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Discussion Forum : Articles and Sermons : The Kindness of God by Zac Poonen

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 The Kindness of God by Zac Poonen

In the story of Job, we see how God brought him to rock bottom by allowing him to lose his property, his children, and his health. In a sense he even lost his wife (who nagged him constantly) and his three good friends (who misunderstood him and criticized him). His friends turned out to be self-righteous preachers who took delight in "kicking him when he was down". They kept on "kicking" him, until God in His mercy put an end to it. In the midst of all these pressures, Job justified himself repeatedly. When the Lord finally spoke to him, Job saw the corruption of his self-righteousness - and he repented. He was a righteous man. That was good. But he was proud of his righteousness. That was bad. But after God dealt with him, he was a broken man. From then on, he would glory only in God. Thus God's purpose for Job was accomplished.

When Job was broken, notice what he said to God, "Up until now, I had only heard about you from all these preachers. But now I see you face to face"(Job 42:5). He saw the face of God and his life was preserved. And what was the result? He repented in dust and ashes (v.6). What those four preachers could not accomplish even after days of preaching, God accomplished in Job, in a moment, by a revelation of His kindness. It was God's kindness that broke Job and led him to repentance.

Most of us hear about God from preachers in the meetings. What we need is a face-to-face encounter with God, where we see His kindness toward us and are broken by it. That's what happened to Peter too. Do you remember what was the very next thing that happened after Peter had denied the Lord and the cock had crowed twice? He saw the Lord's face. Peter had his Peniel too! We read that "the Lord turned and looked at Peter" (Luke 22:61). And what was the result: "Peter went out and wept bitterly" (v.62). That look of kindness and forgiveness from Jesus broke that rugged fisherman's heart. Under the old covenant, God had promised health, wealth and many material blessings to Israel. But there was one blessing which was the greatest of them all - the one described in Numbers 6:22 to 26. There we read that Aaron was commanded to bless the people thus: "May the Lord make His face to shine on you. May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace".

Isn't it a pity that many believers today seek for the inferior blessings of health and wealth (which unbelievers also get without prayer) and for emotional experiences (many of which are spurious) - instead of seeking for the greatest blessing of all that can transform their lives totally - a face to face encounter with God? Even if we never become rich, and are never healed, if we see the Lord's face, that will meet all our needs.

Job had boils all over his body when he met with God, but he didn't ask God for healing. He said, "I have seen the Lord's face and that's enough for me.” The three preachers who pretended to have "discernment" and "a word from God" had told Job that he was being punished for some secret sins in his life. There are self-appointed prophets like that today too with their false "Thus saith the Lord" messages, who bring God's people under condemnation. But God didn't threaten Job with judgment like those three preachers did.

God didn't talk to Job about his failures or even remind him of the complaints he had made (against God) when he was under pressure. God just revealed His kindness to Job - His kindness seen in the beautiful universe He had created for man's enjoyment and in the animals He had created to be subject to man. It was that revelation of God's kindness that led Job to repentance. Many take advantage of God's kindness and abuse it. But with Job, it led him to repentance. And then the Lord blessed Job with double of what he had in the beginning.

The final purpose of God in breaking us is to bless us abundantly - as we read in James 5:11. The goal that the Lord had in mind for Job was to shatter his self- righteousness and his pride and make him a broken man - so that the Lord could show him His face and bless him abundantly. Even the material and physical blessings that God gives us can ruin us by driving us away from Him, if we do not see His face behind them all. How many believers there are today, who have drifted away from God through material prosperity.

One vision of the Lord's face can deliver us from longing after all that this world can offer.


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 2021/11/19 17:49Profile





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