Thursday, October 25, 2007

From the Viewpoint of Eternity

Today in CBS, someone asked about this verse

Deuteronomy 28:63 Just as it pleased the LORD to make you prosper and increase in number, so it will please him to ruin and destroy you. You will be uprooted from the land you are entering to possess.

It's a difficult thought to think that it will "please" God to ruin and destroy. It goes against the modern idea that God is such a loving, benevolent being that He couldn't possibly want us to be unhappy. While that idea sounds pleasant, it goes completely against the truth that God is Holy. Miriam Webster defines holy as exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness. God is incapable of compromising His holiness by tolerating our sins so that we might be happy, healthy, and prosperous here on earth. That would be a sin on the part of God.

This doesn't mean that God doesn't want us to be happy, not at all. It's simply that God's perspective is so vastly different from our own. For example, your small child spies a shiny marble on the floor. He grabs it in his chubby hand and just before he puts it in his open mouth, you take it away. This results in some screaming and tears because you have denied him something he thought he needed to be happy. You, knowing the danger that the marble poses for your son, are willing to let him suffer the disappointment and you don't give him the marble back. You're knowledge and experience give you a broader perspective to see that your son's momentary pleasure of having the marble are not worth the long term consequences he would suffer.

Now consider how much broader God's perspective is than ours. To God, our time on earth is a tiny minuscule part of our eternal existence. Any inconvenience, misery, misfortune we experience here on earth is just a momentary thing. Just as we have no problem allowing our children to be miserable for a few minutes for their own benefit, God has no problem allowing us to be miserable for awhile here on earth for our own eternal good and ultimately to His own glory. The Bible is full of such examples - Abraham had to leave his home and endure a nomadic existence, Noah had to devote his life to building an ark and got shut up for a long time with a bunch of smelly animals, Job lost his children and his possessions and his health, and Paul was tortured and thrown repeatedly into prison. All lives that were *hard* and all lives that God used in magnificent ways.

When we mentioned these examples in CBS, one woman commented on how many lives were lost for God to bring about His glory. And it's true that in many situations throughout the Bible, people did have to die in order that God would be glorified. Again, though, the key here is an eternal perspective. God knows who will accept Him and spend eternity in heaven and who will reject him and suffer eternal separation from God. A few years more or less on this earth isn't going to change those people's decisions. God put all of us on this earth for a purpose, a purpose that will bring Him glory and sometimes that purpose is best served through our death. We're only on this earth for a few moments anyway, so death is not the tragic event, the ending so many believe it to be. It's simply the next step in an eternal life.

I pray that for you, reader, it's the next step to a life in heaven with God.

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