2 Samuel 17:14
"For the LORD had ordained to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that the LORD might bring harm upon Absalom."
Absalom's rejection of Ahithophel's counsel is an answer to prayer. In 2 Samuel 15:31, David is specific in his request of God. "O LORD, please turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness." Isaiah 65:24 says, "Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear." In Matthew 6:8 Jesus says, "Your Father knows what you need before you ask him."
Immediately following David's prayer in 2 Samuel 15:31, God providentially places Hushai in David's path. He is leaving Jerusalem, but David asks Hushai to stay to undermine Ahithophel's counsel. God answered before David called because He knew what David needed.
Doesn't this event and these passages of Scripture strengthen your to desire to ask God? This is the same God who said, "If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!" (Matthew 7:11)
Abba Father, the giver of every good and perfect gift, thank You for answered prayer. Holy Spirit, please teach us to desire what brings our Father glory, so that when we ask for His blessings, it will be for His glory and our good.
2 Corinthians 10:17
Starting in chapter 10, Paul confronts false teachers who wanted authority in the church at Corinth. In chapters 11-12, Paul mockingly refers to them as "super-apostles." They were attempting to elevate themselves by disparaging Paul. They accused him of being very bold and forceful in his letters but just the opposite in person. Paul reminds them that his behavior, whether in person or by letter, is based upon his authority as an apostle. The Lord Jesus gave him the responsibility to build up His church.
These false teachers are boasting about themselves in comparison to other men. Paul declares that to be a foolish standard. The only commendation of any value is one which comes from the Lord. Before making that statement, Paul quotes Jeremiah 9:23, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord." Examining the Jeremiah passage shows a slight change in the quote, "Thus says the LORD: 'Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.'" (Jeremiah 9:23-24) For quite some time I understood my boast in the LORD would be because I know and understand Him.
But reading passages like Ezekiel 24:16-18 caused me to struggle with what it meant to know and understand the LORD. God told Ezekiel his wife, the delight of his eyes, would die and he was not to mourn, weep, cry or sigh out loud. Instead, Ezekiel was to continue living his life as if nothing happened. Ezekiel was obedient to the LORD's command.
So, what are we to know and understand about the LORD so we may boast? A closer examination of the passage shows we are to boast about the One who demonstrates three things; unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth. Not only is that His nature, but it is also His delight to do so. Paul's rewording of Jeremiah 9:24 is accurate, let him who boasts boast in the LORD because His very character is unfailing love, justice, and righteousness. We are to boast in Him because of who He is, not that we know and understand everything about Him.
LORD God, thank You for revealing Yourself to us. We realize it is impossible to know and understand You completely. But Your steadfast love, justice, and righteousness are evident. Strengthen our faith in what we know to be true of You when times in our lives, like that of Ezekiel's, aren't easy to understand. Forgive us for using any standard to evaluate ourselves other than Yours.