Rabbi’s Reflections – Wednesday, October 16, 2019
My childhood rabbi, Rudolph Weiss, used to say “Gam Zu L’Tova.” It is an old saying of the rabbis in Hebrew meaning in English “everything is for the good.” I have found many (if not most) believers who also think the same thing. I’m just not quite there yet. Let me explain.
I do believe that God can turn a negative into a positive. Dan Juster, my current rabbi, teaches (and I do believe) that there is a “highest redemptive value or outcome” to every situation. This is something we should seek.
We are God’s ambassadors on earth. That means that in every situation of life, we have a calling to represent God. The policies and principles by which His kingdom function are described in Scripture. That is why it is so important for us to read His Word constantly, so we will be reminded how He wants us to represent Him.
Everything (especially through prayer) gets better when God is brought into it.
Rabbi Trail: Let me offer a word of caution here. Self-righteousness is a deal killer. Self-righteousness leads to condemnation (even in the name of God) which is opposed to grace. We use the story of Yeshua overturning the tables of the money changers as an excuse for all kinds of misbehavior on our part. Pray first, then respond with the mind of Messiah. End RT.
God is sovereign on His throne. But He is not manipulating every activity on earth. Plainly speaking, there are things that happen on earth that are outside the will of God. Could He stop those things from happening? Sure he could, but that would be like you having a house full of dolls. They do everything you tell them or make them do and you calling that your family. We are not automatons.
I’ve also heard talk about the will of God as the “permissive will of God” and the “perfect will of God.” His permissive will is supposed to be how He allows us to make mistakes, while His perfect will is the path He sets before us to reach our destiny in Him.
We have heard God gives us the desires of our hearts, but that is used to justify a lot of bad decisions and is bad theology. The verse is Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in Adonai, and He will give you the requests of your heart. That’s right, it’s conditional.
Well, I’ve gone on long enough. I hope you get my point. I reject the idea that “everything happens for the good.” Some things that happen are just plain bad. There is evil in this world, and it’s getting more evil. God can (and wants to) bring everything back to give Him glory.
Isaiah 55:10 For as the rain and snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without having watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to sow and bread to eat, 11 so My word will be that goes out from My mouth. It will not return to Me in vain, but will accomplish what I intend, and will succeed in what I sent it for.
Memory Verse: 1 Corinthians 13:13 But now these three remain— faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love.
206 10/14 Monday: 1 Corinthians 5-6
207 10/15 Tuesday: 1 Corinthians 7-8
* 208 10/16 Wednesday: 1 Corinthians 9-10
209 10/17 Thursday: 1 Corinthians 11-12
210 10/18 Friday: 1 Corinthians 13-14
Question of the day: Paul (the writer of our text today) asks the question… 1 Corinthians 9:24a Don’t you know that in a stadium the runners all run, but one receives the prize? Let’s examine the question.
Answer: The second part of the same verse gives us some of the answer. 1 Corinthians 9:24b Run in such a way that you may win!
We are not in competition with each other. Our competition is within ourselves. We are called to mature (grow in the Lord). A mature diet consists of the “meat” of the Word as we grow beyond “milk.”
One key to running a race is not to stumble. Even worse, there are those who cause others to stumble. It’s also hard to run while under the influence.
Psalm 56:12 in God I trust, I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?… 14 For You have delivered my soul from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.
Paul saw his own situation clearly. He also saw our situation is like his, so he wrote this for himself and for us.
Philippians 3:13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself as having taken hold of this. But this one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the reward of the upward calling of God in Messiah Yeshua.
Blessings. R. Michael.