Summary: God has something better in mind that what you are now experiencing
March 23, 2014
“And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.
35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.
39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised,40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.”
This Scripture is usually used when we teach about faith. It’s called the ‘faith chapter’. This morning I want to use it in a little different way. What intrigued me this week about this Scripture was the phrase “God had planned something better...”. Certainly these were great men and women of faith. They endured tremendous hardship. They suffered greatly. They sacrificed more than we can imagine. And they were commended for their faith. None of them received that which was promised them – yet they, by faith, lived and died believing in that promise. God planned something better for them and for us. It was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, our Savior. It will be consummated or completed when He returns for us, His beloved Body.
This morning I want us to think about that phrase, “God had planned something better for us” and use it in a little different context. I think it applies to each one of us in a personal way. This idea germinated with a remark Monica, my daughter, made to me this week. She had applied for a number of jobs and it was like God was shutting every door she tried. Then a door was opened she had never thought of. It was something she never pursued. It was something that someone came to her with. Something that she was really good at – numbers. So it seems she may start a bookkeeping business. And as she was sharing with me about those doors being closed she remarked, “God had something better in mind.”
I love that about God. He always has something better in mind for us. When I first came to the Lord fresh from an overseas tour in the army, beat up by life, suffering from low self-esteem and maybe struggling with an inferiority complex, God lead me to verse; a promise in the Bible. It was Psalm 113:7-8. It said,
“He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes, with the princes of his people.”
I think I first read it in the King James Version. It says,
“He raises up the poor out of the dust, and lifts the needy out of the dunghill;”
That verse more accurately depicted what I was feeling at that time. I was suffering from PTSD and feeling alone and reject by the world. I felt like I was thrown out on the dunghill or manure pile of life. But you know what? God had something better in mind. It wasn’t long before He called me to preach (which I agreed to reluctantly) and I went to college. It changed my life. Who would have thought that I would ever be the editor of the school paper, win a scholarship and serve on the student council? It was amazing! It was unbelievable! But that is the way God works.
As a pastor I have the privilege of getting to know people really well. I am confided in and let in on many people’s secrets. I have the honor of knowing many people’s past. Some of the most wonderful, most kind, most gentle people have not always been so. You might even be shocked at what some of those wonderful people did at one time. They might be shocked at what YOU did at one time.
The Bible says that we all fall short. We all sin. We all have been pretty despicable at times. It says,
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:3