Forgiveness

We are starting a bible study on forgiveness. To join, please order “To Ireland With Love” from http://www.shulamite.com in the bookstore. With shipping, the cost will be around $21.

My goal is to be so dependent on God that I am independent of the world.

Marinate in that for a moment.

To be so dependent on God. To ask Him first, before deciding anything. “God is this what you want me to say?” “Shall I do this, Lord?” Pause for a moment and think about this.

Being dependent on God is to live a life of complete surrender.

It is knowing that God orchestrates every circumstance in our lives.

Surrender is realizing that absolutely no one has harmed you.   No one has stolen from you. Not one person has betrayed you.  Not one thing has happened to you outside of God’s will.  Therefore you are not a victim.  You are in God’s will, he has ordained the circumstance for your good, if you believe Him, and He will redeem it.  When you grasp this you are free. Absolute freedom.

We lived in North Florida for a few years.  My mom would drive us to a natural spring in the summer.  We would each get an tube and float down the spring all afternoon.  The water was absolutely pristine.  You can count the pebbles six feet down.  When I think about being in God’s will, I picture myself floating on that river, bottom in the water, head resting on the tube, splashing my feet and moving my hands slightly to stay from overhanging branches.  Just floating.

When we do not float.  When we do not trust God’s sovereignty, we grasp.  We think we’ve been wronged and we must right the wrong.  Adonijah thought this.  In I Kings 2, Adonijah says to Bathsheba, Solomon’s mom, “You know that the kingdom was mine, and all Israel had set their expectations on me, that I should reign.”

I love this guy.  Listen to his language.  “You know” as in, EVERYONE knows.  That is such a slippery phrase because it is followed quickly by several other statements.  Basically, once anyone is finished with a statement like this the listener has by default agreed with the statement! “…the kingdom WAS MINE, and ALL Israel had set their expectations on ME…” Wow!  We all do this, don’t we?  Did God ever say that Adonijah would be king?  It is likely that as an older son of David, Adonijah assumed that he would be king.  It is probable that Adonijah had men positioning themselves for great posts under his kingship.  Men whispering how great of a king Adonijah would be.  Flattering Adonijah.  “…All of Israel had set their expectations on ME.”  Really?  All?  Everyone in Israel.  When we are not dependent on God we exaggerate.  We have to.  We also demand pity.  Woe is Adonijah, everyone was fooled by that Solomon, pity poor Adonijah. When we are not dependent on God we have to grasp.  We have to manipulate.

Pity usually comes before manipulation.  It is a pattern.  Pity, manipulation then demands.  Once he has verbally manipulated Bathsheba into pitying him, he went for the demand.  “”Please speak to King Solomon, for he will not refuse you, that he may give me Ashibag the Shumammite as wife.”  I always picture him saying this with a slick snakey voice.  He probably didn’t though.  He probably said it sincerely or with a twinkle in his eye to make Bathsheba want to pander to him.  Deceived people are very sincere, deceived people are also very witty and persuasive.

Why would Adonijah want Ashibag?  He was a prince.  He could have any woman in the kingdom.  He had riches, wives, power, status; what more could he need.  He WANTED to be king.  He demanded to be king.  He would not allow himself to be grateful that God had placed him in a position of luxury.  He could not be grateful that he was a prince.  So he sought pity, manipulated, demanded and, if he had gotten away with it, he would have taken the kingship.  How? Ashibag had been the woman who warmed the bed of ailing King David.  Adonijah knew that he could leverage a marriage to Ashibag into making people believe that he was the legitimate king.  He was grasping, manipulating, deceiving.  All because he did not believe that God was sovereign, because he did not believe that God’s will was for his good. Adonijah, the wealthy prince with power and everything worldly, was not content with God’s will.  So he sought pity, manipulated, demanded, tried to deceive and for this unbelief Solomon protected his kingdom and had him killed.  Adonijah’s unbelief in God lead to his death. Seeking pity is deadly. I am starting with To Ireland With Love Disk 2. Disk 1 is in Steve’s truck, that is the only reason.

Day 1 Offenses are your training for reigning. There is a purpose for every offense that comes your way.

My friend’s mom was quite ill and needed constant care. She was a demanding woman. Once when my friend and I were working, her mom said “do you think it is time for lunch?”. When we did not respond because we were waist deep in a website we were creating and did not want to lose momentum, she cleared her throat loudly and exclaimed “I SURE AM hungry”.

My friend dutifully went upstairs, prepared a salad, heated up a meat dish, veggies and a few slices of bread. She carried it downstairs on a tray with a linen napkin and set up a small table for her mom. My friend and I leaned into the computer again only to hear “I can NOT believe I RAISED a daughter who cannot SET A TABLE!!!”. My friend inhaled as she closed her eyes. “Yes, mama, did you need something?” “Don’t you see? I need a salad fork, you only gave me a meat fork!”. It was only after her table was properly set that she started pontificating. “Did I ever tell you what Margaret did to me? I can remember every detail. When I die, I’m going to have a word with God about that one, I’m going to have quite a few things to say to God” she mentioned often.

We simply do not believe that God is sovereign. It is breathtaking. Somewhere deep within our beautiful American-ness we believe that God is simply a step or two ahead of us. We’ve been deluded into believing that God and satan are two forces competing with each other. We bite our nails with anticipation that satan may have won a round and God wasn’t paying attention. If God and satan are near-equals, or at least satan can get the upper hand on occasion, then we’re just one step behind. We can therefore lower God to us, ask him a few questions, demand a few answers and be His judge. How appallingly wrong.

I love how David Guzik, a missionary preacher, puts it. In Revelations, when satan is to be thrown into the lake of fire, it is just an unnamed angel who is given the task. No a league of angels, not Gabriel or Michael, one of big-name angels, just an unknown, unnamed angel. God is sovereign. He is other. He is not on par with satan, He created satan. When he is done with the creature he created, he will have a lowly unnamed angel throw him into a pit of fire and probably think nothing more of the matter. There is no battle. The battle has been won, Jesus was victorious and your offenses, hurts, betrayals, firings, insults are carefully planned to PREPARE you for your future. When you know that your pain is purposeful, even when you do not know the purpose, you can begin your journey of forgiveness.

Day 2 It is important to realize that we cannot forgive a disease.  We cannot forgive a childhood.  We cannot forgive a person.  We cannot blanket forgive. We cannot forgive these things because we can only forgive sin.  A disease is not sin.  A childhood is not sin.  A person, while they may be sinful, is not sin.  We can only forgive sin.  Each individual, specific sin.  We cannot blanket forgive, that is forgiving a whole slew of sins at once, as in “I forgive that woman for all of the hurtful things she has said and done to me”.   We cannot blanket forgive because it is not forgiving sins. Oswell Chambers explains it well here:

When I get into the presence of God, I do not realize that I am a sinner in an indefinite sense; I realize the concentration of sin in a particular feature of my life. A man will say easily – ‘Oh, yes, I know I am a sinner’; but when he gets into the presence of God he cannot get off with that statement. The conviction is concentrated on – I am this, or that, or the other. This is always the sign that a man or woman is in the presence of God. There is never any vague sense of sin, but the concentration of sin in some personal particular. God begins by convicting us of the one thing fixed on in the mind that is prompted by His Spirit; if we will yield to His conviction on that point, He will lead us down to the great disposition of sin underneath. That is the way God always deals with us when we are consciously in His presence. This experience of the concentration of sin is true in the greatest and the least of saints as well as in the greatest and the least of sinners. When a man is on the first rung of the ladder of experience, he may say – I do not know where I have gone wrong; but the Spirit of God will point out some particular definite thing. The effect of the vision of the holiness of the Lord on Isaiah was to bring home to him that he was a man of unclean lips. “And he laid it upon my mouth, and said Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.” The cleansing fire had to be applied where the sin had been concentrated.

Marriage is not for your fulfillment and your wishes.  It is for your preparation as bride.  It does not matter how it looks, or how difficult it is.  It is the ground for the greatest work of forgiveness.  If we are honest, it is intense work of forgiveness.

A recent Craigs List Ad:  

“We have a handsome large, unneutered male goat for free to the right person who can give him love and a good home. We don’t know much about “Clyde,” because he escaped from a slaughterhouse and was found wandering around and rescued by the Humane Society. We adopted Clyde but he has become extremely territorial of our barn and his pen, and will not let anyone in with him. He is extremely dangerous; he is very large and tries to charge or ram anyone who enters his pen. He has destroyed the inside of our barn and is extremely aggressive. However, he seems to want to be loved. He allows us to feed him vegetables from outside the fence and enjoys being petted. We suspect he may have been abused at some point. If you love goats and believe you may want to rescue Clyde, he would make a very handsome breeder and he’s very sweet as long as you stay outside of his pen. We are not equipped to take care of him but we love him and want the best for him. If you believe you can work with him and train him and give him a good home. ”

We have a deep desire to excuse sin.  It is our pride-fullness.  Here, the personified goat, Clyde, MUST have been abused.  Well, truthfully, as someone who owns goats, he probably was, but his present behavior is abominable.  Satan does not want us to confront sin.  What if we said “Clyde, the goat who cannot sin because he is a goat but we’re using this as a humorous example, sinned”?  We would have to first forgive the sin and then allow Clyde to be accountable for is actions.  Very simple. Clean. God-ordained.

We cannot forgive the sins of a kid-abused goat.  We can only be trapped in the myriad of  living with a barn destroying, attacking, territorial, bucking, nasty goat.  We would pay for Clyde’s poor behavior, again and again.  Then, we could throw up our hands and say “oh, what could I have done!?”.   See “oh, what could I have done” excuses us, it lends to our pride, we KNEW that poor Clyde had been abused, we “adopted” Clyde, allowed him to destroy our barn and hurt us in the name of protecting.  We did all we could (whine voice intended).  Now we need to find someone who will pour their time and resources into Clyde and “rehabilitate” him.

The sailors on Jonah’s ship must have thought he was an abused goat.  They knew that someone’s sin had whipped up such an out-of-the-blue fierce storm.  Jonah slept, however.  The sailors threw over their valuable cargo, THEIR cargo, while Jonah slept.  They allowed their treasure to be tossed into the sea, while the one who needed to deal with his sin slept.  We do this all the time.

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