“My people perish for lack of knowledge.” These are words of profound and consequential meaning, as we read in Job 36: 12: But if they do not listen, they perish by the sword and die without knowledge. The rejection of knowledge is a dangerous attitude to have. For it is hearing, but not listening, hearing but not perceiving; hearing but not understanding; seeing but not discerning. It is being deaf and blind spiritually. For God speaks not only once, but more than once, even though men do not regard it (Job 33:14). The spirit of unbelief is very predominant in the world today in spite of all the information being available in every avenue of life. Words found in the book of Job 33:15 seals the matter that men hear God’s voice in a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on men while slumbering upon the bed. Then He opens the ears of men and seals their instruction. The Prophet Daniel experienced dreams and visions and interpretations by angels. The entire chapter seven of the book of Daniel reveals the three visions he had and the interpretations of them. Those visions served to warn the world of yesterday and of today’s what were and what is going to happen in the future because our God desired and desires that none of us should perish.
God’s time line is in no way our time line. He acts in the sphere of eternity, in His all-knowing, all seeing before even anything takes place, to the time when all begins. In fact, before there was time, He was. Hard for a limited human mind to comprehend such reality. Where there is no beginning and no end, it just floats around our mind, without settling in our understanding. But that is the way it is. For our God is not in the frame of our understanding, being Who He is. This is how the Apostle Paul describes Him: Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unfathomable are His judgments! And how untraceable are His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord and who has understood His thoughts, or who has ever been His counselor? … For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever! Amen (Rom. 11:33-34, 36).
The word goodness carries a strong connotation of its meaning. It is the goodness of our God that showers us with blessings. God’s creation in its varies aspects of life depend on His goodness to survive. Psalm 104 beautifully describes the goodness of God toward His creation: O Lord, how many and varied are You works! In wisdom have You made them all; the earth is full of Your riches and Your creatures, these all wait and are dependent upon You, that You may give them their food in due season. When You give it to them, they gather it up; You open Your hand and they are filled with good things. When You hide Your face, they are troubled and dismayed; when You take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. When You send forth Your Spirit and give them breath, they are created, and You replenish the face of the ground. May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in His work (vs. 24,27-31). Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits – Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems you live from the pit and corruption, Who beautifies, dignifies and crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercy; Who satisfies your mouth with good so that your youth, renewed is like the eagle’s (Psalm 103:1-5).
Just before His trials and ultimately death, YAHSHUA spent time alone with His disciples preparing them to face the world without Him and at the same time warning them of things to come, including persecution. After His last supper with them, He washed their feet with the purpose to teach them humility. In chapter 14 He promises to return to earth to gather His own for Himself and blessed them with His peace; He presented Himself as the only Way to the Father, the Truth that will set man free; and Life. He is the only source of life physical and eternal. In chapter 15 He emphasizes sanctification. Here, He presented Himself as the Vine and the believers as the branches. Apart from the Vine there is no life. He calls their attention to love one another, for it is a commandment that summarizes the entire law – love for God and for others. in chapter 16 He promises the Holy Spirit; He details the nature of His ministry; and gives details concerning future persecution coming against them and encourages them to endure, for He had overcome all for them. He concludes it by saying: In the world you will have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer! For I have overcome the world (vs. 33).
The tribulation YAHSHUA mentioned was not concerning the great tribulation, as many Christians think, but it referred to persecution from the world which embraces all those who are enemies of God. If you belonged to the world, YAHSHUA said, the world would treat you with affection and would love you as its own. But because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you. Remember that I told you. A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you (John 15: 19-20a). Persecution is a sign that the believer is not of this world.