The story is told of a merchant who sent his servant to the marketplace to purchase supplies. In just a little while, the servant returned but was pale and terribly frightened and exclaimed, “Master, just a moment ago as I was in the bazaar, I was jostled by a woman in the crowd. When I turned around, I saw that it was Death that had jostled me. She saw me and made a menacing motion. Now, please let me borrow your horse, and I shall ride away from this city and avoid my fate. I will go to Samarra, and Death will not find me there. The master loaned him his horse, and the servant hopped on and spurred the horse hard, riding as fast as the horse could take him to Samarra. Then the master went down to the market and saw Death standing in the crowd. The master went over to Death and asked, “Why did you make a menacing motion to my servant when you saw him this morning?” Death responded, “That was not a menacing motion. It was a jolt of surprise. I was amazed to see him in town, for I have an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.”
This story may imply that no one can outrun his fate, but life is not fatalistic. It’s not “whatever will be will be.” Life is given and taken by the Life-giver. God is not an impersonal Fate to whom we must submit. He is a personal God who is in control of galaxies and guppies and yet has chosen to lavish love on lowlifes like us. God is the grand orchestrator. He is the God “who opens and no one will close, and who closes and no one opens” (Revelation 3:7 in The Christian Standard Bible). He is the One whose judgment no one can thwart as Isaiah the prophet states, “Whoever flees at the sound of panic will fall into a pit, and whoever escapes from the pit will be caught in a trap…” (Isaiah 24:18 in The Christian Standard Bible). As the man in the Death story was unable to undo Death’s plan, so no one will undo God’s doings. As the man attempted to thwart Death’s plan, he actually carried it out. So, too, our actions will not subvert God’s plan. I can’t explain exactly how God’s control and our freedom paradoxically work together, but they do. I also know that God’s rule over the affairs of man and the universe far surpass our control and freedom which are only gifts from God anyway. He’s in ultimate control, and, whether you like it or not, there’s no escape from Him.
This week you’ll read…
Psalms 128-134: “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony!” (Psalms 133 in The Christian Standard Bible).
Isaiah 19-33: “Lord, be gracious to us! We wait for You. Be our strength every morning and our salvation in time of trouble” (Isaiah 33 in The Christian Standard Bible).
- Day 8 (Sun):
- Day 9 (Mon):
- Day 10 (Tues):
- Day 11 (Wed):
- Day 12 (Thurs):
- Day 13 (Fri):
- Day 14 (Sat):
CSB are daily readings linked to The Christian Standard Bible on BibleGateway.com.
MSG are daily readings linked to The Message Bible on BibleGateway.com.
NLT are daily readings linked to The New Living Translation on BibleGateway.com.