OF TRIALS AND TROUBLES (3rd part)

 

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Moses, Miriam and Aaron

Negative pride is an unclean spirit. Aaron (means: lofty; mountain of strength) and his prophetess sister, Miriam (means: rebellion; bitterness) were garbed in the spirit of pride in their trials against their young sibling, Moses. They tasted shame from God who had made Moses their leader. Achan, (meaning: he that troubleth) why did you have to purloin that which your hands must be kept away from? Knowest thou not that thou troubleth thy own soul when thou stealeth? When you are walking with God be extra careful. The children of Israel walked side by side the LORD their God from Egypt through the wilderness and misbehaved several times by their thoughts, utterances and acts. About one million of about 2.4 million that left Egypt died in the wilderness, not seeing the Promised Land. As a Christian you are walking with God, be careful, therefore, for Satan, your adversary, is very jealous of your positional state.

It started with the spirit of presumptuousness in the trial of King Saul in his answer to the bleating of the domestic animals; and the failure opened the atrocious door of hatred against an anointed David. Saul failed in the trials woefully. When it came to the lust of the eyes and of the flesh and the heart David did not take his eyes off beautiful Bathsheba. The muscle between his legs i.e. his flesh forced its way into the woman, another man’s wife. David’s brutish heart was tried, it failed, asking for the murder of Uriah, the husband of Bathsheba, whose military patriotism to Israel should put King David to shame, to whom he owed an unreserved apology plus a very huge compensation. But David had in reserve something in his heart. He knew how to approach God in sincerity of the humbleness of heart. The contriteness of his apologetic heart was always from the genuineness of heart and never theatrical. This is why God Himself made the eureka testimony of Psalm 89:20, “I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him”. Be like David and be a winner.

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Satan knows our weak points and he works assiduously to achieve his nefarious goals even against our determined will. Solomon, the wisest of all men, failed. “For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father. v5) For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. v6) And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father. v7) Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. v8) And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods. v9) And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice”, [1Kings 11:4-9]. Solomon did the unthinkable. Let everyone manage his trials lest he gets into trouble.

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Elijah was tired got the troubles he faced; would you?

“…I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away”, Elijah whined in 1Kings 19:14. God’s answer in 1Kings 19:18, “Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him”, puts it clear that the prophet had not managed his troubles well enough. Daniel was not a Babylonian. He came to Babylon as a voiceless slave. His high office of a Prime Minister was a rarest privilege, prestigious and which placed him in high regard. When the trials of his faith came to badger him at every front, the Bible says, “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime [Daniel 6:10]. Like his three contemporaries, who defied the threatening furnace of Nebuchadnezer, Daniel would rather offend a superbly world powered monarch but spiritually irascible than to break God’s law.

For every action we take, no matter how exalting of the Lord it is and of very pleasing to Him, as far as it is offensive to an authorized political power, there are consequences. We should be ready for the upshot of our decision, no matter how righteous the resolve is. I do not know which one is fiercer: the terrible furnace or the hungry, extremely brutish pride. (…to be continued…)

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OF TRIALS AND TROUBLES (2nd part)

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The troubled Job    

Abraham braced himself. He almost lost his wife, Sarah, and almost gave the patriarchal baton which belonged to Isaac to Ishmael. You can continue unwaveringly in faith in the word of God. For one hundred and twenty whole grueling years Noah did not stop preaching the same gospel of salvation, most often sounding like a broken record. I know it is hard to do but do not pay any attention to the accompanying troubles of the trials. Keep, in memory, the promises of His Word and let that propel you to victory. When trials descend on you you feel despondently all alone (and… trust me this kind of plight is capable of setting you up for a soliloquizing rant of raving lunacy). You wish the ground upon which you stand should just open up, swallow you up and just end the predicament!

Maybe Job meant to say much more than that, when Satan was allowed to attack him. The Book of Job chapter 3 verses 2 to 11 go thus:

2 And Job spake, and said,

3 Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived.

4 Let that day be darkness; let not God regard it from above, neither let the light shine upon it.

5 Let darkness and the shadow of death stain it; let a cloud dwell upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it.

6 As for that night, let darkness seize upon it; let it not be joined unto the days of the year, let it not come into the number of the months.

7 Lo, let that night be solitary, let no joyful voice come therein.

8 Let them curse it that curse the day, who are ready to raise up their mourning.

9 Let the stars of the twilight thereof be dark; let it look for light, but have none; neither let it see the dawning of the day:

10 Because it shut not up the doors of my mother’s womb, nor hid sorrow from mine eyes.

11 Why died I not from the womb? why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly?

 

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Job faced horrendous trials, even from wife.

It is never funny when the whole world comes crashing down as experienced by Job. This man of faith said something written in gold of faith, which kept him till his day of sweet vindicatory victory. Knowing fully well Whom he had believed and served, he began, in Job 19:23-25, “23 Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! 24 That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!” Then came the golden addendum pronouncement of verse 25, “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:”. We also have the glorious words of Job 23:10 “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold”. Before the trials he was the richest in the east (Job 1:3). When on trials, all his children he took care of died in one fell swoop! His wife, the mother of those children, left him and as if that was not enough, his very good friends of many decades taunted him in no small measure, to challenge his spiritual probity –gruesome if it should come from good friends! At the end of the trials, “So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses” so says the Bible in the Book of Job 42:12. This estate, compared to that of the first verses of Job chapter one, doubled. It, no doubt, made him the richest in the world!

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                                                  Jacob’s displeasure with Leah

Leah was looked down on by her younger sister cum marital rival and was hardly given any attention by Jacob. She was shattered! God made her happy and famous by giving her Judah through whom the incarnation of our Lord Jesus was made possible. With great fear of the unknown Jacob himself approached his uncouth twin. By the time he came face to face with his vindictive brother the LORD God had carried out operation “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD…” (Proverbs 21:1) on Esau. So has the LORD done for many and will do for you if you will exercise faith in Him, the Most High. Joseph could have enjoyed his luscious master’s wife carnally, which, no doubt, would have cost him the Prime Ministerial post of Egypt, the world’s first super power and the cradle of modern civilization. “I wanna win, I wanna win ‘cos there is so much to lose”, as the song taught by Rev. Chris Okotie goes. Joseph remembered what Jacob, his father had taught him back at home and confronted the huge trial before him with the words of Genesis 39:9, “There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? (The emphasis mine). Joseph dreaded sinning against God, and that is the bottom line!                    (…to be continued…)

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OF TRIALS AND TROUBLES (1st part)

 

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One is expected to be equanimous in times of trials troubles. Even if one has to use aggression in tackling the problem, it will be quite unwise to approach the task with muddleheadedness. Times of trials should also call for sober reflections.

One dangerous and stupid thing you must endeavour to drive far away from your mind is to blame the Lord God for the mishap. This will, most definitely, be one of the traps the enemy of your soul will lay in your paths so as to mess you up so ingloriously. God has given you everything mentally, spiritually and physically to be an overcomer, hence, longing to see you, at the other side of the trial, a victorious one and causing a broadening of His Divine smiles. So many things will gate crash your thinking faculty, each probably being of the promotions of the enemy, trying to gain the mastery of your mind. You will hear yourself say so many things, so uncomplimentary to the faith in the Jesus you profess. Amid the cacophonous ideas, always, is this still, reassuring words of scripture and it will take a heart of equanimity to fish out God’s word for appropriation. Amen.

eve              The very second Adam the Woman heard the slanderous words of Genesis 3:4-5, “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: (5) For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil”; she should have tied up the snake in several knots, binding it to that tree. The first Woman, tragically, in her reckless attachment to satanic cacophony chose the ruinous path for mankind.

Cain, no doubt, heard of the satiation of the glamorous comfort their parents luxuriated in just before the parturiency of him. “How can you give birth to me in this squalor enclosed dejection?!” He continued, “I’ll rather you never allowed my entrance into this”, spreading his wide arms around the abode he grew in. Cain had been listening, with an ominous rapt attention, to the evil one. He had taken a step further than his own mother, seen eye to eye with the evil ophidian spirit and had resolved to treat the God of his parents with disrespect. Cain failed; he disappointed himself in his refusal to obey God. An obedience to God’s stand would have opened the floodgate of the enablement to champion the cause of Jehovah in his own generation. This is what God, the good One, expects of every creature of His. Cain allowed his trial to trouble him because the one who had failed eternally continually seeks hellish companions and Cain foolishly accepted to be his ally.

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  Drunken father Noah and his children

     “And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren” Genesis 9:25. Noah did not think thrice to curse his grandchild. He did not ask himself why he licensed himself to stupor with the redness of the grape. The act brought his two other sons stepping backwards toward the covering of a drunken Noah. Israel and Europe respectively represented by Shem and Japheth by the backward trek are in a backslidden state, today, spiritually. If you love to hit the bottle very hard that is where your trial springs from. You cannot be spending every evening with your dear liqueur drinking friends. Do not replicate father Noah’s error. Noah should have sensed the power of the sting of the delicious red juice and its tempting propensity. He failed. Must you fail as well? My passionate plea is, “Don’t!”

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Granted that Lamech dwelt in Cain’s city of sinfulness. It is clear that he acknowledged the supremacy of God’s judgment in his famous Genesis 4:24 acquiesce of, “If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold”. Lamech had an opportunity to do a volte-face but chose to replicate the evil works of his progenitor. When we fail in any trial, God expects us to come to Him in a supplicatory mood with a solemn view of correcting the spiritual imbalance. But for the grace of God, Adam should have just perished. Check the scriptural account of the original sin, he did not, for once, ask God to forgive him. God, out of His sovereignty, chose to garb Adam and his wife with the raiment of righteousness which gave them the gracious second chance. Satan sees the trial as an occasion to welcome us into his hellish abode. Be smart, wash your sin-stained hands at the feet of Jesus. No one loves you more, can ever love you more or is capable of turning your trials into sweet choruses like Jesus. Only Jesus can save! (…to be continued…)