DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS AS WHEN THEY PROVOKED ME, AS IN THE DAY OF TRIAL IN THE WILDERNESS,Hebrews 3:8(NASB)
Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart. (Deuteronomy 8:2 NIV)
There is no question that Isaac was given of God to Abraham; he was a perfect miracle, impossible unless God had given him. And then we read, "God did prove Abraham." Abraham... gave him up and he got him back; got him back with a whole kingdom.... He has the kingdom by letting go the foreshadowing of this Son of God Who let go. You see, it is intensely practical. Oh, how can this be? By getting yourself out of the picture! That is why it cannot be because self is in the picture! Self-will, self-interest, self-realization; that is the kingdom of Satan, and God is not going to give you His kingdom on that ground....
This is practical. I have to be quite sure that I am not in this, that some secret ambition of mine, some motive of mine, is not at work. Oh, how subtle are our hearts! You and I perhaps are ready to be utterly for the Lord. We mean well, and we mean it thoroughly. We would sing really with our hearts and with our voices at full strength, 'None of self, and all of Thee,' and we would mean it, and there would be no uncertainty so far as we are concerned. And yet God knows that we are all the time defeated in our very sincerity by secret motives, and nothing but a test position can prove whether we actually mean it. So He brings us to a test to a prospect, and then a disappointment. How do we react? Is our sorrow, our pain, for the Lord or for ourselves? Are we disappointed, or is it really only the Lord for Whom we are concerned and we are not in it at all? You see what I mean a test situation to find out after all whether it is 'None of self, and all of Thee.' We can never discover it except in practical ways along the line of very practical testings. The Lord knows it all right, but it is not enough that He knows it. You see, in order for us to come in, we have to come in intelligently and cooperatively. That is the point of every test. The Lord could do a thing with a stroke, it could happen mechanically. But we are in a moral world, and God acts towards man on moral ground. Man has a will that constitutes him a morally responsible person, and so he must exercise his will in cooperation with God.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart— these, O God, You will not despise. § He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. § Thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. For I will not contend forever, nor will I always be angry; for the spirit would fail before Me, and the souls which I have made.”
I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick. § Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. § Behold, your God … will come and save you.
When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from … he said … , “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!”
The ear tests words as the palate tastes food. § I believed and therefore I spoke. § I know whom I have believed. § I sat down in his shade with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.
The goodness of God. § He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
Let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; let them ever shout for joy.
Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous" (Heb. 12:11a).
Our Father chastens us "for our own profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness" (Heb. 12:10). We are not chastened because we deserve it, but because we need it. And there is no wrath in His child-training. "Many have the wrong idea of that word chastening.' We think, perhaps, that it represents God as having a big stick in His hand and knocking us about all the time. You have only to make a mistake and down comes the big stick! That, of course, is a totally wrong conception of the Father, and is not at all what the word means. The word chastening' simply means child-training, which has to do with sonship. Sonship in our Father's mind is to have people who are reliable and responsible, who know in their own hearts what is right and what is wrong, and do not have to be constantly told and admonished. "We should always look at our difficulties in the light of this training. It often seems that the life of a Christian is more difficult than any other life, and more troubles come to us than to anyone else. Whether we recognize it or not, these difficulties and troubles which come to us are to train us for something and to develop in us the spirit of sonship; that is, to develop spiritual intelligence and spiritual ability in us." -T. A-S. "One of the main purposes of all the Father's dealings with us is to bring us into a greater knowledge of His Son. We never know anything about greatness unless we have a great need to know it. Therefore we are brought into situations where we must know something much greater than we already know. This is why our Father brings His children into difficult circumstances - that they may learn how great their Lord Jesus is." -T. A-S.
"Nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them who are exercised by it" (Heb. 12:11b).
God foreknew all who were predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son… and those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; and THOSE HE JUSTIFIED – HE ALSO GLORIFIED.
In His omniscience, God knows in advance every person that will choose to believe. God’s grace is extended to everyone and all we have to do is to believe in Jesus. And God has plans for everyone, who freely chooses to trust in Christ as Saviour. God foreknew all who would drink of the waters of life and become His child, and before the world was made He had plans for all those – who would believe on Jesus.
And God decided ahead of time that the ones that would choose, of their own free-will, to trust Jesus as Saviour would be conformed into the exact image of Jesus Christ. He predestined that all, who chose to believe on Christ, would become just like His Son. God did not choose to save some and reject others. He gave us ALL a free-will. God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son as a sacrifice for all mankind, so that anyone who trusts in the name of Jesus, would not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
In other words, He predestined all church-age believers to be part of the new creation in Christ. And because He is God, He knew ahead of time all who’d choose to believe. And the ones He knew ahead of time would believe (in Jesus)…………. He also predestined to be conformed into the image of His Son. And the ones He predestined to become like Jesus He also called. And the ones that He called He also justified – and the ones He justified He also glorified. It seems that in the eternal council chambers of God, before the world was created, God determined that all who freely chose to trust in Jesus would one day be glorified.
But Scriptureread more
Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God, Who raises the dead, Who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us.”
2 Corinthians 1:9-10
What is the basis of all that God wants to do in the life of the believer? What does God require of us - so that He can produce in us real spiritual fruitfulness? It is the sentence of death in ourselves, “the death sentence..” Paul is here speaking of the unimaginable circumstances that had overwhelmed him. In second Corinthians 2, he was speaking of a wide range of trouble, trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. 2Corinthians 2:8
Paul was describing a situation in which there was no hope… nothing. Nothing that he nor his companions could do from the human standpoint. He should have died – the ‘sentence of death’ was upon him- he was beyond all hope. Paul, that great apostle to the gentiles – one of the manliest, macho men imaginable.. Paul, who cruelly assented to the macabre mob’s mercilessness murder of Stephen… Paul, who so independently and industriously supported his ministry by making tents.. Paul, who needed a thorn in his flesh to prevent him from becoming prideful. Paul had no hesitation in proclaiming that he despaired even of life. Paul was no lily-livered little, milk-sop of a man, and yet crushing circumstances made him despair even of life.
Why – why go into such detail about this ‘sentence of death’ in ourselves? Well, he gives the reason in the next word. A word that is unmistakably pregnant with meaning. He explains the purpose of the excruciating circumstance he faced in Asia.... so that we should not trust in ourselves but in God. This is the essence; the core; the nucleus.
This is the crux of being established in the faith. Hereread more