The Crook in the Lot – Part III

Boston begins his treaty in earnest with what we might call “A Look at the Crook.” Pages 4-15 of my copy are all taken up with a careful examination of this “thing” called ‘the crook” or what the text calls “made crooked.” By doing so he forces us to better identify those things in our own lives that are not as straight as we would like. I’m going to briefly review his divisions and then offer some comments.

Understanding The Crook

  1. All our lives are like a path, or a lot, which has been determined entirely by the Lord.
  2. All our lives have both agreeable (straight) and disagreeable (crooked) events or circumstances
  3. Everyone has SOME disagreeable events in their life (a ‘crook’), no matter how good their life looks
  4. Sin, ultimately, is the cause of all our crooks.

A Crook Defined

  1. It is “Adverse”, that is, it goes against the grain of your comfort or prosperity
  2. It “Continues”, that is, it is more than just a momentary thing. It goes on for some time.

The Ways Crooks Come

  1. A single bad event or situation with lasting consequences
  2. A series of bad events, piling up, one following on the heels of another
  3. A single bad event, which ends, but is immediately followed by another

The Nature of a Crook. It is…

  1. Disagreeable – our will goes one way, but this crook goes another
  2. Unsightly – it is unpleasant to the natural eye
  3. Hinders progress – Boston’s words are “unfitness for motion”
  4. Entangling – tends to snare us into wrong thinking or acting

The Location of the Crook

  1. In any part of our life
  2. In many parts of our life all at once
  3. The tenderest, weakest, part of our life

Specifically Where We See the Crook

  1. In our natural bodies
  2. Our sense of honor
  3. In our calling or vocation (our jobs)
  4. In our relations or family

COMMMENTS

In this opening section of his work, Thomas Boston has shown a remarkably acute awareness of the variety of afflictions and troubles that befall mankind. While this awareness was undoubtedly helped along by his own personal struggles, it flows primarily from the Bible itself. He illustrates nearly all the divisions above with specific examples from the Scriptures.

There is a brilliant strategy in beginning with this method of defining the various types of “crooks” in our lives. Virtually whatever we can identify as “wrong” in our lives, can fall somewhere into the divisions he has explained. As such, how we manage this “crook” in our lot is going to have to follow the pattern which he, following his text, will soon be prescribing. He doesn’t allow us to reserve some “problem” that falls outside the scope of this God-ordained crook. Is it a sickness? He has organized that crook under the “natural body” section of his outline. Is it a bad experience in the past? He has identified those “single bad events” that sometimes constitute a crook. Whatever it is…it falls within the boundaries of the crook he is describing.

APPLICATION

Reader – Can you see that “thing” that is your own, personal “crook” somewhere in these definitions of Boston? It is likely somewhere in this mix. A difficult spouse, child or friend? Boston spoke of “relations and family” as being a particular target for this crook. Our pride? Boston noted that our “honor” is often the focus of this crook in our lot. By identifying our problem we are putting it, as it were, on the surgical table so that it can be examined and dealt with. You see, our temptation is not to want to be so transparent and honest about our “crooked” situations. We would rather keep them away from the light, and simply be bitter about them. By insisting that our case is “special” or “unique” we pretend to excuse our sinful response.

And did you notice how Boston insists that we ALL have crooked places in our lot in life? It is very tempting to think that “some people” have it easy. From our outside perspective we are inclined to think others have gotten a much better lot than our own. Sure, not all have the same degree of trials or troubles. But there is no trouble-free life. And many are far harder than what they appear at first sight.

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, Lord of Providence, and the One who determines my rising up and lying down – cause me to look with holy eyes upon whatever affliction you have given me to bear. Deliver me from grumbling. Deliver me from complaining. Deliver me from comparing my lot and station in life to others. Rather, open my eyes to see clearly the straight and crooked places in my life. For those that are pleasant, I give You all the praise and glory. My troubles are always fewer than I deserve. Your goodness and mercy are new every morning. And for whatever is contrary to my own will, hear my sincere prayer, “not my will but Thine be done.”

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