I have had those moments when I have viewed an incredible rainbow

or a stunning sunset; I have been overwhelmed by music or in awe of the

fantastic colors of a damselfish.

 

And you know what I DID NOT ask? “Who did this?”

 

“Who’s responsible?”

 

I’m guessing you never have either.

 

I am sure you never said that we have this Enemy who is working overtime to paint the rainbow; you never once thought that it was the Devil who composed that piece which moved you to tears. Have you ever seen a healthy, happy person, and blamed Satan?

 

Such actions are absurd. And we know it. Yet…

 

We have already talked about the damage done by the INCORRECT use of the phrase “the will of God.”

When there is an earthquake, tornado, or hurricane, insurance may call it an  “Act of God.” But it is not.

 

When a child dies, someone may say, “It is the will of God.” But it is not.

 

War, famine, illness, and evil may strike, and some will lay the responsibility at God’s feet with the words “Thy will be done.”

 

But, those are not, never have been, and never will be God’s will.

 

So, what IS the will of God?

 

How do we make sense of the confusing, painful reality we so often see?

 

Let’s turn to the oldest story of all, in the most ancient of times, about the One who is the Ancient of Days…

 

 

Gen 1: 31 God saw all that he had made, and it was VERY (my emphasis) good. And there was evening, and there was morning —the sixth day. 

 

2 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. 

 

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. 

 

Chapter 1 describes the work of God creating the world with the same evaluation, over and over again until it gets to verse 31: Good…good…good…VERY good.

In other words, it is completely perfect.

Perfect in purpose & beauty.

There is no evil in God’s creation.

On top of all that, the Sabbath is given as a gift so we do not experience exhaustion, toil, drudgery.

God wants to ensure that we have times of refreshing for body and soul.

We need time with God as well as time away from work.

 

 

Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 

 

10 A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. 

 

 

God builds a park (In ancient times, great Kings created great parks).

This one was pleasing to eye; and it was good for food.

God waters his park with a river (Rivers were the basis for all life in the ancient mid-East).

Here is a gift to Humanity from caring, providing God.

 

 

15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of EDEN (which can mean BLISS in Hebrew) to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 BUT (CUE ominous music) you must not eat from the tree (music grows LOUDER) of the knowledge of good and evil (and louder), for when you eat from it (almost deafening) you will certainly die.” 

 

BLISS is a synonym for Paradise.

God gives meaningful work (and, no, that is not a 4-letter word.

If so, either you are doing it wrong; or you are doing the wrong thing;

Or, you still live in a fallen world.)

 

 

 

If we are not careful, it is so easy to miss the point.

It is subtle. But, here it is:

 

God saw ALL that he had made, and it was VERY GOOD.

It was “completely perfect” (in purpose and form)

The whole of creation was beautiful and fruitful.

The Garden is a park.

It is lush, verdant, laden with fruit.

The grass is manicured, the trees are trimmed and nourished.

 

Dr. Leslie Weatherhead, in his book The Will of God calls it the INTENTIONAL or ideal will of God.

 

One more time: “God saw ALL that he had made, and it was VERY GOOD.”

 

Show me anywhere here where God creates anything less than good!

(Go ahead, I’m waiting. I’m even looking at my watch.)

 

That is, I believe, the point.

 

Reserve the phrase ‘willof God’ for 2 young people declaring their intent to marry.

 

Let’s talk about the will of God when people are in good health, or have significant work.

 

The Will of God is laughter and song, poem and music, art, and beauty and color.

 

But, to talk about ‘the will of God’ as anything other is to take God’s name in vain.

 

(In the King James Version, it reads “to take 0’s name in vain.”

The New International Version translates it as “misuse.”)

We misuse God’s name when we blame God for evil, suffering, the  brokenness of our world.

 

When we look at the story, we know that something goes terribly wrong.

We will talk about that in the next post.

 

But, not now. Not here in the original moments in the story.

 

Here: God saw ALL that he had made and it was VERY GOOD.

The Creator-God of the Bible: creates beauty, wonder, and variety.

God is the author not of death, but life;

Not of brokenness, but wholeness;

Not of evil, but good.

 

I hope that we would never again blame God for evil, suffering, brokenness.

 

Could we, instead, think right about the God of Creation?

Could we understand correctly what God does?

Could we be clear about exactly who God is?

If so, we would not misunderstand as has so often been the case….

 

One Sunday, the Reverend Luke Wiseman, 86, preached twice, then went home. He sat down by the fireplace, fell asleep, and woke up in Heaven.

I would argue that that’s the will of God.

That’s the way it is designed to be.

That is God’s intention, ideal, plan.

Beauty in this life, glory in Heaven, peace on Earth.

Poem and song, art and music, humble service and lovely lives.

Happy homes, and healthy bodies, and meaningful work.

 

Maybe Paul put it best when he wrote:

 

Philippians 4:Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Next post: The ominous music in the background builds…

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