He Doesn’t Control Some Things

  
That’s right.  He controls all things.  

Is a trumpet blown in a city,and the people are not afraid?  Does disaster come to a city, unless the Lord has done it? 

Amos 3:6

Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it?  Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?  Why should a living man complain, a man, about the punishment of his sins? 

Lamentations 3:37-39

For truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.

Acts 4:27-28

And this is very, very Good News.  

The greatest comfort I can give a child of God, and I can only give it to a child of God (meaning someone who has been adopted by God through faith in Jesus Christ), is that God is in total, absolute control of your pain.   And the reason why that’s comforting for the Christian is that God promises to work all things together for the good of His elect.  

This is a God whose hand predestined the worst sin in history for His people’s rescue.  

He does no evil, but neither is He perplexed or surprised by any evil.  And He will work all things together for His good purposes.  

From the other side of Christ’s return, there will not be one moment of history, from Eden’s tree to Calvary’s Cross to Hitler’s Holocaust to Hell’s shut doors, where Satan will be able to say, “Well, at least He didn’t get to work that one out for His purposes.”  When all is said and done, God’s glory and beauty and His people’s good will be pulled from every page of history, even the bloody and awful and scary ones.  And the greatest proof of that is Christ’s bloody and awful Cross.  

Some of you who are born again and in chaos or agony need to internalize this.  

What is frustrating to the unbelieving heart is peace to believing one:  There is no sovereign but God.  

I am telling you to pray to the God who will roll up the sky like a blanket, who set the Milky Way spinning as though it were a top, who fashioned all our souls from His own creative heart.  This is not a God who will win at the last second on a Hail Mary.  I am here to tell you there is a King in the Heavens.  A King.  God is not a powerful figure with good intentions who can only do so much.  This is the King of all creation, and He is taking audiences with all who will call upon Him in faith.  

There is nothing that befalls us that is not ordained by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. 

Keep all your gods, America.  I have met the only One who can save a man like me.  

This God is in control.

Real Social Justice

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A little exercise: I went through the book Amos and wrote the letters “RSJ” next to every time God described real social justice or rebuked real social injustice.

I figured God was a more reliable source of information on justice than Huffington Post or PBS or a Rolling Stone article.

Here are a few insights from God’s book:

*Note: I chose Amos because that particular prophet was especially used by God to condemn large scale oppression and social harms and to proclaim interpersonal righteousness. It isn’t that the rest of the Bible doesn’t speak to social justice. Just that there is a particular emphasis on it in Amos.

Here goes:

“The Lord says: I will not relent from punishing Edom for three crimes, even four, because he pursued his brother with the sword. He stifled his compassion, his anger tore at them continually, and he harbored his rage incessantly.” 1:11

Helpful reminder #1: Real justice involves punishment when there is an injustice. And every injustice will be punished perfectly either in Hell or on the Cross.

“The Lord says: I will not relent from punishing Tyre for three crimes, even four, because they handed over a whole community of exiles to Edom
and broke a treaty of brotherhood.”
1:9

Helpful reminder #2: Real interpersonal, social justice involves keeping promises and covenants we’ve made that are Godly.

“The Lord says: I will not relent from punishing the Ammonites for three crimes, even four, because they ripped open the pregnant women of Gilead in order to enlarge their territory.” 1:13

Helpful reminder #3: Real social justice is opposed to ripping open pregnant women for greed. And yes, I am unashamedly looking at you, Planned Parenthood.

“The Lord says: I will not relent from punishing Israel for three crimes, even four, because they sell a righteous person for silver and a needy person for a pair of sandals. They trample the heads of the poor on the dust of the ground and block the path of the needy. A man and his father have sexual relations with the same girl, profaning My holy Name.” 2:6-7

Helpful reminder #4: Real social justice knows what “righteous” is.

Helpful reminder #5: It cares for the poor and does not abuse them.

Helpful reminder #6: Real justice between human beings involves them being sexually pure before God and to one another.

“The people are incapable of doing right—this is the Lord’s declaration—those who store up violence and destruction in their citadels.” 3:10

Helpful reminder #7: To be truly socially just is to be free of greedy violence.

“They drink wine by the bowlful and anoint themselves with the finest oils but do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph. Therefore, they will now go into exile as the first of the captives, and the feasting of those who sprawl out will come to an end.” 6:5-7

Helpful reminder #8: Truly socially just people mourn over sin.

Helpful reminder #9: They are not personally materially greedy. It’s always easy to be generous with someone else’s money. If you want to know whether someone is dominated by love of money or possessions, look at where their money goes. Not what tax plan they support.

Okay, there’s a few insights into real justice. Nothing new, but then again good and true things are very old.