Bringing Something Good out of Something Bad
This is Bible Study DU028 - Bringing Something Good out of Something Bad.
Yesterday was quite a day. Started out with with a trip to Cabrini for my regular blood tests. From there Betty and I went to the airport. I wanted to see the new terminal building. Boy, is it ever nice. We did a walk around. Can't wait to try it out.
After returning home I got a call from Andre. He wanted to take me fishing that afternoon. He came by around four o'clock and off we went. Picked up his boat at Sharp and he and Brandon, my grandson, and I headed for the lake. Betty would meet us later that evening at Andre's and Judy would fix fish for supper.
What a wonderful time. I've never been a bass fisherman. It is one of those things you have to learn. Anyway, I caught the first fish, a nice size channel cat. All together we caught around six. Had to let a few go because of size.
Here's the interesting part. Not being use to bass fishing I lost a couple of what looked like decent size bass. (In my opinion.) My line would go slack, then it would sort of start towards the boat. Rather than set the hook, I thought the fish was snared. Not so. He was just playing with his food. Anyway, the bass would get near the boat, give me what I saw as a 'ha ha' greeting, then off he would go. Boy, do I ever need an education on these crafty creatures.
Well, that brings me to a bit of a Bible study -
Been thinking the past few days on the goodness of the Lord. In my meditations this morning I kept thinking about how the Lord can bring something good out of something bad. Then it clicked - That is the story of the gospel. And that is the story of our lives.
I remembered the lady at the well who had been married five times and was then living with a man. Jesus did not condemn her. He simply showed her how goodness can come out of badness. He would be the goodness in her life. As I thought about this lady, I also thought about other gospel stories. Again it dawned on me - That is what the gospels are all about. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are stories of goodness coming out of badness.
Bringing goodness out of badness is the message of the cross. John wrote, "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him." (John 3:17 nasb.)
Salvation, not condemnation is the message of the cross. God is always at work saving people. I think this is why Paul said, "Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men's hearts; and then each man's praise will come to him from the Lord." (1Co 4:5)
Not passing judgments is a hard thing for we humans to do. We want to pass judgments on just about everything and everyone. And yet we know so little about another person's life, or where the Lord is at work in that person's life.
On top of this I think there is a rule that Jesus gave us to follow - He said to certain religious leaders, "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." (John 8:7)
None of this is a matter of overlooking sin. It is more a matter of loving the sinner but hating the trappings of sin.
Perhaps there is even a deeper lesson here. Paul taught that it is the kindness (or goodness) of the Lord that leads people to repentance. (Rom 2:4) He also said that we must never think lightly of the Lord's kindness, or His tolerence, and of His patience.
We have a tendency to look for God's judgment on the erring person. Yet it is written, "God does not take away life, but plans ways so that the banished one will not be cast out from him." (2Sa 14:14) The word 'banished one' in Hebrew speaks of that one who is being drawn away from Him.
Then we hear this from Paul, "No temptation (drawing power of darkness) has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it." (1Co 10:13,14)
What is a better way of saying this? Perhaps the better way is to say that God is not like us. The Lord made this known when he said through Isaiah, "My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways ... For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." (Isa 55:8,9)
None of this means that we cannot know the thoughts of the Lord. In fact in the new covenant coming to know God's thoughts and His ways is the undergirding truth of the maturing believer. Knowing God's ways is what gives the believer a compassionate and caring heart.
Here is the lesson to learn - If it is God's kindness that brings us to repentance, then repentance must be seen as both a gift from the Lord, but also as a way of life. As a way of life we should continually make repentances for our wrong thinking and our wrong actions towards others.
This is why the ancient people of God believed that repentance was actually a form of worship. To the Hebrews the word itself spoke of making course adjustments. The Hebrew term 'shubah' means 'returning.' It is a feminine noun that in a religious sense is an act of turning back to God, to commit yourself to Him, by turning from one's own wayward ways.
Thus we hear, "For thus the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said, 'In repentance and rest you will be saved, in quietness and trust is your strength.'" (Isa 30:15)
How then does God offer repentance as a gift? Paul said that repentance is a work of God's kindness. (kjv says 'goodness.') It is not God's will for any of his children to be undone by works of darkness. So the Lord sets about arranging things in a person's life where He can bring goodness out of badness.
Badness was happening to the lady at the well. Goodness met her at her point of need. Was it a chance meeting between her and Jesus? No, the meeting was planned, deliberate, and with purpose. Jesus came to seek her out.
Again this is the story of the gospel. Jesus said, "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." (Luke 19:10)
What then is God's promise to his repented child? His promise is, "I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you."
But He also adds, "Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check..." (Ps 32:8,9)
The issue is that God has two means of providing guidance for the returning believer. First, we need to understand that God's guidance is about life itself, and be willing to walk in His ways by turning from our own ways.
Then another way of providing guidance is through restraints. The Lord has ways of restraining His straying children so that they are caused to follow Him. And whatever the restraints may be, they are always a result of His love for His children. Restraints are not punishments. They are necessary corrective measures to keep the believer on the right path.
Perhaps we have all been mule-headed believers in our time. I certainly have. But once the restraining time is over we can then walk in the way of the Lord, without the restraint. The apostolic writer speaks of these restraints as the Lord's way of teaching us the life of a disciple. Listen:
"All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful: yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righeousness. Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed." (He 12:11-13)
Ok, that is your life lesson for the day.
What does all this have to do with bass fishing? Much indeed. Through much discipline I will learn how to be a good bass fisherman.
"Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission."
This study was originally shared on March 16, 2007. It was written by Pastor Buddy Martin, a former United Pentecostal Church minister, who founded Christian Challenge International. Writings are the copyright of Buddy Martin and reprinted on this site by permission.
Page added March 23, 2007
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