"A just weight and balance are the LORD'S: all the weights of the bag are His work." Proverbs 16:11.
There are things happening in the world that have been very unsettling for a lot of people over the past years, and it seems to be getting worse rather than better. Fear, dread, and apprehension is common. An example of this can be seen in the words of one of my nieces expressing her terribly anxiety over an act of evil that took place a few years ago. She wrote:
"I watched the news this afternoon (I don't know why I did, it almost always depresses me) and saw that a man in Japan brutally stabbed 21 first and second grade children in their classrooms, killing 8 of them.* Whenever I hear about these tragedies, great or small, I fall apart. I cry and I mourn for the victims and their families even though I don't know them. I become so upset, that even after I gain control of myself, my mind keeps wondering back to how those people must feel. I question continuously why we as people suffer so horribly, and how the death of innocent children by a madman fits into any kind of plan by God. Some days I believe that evil is created by stupid humans, and then days like today, I believe there is a force that loves to see our suffering. I don't know how to continue to see God as a good, loving, and omnipotent force, our Father, when he allows this to happen to his children. I also don't know how to tell myself that these people’s suffering is not my own, and that I just need to go on with my day and forget about it. I was hoping that you could offer me some advice, or point me in the direction of some readings that would allow me to deal with these facts of life. I know that I am not made to understand the mind of God, but I feel I need some sort of understanding to get through days like today. Thanks for listening. Love, Brandy" (My response to her letter is contained is some of the thoughts of this article.) *[This was in June 2001, and the man was executed four years later].
Questions concerning such horrid acts upon the innocent, especially children, are, no doubt, among the most frequently asked, yet they are probably the least able to be answered. Notwithstanding, when we weigh in the balance good and evil, justice and injustice, love and hate, and knowing somewhat the plan of God for His creation, we can see that these things have to do with the interplay between good and evil, and that in due time it all works toward the incomprehensible good for every person. It is difficult for us to imagine that evil has any worth in our lives when we know that "A false balance is an abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is His delight." Proverbs 11:1. Yet, we also know that "A just weight and balance are the LORD'S: all the weights of the bag are His work." Proverbs 16:11. These two verses tell us that there is a balance of good and evil in people’s lives, that everything in the bag, that is, everything in the world of humanity is His works. Therefore, if a poor child suffers at the hands of an evil man, then that child will someday rise so far above that hurt that there will be no comparison between the two, and likewise with the family that suffers with that child. The apostle Paul said, "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." Romans 8:18.
With all the evil that has swept the earth since mankind has so terribly profaned it, we can only conclude that Paul was right—that the glory revealed in us, and in the whole world, when all things are gathered together into Christ Jesus will far outweigh the evil of this world. Our problem is patience, or the lack of it. Unlike the eternal God who is full of patience, temporal beings have a difficult time with it. 1 Corinthians 13:4 says that Love is patient, and John identified love by saying: "And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him." 1 John 4:16. Therefore, if we are to have more patience, we need more love, and to have more love means that we must experientially be more in God who is Love. It is this love that gives us such peace that it passes all understanding: "And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:7. It is being consumed by Christ, filled with His love and patience that will bring peace to our troubled minds. Although we may not see an immediate balance of good and evil, we can rest assured that there is not one hurt or injustice that will not be made right. Moreover, those suffering and dying will reap an incomprehensible life of the ages in Jesus Christ.
When we see the depravity of man at its lowest depth, and then we hear Jesus saying, "Father forgive them..." perhaps we get a glimpse of God’s love. And when we look at the awesome darkness that shrouds the world, it shows us the awesome light that will someday shine in every man, woman, and child. When we look at the horrid things that happened to precious people all over the world, we can be encouraged that where evil abounds grace will much more abound. Romans 5:20.
There are times when waves of sorrow sweep over us, and even though we may not know the victims and their families, we mourn for them as did my niece; but our Lord in us knows them, and when we are at a loss for what to do or say, the "...Spirit makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." Romans 8:26. That which we are experiencing may very well be more than human compassion; but spiritual intercession on their behalf, and is in some way working a far greater thing in them than we could possibly imagine. Such things are mysteries that can take a lifetime or longer to plumb their depths and understand. Even though clarity may not be seen at the moment, with God being infinite love and wisdom we can rest assured that everything is and will be well. Even though we all walk at times through the valley of the shadow of death, it is all well, and not only for us, but with the world as well. Surely, corruption and injustices cover the earth like a thick choking cloud which are abominations to the LORD; but He delights in equity and justice which He will impose upon every sin and situation. Proverbs 11:1. For "A just weight and balance are the LORD'S: all the weights of the bag are His work." Proverbs 16:11.
It is not easy for some people to believe that all that is in the bag is God’s work. They also have difficulty in believing a couple of other scriptures that are just as clear; namely, "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things." Isaiah 45:7. And "Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for His work; and I have created the waster to destroy."
It should be apparent to most of us that the Lord’s elect, the champions of His Kingdom, have been tested and will continue to be tested; therefore, the adversary, which is a thief, a waster, a destroyer was created for that purpose. Jesus said that this infamous foe "...cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." John 10:10. Can we not see that we are being told that the devil is an entity that created for a definite purpose, the purpose of blowing upon the coals in the fire to bring us forth as an instrument worthy of God’s work? This is the smith that heats the furnace seven times hotter. Therefore, "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the **fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you." 1 Peter 4:12. **[fiery trial: "G4448, purosis; ignition, that is, (specifically) smelting (figuratively conflagration, calamity as a test)" Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance]
We doubt that a great number of people could be found in any or all religious organizations who will warmly embrace these thoughts. Frankly, my own flesh doesn’t care a lot for these trying ordeals that invade my comfort zone; but they come just the same; for my Father knows better than the one who would choose the easy street. Knowing how the carnal man hates pain and shuns anything that prevents him from doing things his own way, it is easily seen how religious doctrines generally bend in the direction that all evils are orchestrated by the devil who is very near as mighty as God Himself and is constantly messing up His plans. Even though prayer vigils, fasting, and other zealous efforts are executed to ward off these awful evils, they will come to pass right on schedule. There is no way to subvert them; because they are preordained processes for every child of God, especially those predestined to sonship. However, it is not only those of God’s household who are subjected to these trying things, the whole world is afflicted by them. King Solomon wrote that "There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is common among men." Ecclesiastes 6:1.
Since evil is common among men, do you suppose God should spare his own from this common denominator? He did not spare His first Son from it, so I doubt that any of us will merit special favor and avoid the refining flames either. The fact is, it would do not only us, but many others a great disservice if we were protected from this common evil. You see, we would never really be able to relate to those to whom we are sent.
We have heard people say, "Oh Brother, we feel your pain," when in reality they see our tears and sad countenance. They, therefore, pity us, they have sympathy for us, but it is not empathy from having gone through the same themselves. Unless they have also crossed that dreaded valley of fire, it is impossible for them to relate and truly empathize. Sympathy and empathy are separate terms with very significant distinctions. Sympathy and empathy are both acts of feeling, but with sympathy you feel for the person; you’re sorry for them or pity them, but you don’t specifically understand what they are feeling. Sometimes we are left with little choice but to feel sympathy, because, if we haven’t experienced it ourselves, we really cannot understand the hardships of someone else.
Empathy can be described as feeling with the person, and there is a distinction between for and with. Namely, you are placing yourself in that person’s place, have a good sense of what they are going through, and to a degree you understand by experience their feelings. Of course, on the natural scale of things, it may be impossible to fully empathize, because each individual's thoughts and feelings to tragedy are going to be unique. Yet the idea of empathy implies a much more active process than sympathy. Instead of feeling sorry for someone, you are sorry with them and have clothed yourself in the same mantle of someone else’s tragedy, that is, the evil that had befallen them. I praise God that each of us do not have to experience and empathize with every evil that afflicts every person in the world; but I believe among the body of Christ there is always someone who can relate to every individual in the world. And each of these sons of God will not only empathize with them, but make intercession on their behalf.
With such evil that has been running rampant for thousands of years, one would think it an impossibility for anything to change; but it will be different, not only for individuals but for all! In due season all nations will become the Lord's and His anointed. Peace will be the core of their hearts. It matters not that they presently want to kill everyone who is not of their race, religion, creed, and evil mind-set, they will be changed by the mighty, flaming power of God’s grace.
At this present time, there is a flame in our hearts and that burning is to impart life to all of them. When godly sorrow works repentance unto salvation, and they know Christ's love, the world will know war no more; for their spirit will be like ours, the Spirit of the Prince of peace!
Something is happening, brethren, and we are right in the middle of it, because it's right in the middle of us. We couldn't escape it or stop it if we wanted to! If we happened to have a thought to stop the sun from rising in the morning, we know the futility of it. It is an impossibility, and neither can nor do we want to stop the Sun/Son from rising in our hearts. When He comes forth as our world is drawn and we turn toward Him, we can do nothing but radiate with His bright glory. There will be no effort in being glorious. We are and will be who we are. However, should we try to be glorious, should we claim to have overcome and are already walking 100% in the Spirit, our countenance will languish. Rather than shining as a son by nature, our glory fades to a poor imitation, a self-transformation with no substance, and everyone can see the façade except those going through the motions and acting the part. There are actors who get so caught up in the part they are playing they actually believe they are the character they are portraying. It is sad, but it is true in many cases as impatience rules their minds.
Impatience is one of the handicaps that causes some to rush the hour of our Lord’s appearing which will be in, through, and from His corporate body. Impatience serves very often to unveil a person’s unfinished work while the sculptor is still in the process of chiseling away at his or her flesh. Impatience has been the undoing of many, and it seems to be more prevalent today with those of "deeper" truths. Impatience has born haste with some, and I fear that there will be a great loss due to this recklessness.
Within the past twenty-four hours I read two statements that speaks of "Haste being the mark of immaturity." One was from an old book, "Things of The Mind" by John Lancaster Spalding, 1894. He wrote:
"Haste is the mark of immaturity. He who is master of his tools and certain of himself knows that he is able, and neither hurries nor worries, but works and waits. As what one can lift or bear depends on strength and training of body, so what one can understand or appreciate depends on vigor and discipline of mind. You would pour truth into the hearts of men, but would thou pour water into a sieve? Your doctrines will be of litt1e help unless the heart and mind be made whole."
The other was in Preston Eby’s latest article, Part 117 of "From The Candlestick to The Throne":
"As one has written: ‘In many of its aspects haste is the mark of immaturity. To those who are now becoming spiritually mature, there is an undergirding of knowledge that ‘to every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose...’ (Eccl.. 3:1), and they desire to only move in GOD'S TIMING, not to rush ahead in a final outburst of self-promotion to claim to be this, or that. When the vision seems to tarry, we can well afford to ‘wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry' (Hab. 2:3). At the Father*s appointed time He will fully manifest His own — placing them in the position for which He has been preparing them. Yes, in the making of kings and priests through whom God shall administer the affairs of His kingdom, HE has carefully selected His vessels, and is now processing them by means that stagger the imagination with their intensity and scope. But God shall not be satisfied with an inferior product, hence the transformation must penetrate into every fiber of our being until the whole of all things becomes A NEW CREATION in Christ Jesus."
There is nothing wrong with being anxious about an impending great event, this is normal; but let us not become so overly anxious that we make claims that are not real nor try to leap into a time that has not arrived. If we do, there will be a day when we will be sorely disappointed, crushed, and will have lost very much. Let us be cautious about joining ourselves to such ideas and claims. To do so would be like a hawker at a carnival selling you a dollar ticket to Maui that says you have already made the flight and are enjoying yourself on the white sandy island with its azure waves breaking upon the beach while sipping a chilled Mai Tai at a festive Luau and being enamored by beautiful grass-skirted hula girls dancing to the music of Blue Hawaii with hips swaying, hands persuading as they glide around the flames of a pig-roasting bonfire.
After paying for the ticket you notice that you are still standing in a river of shoulder to shoulder people as they meander from booth to booth and ride to ride. You complain to the huckster that nothing has changed, you are still in the hustle and bustle of the carnival crowd. He says, "Don’t believe what you see, for it’s an illusion! Just embrace the fact that you are there! Bask in the reality of that tropical paradise!"
Sounds senseless, doesn’t it? And it is. We wouldn’t think of buying into such an illogical, silly thing like this; but we see those who believe and declare that they have already arrived and are living in the paradise of spiritual perfection. It makes us wonder who they are trying to convince. Themselves, perhaps?
We should always be quick and ready to hear and receive a word of truth; but let us also guard against striving too strenuously to reach the goals of which the truth presents. In other words, let us beware lest we become so eager in our efforts that we think too highly of ourselves. Children will often do this; but sons will patiently and unpretentiously grow into maturity. Mature, enlightened sons know who they are. As it was with Jesus, they do not declare their sonship, and they never attempt to make something happen before the time. They do not think a usurping thought to take the throne for themselves. But the thieves come to rob and steal the precious treasures of the Kingdom, and the unenlightened (gullible and ignorant) fall easy prey to them.
An enlightened mind, however, is a hallowed sanctuary where no thief may enter. This is where the Spirit of truth is standing ever vigilant. It protects that which is from God, those things which have no limitations. Their boundaries are not fixed; yet, each of us must wait with patience as we grow and hear the word from our Lord that will remove the veil so we can walk in it. It is then that we will know the time has come to sound the call to creation and awaken them from the bondage of death and decay so they too can walk in the name of the true God, the God from whence they came but could not truly know it until they hear.
All Shall Walk In The Name Of Jehovah
"But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.
"And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it.
For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever." Micah 4:1-5.
I like these five verses, but not so much the way the King James version has one part of the last verse; which is, "For ALL PEOPLE WILL WALK everyone in the name of HIS GOD..." If that section of the verse were taken as translated and out of the context of the preceding verses, it would appear that after the Kingdom of God is established in the top of the mountains, everyone is still going to walk in the name of his own God. This could mean to some that if their god was Buddha, Mohamad or even humanistically, themselves, they would still be worshiping their god of choice. Could this be remotely true? Of course not! The margin in my old Scofield Bible [copyright 1945 edition] reads: "Literally, All the peoples do now walk in the name of their god, but shall walk in the name of Jehovah, our Elohim for ever!"
What a difference! Sure, they are presently walking after their own gods; but when the power of God’s Kingdom is established over all kingdoms, there will be no more war, and every soul shall walk after and worship the Living God. For they will be made alive and enlightened to Him and His Kingdom. Jehovah Elohim will then be their Lord!
I do not want to conclude this study without borrowing some priceless thoughts from one of the articles by the late George Hawtin:
"Undoubtedly there is a day coming when every intricate detail of His fathomless purpose shall be revealed to our wondering eyes. Then and then alone shall we see the reason behind the storms that beset us. Then we shall understand the reason for pain and suffering and see what PURPOSE it had in our molding and making. Then we shall understand the PURPOSE of death and sorrow, and why war darkened our horizons and disappointment deferred our hopes and dashed our ambitions. And though we cannot understand it all now, how it lightens our load and fills our hearts with love and understanding when we know that back of it all is one great revealing truth – GOD'S PURPOSE!
"Divine, infinite purpose lies behind all things, and the moment this wonderful truth dawns upon your spiritual understanding, all things begin to make sense and your love for God springs from a new foundation, even the foundation of wisdom and understanding. You may not yet understand the purpose of any of the things that have puzzled you, or the reason for the doubts and fears, the pains and woes that often come upon you, but your heart rejoices that in the process of your making – God is using the proper methods to make you according to His purpose....
"Can you not see the tremendous value of the desperate vanity and night of the fall as you read these truths? Can you not see that by the travail, darkness, pain, and temptation of this dismal night of sin, God is building something into the ENTIRE CREATION that will shine and blaze in transcending splendor in the glory of the ages yet unborn? Now listen further while we read the introduction to the above passage. In Romans 8:18-19 the Apostle Paul says, ‘For I reckon that the SUFFERINGS OF THIS PRESENT TIME ARE NOT WORTHY TO BE COMPARED WITH THE GLORY THAT SHALL BE REVEALED IN US, for the earnest expectation of creation waits for the MANIFESTATION OF THE SONS OF GOD.’ There is PURPOSE in the suffering of this present time. There is glorious unequaled design, for it is the suffering and night the world is enduring now that will bring forth unequaled and unexcelled glory, even the glory of SONSHIP, maturity in the image of God. There is definite purpose in all suffering. It is producing the very image that God desires. He cannot make the kind of sons He wants without the blazing furnaces of suffering and affliction. Do not forget this truth, and do not forget that this kind of fiery trial that is to try you could not have existed without the FALL OF MAN. Oh, how much we miss by believing our stupid traditions which make the fall to be an accident brought about by the cunning of Satan and the inattention of the Lord.
"Christians of all ages have diligently enquired, ‘Why do the righteous suffer?’ The answer is very, very simple in the light and understanding of His infinite purpose. Few subjects in scripture receive more attention than suffering and affliction, and the Holy Spirit has constantly pointed out that suffering and affliction which come as a result of the FALL OF MAN are for our eternal benefit in bringing us to perfection and sonship. They serve as instruments to mature us. Even of the blessed Christ Himself it is clearly stated, ‘Though HE WERE A SON YET LEARNED HE OBEDIENCE THROUGH THE THINGS HE SUFFERED, and BEING MADE PERFECT He became the AUTHOR OF ETERNAL SALVATION.’ Heb. 5:8. Listen to James as he exhorts us. ‘Take, my brethren, the prophets as an example of SUFFERING AFFLICTION, and of PATIENCE. Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job and have seen the END OF THE LORD; that the Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy.’ James 5:10-11. Listen to Peter as he declares, ‘For as much then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, ARM YOURSELVES with the same mind:
"For he that hath SUFFERED IN THE FLESH hath CEASED FROM SIN, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the WILL OF GOD.’ 1 Pet. 4:1, 2. And again, ‘But the God of all grace, who hath CALLED US UNTO ETERNAL GLORY by Jesus Christ, AFTER YOU HAVE SUFFERED A WHILE make you PERFECT, ESTABLISH, STRENGTHEN and settle you.’ 1 Pet. 5:10. Listen to Paul again, as he declares, ‘For our light affliction which is but for a moment is WORKING IN US A FAR MORE EXCEEDING AND ETERNAL WEIGHT OF GLORY.’ 2 Cor. 4:17.
"I cannot go on with the scriptures that show the vast benefits derived from suffering, affliction, sorrow, heartache, pain, deferred hopes, loss, disappointment, and the thousand other things men endure. You may study them all for yourselves. Let me assure you, however, of this: the anguish and sorrow of all these things are the furnace that refines the gold and brings us to MATURITY AND THE IMAGE OF THE LORD. When God proclaimed, ‘LET US MAKE MAN IN OUR IMAGE AND AFTER OUR LIKENESS,’ little did any creature know the eternal methods and fires He would use to perfect that image beyond the power of destruction. None of these things could have been accomplished without the FALL OF MAN, for without the FALL none of them would have existed at all.
"When we realize that...being wise through knowledge and experience and not innocence, we would know both good and evil and could choose the good and refuse the evil. Never again will sin darken the universe, for a race of SONS OF GOD who have been redeemed and cleansed from sin shall reign in eternal righteousness.
"Suffering and affliction, the results of the fall, are even
carrying their eternal benefits to those who are still in the world of sin. This
is clearly indicated by Peter when he says, ‘Whom resist in faith KNOWING THAT
THE SAME AFFLICTIONS ARE ACCOMPLISHED IN YOUR BRETHREN THAT ARE IN THE WORLD.’ 1
Peter 5:9. I have long believed that God saves some first and teaches them
after; but others, He teaches first and saves them after. But every day God
reaps an enormous harvest from mankind." —End quote from:
Therewith, we can see that it is essential for us to harbor this one assuring thought in our minds—WE ARE NOT OUR OWN. We were bought with a price, the price of Christ's own blood. We are a priceless possession, purchased by Him who paid with His life. Since He paid such a high cost to redeem us, He will not allow any of us to go unrefined. We are His prized workmanship with which He takes great care and pride. Not only do the cool breezes of life that He blows upon us help to form what we shall be, but each blaze of tormenting pain as well. They also serve to bring us to a very real, eternal weight of glory, a glory which will be revealed in His appointed time and season. It is then, as His full-grown sons, that we will sit and reign with Him in that refined glory. It is then that by His life we will bind up the broken hearted and bring peace to this hurting world.
Contrary to our desires, we will not be spared the fiery trials and horrid afflictions. We are not destined to remain immature children playing forever around His throne. His love for us is too great to leave us in such childish immaturity. His love goes deep, as deep as the spear that pieced His side that fateful day of Redemption. He sealed throughout all eternity every soul in Himself. It displayed to creation the depth of His love for each of us. To believe that our Lord Jesus would let the hardships of life ravish our lives without merit, and for them to go unbalanced with the reward of unmeasured joy and happiness, is unthinkable. He simply will not permit it! For "A just weight and balance are the LORD'S: all the weights of the bag are His work." Proverbs 16:11. Do you believe it?
If you do, remember it the next time you feel that the load on your shoulders is much too heavy to carry. Keep it dear to your heart when men say all kinds of evil against you. It will make their lies much easier to bear. When you know that all the weights of the bag are His work, you will also know that when sin abounds, grace much more abounds! Our Lord will have it no other way! —Period!
Elwin R. Roach
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