God’s Surprising Ways

Habakkuk 1:5   (KJV)   5 Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously: for I will work a work in your days which ye will not believe, though it be told you.

Our God is a sovereign God. He is a creative God. He’s not bound to anything or anyone, not even to the ways He’s done things in the past. In fact, the Lord will do something new Habakkuk 1.5 - God's Surprising Waysin our nations, something wonderful and marvelous. It will be so amazing that it will be so hard to believe if we are told about it now.

Godlessness pervades our nations. We find it in every corner and facet of society. Lies, deception, and fake news are everywhere. But our just and loving God don’t just sit idly by. He won’t allow the righteous to be caught in insidious plots and deadly traps of the enemy.

The wicked trusts in their own devices; they glory in their ability to deceive; they don’t realize that God watches over His people. They march boldy brandishing their banner of evil while gleefully setting up the righteous for a fall, not realizing that they’ll be caught in their own snares. The harm they plan for God’s people will boomerang to them.

God, our heavenly Father Who created this big, vast, inscrutable universe surprises His enemies. They can’t predict how He does things. We as His people, though surrounded by evil, live in peace. Our confidence is in the LORD. We’ve tasted and seen that the LORD is good. He never leaves us defenseless. We may not be sure as to the ways He delivers us, but we’re sure He always delivers us.

Even though lawlessness may exponentially increase, even though our economy may suddenly collapse, even though our freedom may be greatly threatened, even though God’s people are constantly harassed, we will neither fear nor be dismayed. We will find our joy and our peace in the God of our provision and protection. He is our strength; He establishes our steps. After all is said and done, everyone will recognize: God is God. He continually governs in the affairs of man. He rules over all nations. The lives of kings and queens, presidents and rulers are in His hands. Every knee will bow, and every eye will see: He is Lord. So yes; we’re at peace—always ready to be amazed by our Father’s new yet always astonishing interventions.

God’s Love and God’s Leaders

2 Chronicles 2:11   (KJV)   11 Then Huram the king of Tyre answered in writing, which he sent to Solomon, Because the Lord hath loved his people, he hath made thee king over them.

God raising a good leader demonstrates His love for His people.  The question arises: “If God ordains who rules, why then aren’t all leaders godly?  In fact, it seems like God’s own Old Covenant people had more evil rulers than godly ones.”  That’s absolutely true.  Dream SpeechThere is no question about God’s love for everyone—good and bad alike.  In fact, that’s how He so beautifully demonstrated His love for us: when we were still sinners, Jesus died for us.

God loves everyone; sad to say, not everyone loves God.  God desires that all men be saved; not all will be saved.  His grace is available to all; not everyone avails of His grace.  Those truths don’t mean His character changes; He never does; His love is constant.  He always desires the best for His people.  That’s why through His Holy Spirit, He continues to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment.  He wants everyone to turn to Him and experience life that’s full and super abundant.

Through history, we’ve seen how God raised up good leaders among rebellious people.  Those leaders become God’s catalysts for revival.  God can do that. Why, it’s because He’s ultimately in control. He loves even the worst of us and wants us to repent and return to Him.  If He chooses a leader as the influence to turn the tide towards godliness, so be it.  We rejoice when the righteous leads, or at least, the more righteous of the choices.  Our perception about our leaders are governed by our precious Lord and His values.  Our devotion is to Him.  We choose what’s good, what’s right, and what’s godly, and we don’t have to guess as to our basis for them; we have God’s Word.  Praise God for His direction, for His truth, and for allowing us to see clearly.

Free and Obedient Hearts

1 Chronicles 29:18   (KJV)   18 O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto thee:

Can our sovereign and loving God work in our hearts—people’s hearts—without violating our free will?  I guess He can.  We may not fully understand how He does it, but He can.  Otherwise, there’s no point praying for Him to make His people want to obey 1 Chronicles 29.18 - Free and Obedient HeartsHim.  We’ve seen clear examples and explicit passages in the Scriptures showing this.  God changed the heart of Saul (1 Sam. 10:9); He prophesied about giving His people a new heart (Jer. 24:7); He directs the king’s heart like rivers of water (Prov. 21:1); David prayed for God to give him a clean heart (Ps. 51:10).

Yes He can, and Yes He does work in people’s hearts.  This is not however a removal of free will, or cancelling of our responsibility.  In fact, we see clearly in the Scriptures how Saul turned away from God, how Solomon turned his heart towards the gods of his wives, how one king after another chose to rebel against God, and how His Old Covenant people repeatedly disobeyed God.  We as His people weren’t made robots when we placed our full dependence on Him to save us and surrendered our lives to Him.

We were made new creations (2 Cor. 5:17), but we still obviously have a choice whether we obey or disobey Him, whether we abide in Him or not, whether we live faithfully or not, whether we deny Him or not.  God won’t fail; if He says He’ll give us new hearts, He will. In fact, for believers, He already has.  What we do with our God-given new hearts is up to us.  As for me, and I pray my entire household, we will worship and serve Him faithfully—wholeheartedly.

Spoiling the Enemies’ Counsel

2 Samuel 17:14   (KJV)   14 And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel. For the Lord had appointed to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, to the intent that the Lord might bring evil upon Absalom.

The Lord can easily and literally spoil the wisdom and the plans of the enemy.  If He has to do that in protecting us, He will.  If only our enemies realize how powerful our God is and how much our heavenly Father loves us and cares for us, they will not dare 2 Samuel 17.14 - Spoiling the Enemy's Counselattacking us at all.  It’s their disbelief and/or misunderstanding of our God and us—His people—that makes them continue in a futile exercise of going against us.

We pray for them; we don’t wish them harm.  But they end up hurting themselves when they try to harm us.  They fall on their own trap.  Our God is our strong tower, our mighty fortress; no one and nothing can penetrate His defenses; no weapon formed against Him and against us will prosper. We stand secure under His protective arms.  I humbly admit, I don’t understand how God does everything.  But He can orchestrate everything to His expected end without violating anyone’s free will.  That’s why we fear God (yes, it’s not wrong to fear God; it’s in fact, very biblical.  And yes, we don’t need to always qualify it every time we state that truth), and we don’t fear people.

Simply, we rest in Him and the truth that through the complexities of all situations, all people, all opinions, all His Words, all His ways—we may not understand everything, but through it all, we are well taken care of.  And that’s enough for us.

God’s Thrones

Psalm 11:4   (KJV)   4 The Lord is in his holy temple, the Lord’s throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men.

The LORD’s present in our lives. He is here, but He is also the Sovereign ruler of all.  He’s enthroned in our hearts, and in the heavens.  He knows all things, even the innermost secrets of our hearts. No one is beyond His knowledge and His reach.  He is still very much involved in our affairs. He never leaves Psalm 11.4 - God's Thronesor forsakes us. In fact, His hands of invitation are continually extended to us—beckoning, welcoming.  We are His temple—His home.  He’s closer to us than He can ever be and we can ever know.

He knows our prayers and cries—even those as soft as a whisper. He is that intimate with us.  He literally knows more about us than we know ourselves.  Why not?  He loves us tremendously and He is an all-knowing God.  He is also infinitely powerful.  Although He’s very intimate with us, He is not limited to our small realm of existence.  He rules; He reigns, and He will do so forever—glorified, lifted high.

We need Him close; not everyone sticks around.  Others easily ditch us at the first sign of discomfort.  It’s good to know that Someone sticks around even when the whole world turns against us.  Some people aren’t settled with just leaving; they don’t get satisfied until we’re down, hurt, or destroyed.  They accumulate weapons and ammunition to attack us when we’re most vulnerable.  We’re not troubled.  The LORD is our more than efficient Protector.  He is our impenetrable shield.  No weapon formed against us will ever get through Him and to us—to those who are His—to those who are upright.  In the presence of our enemies, we still enjoy very restful nights and very joyful days.

Divine Prerogative

Acts 16:7   (KJV)   7 After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.

It’s okay if we don’t fully understand all of the Lord’s ways. That’s just expected: the finite can’t contain the infinite; our limited brains can’t contain omniscience. Besides, there are things the Lord prefers to keep as secret. Those secret things belong to Him. There are acts-16-7-divine-prerogativethings He reveals to us; those are opportunities He gives for us to enjoy, to be guided by, and to show our loving obedience to Him.

Who would have thought that the very detailed instructions of implementing the Old Testament sacrifices were symbols and foreshadowing of the Lord Jesus and His sacrifices? He wants us to go, preach the Gospel to everyone, and make disciples of every nation, but there are times when the Holy Spirit stops us from going to preach in certain places. We don’t know why God’s people in the Old Covenant weren’t allowed to eat such and such kind of food, but we’re allowed to eat them now. We don’t understand why they were unclean before and they’re clean now.

Most of God’s people then may not have seen the mysteries of God, but what mattered much is that they willingly, humbly, and lovingly obeyed our sovereign God. God surprises us pleasantly and repeatedly with His ways. We’re comforted knowing that our heavenly Father is predictable; predictable in a sense that He has revealed much of His will, ways, and plans to us; unpredictable in a sense that He’s the sovereign God—totally and absolutely free to do what He wants to do, when He wants to do it, how He wants to do it. Look at the weather forecast: there are times when they’re accurate, but there are times when they aren’t. Somehow, during those occasions, God decides to blow the wind different from expectations. I say, in those times, it just shows: God is God, and He really has the final say.

It’s okay, we don’t sweat it; we trust. I have pretty good hypothesis about His surprising ways; it remains to be seen. As for now, we restfully trust and lovingly obey His leading. So far, He’s been perfect. And oh, He’s perfect, and will always be perfect. He’s really worthy of all our worship, love, trust, and surrender.

Leader: Rejection to Acceptance

Acts 7:35   (KJV)   35 This Moses whom they refused, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge? the same did God send to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the angel which appeared to him in the bush.

Moses was rejected His own people, but He was accepted, chosen, called, and sent by God. Forty years after he fled the land of his rejection, he went back and led his people out of slavery, out of cruel bondage. At Moses’ very first attempt to mediate between two of his acts-7-35-leader-rejection-and-acceptancequarreling people, he and his efforts were not received well. After God’s commission, and after God’s miraculous backing up of His servant, Moses was finally accepted by his people as God’s man. The man who originally rejected Moses was probably one of those who eventually benefited from the deliverance.

People can change. Not all do, but some do. Those who dislike us now may like us later; our most hostile foe may become our most ardent friend. We may not fully understand how our Sovereign Lord can direct even kings’ hearts like a watercourse to bring them to His desired end without violating their free will, but He’s able. Often, He works on surroundings, environments, and situations to carry out His plans. Oh the depths of His wisdom!!!

But even if people don’t change their antagonistic attitude towards us, we’re fine; we have God who continuously extends His loving arms of invitation, and loves us just the way we are. His plans for us are always greater than our plans. His timing is always better than ours; His timing is perfect. He can turn things around. When our visions and dreams don’t find fulfillment right away, we don’t stop dreaming and hoping. God’s callings in our lives are without repentance. We just wait, with faith and patience. As things unravel, we see God orchestrating all factors necessary: situations, events, even nature and people, to bring about our destiny-fulfillment.