I have been sitting a while this morning reflecting on the disaster that was Israel’s decision to have a King and for that King to be Saul, for a sermon. That made me think again about the truth, of Romans 8:28 “we know that IN ALL THINGS God works for the good of those who love him, “
Just think about it with me for a moment. God took that bad decision, the decision to reject Yahweh as King and just be like all the other nations and all the bad situations that stemmed from it (read 1 & 2 Kings) and worked in and through them for the good of Israel and ultimately the whole world. The Lord took the bad institution that was monarchy and made it a vehicle for his blessing and purposes. He made David King, a flawed man but one who “was after his own heart” that is a ruler that desired to see God’s will done rather than just rule for his own gain. God worked through David’s descendants, the good and bad and worked and worked to finally bring into our world, a King who would rule with complete justice and bring lasting peace and enable us to experience what His desire for humanity had always been, that King was of course, Jesus. Here finally was a King through whom God would reign, for He would in fact be God himself, that reign has begun and God is still working in history through all the bad decisions and situations to consummate and complete that reign.
The likelihood is of course many of us right now are suffering or are stressed because we have made bad decisions or are experiencing bad situations of our own making, or because of others. Let’s be clear God hasn’t created those situations. I know there is a school of theology that says that God causes everything, even ultimately those bad decisions and situations. I don’t think I can accept that view and I don’t think it does justice to the picture of God which emerges through Scripture. For me there is nothing “good” about bad things happening to us or our own sin, God doesn’t make bad things happen to us to teach us a lesson. But God can and does do is to take bad decisions and situations and absorb them into the wonderful purpose He is unfolding in our lives and in history and so brings good to us through the bad things that we experience.
So here is where my mid morning pondering has taken me …. The bad decisions we make and the bad situations we find ourselves in are never the last word because we have a God of grace and mercy, which of course means we always have hope. In case you hadn’t remembered, we kick off Advent on Sunday and I think we should remember Advent. Advent is not about opening little boxes on a calendar to get a bit of chocolate. Advent is about living in the hope that flows into our lives from realising that our God gets the last word in history, in our personal history and in the history of all creation, that God can work in the bad stuff we find ourselves mired in to bring good to us and those around us.