by W.B. Screws

The Pilgrim's Messenger

"Have a pattern of sound words which you hear from me, in faith and love
which are in Christ Jesus."--11 Timothy 1:13
Published Monthly By W. B. SCREWS, Glennville, Georgia
Twenty-five Cents a Year

Volume XXVI

May, 1947

Number 10

Entered at the postoffice at Glennville, Ga., as second-class matter.

Did one ever see the waves tossing the wind about?  Neither do events trouble God.  He has always managed. 

His law is one thing, His intention is another.  It is not always His intention that what He commands shall be obeyed, but what He intends for us to do, He manages to bring to pass.  Could He have prevented Adam from eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?  He kept him from eating of the tree of life, did He not?  Did the man eat the forbidden fruit in spite of all that God could do to prevent it?  So far as can be seen, He did nothing to prevent it, except to tell him to not eat it.  On the contrary, He gave to him a wife who would certainly eat it, probably "just to see what would happen;" He gave Adam an instinct to cleave to his wife, Gen 2:24; He placed the tree in the middle of the garden; and He gave the serpent access to the premises.  If I should act in this way, everyone would say that I INTENDED that he should eat it.  On the other hand, when the man would have eaten of the tree of life, in order to live for the eons, God had no difficulty in preventing it. 

God did not intend that Abimelech, king of Gerar, should carry out his own intention regarding the wife of Abraham, Gen. 2:1-11.  He caused the king to become "dead," so far as she was concerned.  He could as easily have done the same thing when David coveted Bathsheba.  In the "Ten Words," called the Decalogue, he had forbidden David to do what he did but the Lord did not PREVENT it.  It was His law that the king of Israel should not do it, but it was not His intention to prevent it.  The reason is found in David's words in the 51st Psalm, "So that Thou, (God), should be justified in thy sayings, and shalt be conquering when thou art being judged."  

Probably Moses intended to remain with his family in a foreign country, after his premature attempt to free Israel had failed.  But God intended otherwise.  Moses returned to Egypt at the right time, and led the people across the Red Sea just when God intended that he should so it.  Through Moses, He commanded the king to let the people go, but He intended that the king should not be willing.  He prevented his willingness by hardening his heart.  Thus He carried out His intention without a hitch.  He used Moses as a vessel for honor, and Pharaoh as  a vessel for dishonor.  

Saul of Tarsus had no intention of becoming an apostle.  God intended that he should, and he did.  The gentle voice of Jesus, asking him, "Why are you persecuting Me?" was all that was needed.  The erstwhile persecutor was an ardent bond servant of the Lord for the rest of his days.  But, let it be noted, God did not BEGIN to deal with Saul on the Damascus road, He began such dealings when he was born.  He was severed from His mother's womb.  He was set apart all his days. God intended that he should be the outstanding example of the brightness of grace, and, just as a teacher intends to have a blackboard on which to write with white chalk, so did God intend that Saul should be foremost among sinners, so that His grace should shine with all brilliance.  

The brief joint ministry of Paul and Barnabas is interesting.  The Acts period was on in which nothing was settled, except in the mind of God.  When the time came for the two to start their special ministry, the Lord brought it about by impressing the ecclesia in Antioch, so that the saints fasted and prayed, until the spirit directed them to sent Paul and Barnabas away, Acts 13:1-3.  The question was: Will Israel accept the evangel?  If so, Barnabas, the "good man," Acts 11:24, is needed.  Or will Israel refuse, and will people of the nations believe, and will this ministry be the beginning of an era of pure grace?  If so, Paul, foremost among sinners, I Tim. 1:15, will be needed.  Their first contact set the pattern for the entire ministry.  Sergius Paul, a man of the nations, believed, while Bar-Jesus, a Jew, refused the evangel.  It is for this reason, no doubt, that Paul became the superior one in the ministry, and Barnabas took an inferior place.  

God knew, all the time, how it would turn out.  He had said that Israel would be calloused, Isa. 9.  When He says that a thing shall occur, He intends that it shall occur.  "Who has withstood His intentions?"  Rom. 9:19.  

When Paul and Barnabas returned to Antioch, their joint ministry had been fulfilled, Acts 14:26.  However, they did not know it.  They planned, later, to make another trip together.  God intended they should not do this, and He had no difficulty in preventing it.  He did it through their anger in regard to John Mark going with them.  Barnabas wanted him to go.  Paul refused,  "Now they became so incensed as to recoil from one another," Acts 15:38.  Thus God's intention was again accomplished. 

 All who do wrong, even through they are fulfilling God's intention concerning them at the time, are accountable.. This being true, we should always admonish people to do the right thing.  God will take care of the results of such admonition.  But it is interesting to note that He does not deviate from His intention, even to make the ministry of His own Son a success.  Christ admonished Israel to repent. The nation did not do it.  It was not the Father's intention that they should, at that time.  The callousness of the people was in accord with God's intention, and Christ so recognized it, Matt. 11:25,26.  

This teaching will do little good, unless the reader can find the truth of it in his own experience.  I ask you to look into your life.  Can you not remember many instances that will show to you now, that God's intention has been carried out in your acts and experiences, regardless of what your intention was at the time?  

It was no accident that, when I was about ten years old, I heard a preacher quote the text, "The dead know not anything;" and it was strictly in accord with God's intention that this should lie dormant in my mind until about fifteen years ago, without me even being impressed with it I "preached" for more than a score of years without believing the passage.  For fifteen years I have been believing and teaching it. 

It was not by accident that I, when a boy, heard Elder Hiram Hand preach about Jacob and Esau, and I became, for the first time, interested in things of the spirit.  God had planned it that way, and there was no more "chance" that I would not be at that place at that time, than there is that the sun will rise in the west tomorrow.  

You will find much profit in reviewing your life, with the knowledge that God can manage.  Whether you do right or wrong, you carry out His intention.  But if you do wrong, you are accountable for it.  Always bear this in mind.  However, avoid the word "responsibility."  God is the One Who accepts responsibility.  You are willing to be accountable, since it is His way of dealing with you.  

The Jews mentioned in John 12:34-41 could not believe.  God could not afford to let them believe, since He had said that He would blind their eyes and callous their heart.  People of the nations, as many as were set for life eonian, could not keep from believing, since God had said, concerning the Christ, of Whom Paul was a representative, "I have appointed Thee for a light of the nations; for Thee to be for salvation as far as the limits of the earth."  Isa. 49:6; Acts 13:47,48.  According to the same passage, Isa. 49:6, the Christ will bless Israel but this cannot be done until God's time.  He not only knows how to keep us from doing that which is contrary to His intention, but He also kept the Christ from doing it, Matt. 11:25,26.  

There is scant comfort in believing that God is controlled by circumstances.  We find much joy in believing that His every intention will be carried out, to the minutest detail.  Since we believe that God is love, and that He has a beneficent purpose in all that He does, we would not have it otherwise.  

We love Him, but it could just as easily have been the opposite.  The one who scoffs at His truth would have been the one to believe, and we would have been numbered with unbelievers, if it had been His intention.  This should humble us.  Never should we speak unkindly of the one who cannot believe.  He is carrying out God's intention, as much as we are. 

May we bow our heads in humble gratitude to God, Who, through His Christ, has led us to see His beauty.  And may we thank Him that, eventually, ALL mankind shall see it. 

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