3 For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
It is very natural to argue that prosperity is an evidence of Divine favour and adversity the reverse; but it is often far from correct. God does sometimes prosper the righteous, as in the case of Joseph in Egypt; and, in the final sense, there is nothing but prosperity in reserve for Joseph's class, and nothing but adversity and ruin for the accursed of God; but in the present provisional and preliminary state, trouble is more frequently the portion of the chosen of God than the reverse - the explanation being that trouble is a necessary part of the process by which they are developed for the endless ages of blessedness to come after.
...God knows when the good things are safe and when the evil things are needed; and the scriptural attitude is to accept, with a reverential submission, whatever comes; if good, with thanksgiving; if evil, with resignation. It would be altogether a mistake to assume that goodness only will be our lot, or that God regards us not if He suffer evil to happen.
Job is ever a helpful illustration on this point. A man of the thoroughly approved stamp, God overthrew him in all his affairs without letting him know that he was being subjected to a test. Job, while asserting his integrity, took it all in submission, on the ground that God was supreme and did as He willed, and that man, as a created being, had no room to murmur if evil, as well as good were his lot.
...Can we expect to be better off in these things than the servants of God who have gone before? And what is their history? One and all, they came through sore trouble. The Lord himself was the greatest sufferer of all, and is it not written, "We must suffer with him"? Nay, is it not the very characteristic of the great assembly of which we hope to form a part that they came out of "great tribulation"?
... We do not live in the days of their tribulation, but we must not marvel if we have our share, peculiar to our own times. It is a necessity if we are ever to be worth anything in the Master's service. What preparation is a bed of roses for the great muster of those who have been tried and purified and made white?
There is one form of suffering with Christ which is in every man's reach-nay, in his very bosom - who has the root of the matter within him. It is referred to in the very Psalm that tells that "the Lord God is a sun and a shield." It is expressed in these words:
"My soul longeth, yea even fainteth for the courts of the Lord. My heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God."
Bro Roberts - God a sun and shield
14 For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning.
15 If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children.
16 When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me;
17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.
So we must not say that because God is a sun and a shield to those who walk uprightly, nothing but prosperity will be their lot. True blessing may require them to be put through sharp adversity. Every case must be judged by its issue. A man flourishing in this life to the loss of life eternal, is not blessed.
If in order to guide a man into the kingdom of God a crooked path is needed, then God shows Himself a sun and shield in twisting his path for him: a sun in shining upon him unto life; a shield in fencing him from those circumstances that would be fatal to his steps.
This is a most important discrimination. Apart from it, many mistakes will be made...
It is very natural to argue that prosperity is an evidence of Divine favour and adversity the reverse; but it is often far from correct.
God does sometimes prosper the righteous, as in the case of Joseph in Egypt; and, in the final sense, there is nothing but prosperity in reserve for Joseph's class, and nothing but adversity and ruin for the accursed of God; but in the present provisional and preliminary state, trouble is more frequently the portion of the chosen of God than the reverse - the explanation being that trouble is a necessary part of the process by which they are developed for the endless ages of blessedness to come after.
Bro Roberts - God a Sun and Shield
24 Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.
But some will think,
"Surely there is more guidance than this. Surely God does not leave us to the Bible merely. Surely God is not indifferent to those who strive to know His will, and to realise its power in themselves, and to do it. Surely He helps them."
The thought is not unscriptural. On the contrary, it is the teaching of the word that if we draw nigh to God, He will draw nigh to us; that if we choose the things wherein He delights-and those things are all embodied in the Bible - He will have His eye upon us and regard our way; that if we commit our way to Him, He will direct our steps; that if we are broken and contrite in heart and tremble at His word, He will look to us and help our infirmities, and succour us in temptation, and supply our needs, and chasten us in our errors, and forgive our sins, and strengthen us in the way of righteousness, and make all things work together for our good.
But all this is dependent on our waiting on the word in daily reading and meditation. He hath magnified His word above all His name. He has appointed it as the means of our sanctification, the place of our meeting with Him. Honouring the word we honour Him. Despising the word we despise Him; and it is written,
"Them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed."
25 Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.
Have an intimate relationship with God. You will not then need anyone else. Other relationships and companionships -- based on, and in harmony with, that primary one -- are desirable and helpful and enjoyable, but not essential.
This one relationship is vital and indispensable. All others are secondary, and, if necessary, dispensable