Thursday, March 02, 2017

Further Meditation on God's Wisdom

Yesterday I posted some thoughts related to God's wisdom as it is revealed in the story of Joseph. I kept thinking about it last night and into this morning, and am all the more in awe of God's wisdom.

In essence, I came to the the conclusion yesterday that if Joseph hadn't been sold into slavery, we're all going to hell. How did I come to this fairly startling conclusion?

Joseph being sold into slavery, though a series of convoluted machinations, places Joseph in a place of tremendous influence in Egypt, second only to Pharaoh. In this role, Joseph institutes a plan that will save thousands of lives during a seven year famine that God warns of in a dream. Among those lives saved are Jacob (Joseph's elderly father) and Joseph's brothers. These men represent the covenant community, the descendants of Abraham and Jacob that will become Israel.

If this small group of sojourners die of starvation (and they would have had Joseph not provided them grain), God's promise that Abraham's descendants would be numerous would fail. And, God's promise that Abraham's seed would be a blessing to the nations would fail too. If they die, there is no Israel; no Israel means no Messiah to bless the nations; no Messiah means we're still in our sin.

That was my thought line yesterday.

Then I started to question it and said to myself, "Surely, God would have found another way!"

But that's not right. That God is all wise means God never has to go to Plan B. He chooses the right plan - the right goal and the right means to achieve it - from the outset.

And because God is good and holy, we can be sure Plan A is a good and holy plan - a perfect goal and just means to accomplish it. Because God is all knowing, no unforeseen circumstances will arise and force him back to the drawing board. Because God is Almighty, no force can stand in his way when his plan has been determined.

Saying God is Wise means no Plan B is needed!

Job 42:1-2:
Then Job replied to the LORD:
      2 “I know that you can do all things;
         no purpose of yours can be thwarted

Isaiah 14:26-27
      This is the plan determined for the whole world;
         this is the hand stretched out over all nations.
      27 For the LORD Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him?
         His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back? 

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

God's wisdom

This morning I am studying the story of Joseph, getting ready to speak on God's wisdom for the men's group. It's such a familiar story, it's all the more striking when some new insight hits you. And that's what happened this morning.

Joseph is sold into slavery by his jealous brothers. He endures life as a slave, mistreatment by Potiphar and his wife, incarceration and more. He's been betrayed and forgotten. But God is wise.

Eventually, due to some disturbing dreams Pharaoh has (dreams play a huge role in Joseph's story), Joseph ends up in the court of Pharaoh in a incredibly influential position. Pharaoh's dream warned of a long famine that would follow on the heels of years of prosperity. In  wisdom, Joseph helps Pharaoh make ready for the years of famine by storing up grain during the years of plenty. In so doing, he is instrumental in saving the lives of countless thousands of people.

And here's where the story gets fantastic. Some of the people he saves are his own family - his scheming, treacherous brothers and his aging father.  His wisdom rescues them from starvation. That, in and of itself, makes the story really cool. But consider that Jacob (Joseph's father) and his brothers are the descendants of Abraham and Isaac. They are the covenant community. They are the people that become the nation of Israel. They are the forefathers of the Messiah.

So here it is...

If Joseph isn't sold into slavery, he doesn't find himself in Pharaoh's court preparing Egypt for famine.

If Joseph isn't sold into slavery, Jacob and his brothers die of starvation.

If Joseph isn't sold into slavery, there is no Israel.

If Joseph isn't sold into slavery, Jesus isn't born in Bethlehem as Messiah.

If Joseph isn't sold into slavery, we aren't saved by Jesus from our sins.

If Joseph isn't sold into slavery, I am going to hell for eternity.

Lets all sing with the apostle Paul:

      33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
         How unsearchable his judgments,
         and his paths beyond tracing out!
      34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord?
         Or who has been his counselor?” b
      35 “Who has ever given to God,
         that God should repay them?” c
      36 For from him and through him and for him are all things.
         To him be the glory forever! Amen. (Romans 11:33-36)