By Lewis Willis
The children of Israel were often taunted by their heathen, idolatrous adversaries. Because they could see no physical presence of Jehovah, they mocked at his existence. One of the Psalms makes an excellent point based on this conflict:
Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God? But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased (Psa. 115:2-3).
The Psalmist proceeds to discuss the idols of men. He said they were made of silver and gold. They had mouths but could not speak; eyes but could not see; ears but could not hear; noses but could not smell; hands but could not handle; feet but could not walk; nor could they speak through their throat. In fact, he said, they had been made in the image of the men who made them (vv. 4-8). How could these people seriously question Jehovah? They wanted to know where God was. David said that he was not on the earth, but that he resided in heaven. Thus, to expect God to resemble dumb idols made in the image of man, by men’s hands, was futile.
All of this is undoubtedly true and I have noted as much in the paragraphs above. However, the point I wish to make is stated in the last phrase of our test: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased. This is a truly profound and important fact to recognize and respect. In his deliberations concerning time, earth and man, he has acted as it has pleased or suited him! Candidly, I do not see how we could ever please him without recognizing this truth.
Furthermore, things that God has done to his own pleasure are “good” for man. Moses spoke of God’s commandments, “And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day” (Deut. 6:24). Jeremiah made a similar statement, “And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me forever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good,- but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me” (Jer. 32:39-40). It is essential that we recognize today that when God did as he pleased, his every act was good for man.
If we deny this, then we will be searching for something else that we believe to be good for us. If we acknowledge this truth, we will content ourselves with what God has done and set ourselves to the task of submissive obedience unto his will. It occurs to me that this could well be the reason why so many of us are disobedient unto God; why we are trying almost constantly to rework what God has done.
Now, let us apply what we have learned. God had the right, being Almighty God, to do whatever pleased him. That is exactly what he did and we must accept this. “Good” will come to us only if we confine ourselves to his pleasure. Consider, then, the following thoughts:
1. It pleased God to put the blessing of salvation in Christ and his body, the church (Eph. 3:11; Acts 2:47). We must be careful to respect this and get into Christ and his church.
2. It pleased God to grant entry into Christ on the conditions and terms of the Gospel (Gal. 3:26-27; Rom. 6:3-4; Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38). We must be careful and obey those things he has commanded.
3. It pleased God to assign a specific worship to be offered by the church (Acts 20:7; 2:42; Eph. 5:19; 1 Cor. 16:2). We must be careful that we confine our worship to that which pleased God who appointed it. After all, we are not worshiping ourselves so it does not matter what pleases us.
4. It pleased God for the church to engage itself in only edifying itself, discharging its benevolent duty and evangelizing the world (Eph, 4:12). We must be careful that we not try to involve the church in more than God assigned.
5. It pleased God to organize the church so that each congregation was independent of all the rest, governed by elders who were assisted by deacons, evangelists and all the saints (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 5:2; Phil. 1:1). We must be careful that we not try to set up an organizational structure different than the one God gave.
Many other aspects of the doctrine of Christ could be included in this list of things that pleased God. I think enough has been said to establish the point I am seeking to emphasize. Too many people are trying to re-work the provisions God has made, and re-write the law that governs our lives today. We cannot improve upon that which God has given, nor should we try. We should simply be obedient to his will in all things. Only then will things be “good” for us.
“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).
Guardian of Truth XXXV: 6, p. 170
March 21, 1991