Since our generation so admires human ingenuity and worldly wisdom, we tend to give people praise that only God deserves.
A battle is won—and we hang medals on veterans.
A degree is earned—and we applaud the graduates.
A sum of money is donated—and we engrave contributors’ names on a plaque.
An organization stays in the black through hard times—and we grant the CEO a bonus.
A writer or scientist makes an outstanding contribution—and we award the Pulitzer or a Nobel prize.
A sermon meets numerous needs—and we praise the preacher.
I certainly don’t object to acknowledging and even rewarding excellence. And I see nothing at all wrong with showing appreciation—as long as we acknowledge the One who deserves the ultimate credit and we give Him the greatest glory. Because God works out His will so silently and often mysteriously, His just and loving sovereignty can be easily overlooked, and that’s unfortunate. We need a greater awareness and appreciation for God’s absolute right to rule His creation as well as His good and perfect reign. Why? Because when we forget God, when we give people too much credit, our view of the world becomes distorted.
Solomon, who was—in human terms—the supreme monarch of Israel, set forth some important truths:
The LORD will not allow the righteous to hunger,
But He will reject the craving of the wicked. (10:3)
The way of the LORD
is a stronghold to the upright,But ruin to the workers of iniquity. (10:29)
Solomon’s bottom-line point? God is in charge. Actually, He is the unseen stronghold for the upright, for those who sincerely desire to please God and who submit to His authority. He is a mysterious, invisible obstacle in the way of the wicked, those who willfully reject God’s will and intentionally frustrate His plans. But God’s sovereign rule is so complete that He will accomplish His objectives and reward the faithful regardless of anyone’s opposition.
When a man’s ways are pleasing to the LORD,
He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. (16:7)
God is so powerful that He can honor those who please Him by changing the attitudes of those who once felt enmity toward them. Once all is said and done—after our plans have been hammered out, thought through, reworked, decided on, and distributed—it is His counsel that will ultimately stand.
From Living the Proverbs by Charles R. Swindoll, copyright © 2012. Reprinted by permission of Worthy Inspired., an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.
In Embraced by the Spirit, we step away from the heat of theological battle that analyzes and criticizes and move quietly and closely to the One who has been sent alongside to help.