“Directing Our Course” (Isaiah 48: 17, NIV & ESV) by Carley Evans

Directing Our Course (Isaiah 48: 17, NIV & ESV) by Carley Evans
Friday, September 4, 2009 at 7:03am

God says that He is the Lord, reminding us that He is our Redeemer; that He is Holy. He says, “I Am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you (NIV), who teaches you to profit (ESV).” He also tells us, “I Am the Lord your God, who directs you in the way you should go (NIV), who leads you in the way you should go. (ESV)”

Webster’s Vest Pocket Dictionary defines “direct” as “cause to move or follow a certain course,” “show (someone) the way,” “regulate the activities or course of,” “request with authority.” The verb “lead” is defined as “direct or run on a course,” “go at the head of,” and “bring or tend to a definite result.”

God has an ultimate result in His Mind; He has a certain course, a definitive way. He certainly knows what is best for us. He is most assuredly holy. Above all, He has the authority.

“Profit” is defined as “valuable return” or “gain.” God says He teaches us to gain. He expects us to gain a valuable return for His investment in us. God expects not only what is best for us, but what is best — period!

We see here God as Shepherd, prodding, directing our course with His crook. He hooks it around our necks now and then, pulling us away here, pushing us forward there. Sometimes He takes that crook and brings it down sharply on our backsides to remind us who is really in charge of our direction, of our ultimate course. He is at the head at times, expecting us to follow. Ocassionally, He winds up behind us, seeking us out with a wary eye. But, rest assured, He is always there. He is always our Shepherd, and He always loves His sheep.

“God’s Plan For The Fullness Of Time” (John 19: 11, ESV) by Carley Evans

Pontius Pilate declares he has authority to condemn or free Jesus. Jesus answers, “You have no authority over Me at all unless it is given you from above.”

After hearing this statement, Pilate “seeks to release him.” The Jews, however, cry out against Jesus, claiming He is opposing Caesar’s rule. They demand Jesus’ crucifixion. The chief priests say, “We have no king but Caesar.” So, Pilate “delivers [Jesus] over to them to be crucified.” (John 19: 12, 15, 16) This is not Pilate’s desire. He wishes to free Jesus, as his wife warns that this man is holy and not to be touched. Pilate, despite his best intentions, relents — going along with the will of the crowd before him.

God holds all authority in heaven and on earth. No one has power over His purposes; no one succeeds against Him.

Even Satan seeks God’s permission to afflict us.

God asks Satan, “From where have you come?” (Job 2: 2) Satan responds that he has roamed “to and fro on the earth.” (Job 2: 2) God invites Satan to consider Job, a true servant of the Lord — a man of integrity who turns from evil “although you incite Me against him to destroy him without reason.” (Job 2: 3)

Without reason? — God destroys Job without reason?

Of course, Job’s friends maintain Job has sinned against God and this is the reason he is being destroyed. Job’s wife says it is God’s caprice, and strongly suggests that Job curse God and just go ahead and die!

God says, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to Me. Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding.” (Job 38: 2 – 4)

Essentially, Jesus says the same to Pilate. “Who are you that you think you have any authority at all over Me?”

Many respond to this truth like Job’s wife — falsely believing God “destroys without reason.” Others, perhaps only a few, know that God controls every moment in time, every motion in space. All is done with His knowledge; all is within His purposes. And all His purposes are good, perfect.

And this “is the mystery of His will, according to His purpose, which He set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Him, things in heaven and things on earth.” (Ephesians 1: 9 – 10)