Grace

Grace from the root word as chara “joy” and charo, “to rejoice.”   It is the word for God’s grace as He extended it to sinful man, signifying unmerited favor, undeserved blessings, a free gift.

It also means to become amenable to someone.

Synonymous with grace is mercy and peace.

Zechariah 12:10 states, in part, “I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace…

All His gifts are spiritual, simply because He is, himself, a divine spirit.  I reviewed three separate individuals to reflect God’s pouring of His unmerited and merited grace to accomplish His purposes:  Nebuchadnezzar, Job, and Jesus.

Nebuchadnezzar:

King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, a ruthless pagan worshipper, captured Jerusalem from King Jehoiachin, who did evil in the sight of the Lord.  (2 Kings 24:8)   Nebuchadnezzar also did evil in the site of the Lord.  He persecuted the  Israelites, and the prophet Jeremiah, because Jeremiah was directed by God to reveal the word of the Lord contrary to King Nebuchadnezzar’s activities.

King Nebuchadnezzar’s primary offense to the Lord was his pilfering from the holy temple and carrying them to Babylon, “And he carried out from there all the treasures of the house of the Lord and the treasures of the king’s house, and he cut in pieces all the articles of gold which Solomon, King of Israel had made in the temple of the Lord, as the Lord had said.” (2 Kings 13)

King Nebuchadnezzar continued his rampage of violence in the nation of Israel.  However, I make note that God did appoint King Nebuchadnezzar to rule and reign to accomplish His own purposes:  “8 And it shall be, that the nation and kingdom which will not serve Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, and which will not put its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, that nation I will punish,’ says the LORD, ‘with the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, until I have consumed them by his hand. (Jeremiah 27:8)

Even though God allowed King Nebuchadnezzar to rule and yoke the Israelites, He also prophesied a reversal:   11 And Hananiah spoke in the presence of all the people, saying, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Even so I will break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon from the neck of all nations within the space of two full years.’” And the prophet Jeremiah went his way. (Jeremiah 28:11)

In his second year of his reign Nebuchadnezzar had a doom type of dream.  This is the king that sent Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into a fiery furnace for worshipping the Lord God. In fact the king saw four figures instead of the three he had ordered into the furnace.  As a result, King Nebuchadnezzar, ordered their release, bowed down, and blessed the Lord God.  No sooner than he did so, that “31 While the word was still in the king’s mouth, a voice fell from heaven: “King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you!” (Daniel 4:31)

33 That very hour the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar; he was driven from men and ate grass like oxen; his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws. (Daniel 4:33)

34 And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever:  (Daniel 4:34).

It’s believed that King Nebuchadnezzar lasted in his crazed condition seven (7) years.  In His mercy and compassion, the Lord God extended His grace over a sinful King and restored “understanding”.

Job: 

1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil. (Job 1:1)

So why does someone who is blameless and upright and who fears the Lord need the spirit of grace invoked into his life?

Apparently Satan wants to sift Job (to test his loyalty and faith in God) in fact, Satan goes to God’s throne twice to obtain God’s approval to affect Job.

On the first trip, satan strips Job of his family and on the 2nd trip, satan strips Job of his health:

6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. 7 And the LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?”
So Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.”
8 Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”
9 So Satan answered the LORD and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? 10 Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!”
12 And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.
So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD. (Job 1:6-12)

Job has been faithful to God, but now everything he has is about to be stripped from him, his family with the exception of his wife who tells him to curse God, his possessions,  his friends, his dignity, his health, and yes, everything is taken from him (to accomplish God’s purpose).

His tears of anguish is overwhelming.  His body is stricken with disease and from its description, in my opinion, it sounds like elephantitis.  He cries out “my flesh is caked with worms and dust.  My skin is cracked and breaks out afresh” (Job 7:5) “I will speak in the anguish of my spirit.”

“I have sewn sackcloth over my skin and laid my head in the dust, my face is flushed from weeping and my eyelids is the shadow of death.”  “My spirit is broken, I have become one in whose face men spit.” (Job 17:1)

“My heart is in turmoil.  My skin falls from me. My bones burn with fever.” (Job 19:17-20)

He is so desperate for companionship that his only genuine “friend” are the worms.

Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.  (Job 1:22)

On Job 5:17-27 Job spoke (with God) wherein it is revealed that Job “shall be delivered in six (6) troubles, yes in seven (7) no evil shall touch you.”

This is one Book in the bible well worth reading.  Howbeit, here’s a man who is righteous in the sight of God; but is now being tested for his faith in God, and has to suffer “6 troubles” before being restored to his rightful position in God.

Rather prophetic because it sounds very much like modern-day when everything that we count on as a result of gain, is stripped away.

Ask the people from Joplin, Missouri, who suffered loss of all of their belongings, their homes, and for some, their lives.  However, many kept their faith in God and are today being restored.

In Job 42:10, Job is restored:  “And the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his “friends.”  Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.”  God increased Job’s possessions, his animals and “He also had seven sons and three daughters.” (Job 42:13).

I see  triple grace in operation:  Job who suffered immensely,  his wife who ordered him to curse God and his so-called believers in God friends who misrepresented God by accusing Job of causing his own downfall as a result of sin!  All were restored by God.

Jesus

So we come to Jesus.  How does a King like Nebuchadnezzar who was a sinful, wilful pagan worshipper, was stripped of his sanity and his body form, and Job, who was a righteous, dignified man also stripped of his belongings, his family and finally his health come close to even being compared to Jesus, who was completely, totally sinless?  Yet  He, too, is also tested for His faith, His purpose, His conviction and ultimately He renders His life to save mankind.

Jesus suffered immensely.  His primary purpose was to redeem man to God, to restore a broken relationship caused by the fall of man through Adam and Eve.

He suffered persecution (to accomplish God’s purpose), total rejection by the so-called God believers even when they witnessed many miracles created by Jesus.

His suffering was foretold in Isaiah 53:

3 He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
4 Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.

From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. (2 Corinthians 11:24)

And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha,where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center.  (John 19:17,18)

He was nailed to the cross and on it was written JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.

“ They divided My garments among them,
And for My clothing they cast lots.”

28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” 29 Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. 30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. (John 19:28-30)

So now satan believes he has the victory because he had done all he could to destroy the deity of Jesus Christ by means of death.  Did satan win the victory?

Three days Jesus was believed to be entombed.  And on the third day, He rose from the dead!

John 20:11-17:

11 But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13 Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.”
14 Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”
She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!”
She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).
17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’”

Jesus, too, received God’s grace; however, in His case, this grace was merited!  Jesus was restored to His rightful position in God (today sitting at the throne at the right hand of God).

God has mercy and compassion for man.  He chose Jesus Christ to lay down his life to recover man’s position and a rightful relationship with Almighty God.

This is total unmerited grace for man on the part of  God.  Man didn’t deserve to be reinstated, but God thought otherwise.  Thank you Lord!


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One thought on “Grace

  1. Pingback: A New Song 101811 « Mennonite Preacher

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