapman was struck down at an unexpected time, in an unexpected way, God doesn't always share His plans and schedule with us. If you've heard the Chapmans speak about their ordeal, you know that they're going through quite a rough time right now. Especially young Will Franklin Chapman, who was driving the vehicle that sent his little sister home to the Lord. But they're going through their ordeal with God. By all appearances, they haven't abandoned God. You see Chapman on shows like Larry King, and he can't stop praising God, even through the tears. Just as Mary and Martha had to go to the extent of burying their brother Lazarus so that the glory of God could be revealed when Lazarus walked out of his tomb, so today we might find ourselves in times of toil and strife. We may never know why God takes our loved ones when He does and in the way that He does. We may never know why we lose this job, or that house, or go through divorce and break ups. We may never know, but God does. And He has a plan that, in the end, if we are faithful and obedient, will glorify Him and benefit us.
  • P: Thank You, Lord, for I know that no matter what comes my way in this life, I have You to guide me through it.
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1 comment:

Jim said...

Great quote: "To everything, there is a season, and a time to every purpose under Heaven." especially when this is considered in light of Proverbs 25:2“[It is] the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings [is] to search out a matter.”

In that regard is a Biblical evidence presentation that uses facts in the plain text of scripture to shed more light on this "friend" whom "Jesus loved" and the real life implications of the one-of-a-kind gift from God that Jesus gave to Lazarus. This study does not encourage people to trust in NON-Bible sources but rather it urges Bible students to take seriously the Bible's admonition that “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man” as they seek to "prove all things".

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