Responding to Divine disapproval

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Responding to divine approval and overcoming reproof

divine disapprovalThe way that we respond to divine tests sent by God spares us of divine disapproval and determines the amount and quality of the development of our personality as well as our emotional nature and assimilated character. We have three options in how we respond to God’s testing of our lives, or in other words, one of three principles that we can choose to follow: the principle of divine disapproval, the principle of God’s reproof or the principle of  God’s approval.

Divine disapproval

In this post we will examine the first principle, that of divine disapproval which involves reaping what we have sown.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. (Galatians 6:7, 8)

The story of Jacob summarizes divine disapproval. Jacob was a deceiver who was  later deceived. Even at birth, he entered the world hanging on to his brother’s ankle as if he was trying to be born first. From the womb, Jacob was already demonstrating his problematic nature. He was a competitor, ready to do anything necessary to get what he wanted to secure God’s blessing without caring about the means he had to use to attain his goals.

He used carnal and sinful means to obtain the spiritual blessings that he desired. Jacob was that “smooth operator”, a con artist that always took advantage of circumstances and people as he strived to gain the upper hand in everything to reach his objectives without concern with whomever he had to step over on his way. This is the principle of exalting our own self-interests above God’s divine purpose and process.

Jacob began by provoking his own brother Esau to promise to sell his birthright in exchange for a temporal fulfillment of his immediate physical need: a hot meal after a long day’s work. Afterward, with the help of his mother, he stole his brother’s precious blessing of the firstborn. In order to accomplish this, he also had to deceive his own blind father a very serious transgression that caused dire consequences to come upon him:

Cursed is the one who makes the blind to wander off the road.’ “And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’ (Deuteronomy 27:18)

As he devised one scheme after another finally, at least apparently, he was able to fulfill his objective. Getting everything that he wanted through manipulation and dishonesty, he set himself up for some very serious problems.

After Esau swore to take revenge on his younger brother, Jacob tried to resolve the problem in a very simplistic and cowardly way: flight. As Jacob fled, God confronted him saying, “Jacob, you cannot obtain my blessing through your own means! You can run away from people and circumstances, but not from me:

Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.” (Genesis 28:15)

Jacob’s behavior exhibited a serious character flaw. God made it clear that he would be with him and that eventually, he would have to go back and resolve the situation. Completely reproved, God sent him to the famous “school of brokenness”, for nothing less than 20 years in “pastor Laban’s seminary”. This turned out to be a prolonged and painful experience especially designed for those who think they are can outsmart God and are above the principles that govern the spiritual world. Jacob’s moral ignorance required severe treatment. This disciplinary “boot camp” is the method that God uses to confront our optimistic, cheating, sly and manipulative evil ways.

Laban is one of the worst models of leadership recorded in the Bible. He was a perverse father who coldly and cruelly betrayed his own daughter on her wedding night. Rachel had to wait seven years to marry her beloved groom and then on her wedding night, her father replaced her and put her older sister in the honeymoon suite!

With absolutely no scruples, Laban took advantage of Jacob by using and abusing his own daughters, throwing them into the moral arena of polygamy as always seeking his own financial interests. Laban embodies the greatest expression of those who strive to attain their own selfish objectives at any price. Therefore, Laban’s manipulative ways superseded those of Jacob. If Jacob considered himself a great con artist, Laban had a PhD in the art of deception!

Jacob cheated his own brother and thought that he could simply skip town and everything would be fine. God did not approve of his attitude, and for twenty years, Jacob had to reap the bitter fruit of what he had sown: a slow and bitter process of reproof. Through this process, he learned to see himself in Laban. Finally, he began to sanctify his motivations and rescue his identity.

The great and awful truth is that God has a Laban for each Jacob! Just call it the law of the mirror. God knows how to make us recognize who we are. Our greatest problem is not Laban who is outside of us, but the Jacob within us! We all need a “mirror”!

God began to excavate Jacob’s heart until he understood that he needed to return to the starting point and resolve the conflict that he caused with his brother. Independently of how much time has passed, we will have to return to the starting point where God first reproved us and retake the test.

After Jacob deceived his brother, he fled for twenty years to the back side of the desert far from his home. There he learned to finally accept divine correction. So he returned home, humbled himself and met with his brother, doing his part to restore the relationship. Only then, did God approve Jacob and restore his identity. His name became Israel: the name of the nation created by God. He perpetuated the promise of the coming Messiah, and in this way caused the fulfillment of God’s Word in his life.

We will all reap everything that we have planted. No one escapes reaping what he or she has sown. If we sow to the flesh, we will reap corruption as a testimony to God’s reproof. If we sow to the spirit, we will reap life and peace as a testimony to his divine approval.

We must all face and resolve all pending problems in our lives that bring on divine disapproval. We can never escape the precise laws that govern the spiritual world. It doesn’t matter how well we are able to disguise our mistakes, or how far we are able to flee, we will be handcuffed by reproof. The best option is to return to the starting point, to the place where we lost that acts, no matter how painful it is.




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