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Crook in the Lot: Living with that thorn in your side Paperback – May 20, 2012
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"..The pure Biblical wisdom of The Crook in the Lot is badly need by many of us, and so I am delighted that is being made available in this handy form."-- J. I. Packer
- Publisher : Christian Heritage; Reprint edition (May 20, 2012)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 160 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1845506499
- ISBN-13 : 978-1845506490
- Item Weight : 6.3 ounces
- Dimensions : 5 x 0.4 x 7.6 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #773,686 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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"Lot" means "your lot in life," your circumstances.
"Crook" means anything that is crooked, rough, difficult, or disagreeable. Suffering.
OUR SUFFERING has been DECREED by GOD
God has appointed the whole of everyone's lot, the crooked parts thereof as well as the straights. The mystery of providence is in exact conformity to the plan of His decree, "who works all things after the counsel of His will" (Eph 1:11). Job said, "He is one mind, and who can turn Him? And what His soul desires, that He does. For He performs what is appointed for me, and many such decrees are with Him" (Job 23:13,14).
GOD WORKS ALL THINGS for GOOD
Satan caused Job great suffering in order to cause Job to blaspheme, but God used Job's suffering to manifest his sincerity and uprightness. God said to Job's friends, "You have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has" (Job 42:8). "All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose" (Rom 8:28). Thus, Haman's plot to kill the Jews was "turned to the contrary" (Esther 9:1). The selling of Joseph by his brothers into Egypt resulted in the saving of many people through a famine. "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive" (Gen 50:20).
THROUGH OUR CROOK WE SUBMIT OUR WILL TO GOD
God observes the bias of everyone's will, especially in how it bends away from Him. He takes notice of the idol(s) in everyone's heart, and makes the crook there. A man who owned much property asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus told him to obey the commandments, which the man acknowledged "I have kept all these things from my youth up." Jesus "felt a love for him," and knowing how much the man loved his possessions, said, "One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." But the man went away grieving because he had great possessions (Mark 10:17-23).
Since the crook in the lot is of God's making, see the hand of God in it, and submit to it, what ever it is. "You have chastised me, and I was chastised, like an untrained calf; bring me back that I may be restored, for you are the Lord my God" (Jer 31:18). It is for the breaking down of one's will that God lays it on him. "It is good for a man that he should bear the yoke in his youth. Let him sit alone and be silent since He has laid it on him...For it He causes grief, then He will have compassion according to His abundant lovingkindness" (Lam 3:27-32).
"I HAVE ASKED GOD REPEATEDLY TO MEND MY CROOK, BUT HE DOES NOT ANSWER"
God's delays in answering our prayers are not denials, but trials of faith and patience. "Will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily" (Luke 18:7,8). Even if our crook is not removed while we live, we should not stop praying to God for its removal. There are many prayers that won't be fully answered until the next world. "Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from this body of death?" (Rom 7:24)
HOW TO PRAY for the REMOVAL of OUR CROOK
1. Keep praying for it's removal, believing that, for the sake of Jesus, you will certainly obtain its removal in this life. "And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive" (Mt 21:22). In some cases, fast and pray (Mt 17:21).
2. Humble yourselves under it. Justify God, condemn your sinful selves, kiss the rod, and go quietly under it. This is the most feasible way to get rid of it. "Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you" (James 4:10).
3. Wait patiently until the Hand that made it mends it. "Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord" (Ps 27:13). Leave the timing of deliverance to the Lord. "For they shall not be ashamed that wait for Me" (Isa 49:23).
HOW TO PRAY for RELIEF from OUR CROOK
If God does not remove it, pray for relief from it.
1. Make Christ your refuge, instead of your crook's removal. "I cried out to You, O Lord; I said, 'You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.'" (Ps 142:5)
2. Ask God to supply what your crook does not. "For my father and mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me up" (Ps 127:10).
3. Expect spiritual fruit from your crook. "All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness" (Heb 12:11).
4. Ask for God's grace to patiently bear up under it. "There was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me - to keep me from exalting myself! I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.'" (2 Cor 12:7-9).
5. Focus on the glory of the world to come. "For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal" (2 Cor 4:17,18).
AN EXPOSITION of PROVERBS 16:19
"Better it is to be of humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud."
There is a generation of lowly afflicted ones, having their spirit lowered and brought down to their lot, whose case is better than that of the proud getting their will, and carrying all to their mind.
1. The lowly think soberly and humbly of themselves.
(1) What they are. Paul said, "In no respect was I inferior to the most eminent apostles, even though I am a nobody" (2 Cor 12:11).
(2) What they can do.
"Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God" (2 Cor 3:5).
(3) What they are worth.
Jacob said to God, "I am unworthy of all the lovingkindness and of all the faithfulness which You have shown to Your servant" (Gen 32:10).
(4) What they deserve. "It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed" (Lam 3:22).
The lowly see themselves as a mass of imperfection and sinfulness "I repent in dust and ashes" (Job 42:6).
2. The lowly think highly and honorably of God. "Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised, and His greatness is unsearchable" (Ps 145:3). They are taught by the Spirit of God what God is, and so entertain elevated thoughts of Him. They consider Him as the Sovereign of the world, His perfections as infinite, His work as perfect. They look on Him as the fountain of happiness, as God in Christ, doing all things well, trusting His wisdom, goodness, and love, even when they cannot see.
3. The lowly think favorably of others. "With humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves" (Phil 2:3). Because they can see into their own failed attempts to improve themselves than they can see into others, they are apt to look on others as better than themselves.
THE HUMILITY of CHRIST
Humility is always better than pride.
Christ was our perfect example of humility.
"I am gently and humble in heart" (Mt 11:29).
"He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that was led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth" (Isa 53:7).
Although in His divine nature He is exalted, yet in His human nature He condescends to be with us.
"For thus says the high and exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy, 'I dwell on a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit, in order to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite" (Isa 57:15).
No one bore what He bore. "For consider Him who endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart" (Heb 12:3).
AN EXPOSITION of 1 PETER 5:6
"Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you in due time."
Humiliation of spirit is in the sight of God a great price. "The imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit is precious in the sight of God" (1 Pet 3:4). It is no easy thing to humble men's spirits. Many a stroke must be given at the root of the tree of the natural pride of the heart ere it fall. If the pride of the heart is not brought down in this life, it will never be. In the afterlife, the proud will be broken in pieces, but not softened. The loftiness of their spirits will still remain, whence they will be in eternal agonies through the opposition betwixt their spirits and their lot.
Humiliation of spirit is a most valuable thing in itself. "It is good for me that I have been afflicted" (Ps 119:71). Whatever one is made to suffer, if his spirit is thereby brought down, he has what is well worth bearing all the hardship for. This is a sacrifice acceptable to God. "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise" (Ps 51:17).
THE PROVIDENCE of GOD in the LIFE of CHRIST
There is a due time, wherein those that now humble themselves under the mighty hand of God will certainly be lifted up. Did not Providence keep this course with Christ, first humbling Him, then exalting Him, and lifting Him up? First He brought Him to the dust of death, in a course of suffering for thirty-three years, then exalted Him to the Father's right hand in eternity of glory. "Who, for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is now set down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Heb 12:2). "And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (Phil 2:8,9). His exaltation could not fail to follow His humiliation. "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?" (Lk 24:26).
This is the pattern Providence copies in its conduct toward you. The Father was so well-pleased with this method in the case of His own Son, that He determined to use it in the case of all the heirs of glory. "For whom He foreknew, He also did predestine to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren" (Rom 8:29). So Christ's exaltation insures our exaltation out of humbling circumstances. "But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Eph 2:4-6).
CHRIST'S INTERCESSION FOR US JOINS OUR PRAYERS
"Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since he always lives to make intercession for them" (Heb 7:25). Christ's intercession joins with our cries and prayers in our humbling circumstances. "And another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer, and much incense was given him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne" (Rev 8:3). We are helped by the Spirit to groan for relief (Rom 8:26). "On the day I called, You answered me; You made me bold with strength in my soul" (Ps 138:3). Christ's intercession for us is ALWAYS effectual. "Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. I knew that You always hear Me; but because of the people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me" (Jn 11:42).
"There is not anything whatever befalls us without his overruling hand."
"...the purpose of the text under these three heads.
I. Whatever crook there is in our lot, it is of God's making.
II. What God sees fit to mar, no one will be able to mend in his lot.
III. The considering of the crook in the lot as the work of God, or of His making, is a proper means to bring us to a Christian deportment under it."
"Everyone knows what is most pleasant to him; but God alone knows what is most profitable."
The afflictions we encounter in this life are not the result of `fate' or `chance' but from the Triune God who is actively involved in these events, the reasons for them, and the resolution of them.
Thomas Boston unpacks the benefits of suffering, their purposes, and the reward for enduring them (or the consequences of trying to avoid them altogether). The Kindle version was a little tough to read in places because there were some obvious typos that made you read a sentence a couple times to figure out what was actually being said, but I recommend this book for anyone.
"Had we a clearer view of the other world, we should not make so much of either the smiles or frowns of this."
"Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer." - Romans 12:12