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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Favorable Circumstances

When Jonah arrived at the port city, Joppa, he found a ship that was ready to sail to Tarshish. How convenient! Tarshish was exactly where he wanted to go. It was as far from Nineveh as he could get. He would not have to preach in Nineveh, as the Lord had commanded. At least, that what he must have thought, but the Lord has ways of persuading us to do His will. Jonah would discover soon that it is always best to say yes the first time the Lord gives an assignment.

Wonder of wonders, the ship had room for Jonah! So he paid the fare and boarded. Weren’t the circumstances lined up perfectly for Jonah to do what he wanted to do?

Favorable circumstances are not always in tune with God’s will, but we are often more inclined to follow favorable circumstances than we are to walk by faith. We can easily talk ourselves into a decision based on favorable circumstances instead of choosing God’s way. For example, a couple may follow favorable circumstances when they buy a car instead of considering what the Bible teaches about financial responsibility.

Here’s what can happen. The couple is perilously close to being laid off, and their current income barely covers their expenses. But the car salesman shows them an expensive car with plenty of bells and whistles. “You can afford it,” he tells them. “You can lower the monthly payment by stretching the loan over 72 months instead of 48 months. And if you buy it today, I can throw in six free oil changes.”

Voila! All the circumstances at the dealership seem favorable, so the couple signs on the dotted line. However, they will surely learn that following favorable circumstances is a bad substitute for following the principles of Scripture.

These uncertain times summon us to put our trust in our all-wise heavenly Father and to do what He commands. It’s the only way to live victoriously above the circumstances.

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