Gospel Gazette, Bible Articles

Vol. 1, No. 7 Page 6 July 1999

Gospel Gazette, Bible Articles

A Living Sacrifice

By Kevin Rhodes

Judah had not exactly been a model citizen. From his behavior in selling Joseph into slavery to his behavior with Tamar, Judah had many faults. But when he and his brothers were traveling back from Egypt after purchasing grain the second time, only to be stopped and accused of stealing, Judah showed how much he had grown (Genesis 44). He had become surety for his brother Benjamin, guaranteeing to Jacob, his father, that the youngest son would return safely. Then after a cup was found in Benjamin's sack, requiring Benjamin to return to Egypt as a slave, Judah steps in and offers himself as a slave instead of his brother.

When he encouraged his brothers to sell Joseph, he was purely selfish, looking for gain. His actions in regard to Tamar were unfair, and he broke his word. But now we see a different Judah. He is not thinking selfishly, but rather is concerned about his brother and father. He is not about to break his word, but he tells others of his promise. Judah was willing to be a living sacrifice, a slave in a foreign country, because of a promise he made and because of his love for others.

When we obey the Gospel, we make a promise to God to do His will (Romans 12:1-2). When we said we would follow Christ, it meant putting others first (Philippians 2:4). Judah grew out of selfishness and into sacrifice. Is it not time that we all did?

Counseling God

By Kevin Rhodes

Counseling, in the broadest sense, includes many different aspects, among which are listening in order to identify difficulties, trying to help the individual realize his or her own problems and giving advice. Most of us take on this role in some capacity during our lifetime, whether as friends, coworkers or even parents. A problem arises, however, when we become so confident in our own abilities and intelligence that we carry this over into religious matters. In Romans 11:34 Paul wrote, "For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been his counsellor?" We do not have the capability to understand the "ins and outs" of what God does, and so we are not qualified to give Him counsel. Unfortunately, this does not keep some from trying.

Some try to counsel God regarding how Christianity ought to be. How often do we here remarks made to justify an action such as, "I don't see anything wrong with it" or "It doesn't say not to do it." While these comments may be directed toward another person, the counsel is actually being made toward God. Whenever we find ourselves deciding that, "Well, I know it says that, but it means this," we need to reevaluate exactly what we mean and whom we think needs to hear it. When we start questioning the wisdom of God's Word, it amounts to an attempt to instruct the Almighty in the way he should have designed Christianity. We may couch it sayings like, "Times have changed," but it still amounts to giving God counsel he does not need. Others try to act like any time we apply God's Word that it amounts to opinion. This is simply an attempt to skirt the issue and give God counsel. "And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him" (Colossians 3:17).

Some people go further, saying that God did not tell us all that he intended and that we need further revelation, whether in written or spoken form. What they mean is that God did not tell us everything, so we--and He--must rely upon their revelation. Evidently, these have not read Peter's words, "According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue" (2 Peter 1:3). Since God has given all, there is nothing left for men to offer, making those who attempt unwise counselors indeed!

When we try to counsel God, we are actually questioning God's wisdom. We, as his creation, do not have that right. God is infinitely just, and so fairness is not an issue. Those who would counsel God want to force God to change the plan that he determined in Christ Jesus before the world began (2 Timothy 1:9). Let us truly be thankful for the Gospel plan that God has given to us and rejoice that he has made salvation possible through his grace and our compliance with his will (Hebrews 5:8-9). "O the depth and the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" (Romans 11:33).

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