Lessons in logic from Samson’s mum

The following is from ‘The Test of a Crisis’ by Martyn Lloyd-Jones. (You can find it in ‘Be Still, My Soul’ ed. Nancy Guthrie). There’s lots that is helpful but I love the last paragraph and am always glad when I stumble across it again.

He’s commenting on Judges 13:20, 22-23.  Manoah (Samson’s dad) is fearful that God will destroy them.  Mrs Manoah says: ‘if the Lord had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering at our hands or shown us all these things, or now announced to us such things as these.”

Lloyd-Jones writes:

“far too often, we behave as Manoah did. We seem to break down altogether and to lose hope entirely.  We jump to conclusions, and almost invariably, to the worst conclusion that is possible in the given circumstances…that somehow or other, God is against us, and that all we had so fondly imagined to be an expression of God’s goodness and kindness was nothing but an illusion…

His wife behaved as we should all behave…she thinks, she reasons, she ponders the matter, and with magnificent logic she arrives at the only conclusion that is really valid.

The first principle she stated is that God is never capricious.  ‘If the Lord were pleased to kill us,’ argues the woman, ‘he would not have received a burnt offering and a meat offering at our hands.’  It appeared at the moment as if God were suddenlly going to reverse everything that he had just been doing. Having smiled upon these people, it looked as if without any apparent cause or reason he was now frowning upon them, and on the point of destroying them.  Circumstances often seem to give us that impression.  Everything suddenly seems to go wrong and to be working in the reverse direction, and the suggestion comes to us that God is not really interested in us, and not concerned about us.

Now, of one thing we can always be absolutely certain – God is not like that.  By his very nature and being there is nothing more glorious than the eternal constancy of God.  He is ‘the father of light with whom is no variableness neither shadow of turning’.  He does not say one thing and then do the opposite.  He does not play with us and mock us.  He is never capricious.

…In effect she turned to her husband and said ‘I do not pretend to understand, but to me, it is unthinkable that God should start a process and then suddenly reverse or destroy it.’

We have in her words what St. Paul states so frequently and so eloquently. “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” But the argument is still stronger, “He that spared not his own Son but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”  Is God who has already done the greater, yea, the greatest thing of all, likely to fail us in the lesser?  Is the love of God, which is so great as to send his only-begotten Son to that cruel death on Calvary’s Hill, likely to forsake you, having done that?

You may not understand what is happening to you; it may seem, to you, all wrong. Trust yourself to him. Believe when you cannot prove. Hold onto his constancy, his justice, his eternal purposes for you in Christ.  Regard these as absolutes, which can never be shaken, build your case logically upon them, remain steadfast and unshaken, confident that ultimately all will be made plain and all will be well.