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Vulnerable
By: Robert Berendt (published November 20, 2014)

To be vulnerable is defined in Chambers Concise dictionary as: "capable of being wounded; liable to injury, or hurt to feelings; open to successful attack; capable of being persuaded or tempted." We can readily see that anyone with some weakness is vulnerable when confronted by one who is stronger. Babies are totally vulnerable and as a child grows and develops it continues to be vulnerable to many things as it grows toward adulthood. Even in adulthood our vulnerabilities do not vanish. Ignorance makes us vulnerable, bad hearing or poor eyesight can bring on new ways of making us vulnerable. When our finances are very low we become vulnerable to many things. Health plays a large role in making us vulnerable and old age seems to weaken us all.

The Bible tells us that we have an unseen foe - an enemy who is stronger and smarter than we humans, and one who is invisible. He is also God's adversary and that is Satan. Our efforts to resist are like fighting with the wind - we cannot win. We are subject to weariness, forgetfulness, discouragement, lack of self-control, emotional disturbances, changes in our hormones and other factors that affect our attitudes and thinking. Something as simple as a sugar imbalance in our blood weakens us greatly. The simple fact of the matter is that we are always vulnerable to something and if not, we soon will be because everything in the world about us changes and we change as well. Humans were not designed by God to fully comprehend spiritual things (Rom. 8:7,8).

One example of the complete helplessness we humans have in a struggle with our great adversary is recorded in the book of Job. Satan noticed this noble and godly man and wanted to destroy him. When God asked if Satan had noticed Job, the reply was that God had put a protective barrier or hedge around Job and Satan could not get at him. Satan had noticed and wanted to get at Job. God knew Job was ready for a strong challenge which would bring glory to God as well as Job, so He withdrew the protection from Job and allowed Satan to strike at all Job had (Job 1:11). Without hesitation, Satan had the upper hand and set about to strike Job in the most vulnerable spot he had. Job loved his children as normal parents do. Satan inspired the Sabeans to raid the area and the children of Job were all killed (Job 1:19). Then the wealth of Job was attacked and servants killed (Job 1:14-17). Job was heart broken but Satan was not finished with him. Next Satan struck him with excruciating boils (Job 2:7). In this attack Job was helpless and in all likelihood not aware that God had removed his protection and allowed Satan to attack. The only area that it seems Satan could not reach was the inner heart of Job and his commitment to God. After all Satan did, Job did not curse God. There is something grand and majestic about Job who suffered so greatly and was confused, but never in doubt about God in his life. Job knew he had been born with nothing and it did not matter to him that he would die with nothing (Job 1:21). It is good to note that even though God allowed Satan to act, God remained in control - He set the limit for Satan (Job 2:6).

This account about Job brings us to the realization that Adam and Eve were also vulnerable to the influence of Satan. Yet, God left them unguarded in the Garden of Eden and almost invited Satan to come in. They had never been lied to or deceived and were not acquainted with this enemy of God as their life experiences did not cover that. They did not know that Satan hated them. They were defenseless against his overwhelming power and might. God is wise and loving as well as just, so it may be with His understanding of how vulnerable humans are, that God took upon Himself the responsibility to help humans turn from Satan and come back to Him. Perhaps that is why Jesus was already designated as the Passover Lamb before the foundation of the earth (Rev. 1:5, 13:8). God knew we could not win against Satan without His help. He knew humans would in all likelihood succumb to the wiles of Satan. But He does command us to resist and then He does help (James 4:7). It is as though Satan has a computer chip inserted inside of himself and when a human resists, he must flee.

As a loving Father, God is working to help His children become greater than they are. He is like a master potter who has a design in mind and is working to perfect it. We are like the clay but it seems that unlike clay, we can become hard to manage (Isa. 45:9, 64:8). God has allowed humans to make choices - even bad ones. He has done everything possible within the scope of giving us that freedom, to guide and direct us. He has set before us life and death, good and evil and does all He can to encourage us to choose life (Deut. 30:15-17). He gives us every opportunity and assistance to overcome that which makes us vulnerable without simply removing it. The one thing God does not do is to remove all our flaws and faults and provide a wide, broad and easy path to eternal life. Jesus clearly demands that we put the effort forth to overcome all that is ungodly within us. He inspired John to write a strong warning to the people of God who had been cleansed and were being formed into the kind of being to whom God can grant a wonderful spiritual body, a brilliant mind and responsibilities that have to do with a shared inheritance of all He has created (Rev. 2,3). It is in our determined struggle against all that is ungodly that we glorify the Father and Son.

Paul was highly motivated to serve God when he was told of the future God offered. He wrote to the Corinthian church to encourage them because they seemed to have a lot of problems. Members did not seem to put forth the effort Paul recommended as so much of his letter was pointing out areas of failure. This letter was read to all the churches and has become Holy Scripture, so we know the lessons here are for us today. Paul spoke strongly about the inability to settle some relatively small matters within the church and among the saints and not to resort to the law-courts of the land. He asked the people if they did not realize that in the future God offered, they were to be involved in the judging of matters in the world and in judging angels (I Cor. 6:1-3). In order to do that in a manner that is pleasing to God, we humans need to overcome our biases, rash decisions, petty arguments and troubles within the membership. There were to be no jealousies, competition, tolerance of evil within the church and behavior that was ungodly. God cannot lift people to this high level He offers without them first growing in ability.

If only mankind could grasp the awesome future God offers. He has complete and total power and wants to share all of His creation. He works within the realm of humanity and builds His own glory that will continue on into eternity. It is futile and foolish for us to make demands of God or question His actions (Rom 9:20-22). Eyes have not seen what God has prepared for those who love Him (I Cor. 2:9). If we could "see" the glorious Kingdom that lies ahead we would rejoice when our vulnerable areas are pointed out by God. We would quickly follow the paths that allow us to grow in strength and character. We would relish the work of the hands of this Master Potter because only He has the clear vision of the potential of each of His children. Not only does God want each person to be saved, He wants each person to live forever and inherit all He has created. He wants us to dress and keep His creation. Our vulnerable character points need to be overcome. They interfere with God working in us and with our eternal futures. He that overcomes shall inherit all things God said (Rev. 21:7). Don't remain vulnerable.



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