“For it was of the LORD.” When things take a surprising turn in our lives.
Sometimes it sure seems like God is simply not doing anything, or doing enough (in our view), or anything powerful soon enough -- to make things right in our country, in our lives or in the church. Sometimes we’re tempted to shout out in despair, “Where ARE you, God, where are you when I need you?”
In this article I want to show that so often when we think God is doing nothing, he actually is doing a LOT behind the scenes, setting things up in a way for some incredible outcomes that we’ll see later.
Look at this example from the book of Joshua. God had decided that it was time to punish the Canaanites for their evils and to purge them from the land. He didn’t want them trying to negotiate with Joshua as the Gibeonites had done. Notice the wording:
Joshua 11:18-20 Joshua made war a long time with all those kings. 19 There was not a city that made peace with the children of Israel, except the Hivites, the inhabitants of Gibeon. All the others they took in battle. 20 For it was of YHVH to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that He might utterly destroy them, and that they might receive no mercy, but that He might destroy them, as YHVH had commanded Moses.
Sometimes we worry about all the “what if” questions – instead of praying that our God intervene and do what is best in his sight and to give us much more faith to trust him no matter what – no matter how bad, how painful or how difficult things might look for us.
Here’s another example. Samson had a problem with women.
Judges 14:1-5 “Now Samson went down to Timnah, and saw a woman in Timnah of the daughters of the Philistines. 2 So he went up and told his father and mother, saying, "I have seen a woman in Timnah of the daughters of the Philistines; now therefore, get her for me as a wife."
3 Then his father and mother said to him, "Is there no woman among the daughters of your brethren, or among all my people, that you must go and get a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?"
And Samson said to his father, "Get her for me, for she pleases me well."
4 But his father and mother did not know that it was of YHVH — that He was seeking an occasion to move against the Philistines. For at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel.
5 So Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother, and came to the vineyards of Timnah.”
On the surface, it looked terrible for Samson for the judge for that part of Israel at that time to be trying to marry a pagan Philistine woman. And don't ask me to explain beyond what we’re told here: IT WAS OF GOD. God put that into Samson’s mind to desire this pagan woman to start the ball rolling against the Philistines. What was going to transpire was well beyond their marriage. Please read the rest of the chapter.
Now couldn’t God have just ended the heart beats of a few thousand Philistines? Couldn’t He have worked through some other means? Yes – but this is what He chose, for all his own good reasons.
But my point is: something incomprehensible that was going on – was of God. It was HIS doing.
Here’s another one. Solomon had died, and now his young son Rehoboam was being unkind to lesser leaders in the nation of Israel. Again we read in the verse 15 below that Rehoboam’s actions and words were “from GOD”, to – once again – start the ball rolling into the division in Israel eventually forming the kingdom of Judah and the separate 10-tribe kingdom of Israel to the north.
2 Chronicles 10:13-15 Then the king (Rehoboam) answered them roughly. King Rehoboam rejected the advice of the elders, 14 and he spoke to them according to the advice of the young men, saying, "My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to it; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scourges!" 15 So the king did not listen to the people; for the turn of events was from God, that the LORD (YHVH) might fulfill His word, which He had spoken by the hand of Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.”
Here’s another example: You can read the entire book of Esther, and you’ll find that the word “God” or “the LORD” (Yehovah) is nowhere to be found. But don’t deduce from that that our God was not very active. He obviously was very active in the sequence of events to protect the lives of his people of Judah.
This final example I’ll use – and there are SO many we could use – is about a heavenly conference God had with his angels. It’s centered during the time of King Ahab of the kingdom of Israel and King Jehoshaphat, who was king of Judah. Ahab wanted to join forces with Israel’s army to go against a common foe – but the prophet Micaiah was not “cooperating” with what Ahab wanted to do. Here’s what we’re told:
1 Kings 22:18-23 And the king of Israel [Ahab] said to Jehoshaphat, "Did I not tell you he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?"
19 Then Micaiah said, "Therefore hear the word of YHVH: I saw YHVH sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by, on His right hand and on His left. 20 And YHVH said, 'Who will persuade Ahab to go up, that he may fall at Ramoth Gilead?' So one spoke in this manner, and another spoke in that manner. 21 Then a spirit came forward and stood before YHVH, and said, 'I will persuade him.' 22 YHVH said to him, 'In what way?' So he said, 'I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.' And YHVH said, 'You shall persuade him, and also prevail. Go out and do so.' 23 Therefore look! YHVH has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these prophets of yours, and YHVH has declared disaster against you."
So when things don't seem to add up, don’t seem to make sense, perhaps – just maybe – there’s much more going on than meets the eye. Maybe some things are “of God” to set up a chain-reaction of events that end up fulfilling his will.
We’ve been called to live by faith in Him (Romans 1:16-17), and this is especially true when our Father and Savior SEEM to be doing nothing, or moving too slowly for our preferences.
We just might see another example of “for it was of the Lord…” when we look back. This can be happening in our lives, or in our church, or in our nation or in world events between nations. When things just don’t add up, we think - - trust. Commit your frustration or worries to him and wait and see what He has in mind. Just trust him. Have peace in him.