God also decided ahead of time to choose us through Christ according to his plan, which makes everything work the way he intends.
BEWARE OF THE PHILOSOPHY that leads people to say, “What can I do? What’s the use of praying? What good is it to worry? If it’s predestined, it must happen.” Yes, it’s true that what is predestined will happen. However, we aren’t commanded to know what is predestined. In fact, we are forbidden to know it. We test God when we delve into unknowable matters. God has given Scripture to us so that we can know what we should and shouldn’t do. He expects us to act on this knowledge. What we cannot know, we should leave to God. We should stick to our responsibilities, vocation, and position in life. God and God alone knows what is predestined. You aren’t supposed to know.
Take for example the time when Joab was being attacked both in front and from behind by his enemies. He didn’t say to his brother Abishai, “Wait, let’s see what is predestined, and then we will act accordingly.” Rather he said, “If the Arameans are too strong for my troops, be ready to help me. And if the Ammonites are too strong for your troops, I’ll come to help you. Be strong! Let’s prove ourselves strong for our people and for the cities of our God, and the LORD will do what he considers right” (2 Samuel 10:11-12).
So we should also concentrate on our duties, not whether or not something is predestined. Because we have no word or light from God on that matter, we don’t know anything about it. Therefore, we should put the thought of trying to find out whether something is predestined or not out of our mind and heart. Let the future remain in darkness. Let it stay secret and hidden. In the meantime, we should do what we know we ought to. We should live by God’s Word and the light he has given to us.
Then Abraham returned to his servants, and together they left for Beersheba. Abraham remained in Beersheba.
ABRAHAM LEFT MOUNT MORIAH. This was the mountain where he had been asked to sacrifice Isaac – where he had heard the voice of the angel and experienced God’s presence. This place was a holy mountain – a place unlike any other in the whole world. It was where Abraham had received God’s promise and pledge.
This story shows how highly Abraham regarded his duty toward his family and his God-given responsibilities as head of the household. Since God gave him no further commands, he didn’t start doing anything differently after this experience. Instead, he returned to his familiar household activities – overseeing his servants and guiding his wife and family. His life didn’t appear to be especially religious or spiritual. Abraham left all that on Mount Moriah. He didn’t even let the fact that he had seen angels on the mountain hold him there. He went back to the young men watching his donkey.
If certain overly religious people were to comment on this passage, they would question Abraham’s piety and condemn him for leaving the mountain. They would think that if Abraham really were such an outstanding example for later generations, then he wouldn’t have left that holy place. After all, that is where Abraham had met God and his angels. How could he return to his donkey and go back to his everyday work? What kind of piety is that? It’s remarkable how much certain religious people despise honest work and everyday chores.
Keep your mind clear, and be alert. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion as he looks for someone to devour.
1 PETER 5:8
PETER GIVES US A WARNING and wants us to open our eyes. This is a verse worth writing in gold letters. Here you see what life is really like. It’s almost enough to make us wish we were dead. We’re living here on the devil’s turf. Our situation is similar to a traveler who stays at an inn where he finds out that everyone in the place is a robber. If he had to stay there, he would arm himself in the best possible way and probably wouldn’t get much sleep. In the same way, we now live on this earth, where the evil spirit is the prince. He controls the hearts of the people under his power, and he does whatever he wants through them. This is a horrible situation if viewed correctly.
So Peter warns us to be alert. He wants us to be like a faithful servant who is aware of what is really happening. Therefore, he says, “Keep your mind clear.” For those who eat and drink too much are like stuffed pigs that are good for nothing. Therefore, we must keep this treasure with us at all times. “Be alert,” he says, not only spiritually, but physically. For a lazy person who likes to sleep won’t be able to resist the devil after he has gorged himself and drunk his fill. After all, it’s hard enough for those who have faith and the Spirit to resist the devil.
No one can serve two masters. He will hate the first master and love the second, or he will be devoted to the first and despise the second. You cannot serve God and wealth.
THE LITTLE WORD serve is key to this verse. It isn’t sinful to have money and property, a spouse and children, and a house or home. But don’t let these possessions control you. Rather, make them your servants and be their master.
Remember what people say about a kind and generous individual, “He is master of his money.” Money doesn’t control him, unlike a greedy miser who ignores God’s Word and everything else God wants. A miser would rather withhold a helping hand than let go of his money. This kind of greed is the mark of a tight-fisted, childish, and insensitive individual. That type of person doesn’t put his resources to good use or even enjoy them. He ignores eternal treasures for the sake of money. He pursues his own selfish goals and neglects God’s Word, thinking he can get around to it at a more convenient time. Meanwhile, he scrambles to get everything he can, without a penny to spare for the work of God. If left unchecked, he will sink deeper and deeper into greed and jealousy, moving further and further away from God’s Word. Eventually, his heart will be filled with cynicism, and he will become an enemy of God.
So, Christ spoke sternly when he said, “He will hate the first master and love the second, or he will be devoted to the first and despise the second.” This is the same as saying, “The love of money makes people enemies of God.” That’s ultimately what happens when we serve wealth. Christ also said, “Your heart will be where your treasure is” (Matthew 6:21). We pursue what we love. We talk about it because that is where our heart and thoughts are. Augustine came right to the point when he said: “Whatever I love is my god.”