Tag Archives: suffering

But I will not answer and they will not find me | P1-V28

Wisdom Warns 

Proverbs 1; I die daily devotional.

28 “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently but they will not find me, 


Jesus tells us about a poor man named Lazarus who was laid at a rich man’s gate, and when both these men died, Lazarus was carried by angels whereas the rich man was buried. Lazarus experienced a place of peace and comfort whereas the rich man… Luke 16:23 In Hades lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and *saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom.  24  And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’

NOT ANSWER

However, the request of the rich man from Hades could not be met. The justice of God has fixed a 26 …great chasm, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.’ And so the rich man understanding the truth of his life and the nature of his situation makes another request to father Abraham for Lazarus. 27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ The rich man knew, that hearing Moses and the Prophets would not persuade his brothers’ belief of that place so, he begged, …if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ But father Abraham, knowing that the law of Moses and the Word of the Prophets are in fact Jesus Himself—descended from the throne of Heaven born in the flesh of mankind as the only offering qualified to convince the world—would not be enough for those brothers. ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’”

  • Have I heard Moses and the Prophets?
  • What do Moses and the Prophets say?
  • Is Jesus the Word of God come in the flesh?
  • How do I resemble the rich man?
  • What does it mean to be Lazarus?

RECOURCE

Proverbs 1 (NASB)—blueletterbible.org
1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel: 2 To know wisdom and instruction, To discern the sayings of understanding, 3 To receive instruction in wise behavior, Righteousness, justice and equity; To give prudence to the naïve, To the youth knowledge and discretion, 5 A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel, 6 To understand a proverb and a figure, The words of the wise and their riddles. 7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.  8 Hear, my son, your father’s instruction And do not forsake your mother’s teaching; 9 Indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head And ornaments about your neck. 10 My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent. 11 If they say, “Come with us, Let us lie in wait for blood, Let us ambush the innocent without cause; 12 Let us swallow them alive like Sheol, Even whole, as those who go down to the pit; 13 We will find all kinds of precious wealth, We will fill our houses with spoil; 14 Throw in your lot with us, We shall all have one purse,” 15 My son, do not walk in the way with them. Keep your feet from their path, 16 For their feet run to evil And they hasten to shed blood. 17 Indeed, it is useless to spread the baited net In the sight of any bird; 18 But they lie in wait for their own blood; They ambush their own lives. 19 So are the ways of everyone who gains by violence; It takes away the life of its possessors. Wisdom Warns 20 Wisdom shouts in the street, She lifts her voice in the square; 21 At the head of the noisy streets she cries out; At the entrance of the gates in the city she utters her sayings: 22 “How long, O naïve ones, will you love being simple-minded? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing And fools hate knowledge? 23  “Turn to my reproof, Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you. 24 “Because I called and you refused, I stretched out my hand and no one paid attention; 25 And you neglected all my counsel And did not want my reproof; 26 I will also laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your dread comes, 27 When your dread comes like a storm And your calamity comes like a whirlwind, When distress and anguish come upon you. 28 “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently but they will not find me, 29 Because they hated knowledge And did not choose the fear of the LORD. 30 “They would not accept my counsel, They spurned all my reproof. 31 “So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way And be satiated with their own devices. 32 “For the waywardness of the naïve will kill them, And the complacency of fools will destroy them. 33 “But he who listens to me shall live securely And will be at ease from the dread of evil.”


COMMENTARY

Matthew Henry (P1-V28) Commentary

  • [2.] Now God pities their folly, but he will then laugh at their calamity (v. 26): “I also will laugh at your distress, even as you laughed at my counsel.’ Those that ridicule religion will thereby but make themselves ridiculous before all the world. The righteous will laugh at them (Ps. 52:6), for God himself will. It intimates that they shall be for ever shut out of God’s compassions; they have so long sinned against mercy that they have now quite sinned it away. His eye shall not spare, neither will he have pity. Nay, his justice being glorified in their ruin, he will be pleased with it, though now he would rather they should turn and live. Ah! I will ease me of my adversaries.
  • [3.] Now God is ready to hear their prayers and to meet them with mercy, if they would but seek to him for it; but then the door will be shut, and they shall cry in vain (v. 28): “Then shall they call upon me when it is too late, Lord, Lord, open to us. They would then gladly be beholden to that mercy which now they reject and make light of; but I will not answer, because, when I called, they would not answer;’ all the answer then will be, Depart from me, I know you not. This has been the case of some even in this life, as of Saul, whom God answered not by Urim or prophets; but, ordinarily, while there is life there is room for prayer and hope of speeding, and therefore this must refer to the inexorable justice of the last judgment. Then those that slighted God will seek him early (that is, earnestly), but in vain; they shall not find him, because they sought him not when he might be found, Isa. 55:6. The rich man in hell begged, but was denied.

How Can A Good God Allow Suffering?

A good God can allow suffering because He is merciful. Let me explain.

IT GETS HARDER

The sixth and final question asked of the group brings up the problem of evil, but the original query that was asked was even tougher because it removed a core argument from the debate – freewill. So here is the full question that I will answer.

How can a good God allow suffering? Freewill seems just like an excuse.

I found this question to be quite difficult. I think the removal of freewill is the cause of my challenge in finding a complete answer. Freewill is not just an excuse. It is an essential piece to the human story. It is an essential piece to any love story. How can one love without choice? Does a wife love her husband because she can do nothing but love him? The question doesn’t even make sense. Love falls apart without freewill.

I digress.

Below are 7 statements backed by scripture to help understand the problem of suffering, doing my best not to harp on freewill. I prayed this would be God breathed and I pray now that this would be helpful to you.

1. Justice for all means extinction

If God were to end all suffering right now by bringing justice to the guilty everyone would be dead (Isaiah 64:6, Romans 3:23, Romans 6;23). Suffering is the result of sin. Sin is done by sinners. We are all sinners. Therefore in order to get rid of suffering you must get rid of the sinner, and that would mean no one could be allowed to exist. The problem isn’t just some evil force working to do harm to all people. The problem is us.

2. God is merciful

God does not bring swift judgement to end all humanity (and all suffering) immediately because He loves us and is merciful (Psalm 86:5, Luke 6:36). 2 Peter 3:9 says “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” God has not judged us yet because he wants everyone to be saved.

3. God did not design a world with suffering.

In the beginning God created good. We see that over and over again in Chapter 1 of Genesis (Genesis 1:10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31). In Chapter 2 we even see that the relationship between man and woman is in good standing (Genesis 2:25). God did not design a world of suffering. This planet and its current affairs are not what He wanted for us.

4. Suffering is the result of human decision(s)

Genesis 3 lays out how what humans did to bring suffering into the world. They desired to be God, and they took action to achieve that goal in direct disobedience to God’s rule. Adam and Eve started a terrible tradition where men continue to try and replace God. This is the beginning of suffering. Elevating our thoughts, ideas, or desires above other’s wants and needs produces suffering. Our decision to lie at work hurts our employer and our customer. Having sex with a previous lover introduces possible insecurities in our next partner. Our rude, flippant remark at someone’s elementary mistake can scar an individual for a lifetime. We are the vicim and perpetrator of suffering.

5. God suffers with us

We are not alone in our suffering. God has done something really, really profound. He has chosen to suffer with us. In Mark 14:31 – 15:41 we witness God in human form (Jesus) experience dread, close friends unable to be there for Him in his time of need, betrayal, injustice, false accusations, disownment by a close friend, being mocked, torture, disgrace, public shame, and asphyxiation. Our God knows our suffering. He knows it intimately.

I’m not sure we understand the complete absurdity of this. God actually has experienced our suffering. It would be like if we were to go and experience the troubles of a worm. The individual worm’s suffering has no bearing on our life. There is no need for it. It makes no sense.

Unless there is love.

6. Suffering is not without purpose

A lot of us ask the question ‘why there is suffering in the world,’ but I think a more relevant and impactful question is ‘why do I suffer?’ The Bible tells us that our suffering has purpose (John 9:1-3, 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10; Luke 14:13-14; Acts 20:35).

This too is also quite profound. There must be suffering in this world because sin exists, but there does’t have to be purpose behind it. The purpose of suffering is a grace God has given to us in the midst of pain. He has found a way to make evil result in good.

7. God has taken action

When people say God has done nothing to combat evil and suffering that is a lie. God has done something and will do more.

He has always been a God of mercy and action. Even after the first sin God made clothes for Adam and Eve to help them cover their shame. He sent his only son to take our punishment for our sins so we can have peace and eternal life (John 3:16).

Finally, Jesus is coming back and His new kingdom is going to be epic. There will be no tears, pain, or death (Revelation 21:4). This world and its ways will pass away, and thank God!

Conclusion

The problem of evil and suffering is a very culturally relevant issue. I heard Neil DeGrasse Tyson give suffering and evil as the reason he does not believe in a good, all powerful God. He did not say because there was a lack of evidence. He didn’t say it was impossible. He said because there is evil and suffering. That reason does not stand, and we have an answer for it.

Please remember that just because we are people of faith does not mean that we are people without reason. Our God made the rules of this universe and any honest science will not disprove Him.

~ Daniel F. Grey

MORE ANSWERING HARD QUESTIONS
Is My Unbelieving Loved One In Hell?
Can Someone Embrace Homosexuality And Still Be Saved?
How Do You Admonish Someone Who Is Not A Believer?
How Do You Direct A Stranger Who Wants To Take The Next Step As A Believer?
Why Do Christians Obey Some OT Laws & Ignore Others?

SOURCES

Bible Gateway
CBS Sunday Morning

OUTLINE

How can a good God allow suffering? Freewill seems just like an excuse.

I found this question to be quite difficult and I still don’t think I am satisfied with the answer I prepared below. I think the removal of freewill is the cause of my difficulty in this. It is not just an excuse. It is an essential piece to the human story. It is an essential piece to any love story. How can one love without choice? Does a wife love her husband because she can do nothing, but love him? The question doesn’t even make sense. Love falls apart without freewill. Anyways below is 7 statements backed by scripture to help understand the problem of suffering, doing my best not to harp on freewill. I prayed this would be God breathed and I pray now that this would be helpful to you.

  1. If God were to end all suffering right now by bringing justice to the guilty everyone would be dead. Romans 3:23; Isaiah 64:5-6; Romans 6:23
  2. God does not do this (point 1) because he loves us and is full of mercy. 2 Peter 3:9; Luke 6:36; Psalm 86:5
  3. Our God did not design a world with suffering. Genesis 1:10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31; 2:25
  4. Suffering is the result of human decision(s). Genesis 3
  5. Our God did not leave us to suffer alone; he experienced it too. In Mark 14:32 – 15:41 we see God go through dread, close fries unable to be there for Him in his time of need, betrayal, injustice, false accusations, disownment by a close friend, being mocked, torture, disgrace, public shaming, asphyxiation
  6. Suffering is not without purpose. John 9:1-3; 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10; Luke 14:13-14; Acts 20:35
  7. Our God does not just sit back and allow suffering. God DID/WILL DO something to eliminate suffering. John 3:16; Revelation 21:4