David Westerfield

Gospel. Culture. Technology. Music.

Tag: genesis

Joseph’s Trials and the Providence of God

Joseph attributes the ultimate cause of his trials and being sold into slavery in Egypt by his brothers:

“And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God” (Genesis 45:8). “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today” (Genesis 50:20).

God, in His righteousness, is sovereign not only over the ends, but also the means to accomplish those ends, even when they involve the sinful acts of others. Joseph knew this full well and God’s providential sovereignty in his trials is precisely the truth that gave him comfort in the midst of them, helping him to see past the trials to the ultimate Ordainer who does as He pleases in absolute rightness, without sin or imperfection. He does these things for His glory and our good. Sanctification and the Lord teaching us to rest in Him alone through trials can be a painful process. But the fruit is the holiness without which no one will see the Lord and the ultimate accomplishing of things we cannot foresee in our finiteness.

An even greater display of God’s providential sovereignty in the midst of trials is that of Christ. He was ordained before time to enter this world in humility.

Satan’s Subversion Tactics Haven’t Changed

In reading Genesis 3-5 today, I was reminded that Satan’s tactics haven’t changed one bit in how he deceives and subverts the church today, moving us off the mark of Christ-centeredness and promise faithfulness, causing us to ask the question, “Has God really said?” or as my son’s Jesus Storybook Bible says, “Does God really love me?” As R.C. Sproul has said, faith isn’t believing “in” God (for Romans makes clear everyone does), faith is believing God, believing what He says about Himself, us and salvation. Even the demons believe and shutter though. The question is, do you believe unto eternal life what Christ alone has said and done on behalf of His own in His life, death and resurrection, that is, by God’s power, not your own? A faith of our own making will ultimately fail (this is the essence of religiousity), where we struggle to hold onto doctrines we don’t really believe at our core and are instead just putting up a front. A faith that God creates, sustains and carries through to the end is a faith that lasts unto eternity. This is a faith that Satan himself can do nothing to undo, for it is God’s work in us. This is saving faith. However, we must never by unaware of Satan’s tactics to keep us from Christ. And he does this primarily by sowing unbelief in God’s word and causing us to question the Lord.

The Lot of Jacob and Esau

As I have been reading through Genesis the past couple of weeks, something has become clear to me as the story line has progressed. We all know the story of Jacob and Esau, well, at least some of you reading might. As Paul says and properly interprets of this story in the latter part of Genesis, particularly as he says it in Romans 9:10-13, “When Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— she was told, ‘The older will serve the younger.’ As it is written, ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.'”

Now of course everyone’s first immediate reaction to Romans 9 on election in particular is that this story of Jacob and Esau Paul cites is talking about God electing their temporal lots in life, not their eternal lots. And even then, the election spoken of, so goes the popular thought, is one of groups of people, not individual people, that is the election of Israel instead of Edom, as opposed to Jacob and Esau. That is at least how most people immediately interpret it nowadays, so as to lighten the hardness of the verses that come after these later in Romans 9.

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Is anything too hard for the Lord?

“Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.” – Genesis 18:14

My Bible reading plan for the year has started over and I am currently in the books of Genesis and Matthew. This verse made me stop and ponder for a second how absurd it is that I ever question God’s authority but also doubt His ability to carry out the impossible (or even sometimes the possible, sadly). Considering the fact that God is omnipotent, possesses infinite power to do whatever pleases Him, this question is a no-brainer, lay up shot of an answer. Of course, nothing is too hard for Him.  We can answer this in an instant from our minds and our hearts be far from resting in that truth.

How often my own heart forgets this truth throughout the day! May the Lord have mercy on me. Is this not the very root of sin itself, that is, doubt and unbelief that it is within God’s power to do the impossible, let alone just doubt and unbelief alone? Many times, the skepticism and practical atheism of our culture seeps into our own thinking and we can doubt God on a personal level which leads to anxiety and misery, a heart that ceases to be at rest in Christ Himself who controls all things with His powerful word. In many (if not most) spiritual circles of our society now, doubt is a virtue! Yet if doubt and unbelief are the roots of sin, our society is openly embracing unbelief.

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