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  • Writer's pictureElias Paulino

Four Lessons from the Old Testament: Part Three



"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." - Romans 8:28 (NKJV)

The Bible is a compilation of sixty-six ancient books that covers around 4,000 years of recorded history, and is divided into two categories; Old and New Testament. Very recently, but after many years of failing to read the Old Testament fully, I can finally say that I have, and what a fascinating experience it has been. I personally love the Old Testament. This entire section of the Bible, which has 39 books, its filled with so many stories of ordinary men and women that through their faith and obedience to God, shaped history, challenged kingdoms, performed miracles and wonders, and even set standards and practices that still influence our lives and world today. Through this blog, I'll like to share the four lessons that I learned from reading the entire Old Testament (OT) that really touched my heart and helped me develop a broader understanding of who God is. These lessons are as true and as practical today, as when they took place hundreds and thousands of years ago. If you take these lessons, meditate on them, ponder on how they can affect and influence your life today, you too will find the hidden treasures that they hold.



Lesson #3: God uses adversity for His purposes


Many years ago, I heard a super successful motivational speaker say, "Life doesn't happen to you, [life] happens for you," and this has to be one of the most important truths about life. How exactly did he reached this conclusion? I do not know, but the important thing for me is, that this is a central theme of the Old Testament, and man how I loved discovering this on the Word! Thinking back in retrospect, I can clearly see how God in every story used the most difficult of situations to do two things: reveal himself and his power, and establish his purposes. I remember one day listening to one of my favorite preachers—Dr. Myles Munroe—say, "If I had to write the Bible, I would of written only 20% of it because the other 80% is just problems!" Hahaha. That's precisely why I find it so fascinating! And after reading it, I can so much delight myself on this beautiful revelation about God; God always uses adversity for His purposes! You see, "You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail"(1). God's purposes are eternal and his purposes will always prevail(1) against all odds! Do you know what the word "prevail" means? Prevail means "to prove more powerful against [any] opposing forces." To prevail is not just to win, is to prove that you are more powerful that your opponent. God is allowing the opposition to prove that he is simply more powerful. God's purpose over your life WILL PREVAIL against any opposing forces! You must believe this truth about God! Other words for prevail are, "to win through, to triumph, to be victorious, to succeed, to conquer, to overcome, to reign, to rule." God's purposes will prevail! Wow! What God is telling you right this moment is that he is forcing a win in your favor, against your own plans and against any opposition. Nothing is a surprise to God. God is the greatest mathematician, creator and orchestrator of life! God always uses every adversity, every setback, every opposition, every tribulation, I mean everything negative in life to establish and enthrone his kingdom, his love, his kindness, his goodness, his will, his purposes! Nothing escapes him! Nothing is a coincidence in God. Every breath, every word, every touch, every blink of an eye, every action, every circumstance, every situation that God allows in your life, everything has been strategically orchestrated and purposefully organized. Your life is a result of perfect planning and thoughtful thinking.


"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."(2) God is a masterful thinker, planner, and organizer. He is using all things—whatever is troubling you, causing pain, suffering or confusion—to establish his purposes over your life. Ask Ruth, or Joseph, or Mordecai. Ruth's husband die unexpectantly and this forces her to travel to a foreign country to work in order to take care of her mother-in-law, Naomi, and herself. In the midst of her mourning, God used this situation to strategically set a date with destiny between Ruth and Boaz, who eventually married and this marriage changed the legacy of Ruth forever. She became the great-grandmother of king David and later on formed part of Jesus' lineage—and she was not a Jew or Hebrew! Had she stayed mourning her first husband, and she would of never be part of history. Joseph; sold as a slave at the age of seventeen by his own brothers! Little did they know that "God was with Joseph"(3) even in this evil plan of theirs, and that God strategically allowed this plan to take its course to get Joseph into Egypt to make him the ruler of the land(4)—and he wasn't even Egyptian! Have you ever seen a non-citizen of a country became its president, prime minister or ruler? Imagine your country being ran by a foreigner, impossible right? Yet that was exactly what God did with Joseph! What about Mordecai's victory over Haman? Mordecai was a Jew who lived in Persia that helped stop an assassination against the Persian king Xerxes. This act of bravery made Mordecai earn grace over the king's eyes, but jealously over the king's prime minister, Haman. Haman because of his jealously against Mordecai, passed a law to kill all the Jews in Persia and specifically to Mordecai, he had a gallows built to have Mordecai hang at daylight. Eventually, God intervened, and the same gallows that Haman had built to hang Mordecai was used to hanged him instead. This story is the perfect application of Isaiah 54:17 where God promises that "no weapon formed against you shall prosper." God allowed Mordecai's enemy to form a weapon against him, but it did not prosper! On the contrary, God simply allowed his enemy to successfully create the weapon because it was going to be the weapon He would use to destroy him. What a God!


It is safe to safe that by now you get the point, right?! Lol. God always uses adversity to establish His purposes! My hope is that after reading this blog, your confidence to trust and rely on Him grows. It's much easier to trust and rely on God when you truly understand who He is, but better yet, when you understand how He works. When you understand that everything is happening strategically according to His purposes or that He takes everything in your life and turns it into something beneficial for you, then is "logical" to rely and trust in Him. As I said on Part Two of this blog series, "faith is always rooted in his Word, and faith grows based on what you believe and know about Him and the best way to know God is by knowing his Word."

 

References:

(1) Proverbs 19:21 (NLT)

(2) Romans 8:28 (NKJV)

(3) Genesis 39:2 (NKJV)

(4) Genesis 41: 40-41 (NKJV)

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