Read: Genesis 2:4-24; Ruth 2:1-12; Amos 7:7-17; Colossians 4:10; Ephesians 2:1-6
Don't we all love sweet surprises? The ones that cause us to smile with delight. Even if our joy lasts for only a short time. For example, several nights ago, my husband awakened me so that I could listen to an unexpected sweet surprise. In the middle of the night, there it was. Geese honking. We love that sound and how surprising to hear it in the darkness of the night? They sounded as if they were going North. Another surprise. At least to me.
That was fun, but I read about a woman who received a "blow you out of the water" sweet surprise on December 9. Her name is Angelina Gonsalves. Her sweet surprise was a letter that had been written in 1945 by her now deceased husband to his mother who is now also deceased. In a note Angelina Gonsalves received from the post office, she was told that they have no idea where the letter had been prior to six weeks before they found her. How happy it made this elderly lady to see her husband's hand writing and read the note he had written his mom. In it he spoke of being fine and that he was glad she was also well. He spoke of the food being lousy. Oh, the joy of reading the every-day words he had written so long ago. How close he seemed to her this Christmas. Truly a sweet surprise!
I think God must also love to surprise us. After all, surprises are everywhere in the scriptures. With that thought in mind, let's use the word GRACE as an acrostic. Let's choose one book of the Bible that begins with each of these five letters and enjoy a sweet surprise from God from each of these Bible books.
G-Genesis. In Genesis 2, God created a lavish honeymoon place for Adam and Eve. We are told that it was full of delightful and beautiful things that the couple was free to explore and enjoy. There was only one tree they were not to eat. It was the one that was called the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Each surprise that God had arranged for them was no doubt wondrous. Can we imagine the joy for Adam as God brought the creatures to him, having given Adam the honor of naming each one? Even Eve's creation, as Adam slept, was a sweet surprise for him. Now there was one like him, and he could share with her all God had provided. The joy and lack of competition and shame they experienced at the first must have been an unfolding experience of nothing but happiness. No taint came into Paradise until sin marred and turned everything upside-down. Even so, God will one day remove the curse of sin from the earth, and those of us who belong to Him will enjoy the sweet surprises of His new kingdom, Romans 8:18-25.
R-Ruth. This entire book oozes grace! After all, Ruth is a Moabite woman. Her people were those who opposed Israel on more than one occasion. They were involved in hiring a man to curse God's chosen people. The gods they worshiped were demonic and cruel. Ruth's people practiced child sacrifice. From this ungodly caldron, God plucked out Ruth. In Ruth 2, we pick up Ruth's story. She and Naomi her mother-in-law had left Moab. They had returned to Israel because the famine there had ended. God had prepared a sweet surprise for these two precious widows. He was working behind the scenes; therefore, Ruth "just happened" to enter Boas' field right when he could take special note of her. Grace was poured out on Ruth and Naomi who received the abundance of God's provision. Yes, Ruth had placed herself under God's wings, Ruth 2:12, and that decision was the open door for the entrance of God's sweet surprises. Not only did Boas marry Ruth, this Moabite woman was also given the honor of being in the Savior's line, Matthew 1:5. Another sweet surprise! A reminder that His grace is available for all who will receive His gift no matter their background, Revelation 5:9.
A-Amos. I like the book of Amos because Amos is the man whom many people wouldn't have chosen for a challenging job. If Face Book or other social media platforms had existed in his day, it seems unlikely to me that Amos would have much to say concerning himself. From what we know about Amos, he wasn't one to push ahead of others. He reminds me of what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:26-31. The Lord speaks there of often calling those that society doesn't make a big to-do about. Why? So that God will shine through their lives, then people who see it will be confused, and God will receive the honor He deserves. In Amos 7:7-17, Amos let those around him know the truth. He wasn't a prophet because it ran in the family. Nor was he there representing God because of special training or eloquence. No, God had called him to give a bold message. Prior to this call, Amos didn't hesitate to say that his previous job was fruit picking and animal tending. Isn't it a sweet surprise that God chose Amos simply because He wanted to use him? God never held an interview to check Amos' elocution. He didn't look for references either.
Often people discourage one another because they see a deficit in their lives. How different it is with the Lord. He chooses and then enables His people to do His work that He has prepared for them Ephesians 2:10. One of the sweet surprises in eternity might well be that God did amazing things through many the world called unqualified. After all, Zechariah reminds us that God's work is not accomplished through our might or power, but rather through His Spirit, Zechariah 4:6. Amos surely knew that was true. It is the Lord Who makes us adequate for a job, 2 Corinthians 3:5-6. Lord, open our eyes to Your sweet surprises.
Next week, Lord willing, Part Two.