Sunday, March 02, 2008

Good out of Evil

We serve a Beautiful God. His attributes are astounding. He is slow to anger, rich in mercy, and His loving kindness is better than life. His steadfast love endures forever.

In Zephaniah's day, the people had turned away from God and were serving idols. They had begun chasing after false gods, living unrighteous lives, oppressing the poor, and living a life of syncretism. A bit of Yahweh, a bit of Milcom (Molech), a bit of Baal. See Zephaniah 1:4-6. Let's just keep all of the bases covered, they thought.

God was not pleased. He saw the officials like roaring lions; He saw the judges like evening wolves. Fickle prophets, profane priests, unjust men who knew no shame. He warned them that He was about to bring judgment down on their heads. He was sick of their wicked ways, sick of their unjust dealings, sick of seeing their hearts turned far from Him. "I will bring distress on mankind, so that they shall walk like the blind, because they have sinned against the Lord; their blood shall be poured out like dust, and their flesh like dung. Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them on the day of the wrath of the Lord."

But all is not lost. Chapter 3, verses 9 - 20 outline the Conversion of the Nations and the Joy and Restoration of Israel. God will "change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech". He will remove the proudly exultant ones and leave in their midst a people humble and lowly. These ones would do no injustice and speak no lies.

God is always in control, and He is always able to bring good out of what we perceive to be evil. Remember the story of Joseph? His brothers meant to harm him by sending him with the traders... but God meant it for the good of His people.

When Elijah was serving God, he thought he was the only one who loved God. The land was so wicked that there were no other prophets to be found. Yet God opened Elijah's eyes to see hundreds who had not bowed the knee to Baal.

In our day, there is plenty of corruption. People are listening to "New Age" vain philosophies. They are buying the lie that children are a burden instead of a blessing. They read their horoscopes instead of seeking God through His word. They believe that "love is what matters", so homosexual unions must be fine, because they "love each other".

But there has always been, and always will be, a remnant. God will always have His people - those who know that apart from His grace, they are undone. They realize that God is in their midst, and that He is mighty to save. Nothing will thwart His will.

I am a moderator of the Patriarch's Wives, an online group that seeks to have a Titus 2 ministry among women who love the Lord and their husbands and children. Our list owner, Stacy, has written books explaining how women can fulfill their calling to be keepers at home, even in this day and age. Because she is part of the remnant, there are always those naysayers who want to criticize her. Women who hate the message she brings that there is joy in serving one's family from home, and that it is possible to do so, have been writing negatively online for some time.

But God is able to bring good out of evil.

One of the newer members of our group wrote this:

I have learned so much from reading the posts here. I
often think of a question and you answer it before I
even get around to writing it. I am very grateful to
be here and constantly have a sense of God working in
my life through your words. I wanted to let you know
that, even though I am not writing much, you are
helping me. I appreciate it and I praise God for
bringing me here.

(It is a great example of God bringing good out of
evil. I learned about Stacy's blog from the writing
of people criticizing her and attacking her that made
me curious to check it out for myself. I was won by
her sweetness and devotion to God to become a regular
reader of her blog and occasional mentions there of
this mailing list brought me here.)
So, in spite of the wicked gossiping and character assassination that Stacy has endured, one woman at least has been doubly blessed. She has learned more of what it means to be a Titus 2 woman, and she has had her heart turned to God's word.

Just as in Zephaniah's day when God brought judgment on the haughty but raised up the humble, God is judging the haughty of this day. I have no doubt that He is rejoicing over these humble ladies who are serving Him with all their hearts, with gladness. (Zephaniah 3:17)

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