What is good? I think most of us would probably say that “I haven’t killed anyone, so I’m good,” or “I gave money to the needy, so I’m good.” And those are good things, but what does it really mean to be good? I was checking out Exodus 33 and 34 earlier. When God was allowing Moses to have an audience with him Moses asked to see God’s glory. God responsed with “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you…” Then something amazing happened. In Exodus 34:6-7, God passed in front of Moses and He proclaimed His goodness. These are some of the qualities he mentioned:
- Slow to anger
- Abounding in love and faithfulness
- Maintaining love to thousands
- Forgiving wickedness, rebellion, and sin
- Just (he does not leave the guilty unpunished)
Can we really say these characteristics apply to us? When is the last time that we’ve maintained love to thousands? If this is what it is to be good, I don’t think we can qualify ourselves accordingly.
Our good works doesn’t get us into heaven. And all our good works when it comes down to it don’t hold a light compared to God’s goodness. Remember that God had to hide moses in a rock and cover him up when He showed His goodness. Even when Moses lead an entire nation out of slavery, that good work didn’t hold up. It’s because of God’s goodness that we get into heaven. And if you want to see God’s goodness, take a look at the cross. There you will see our God – the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin…….
The other night on the radio, I heard a dramatized reading of Isaiah 6:5 that impressed me. But even in just reading the words, you can sense Isaiah’s despair, he starts out “Woe to me! … I am ruined!” Standing in the presence of almighty God must really put man in his place. One of the things I thought back to was MercyMe’s song I Can Only Imagine. And in the song, they describe a couple of reactions to being in the presence of God: Dancing, Being Still, Standing, Kneeling, Singing, Being Silent. Personally, if it was me, I might actually wet myself. How can man stand before God??
But here is something even more mind boggling, why would a Holy God want anything to do with man. If I honestly look at my life, I have nothing of value to offer God. He already owns it all anyways. We turned our backs on Him long ago. But it’s really all because He loves us more than we could ever know. That He would take on flesh, live among us, and become the sacrifice for our sin and failure is almost unthinkable.
We truly have no idea!
For some weird reason, I’ve been listening to a lot of Taylor Swift lately. Well, maybe not a lot, but more than usual. Hey, don’t judge me!! Anyways, her song Innocent has just kind of hit me. Well there is some truth to it.
“Wasn’t it easier in your lunchbox days?”
When you’re young life seems a lot less complicated. Afterall a kids work is their play. Then as you get older stuff happens. Life gets in the way and you have to think about a lot more than you ever did before. You take on more responsibility and start realizing your failures. Until you’re where I am right now at age 29 and you have a list of sin and failures that run through your mind. And sometimes I begin to think that if I knew what I know now when I was little, I would have changed so much.
“and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:24) Being justified is being declared righteous, as in “just as if your sin never happened.” It’s at this point that you need to start seeing yourself as God sees you. Innocent. So now that the record has been cleaned, it’s time to start living your life with that “childlike faith.”
“Who you are is not what you did. You’re still an innocent.” – Taylor Swift
Imagine that someone wealthy just left you with a huge inheritance. What would you do with it? I imagine you wouldn’t just sit on it. Maybe you spend it on something grand like a house, or maybe use it to get yourself out of debt. Maybe you invest it so that your kids will get an even greater benefit.
I like how in Ephesians 1:10-11 that Paul illustrates “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance.” The fact that God gave us an inheritance is so cool! When you really think about it, God owns everything! So you must have something really amazing coming. But even better, if you take a look at that verse again, he uses the word obtained as in past tense. You’ve already been given the inheritance. So what exactly does this inheritance contain?
Let’s look at the verse further in 13-14. Because you believe in Jesus, you were given this inheritance. You were sealed in Jesus with the Holy Spirit. This is God’s pledge of your inheritance. What you received is your redemption. Before Christ, you were worthless to heaven, but as you are redeemed now, you gain eternal life with God in heaven.
So, now that you know you have eternal life, do you bury it in your backyard never to be found again? Do you spend it on meaningless things that won’t amount to anything? Will you be wise and spend it on developing a relationship with the one who gave it to you? Would you invest it in the lives of others that they might find eternal life too?
What will you do?
Joseph was a man with a dream - a God given dream. Joseph’s dream was to rule over his family. Joseph actually stood in a unique position, he was his father’s favorite son. He actually had 2 dreams, the first one he went and bragged about to his brothers. The second dream he bragged about to his whole family. Now I’m not totally sure what it was like to be Joseph, but I can understand from experience what it’s like to compete with your own brothers – it comes naturally. The second dream however included his parents, and I don’t think you would tell your parents that you’re going to rule over them unless you’re really really sure that they’re going to bow down to you right on the spot. I’m pretty sure thats what Joseph was expecting. After all, it’s not that unreasonable that if God gives you a dream that it will play out like it does in your mind, right?
What I don’t think Joseph was expecting was to be beaten up and sold into slavery. When something like that comes out of nowhere, it totally wrecks your dream. Joseph never even saw it coming, he was totally focused on the first dream he had – his dad sent him to check up on his brothers’ work. Everything was going according to plan until now. How do you recover from being sold into slavery? It just doesn’t happen on it’s own.
Through the next part of Joseph’s life we need to take a look at his attitude. Joseph was chosen to be a servant in the house of Potiphar. He could have reacted in two different ways. He could have tried to take control of the situation and find some way out, or he could put his trust in the Lord and make the best out of a bad situation. Genesis 39 shows us that the Lord was with him and that he was a dilligent worker. Even though tragedy strikes again and he lands in jail, he still trusts that God has a plan and that he just needs to hold on. God’s plan IS to fulfill that dream.
But something interesting happens. Not only did God fulfill that dream – Joseph is now over his family – He actually went way above and beyond that. Joseph never saw in that dream that he would become the number 2 man in all Egypt!
It’s interesting, so many of us have a dream. Something happens along the way and we lose hope. And when it comes down to it and all you’re left with is despair and you come to a realization: you can choose to persue that dream in selfish vain, or you can choose to trust God and that He has a plan that maybe goes beyond what you originally saw. Because maybe on the way you go on your own you can still achieve that dream, but when you go through that trial and trust God, maybe afterall there is something better.