Points to Ponder: Perfecting the Imperfections - Even Ours
Points to Ponder
Perfecting the Imperfections - Even Ours
Our imperfect requests and sometimes misguided intentions are made perfect in good time. Sometimes what we want is not the best thing for us. Our noblest intentions may have little or nothing to do with God's higher purpose. Yet in His sovereignty He can graft in something that originated from a human mind and give it Divine purpose. For instance, upon completion of Solomon's temple, the Lord God declared:
"...I have chosen Jerusalem, that My name may be there, and I have chosen David to be over My people Israel.' " (II Chronicles 6:6).
However, the choice of Jerusalem and the building of the temple were David's idea. The choice of a king to rule over Israel had been the people's desire in Samuel's day (I Samuel 8). Neither originated with God.
There are dire warnings and the fulfillment of those warnings with regard to the kings who would rule Israel. There were more ungodly kings than faithful ones, yet God chose David and through his line He would bring the Messiah - Jesus Christ.
God made the promise a covenant with David:
"...I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom...And your house (family) and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever" (II Samuel 7:12b and 16).
God worked through the desire of the people for a king. One thousand years later, "the fullness of the time had come" (Galatians 4:4), and God worked through the line of David to bring Himself to earth in the person of His Son.
The angel told the Virgin Mary what God would do through her.
"And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end" (Luke 1:31-33).
In their desire for a king a thousand years earlier, Israel had rejected the Lord as their king. He told the prophet Samuel, "...they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them" (I Samuel 8:7b). Yet, even with that rebellious attitude toward Him, God's hand worked through history. The people could not thwart His will, even while in their ignorance they were opposing it.
Then came King David, who loved God so much that He wanted to give God the best. As he pondered the luxury of his own house, he became mindful of how comparatively humble God's tabernacle was; his paneled house versus the old tent, which served as God's dwelling.
God would not allow David, a man of war, to build the temple. But the Lord accommodated David's desire and made it His own for the sake of His glory. The concept came from David's heart and mind, born of His love for the Lord. But the directions for how to do it came from God Himself, which David passed on to Solomon:
"All this," said David, "the Lord made me understand in writing, by His hand upon me, all the works (details) of these plans." (I Chronicles 28:19).
So we find the plan of salvation for the world, through the Perfect Savior, extends back to a misguided rejection of God's rule by God's people. A desire to have a king like the other nations yielded (by God's hand) the King of Kings who is like no other.
The idea for a temple was not initiated by God. But the "man after God's own heart" (Acts 13:22) wanted the best he could give for God. And God worked with it.
So much of the Bible deals with the kings of Israel and Judah and with the temple (the original as well as its replacement following the Babylonian exile). These things originated with men, were messed up by men, and brought to destruction because of the sins of men.
Yet God is sovereign. And in this there must be a lesson for us. Luke's gospel helped me ponder this. In chapter nine, we find several scenarios in which God's people are a bit clueless. The plan Jesus came to carry out continues on, unhindered by the out-of-line ideas of his own disciples and others.
When they argue about who among them will be deemed greatest in Christ's kingdom, Jesus sets a child by Him and says (in essence), "Here's greatness...you've got to step down to step up. The least is the greatest in God's kingdom" (v. 46-48).
When they try to stop a guy from casting out demons in Jesus' name (as they had been doing) because he wasn't a member of their denomination, Jesus said, "...he who is not against us is on our side" (v. 49-50). When the Samaritans would not receive Jesus, the disciples wanted to call down fire from heaven (the idea that they believed they could do that is intriguing). Jesus rebukes them, "you do not know what manner of spirit you are of" (v. 51-56). Today, Christ's followers are still out of sync with His thinking. And He keeps working with us and in us.
These lessons come to us across centuries of Biblical history, revealing the mind and hand of the Sovereign God whose thoughts and ways are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9); whose plans seem to flow and adjust with the course of human history, yet they were set forth before the foundation of the world.
So whatever grand plans we may have, remember there is yet a grander plan and a higher purpose. Question: What is the eternal value of the most pressing matters driving your life?
"There are many plans in a man's heart, nevertheless the Lord's counsel - that will stand." (Proverbs 19:21).
You may never get it quite right, but God always does. Trust Him first.
Points to Ponder is a series of occasional articles written by Rev. Dennis Whitmore, Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship of Clear Spring, MD. These articles are also found at www.HilltopChristianFellowship.com.