God Uses Rejects – Psalm 118:22-23

rejected“The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This came from the Lord; it is wonderful in our eyes” (Psalm 118:22-23, HCSB).

I am a member of a men’s Sunday School class attended by several business and professional men in the community.

I know what you are thinking. You guys just sit around and talk about sports, politics, and business and not much time is spent discussing the Sunday School lesson.

Not so with these guys!  They study and discuss the lesson.

I remember one class where the Sunday School lesson was on the resurrection of Jesus and  the men discussed how God seems to carry out His plans and purposes in the most unexpected ways. They observed that  it was the women, not the apostles that were the first witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus. It was shepherds, not the religious leaders whom God told about the birth of the Savior.

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Growing Wheat in a Field of Weeds – Matthew 13:24-30

“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while people were sleeping, his enemy came, sowed weeds among the wheat, and left. When the plants sprouted and produced grain, then the weeds also appeared. The landowner’s slaves came to him and said, …. ‘So, do you want us to go and gather them up?’… ‘No,’ he said. ‘When you gather up the weeds, you might also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At harvest time I’ll tell the reapers: Gather the weeds first and tie them in bundles to burn them, but store the wheat in my barn'” (Matthew 13:24-30, HCSB)

In this parable, Jesus compares the Kingdom of God to a man who sowed wheat in a field but is sabotaged by his enemy who sows weeds among the wheat.

Now, that’s not really the way we envision the Kingdom of God, is it? We sort of understand the wheat field, but the weeds don’t really fit into our understanding of the Kingdom of God.

So, the servants of the owner of the field want to pull up the weeds, but the owner commands the servants to let the weeds grow with the wheat and then he instructs the servants to separate the weeds when they harvest the wheat.

This parable demonstrates the sovereignty of God over His creation. “Evil” coexists with “good” for a period of time.

Then, Jesus interprets His own parable and explains that the sowing of the weeds in the wheat field is unquestionably the work of Satan, the Devil (vs. 38-39).

But God is Almighty and His Plan is Supreme, even to the extent that He can use the evil actions of people and even the Devil himself to work His good purposes.

God is able to grow and harvest wheat in a field full of weeds!

God remains undaunted by evil in the fulfillment of His good purposes. Although the evil one is working throughout history and even the circumstances of our lives to disrupt God’s plans and purposes, God is active in this present world but He is not necessarily reactive to evil.

So God works through the circumstances of our lives to declare Himself and His redeeming love to us.

God is resolute, intentional, and deliberate. He has a plan and purpose and is actively pursuing His plan of building His Kingdom in our lives.

Sometimes our lives may seem to us more like growing wheat in a field of weeds. But Jesus assures us in this parable that our life is really a field of wheat with some weeds growing in it!

We are God’s wheat field! And God is the master! He wants us busy growing wheat, not pulling weeds! 

“A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance” (John 10:10, HCSB).

The Righteousness Test – Job 23:10-12

“But he knows where I am going. And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold. For I have stayed on God’s paths; I have followed his ways and not turned aside. I have not departed from his commands, but have treasured his words more than daily food” (Job 23:10-12, NLT).

Did you ever sit down to take a test in school and wonder where the questions came from?

The test questions didn’t ask for any facts or information you read about in the text or discussed in class. Instead, the test questions expected you to analyze and apply the facts and information you had read or discussed.

And, you probably thought the test was unfair and maybe even complained to the teacher or at least to other students.

That is what happened to Job.

When Job’s faith was tested by God, at first Job doubted that he could plead his case to God.

In this passage Job expresses confidence that when God tests him, he can, in fact, ask God for an explanation of the test.

In reality, God wasn’t testing Job’s faith; Satan was.

But God does use the difficulties in life that confront us–emanating either from Satan or from our own mistakes–to instruct us in His holiness and righteousness and build our faith in Him.

It’s the righteousness test!

God knows where we are going in life, and the righteousness test keeps us on the path to where He wants us to go.

And when God uses our suffering to teach us about His righteousness, then like Job we will conclude: “He controls my destiny” (vs. 14).

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Romans 8:28, NLT).

Turning Disobedience Into Blessing – II Samuel 24

“So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. And David built there an altar to the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord heeded the prayers for the land, and the plague was withdrawn from Israel” (2 Samuel 24:24-25, NKJV).

In this final chapter of II Samuel, King David sent Joab, his military commander, to take a census of Israel. By numbering the people for military purposes (vs. 9).

David apparently showed a lack of trust in God to supply the necessary men when needed and wrongful pride in the hundreds of thousands of forces at his command (see vs. 10).

As a consequence of David’s sin God offered David three choices: 1) three years of famine in the land; 2) three months of fleeing from his enemies; or 3) three days of pestilence in the land.

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