“What portion is there for us in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse.”
Quick, whose quote is that? Who said it? Have you? When you have asked God for a piece of bread and he has given to you a stone? A snake for a fish? When you asked him for an egg, did he give you a scorpion? No? Never happened?
i know people who asked God for a baby and they got a stillborn and miscarriages. There are people who have asked God to save their addicted child and they got an overdose. There are those who ask for reconciliation and renewal and get divorce. There are those who ask for years and years for healing and are told, my grace is sufficient for you. People whose lives seemed fine until they gave it to Christ. Families torn apart. And that’s not to even mention those whose suffering is unto death because we don’t go to those parts of the world. We stay here, where it’s safe. Where it’s normal. Where it’s sane. Where our money and our culture can keep at bay most of the evil and suffering that the rest of the world thinks of as normal. A world of paid sick days and all night groceries and medicines for sniffles and delivery on Sunday by Amazon and on demand television and tinder and alcohol and legalized marijuana and pets we don’t keep to eat and the right to keep and bear arms against anyone who would try and take any of those God-given rights away from us and cry out whenever these things do come to our shores like an unwanted intruder.
The Pope wants to change the words of the Lord’s prayer. He doesn’t like the part where it says, “Lead us not into temptation.” He says a loving father doesn’t do that. He wants it to read, “Do not let us fall into temptation.” i reckon he would cite James 1, “No one who is being tempted should say, “I am being tempted by God,” for God is without temptation by evil, and he himself tempts no one.” Sounds pretty straight forward. But then a lot of things do when you cut and paste them out of their context. Context here to mean “the whole Bible.”
From the very beginning, God placed two perfect people in a perfect garden and still he put in the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil. He didn’t need to do that. He could have left it out. He knew the Serpent was in the garden. He was not somewhere else when Eve had her conversation with the snake. He wasn’t sleeping. Even the immediate context of the quote in James is, “Blessed is the person who endures TESTING…” Even the next line of the Lord’s prayer is “but deliver us FROM evil.
God does not tempt, no. But He does test. He tests to show you what is in your heart: idols, pride, selfishness, disobedience, even when i want to do good, i do not. He tests to show you what you truly believe about Him. Is He good even in this? Will you accept good from His hand and not evil? When you with Habakkuk ask God how long will we cry for help and you will not listen? How long will we cry out to you, “Violence!” and you will not save? And God answers, You think you know violence? You ain’t seen the half of it! Can you still say, “Not my will but yours be done? Is He still God? Is he allowed to do what He wants? When He wants? How He wants? And when He does, is He still good?
For i would be doing you a great disservice if i left you here. Because God tests to show you what is in your heart AND what is in HIS! And what is in His is His Glory and your good. God is good! God does bless! God does love you! More than life itself! And that is the point! Fat, dumb and happy doesn’t seek God. Doesn’t long for him! Doesn’t ache for him! It gets those two things reversed: we thing God is good when he works for our glory.
Sometimes when you ask for bread, God will give you rocks. But to show you that man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God!
Sometimes when you ask for a fish, the Father will give you a scorpion. But fear not! For Behold, He has given you the authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy and nothing will ever harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are inscribed in heaven!
And there it is? Where is your inheritance? Where is your treasure? If it’s here, you will only see the rocks, the scorpions and the snake. If it’s Jesus, then your treasure is untouchable and unable to be measured! Is He truly worth everything you must endure here? Do you honestly and heart-deep believe that He is leading you to something so much better? Do you really believe that this life is just the set up for Eternity? That every loss and lack and trial and test are only shaping your inheritance, your consolation, your place that Christ is preparing for you even as we speak and making you hate even the garment stained by our sin? The cross you pick up every day is only making you love your Jesus more? Is He Yours? Do you trust him?
On the third day, the son of David answered the Israelites who had asked for a lightening of their burden harshly, “I will make your yoke heavy, and I myself will add to it. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will do so with scorpions.” And the Israelites answered the king saying, “What portion is there for us in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse.” And it turned out to be true. They did not endure, they did not trust Yahweh their God. They saw a snake and they ran and trusted in their own strength, their own king. They went their own way and were scattered ultimately by the Assyrians to not be a people any longer.
Jesus is the better Son of David. The Son of Eve who on the third day crushed the head of the serpent. Who has thrown him down and says his time is short. Do you believe him. Will you wait for him to come and lead you where He says He will? A time of testing is coming, not just on you personally but on the church and the whole earth, of that you can be sure, He promised it would but that on the other side, good awaited. Our inheritance awaits. He awaits. But will He find faith when He comes?
(for those who do such things, you could do worse to meditate on Deut 8.)