June 22nd, 2022 – Very Early Wednesday Morning
“Yet your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times; however, God did not allow him to hurt me.” ~Genesis 31:7
How great and awesome is our God! How perfectly right, just, and good! How merciful and gracious is He! How wonderful are His works and His ways past finding out! There is no one like Him nor is there any who can even begin to compare to Him!
Why all the praise to start us off? Well, see Jacob’s words to his wives? He tells them that God did not allow his father-in-law to hurt him. The escape from hurt is something to rejoice and give praise to God for, but the thing that jumped out at me in this verse was the reality that God is the One who did not allow [but could have allowed] Laban to hurt Jacob. It wasn’t Laban who was in charge and it wasn’t Jacob who was in control; no, it was God who was sovereignly supreme over the situation. God did not allow Laban’s actions to hurt Jacob. (If you read back over some of the goings-on in the previous chapters, you will see some examples of Laban’s deceit and crookedness; only God could orchestrate Laban’s actions to turn out for Jacob’s good and blessing.)
A few questions: What if Laban’s actions had led to Jacob’s hurt? Would God’s nature be diminished? Would He be any less praiseworthy? The difficult but true answer to the last two questions is a resounding no. God is God. He is able to modify the outcomes of evil actions to bring about good (such as with Laban and Jacob), but He is also able to allow the painful, hurtful consequences of evil actions to work themselves out (such as with Jacob and Esau). He is sovereign and good; He, in His righteousness and mercy, can (and does) orchestrate what is best for those who belong to Him (Romans 8:28-29). Sometimes that best interest allows evil and hurt – such as when we need to grow in the midst of suffering; sometimes it does not allow those things – such as when the LORD chooses to twist the plot of the crooked back to straight.
I was challenged by a message I listened to the other evening. In the message (and I’m somewhat paraphrasing), the speaker said that one of the first things we need to do to prevent our hearts from growing bitter and unforgiving is to give thanks to God for the hurt that someone else has caused us. This seemingly backward thinking is crazy in our human perspective; but, from the perspective of God’s sovereignty, how true it really is! He could have chosen to allow or disallow; He sovereignly chose what is best for us and according to His plan – be that protection from injurious attempts or the full force of our brother’s deceitful conniving. Giving thanks rightly recognizes His authority over us…and His perfect love for us.
How about it? Do you see why this devotional started with many exuberant exclamations of the Lord’s character and goodness? When we stop and get a reality check from His Word and Spirit, it is easy to give Him praise – even in the tough and painful moments of life. Let us resolve to earnestly seek Him faithfully…choosing a heart of gratitude and humble submission through thick and thin. He is so good, gracious, and merciful! He loves us, cares for us, and sovereignly directs our steps.