Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Good grief! Does God really grieve us?

Hi dearly beloveds,

Below is a comment I gave on a friend's blog with regards to Lamentations 3:32,

"But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies."

and other stuff relating to it.

Enjoy and be blessed!

---------------------------

Hi there,

You've quoted some really good verses to help someone who is in grief. I did notice you quoted Lamentations.
It is ok to quote verses such as these but we need to know the context of the verses.

Especially Lamentations 3:32:
"Though He brings grief, He also shows compassion according to the greatness of his unfailing love."

This verse can be very misleading for many believers. It seems from the onset that God Himself will bring you grief, then all of a sudden He will show His compassion and love. This verse is not in line with New Testament truth because the context of the entire book of Lamentations is not directed to the New Testament believer.

The grief that the author(tradtionally thought to be Prophet Jeremiah) of this book was talking about was the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians led by King Nebuchadnezzar. (verse ref. Jeremiah 39:1-18)

Jeremiah saw that the idolatry of the people of Israel will cause the nation to fall. This was the main theme of the Book of Jeremiah from Chapter 1 all the way to Chapter 39 when Jerusalem is finally conquered by the King of Babylon.

Because the people of Israel have forsaken their God/YHVH and turned to idolatry, God could not afford His protection for them (therefore in the original Hebrew it is in a permissive tense-allowing something to happen but not coming from the person himself. In this case, God has no grief to give His people because there's no grief in Heaven, so the grief was allowed to come on the people of Israel through an external source, the Babylonians).

We can rephrase Lamentations 3:32 if read in the original Hebrew as:
"Because of that situation(Israel's idolatry), affliction and grief happened(when God could not place His protection because He is righteous). Though that happened, His compassionate love still comes in abundance because of His goodness and faithfulness.

With this in light, we can see that the Babylonians took quite a while before they conquered Jerusalem because the Lord is slow to anger. (Psalms 103:8 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and rich in mercy.)

We must also understand that this is still in the Old Covenant where God has to mete out His judgment by allowing calamity to fall on the unjust. God is a just God, He has to judge even His own people, if not, He is an unfair God. But God is ALSO a SAVING God.
Jeremiah 50 talks about God destroying Babylon because Babylon has oppressed His people and He will also forget their sins against Him!

Jeremiah 50:18-20;
18 So the LORD of Hosts, the God of Israel, says this: Behold, I will punish the king of Babylon and his land, as I have punished the king of Assyria.
19 And I will again bring Israel to his home, and he shall feed on Carmel and Bashan, and his soul shall be satisfied on Mount Ephraim and Gilead.
20 In those days, and at that time, says the LORD, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and it shall not be found; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found; for I will pardon those whom I leave as a remnant.

But we're now in the NEW covenant where our Peace is paid in the holy blood of God, Jesus Christ Himself. There WILL no longer be any grief coming from God to the New covenant believer now.

Why? Just as you have quoted, John 14:27,

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

So, in order for us to appreciate ALL His treasures in His Word, be it in the Old Testament or New Testament, we have to put on a very special contact lens.
I call this lens the JESUS LENS. Everything that we read in the bible have to be filtered and seen through the Jesus lens, and the Jesus lens represents the finished work of Christ Jesus on the cross, His Victory over sin, death and of course, satan.

Because God paid the eternal and most precious price by giving Jesus up to be punished in our place, we will NEVER be punished by God ever again. Not even a single dot.

Also, the LORD does not abandon us at all. Never for a single moment, even though in our circumstances we "feel" like He did.

How we feel does not affect the Truth. A good illustration i gave to a friend was this:
When i switch on the light of my room, the room will light up, so will i. But for that moment, I can have a range of emotions. Maybe I was feeling sad because i quarrelled with my wife, or I’m still angry at that stupid driver just now, or I'm depressed from a lousy day at work etc.
But the truth of the matter is that no matter how I’m "feeling" the Light IS still shining on me! That's how it is concerning God's love for you.

So we can be rest assured when Paul quoted in the book of:
Hebrews 13:5
...For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."

It is a definite Yes & Amen! Paul was actually quoting what God told Moses in Deuteronomy 31:6 before the Israelites entered Canaan to fight for their land.
Deuteronomy 31:6
Be strong and of a good courage. Do not fear nor be afraid of them. For the LORD your God is He who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.

God also spoke to Joshua who took over Moses' leadership after his death just prior to entering Canaan, Joshua 1:5;

No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you.

Be of good cheer! Moses and Joshua were in the Old covenant yet they still received this eternal promise from God. What more us? Born in again in the royal blood of Jesus, Son of the most High!

Hallelujah! Praise the LORD. : )

I hope this comment has blessed you in some way.

You are the righteousness of God in Christ! : )

Shalom shalom.

Your Brother in Christ,
Emmanuel

5 comments:

B. Nora said...

Read about your blog and read your blogs. How should I address you as – “Malay Christian” or “Christian Malay” for that matter? For me let me introduce myself, I am a Malay, I am truly fascinated by the story of Christianity converts like Anonymous that leave the comment on January 6th 2009. Read many other articles on how the Bible and teaching of Christianity can convince many Muslim Malays to convert, however still till now very confused and not convinced. Enlighten me about :-

1. Why was Jesus addressed as “GOD” in Christianity when:-

A. The Bible says:
1. Numbers 23:19 “God is not a man…”
2. Hosea 11:9 “...For I am God, and not man...”
3. Jesus is called a man many times in the Bible:
4. John 8:40 “…a man who has told you the truth…”
5. Acts 2:22 “Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know.”
6. Acts 17:31 “He will judge the world in righteousness through a man whom He has appointed”
7. 1. Tim. 2:5 “…the man Christ Jesus.”
8. God is not a man, but Jesus, may the blessing and mercy of God be upon him, was a man, therefore, Jesus was not God.
9. Tim. 2:5 “…the man Christ Jesus.”
10. God is not a man, but Jesus, may the blessing and mercy of God be upon him, was a man, therefore, Jesus was not God.
2. The Bible Says that God Is Not a Son of Man
A) Numbers 23:19 “God is not a man...nor a son of man…”
B) The Bible often calls Jesus “a son of man” or “the son of man.”
C) Matthew 12:40 “…so will the son of man be…”
D) Matthew 16:27 “For the son of man is going to come…”
E) Matthew 28 “…until they see the son of man coming in His kingdom.”
F) Mark 2:10 “But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority…”
G) John 5:27 “…because He is the son of man.”

H) In the Hebrew Scriptures, the “son of man” is also used many times speaking of people (Job 25:6; Psalm 80:17; 144:3; Ezekiel 2:1; 2:3; 2:6; 2:8; 3:1; 3:3; 3:4; 3:10; 3:17; 3:25).
I) Since God would not contradict Himself by first saying He is not the son of a man, then becoming a human being who was called “the son of man”, he would not have done so. Remember God is not the author of confusion. Also, human beings, including Jesus, are called “son of man” specifically to distinguish them from God, who is not a “son of man” according to the Bible.
3. The Bible Says that Jesus Denied He is God
A) Luke 18:19 Jesus spoke to a man who had called him “good,” asking him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.”
B) Matthew 19:17 And he said to him, “Why are you asking me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
C) Jesus did not teach people that he was God. If Jesus had been telling people that he was God, he would have complimented the man. Instead, Jesus rebuked him, denying he was good, that is, Jesus denied he was God.

Anonymous said...

What i can say that, I pity your parents. May Allah bless your journey!

Emmanuel said...

Hi Anonymous,

Thanks for reading this entry. I AM blessed. And thank you for thinking about my parents.

FYI, i still maintain a great relationship with my parents.

My place in Heaven is not determined by my parents' opinion, neither is it by anybody else's but is determined by what GOD has done for me.

I pray that you will have a blessed journey too! I pray that you receive God's love in your life. He loves you so much that He calls you His child!

Emmanuel said...

Hi B.Nora,

Excellent quotes from the Bible. Well learned!

ALL your verses are well quoted but I'm afraid they are also misquoted and quoted out of context. : )

In order to interpret verses, you have to quote in CONTEXT. You have to nderstand the preceding verses plus the proceeding verses and then understand the context of the Chapters also.

Numbers 23:19
Was part of an encounter when Balak a king of Moab, hired Balaam (a man endowed with the gift of prophecy) to curse Israel. So Balak kept asking Balaam to curse Israel but Balaam could not do it and Balaam kept blessing Israel. So the verse in Numbers 23:19,
"God is not a man that He should lie, neither the son of man that He should repent. Has He said, and shall He not do it? Or has He spoken, and shall He not make it good?" Is in reference to how God works judicially. Why? Because God found no fault with Jacob or Israel. Numbers 23:20-21,
20 Behold, I have received commandment to bless: and he hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it.
21 He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: the LORD his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them.
Obviously God was speaking through Balaam to Balak saying that He is not like a natural man when it comes to judging.
Hosea 11:9 you also quoted out of context within the verse itself. Here is the full verse.
"I will not carry out the heat of My anger; I will not return to destroy Ephraim. For I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst; and I will not enter into the city."
Again, here God is talking about His judiciary role as a judge. Though the tribe of Ephraim (2nd son of Joseph, favoured over Manasseh) and also the rest of Israel, angered God because of their idolatry, God is slow to anger and He is always merciful and loves His people. God promises His restoration to His people. Hosea 14:4-7,
4 I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him.
5 I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon.
6 His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon.
7 They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon.
8 Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard him, and observed him: I am like a green fir tree. From me is thy fruit found.
9 Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.

The rest of your quotes from the New Testament are also good. But one thing for sure, you also forgot to quote verses that refer to Jesus as the Son of God. Jesus was both Man and God. Let’s discount those verses that refer to Jesus as the Son of God by natural human being characters of the New Testament ok. Let’s look at these few verses here.
Matthew 8:28-29
28 And when He had come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, two demon-possessed ones met Him, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that no one might pass by that way.
29 And behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with You, Jesus, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?
Here even demons recognise Jesus as the Son of God!

How about here?
Mark 3:10-11
10 For He had healed many, so that they pressed on Him in order to touch Him, as many as had plagues.
11 And unclean spirits, when they saw Him, they fell down before Him and cried, saying, You are the Son of God!

How about an angel?
Luke 1:26-27
26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary.

Luke 1:34-35
34 Then Mary said to the angel, How shall this be, since I do not know a man?
35 And the angel answered and said to her, The Holy Spirit shall come on you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you. Therefore also that Holy One which will be born of you shall be called Son of God.

The following verses was the encounter that Jesus had with the Sanhedrin (the great council at Jerusalem, consisting of the seventy one members, viz. scribes, elders, prominent members of the high priestly families and the high priest, the president of the assembly. The most important causes were brought before this tribunal, inasmuch as the Roman rulers of Judaea had left to it the power of trying such cases, and also of pronouncing sentence of death, with the limitation that a capital sentence pronounced by the Sanhedrin was not valid unless it was confirmed by the Roman procurator.)

Luke 22:66-71
66 And when day came, the body of elders of the people, and the chief priests and the scribes, came together. And they led Him to the sanhedrin, saying,
67 Are you the Christ? Tell us. And He said to them, If I tell you, you will not believe.
68 Also if I ask you, you will not answer Me nor let Me go.
69 From now on the Son of Man shall sit at the right hand of the power of God.
70 And they all said, Are you then the Son of God? And He said to them, You say it, because I AM!
71 And they said, What need do we have for any witness? For we ourselves have heard it from his own mouth.
Highlight would be verse 70. And confirmation would be verse 71 because the Sanhedrin heard Him!
Jesus recognised the fact that He is both Man and God. That is the reason why He is the perfect sacrifice, the perfect unblemished Lamb of God. Though He was God, He was also Man. He was on earth to know us, to know our frustration, to know our needs, to know our temptations. Though He was tempted He never fell into sin. He is God because He demonstrated His Godly powers through healing the sick, raising the dead, conquering the elements, freeing people from sin and condemnation.

It is good that you quoted Luke 18:19 and Matthew 19:17. But again, what is the context?
What was the preceding verse to Luke 18:19? Let’s look at both verse 18 and 19.
Luke 18:18-19
18 And a certain ruler asked Him, saying, Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
19 And Jesus said to him, Why do you call Me good? None is good except One, God.

There was a young rich ruler/commander/chief that encountered Jesus and addressed Jesus as “Good” Master. Jesus was stressing the fact that He did not want to associate Himself with the spiritual “teachers” of His day. There is none, NO, good teacher, except GOD Himself is good! Jesus did not come to be our teacher but He came to be our SAVIOUR! It’s all in His name! Yeshua(Jesus) means Salvation/Saviour!
I’d like to stress again that Jesus did NOT come to be our teacher. He came to SAVE us. What you will realise that whenever He teaches it is always MAXIMUM God standard. And His life is a fulfilment of ALL of God’s standards. That’s why Jesus is representative of you and me. He completes God’s standards on our behalf so that whenever we fall short, it is His finished work on the cross that saves us.
Matthew 19:17 and Luke 18:19 are of the same account.
In fact, Jesus did not “rebuke” this young ruler. Jesus just spoke to this young ruler. Look to the bible. All it says is: Jesus said to him...
Fact is, the word rebuke is seldom used in the New Testament. Altogether, rebuke and rebuked is mentioned about 32 times but NOT in these verses mentioned. Jesus did not condemn this young man even though he only took Jesus as a teacher.

Jesus did NOT deny He was God. Jesus took His rightful position as both representative of mankind (you and me) and also representative of God on earth.

It is very interesting that you brought up Ezekiel Chapter 2 with reference to the phrase Son of Man. Though it is generally true in the Hebrew Scriptures the term son of man is in reference to mankind, meaning also son of Adam, descendants of Adam. But peculiar to Ezekiel, we see Son of Man is in reference to the Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ)!
Again, this is an exercise of quoting in context not just from the verse, not just from the chapter but from the entire book!
So, the book of Ezekiel begins with of course chapter 1. Let’s zoom in here:
Ezekiel 1:26-28
26 And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it.
27 And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about.
28 As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.

This likeness of a man in verse 26 as we flow down to verse 28 we see as a man with the glory of the LORD! Then the following chapter, it is immediately followed by an exaltation to prophet Ezekiel by God:
Ezekiel 2:1
And he said unto me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee.

This Son of man here now is no longer the same son of man that has been used earlier in Job and the Psalms. The previous son of man usage was of a different effect, different emphasis. Here Ezekiel is now chosen to speak God’s Words!
Ezekiel 2:7 And you shall speak My Words to them, whether they will hear or whether they will forbear, for they are rebellious.

So by this illustration we can see that even the term Son of Man can be a term of exaltation not necessarily relegating humanity to a lowly level. We can see further in Ezekiel 3 that Ezekiel has been given authority by God to do His work.
Ezekiel 3:4 And He said to me, Son of man, go! Go up to the house of Israel and speak to them with My Words.

Now that’s a man with authority!

Ezekiel 3:17 Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me.

Only Ezekiel, among all the prophets have been given this special role as the Watchman.

Coming back to where we were. YES, I agree with you. God is NOT a God of confusion. He makes it all very clear IF we read His Word in CONTEXT.

Amen.

Thank you B.Nora for being an active part of this blog.
I pray that you WILL have a blessed journey to the Truth that you seek and you will have fun doing it too!
Numbers 6:24-26
24 The LORD bless you and keep you.
25 The LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you.
26 The LORD lift up His face to you and give you peace.

Shalom,
Emmanuel

Anonymous said...

hi I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus? Am not a malay but a student who is curently in malaysia, thank u 4 ur blog en continue the good work your blog is a blessing the time is now when it was written that the Gospel will be preached to all corners of the world,to all people.