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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 150

Prayers of the Old Testament
The Prayer of Moses continued...

God sees the corruption of His people, He sees their divided hearts, He sees the sinfulness toward which they gravitate, and He wholly and unequivocally rejects the justifications they try to use for their rebellion.

In their own mind, Israel had a perfectly valid excuse for asking Aaron to make them a god. Moses had gone up on the mountain, and he had not returned. Days had passed – far more days than reasonable – and the people concluded that something must have happened to Moses.

Rather than turn their face to the one true God, they demanded other gods of Aaron, gods made by the hands of men, idols which required no obedience, subservience or righteousness.

It’s not as tough Moses kept the will of God a secret from the people, or was reticent about telling them what God’s expectations were. Throughout their journey Moses instructed, and taught, and shared the plan of God, but once we start heading down the path of thinking we know better than God, it is a slippery slope.

Not only had the people corrupted themselves, they had turned from the way which God commanded them. In order to be said that someone turned from the way which they were commanded to follow, it is logical to assume they knew the way they ought to have gone.

Having the word of God, takes the notion that we can somehow claim ignorance of God’s will, off the table completely. We will not be able to stand before Him, shrug our shoulders, and say ‘we didn’t know that,’ because His word is unambiguous and straightforward.

Just as Israel could not excuse their behavior, many who dismiss the word of God and the will of God today, will not be able to excuse their behavior either.

Human nature is surprisingly consistent. Men act and react today, as they did four thousand years ago, because the basic construct of mankind has been such since the beginning of time. No, I don’t believe we’re evolving, because if mankind were evolving, logic would dictate they would be seeking more of God, and the knowledge of Him than doing more of what He detests and abhors.

Not only have we been shown the way, the Christ, the Son of God came to earth, lived, died, and rose again in order to make a way. No man can claim ignorance of the way, because the way is Jesus, the cornerstone and foundation of our faith.

God speaks, and man refuses to hear. God speaks and man hardens his heart. God shows us the way, and we pretend as though He wasn’t clear enough, or the way was not highlighted properly.

Once again, God is not mocked. He hasn’t grown frail with the passing of time, He hasn’t started to miss a step, or be a bit slower than He used to be. He sees all, knows all, perceives all, and when those who are to be His, those who are called by His name become corrupt, stray off the path, and harden their hearts, He grows exceedingly wrathful.

Zechariah 7:11-12, “But they refused to heed, shrugged their shoulders, and stopped their ears so that they could not hear. Yes, they made their hearts like flint, refusing to hear the law and the words which the Lord of hosts sent by His Spirit through the former prophets. Thus great wrath came from the Lord of hosts.”

Throughout the history of Israel, this has been a visible and ongoing pattern. God blessed the people, the people began to stray, God began to warn the people, the people refused to heed, God continued warning, the people hardened their hearts, and then finally, the wrath of God was poured out.

In His love God pleads with us to repent, and return to the path which we have forsaken. In His love God sends messengers to warn us that if repentance is not forthcoming, judgment certainly will be. Instead of heeding the warnings of God however, we stone the messengers, have a love feast to reaffirm that our god is love and he would never do such a thing, and go on doing that which stirred the wrath of God in the first place.

God doesn’t send messengers to pat us on the head and tell us how great we are doing. He doesn’t send words such as, ‘my people, I’m so proud of you for trying; you’re doing so well, bravo.’ Obedience is expected, it is a given, it is not something with which we impress God; it is the least He expects of those who are called by His name. Righteousness, holiness, humility, selflessness, all these things are expected of us, and if we practice them we are not excelling in the ways of God, we are meeting the minimum requirements.

2 Chronicles 24:19, “Yet He sent prophets to them, to bring them back to the Lord; and they testified against them, but they would not listen.”

There have always been, and there will always be consequences to disobedience. There have always been, and there will always be consequences to straying from truth, wandering off the path, and disregarding the words which God speaks in love.

God’s desire is to bring us back to Himself. Throughout history He has sent prophets to bring the people back to the Lord, and for just as long the people have been stiff-necked and rejected the warnings of God.

Obedience is a choice we make. It is not something we can be forced into doing; it is not something God can twist our arm to do. We choose to obey, we choose to heed His warnings, we choose to humble ourselves, and we choose to repent. What God does, is warn whenever we are not walking in the way we ought to, but as far as forcing us to do it, He will not.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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