Today: Psalms 105:23-36; 2 Corinthians 7:2-16; Isaiah 5:8-30; Isaiah 6 & 7; Isaiah 8:1-10

Psalm 105

I often hear people say that God sometimes ALLOWS bad things to happen to us, but He never CAUSES them to happen. I have said this same thing many times myself.

But I’m becoming more and more convinced that this is not the case. Over and over again we are told in the Old Testament that God CAUSED bad things to happen. God Himself hardened people’s hearts.

We see this again in Psalm 105. First God blessed the Israelites. But then God “made [their foe’s] hearts to hate His people, to conspire against His servants.” (v.25)

Why would God do such a thing?

One thing God does NOT do is to force us to worship Him. But He does work out such ‘bad’ situations to turn our hearts toward Him and to demonstrate His power to us.

In the case of Moses, we are told that God intentionally hardened Pharoah’s heart so that He might perform all the miraculous plagues. These were signs of His existence and power not only to the Israelites but also to the Egyptians.

God is orchestrating a similar situation RIGHT NOW. We can see how He has hardened people’s hearts, stopped up their ears and closed their eyes all over the world. He is putting all the pieces into place for another magnificent and terrible demonstration of His power. He is bringing about great revival and also great turmoil because they always arrive together…

2 Corinthians 7

“…your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended…. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” 2 Corinthians 7:9-10

Much of our contemporary church has bought into the lie of our current culture that easy, trouble-free lives are the worthiest goal. The dream of a family in a house with a white picket fence has been replaced by a lazyboy recliner and endless hours of tv and video games.

So is that really a worthy goal? Look around at our broken, sick, shallow, fearful population for your answer. Lives of sloth and ease are NOT the answer to happiness afterall…

Paul says that sorrow can be either Godly sorrow, which brings repentance, or worldly sorrow, which brings death. One thing is certain, in this life we will have sorrow. Everyone, Christian and non-Christian alike, WILL experience hardships that bring sorrow.

WE determine whether our sorrows will be Godly or worldly. Will we cry out to God in our sorrows and draw near to Him for comfort and guidance? Or will we become bitter and angry at Him? Bitterness does indeed lead to death because it pulls the bearer away from God. Bitterness unchecked long enough always leads to loss of faith…