The Character of God as Father Pt 14: Letting Bad Things Happen to Good Children

 

So why do bad things happen to good people?

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First, our Messiah said there was none good but God, period.

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Matthew 19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

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Scripture says that we can do good, but to be good requires there be no evil whatsoever, and I don’t measure up to that and neither do you.  Evil can be a mixture, like salt or bitter water, but good must be pure or it is no longer good.

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Second, God is in the business of refining us TOWARDS goodness, and to that end, He uses the terrible things that happen to us. Evil circumstance is our ally in refinement, not our enemy. Without the bad things happening TO us, the bad things IN us would never be exposed. 
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Think back to Shadrach, Mishach and Abednego (affectionately known as Rack, Shack and Bennie to many of us). Something bad happened to them, well a couple of things really but I am going to focus on one because this was the picture Father just gave me.

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Sin was happening to these three Hebrew men in the midst of Babylon, in the terrible place that God placed them, and through the prophet Jeremiah, told them to settle down in and make themselves at home for a good long while.

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Jer 29:4-7 The Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, proclaims to all the exiles I have carried off from Jerusalem to Babylon:  Build houses and settle down; cultivate gardens and eat what they produce.  Get married and have children; then help your sons find wives and your daughters find husbands in order that they too may have children. Increase in number there so that you don’t dwindle away.  Promote the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because your future depends on its welfare.

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It was God’s will that Judah be in Babylon, that they experience Babylon, that they be tested and afflicted by Babylon so that they would grow up and be able to be a viable nation again, under Him. And as we see in the writings of Daniel, Esther and others, life in Babylon was fraught with difficulties and dangers — things designed to make Judah long for what they had and did not appreciate.

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So, sin happened to the Nation of Judah exiled in Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar built a golden idol of himself and was forcing all nations to worship it, but the three Hebrew men refused. The King was so incensed that he commanded that the ovens be stoked seven times as hot as usual and that the men be thrown into it.

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Now I want you to look at that fire as you would any temptation to do evil. We all face fires, but this fire was seven times as hot as a normal furnace because this was the severest form of temptation — the temptation to save ones own life through bowing down to false gods. Notice this — that the men who had failed the test were consumed by the fire as they tried to throw Shadrach, Mischach and Abednego in, but Shadrach, Mischach and Abednego survived the fire because they had already been refined by the true fire of temptation and came through like pure gold.

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Note that these men would not have passed the test at all if they were still warm and comfy in Jerusalem, never having been taken captive, or if they had eaten the meat and wine from the King’s table when they were brought to court. 

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I don’t think their lives were ever “good” in Babylon. Yes they were given authority and wealth, but they lived in a veritable minefield of corruption and sin just like we do — only worse. No one is trying to force the entire world (at this time, only parts of it) to worship a false god yet — but we are in a position where we are not living in the Land, under the leadership of our King, and we are having to make difficult choices about what we eat, watch, listen to and participate in every single day. The Word says that Shadrach, Mischach and Abednego were trained in all the language and culture of Babylon for three years, and that they did that without compromise. It could not have been easy. But every single bad thing they faced daily was preparing them for a fire stoked up 7 times hotter than normal.

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And in our lives, every bad thing we face is preparing us for a fire stoked 7 times hotter than normal — and it’s coming. And praise YHVH that He is preparing us with all this bad now, the minor things, training us up, starting with the little so that we will have the endurance and faith to withstand the big. Thank Him that He has provided a way for us to know our right hand from our left, good from evil. Be grateful that we endure evil now when it is safer to fail and to learn so that all of a sudden one day we will not go unprepared from absolutely unchallenged comfortable lives to being forced to bow down to Allah, or whoever. I want to be able to look at a knife coming for my throat and to be able to be faithful despite my fears, or have a gun pointed at my head and remain obedient to my King.

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That kind of faith doesn’t just magically come out of thin air, or emerge out of wishful thinking — that kind of faith and faithfulness is borne out of being obedient in the small stuff, and then the greater things — and not being resentful of it but being grateful for one more chance to have the hate, ingratitude, divisiveness, impatience, cruelty, greed, evil, adultery, brutality and lack of control exposed and dealt with.

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This is how my Father loves me best, by making me uncomfortable. Through exposing the evil that I have blinded myself to, by forcing me to look at it so that it can be dealt with and destroyed. My Father is doing everything in His power to make sure I don’t take a look at that hot furnace and bow down to another god just to save my skin. He wants me to have eternal life, it’s important to Him that I do not take the Mark of the Beast — that’s His goal. It isn’t His goal that I be completely sheltered and that my inner sins go undetected. He is a good Father, and He is preparing me for the future He knows that I will have to endure.

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In His eyes, the costs to me in this life are very small, but the dividends in the world to come are eternal. I lack perspective, and so I place my trust in His.

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