The Gospel is simple and straightforward. Life isn’t! The Gospel says that Jesus Christ is God, that He died for our sins, was buried and rose again, and that if we will confess Him and accept Him into our lives as our LORD, that we will go to Heaven. Sounds pretty cut and dried, and it is. There are no curveballs there – just a fastball waist high and right over the middle of the plate. Life however, brings its sliders, change-ups, and curves. It’s not simple.
And there are times when we have to use the good sense that God (hopefully) gave us. My mother Gertrude used to observe that Peter (my big brother) and I “didn’t have the sense that God gave geese.” With that brief and concise statement, “Ma” insulted Pete, me, and all geese everywhere. I don’t know a lot about geese, and I don’t have the good sense to research them this morning, but she was probably right about me and Pete, at least about Pete. (Just joking, Pete!)
The Bible on several occasions tells us that “there is none good.” The verse we preachers invoke the most often is probably Romans 3:12 (KJV) “They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” And God is talking about us, not geese! If that weren’t enough, when a man called Jesus “good,” Jesus asked “….Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.” (Mark 10:18) Most of us understand this fairly well, but then, the Bible also states that “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.” Psalm 37:23. So, exactly whose steps are being ordered if there are, in fact, no good men? I place these seemingly contradictory statements in the category of Luke 14:26 “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” I say that this is a statement of relativity, telling us to put Christ first in our lives, even as we love others as the Bible teaches us to do.
Was Joseph, the son of Jacob, a good man? He might have appeared to his brothers a bit braggadocious, and maybe he should have been more discreet in the sharing of his dreams, but when I look at his life, his decisions, his posture of forgiveness toward his brethren, his care for his father, and his resistance to sin, I have to place him into the Psalm 37:23
category. Life is not simple! Joseph’s steps took him to Egypt in chains, into prison, subject to false accusation, and then to the very top of the leadership in the most powerful country, secular-wise, in the world at the time. His steps allowed him to feed and sustain the brothers who had betrayed him, and to provide for the father who loved him so. And God was ordering the steps! Joseph was a good man, but it was God who was ordering the steps that Joseph could not possibly have ordered himself. How many things had to go “right” for Joseph to ascend to the heights he did in Egypt? How could Joseph interpret the dreams that were to be the vehicle that brought him into the presence of Pharaoh, apart from the power of God? The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and while I feel positive that Joseph had talents galore, and that his character was a major factor in his successes wherever he went, God was still the key ingredient in the equation. Joseph was a good man, God is good, and God had a master plan for Joseph. There were times when the plan seemed like a nightmare in complete opposition to the lofty dreams Joseph experienced as a young man. But then, God ordered up quite a life for Joseph. Zechariah 4:6 “Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.”
The Gospel is simple, but the road of life is anything but! However, we know where the road leads for the Christian! It leads to a mansion in Heaven, prepared for us by the LORD Jesus Christ. He’s ordering the steps for us, and we can’t miss! The nightmares that we experience in the midnights of this life will soon give way to us awakening in the morning to
our sweet dreams in the presence of God!
Love and Prayers to you all,