“Could You Be Left Behind?” July 19

 

Could You Be Left Behind?

 

Two people will be working together. One will disappear and the other will be left behind.  Men and women will be eating and sleeping and going about their business. Some will be gone in an instant and others left behind. How about you? Would you go or could you be left behind?

 

Today’s Readings:
2 Chronicles 34-36
Psalm 86.1-5
Proverbs 21.13-14
Acts 21.1-16

 

Could You Be Left Behind?

 

2 Chronicles 34-36:

Mercy … but Then Judgment

 

In chapter 34 Josiah had become king at the ripe old age of 8, but what a king he was! Verse 3 says that he began to seek the Lord in the eighth year of his reign. He would have been just 16 years old. By the age of 20 he was putting a stop to idolatry. Next he began clearing out the temple and getting ready to reinstate the proper temple worship. In the process Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of the Lord.

Several things struck me about all of this. First, the Word of God was not being taught. People were just doing whatever seemed right to them. The second thing was Josiah’s response to the Word when he heard it. He tore his clothes, a statement of intense mourning and repentance. He was repenting, not just for himself, but for the nation as a whole, because he realized just how far they had departed from the truth. He understood that they were under God’s judgment because of it.

So he sent Hilkiah and a group of men to meet with a prophetess named Huldah to seek further direction from the Lord. She reassured him that God had seen his righteous response to all of this and his willingness to humble himself and obey. So while judgment was coming, He would grant the nation a reprieve. In fact, it wouldn’t happen in Josiah’s lifetime. But after his death and by the close of 2 Chronicles, Jerusalem would be destroyed and the remaining people carried off to Babylon where they would remain in captivity for 70 years.

 

God is Withholding His Judgment Today

 

Today, much like in Josiah’s time, God is withholding His final judgment from the earth because of His faithful people, the Church! But one day …  Continue reading

“Are we headed for Egypt?” October 30

 

Are we headed for Egypt? - Is our nation doing exactly what God told the Israelites not to do, heading for Egypt? Egypt represents the world and its systems. It refers to the world, the government, and man's wisdom. Are we looking to those things to care for us, feed us, protect us, and get us out of this mess. Sadly, that is a recipe for disaster. What will our nation do as a whole? And if our nation continues headlong toward Egypt, will we be like Jeremiah and Baruch who obeyed God or like the leaders of Israel who rejected God's warnings? Whose side will we be on … in our hearts, in our personal lives, in the public arena, and in the voting booth?

Is our nation doing exactly what God told the Israelites not to do, heading for Egypt?

Egypt represents the world and its systems. It refers to the world, the government, and man’s wisdom. Are we looking to those things to care for us, feed us, protect us, and get us out of this mess. Sadly, that is a recipe for disaster.

What will our nation do as a whole? And if our nation continues headlong toward Egypt, will we be like Jeremiah and Baruch who obeyed God or like the leaders of Israel who rejected God’s warnings? Whose side will we be on … in our hearts, in our personal lives, in the public arena, and in the voting booth?

 

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 45 & 46
Psalm 119.105-112
Proverbs 28.4
2 Timothy 3.1-17

 

Are we headed for Egypt?

 

Jeremiah 45 & 46:

Trusting God’s Sovereign Plan

In chapter 45 God speaks to Baruch, Jeremiah’s scribe or secretary. Baruch was depressed and discouraged because of all the disaster God was about to bring on his nation.

Baruch hung out with Jeremiah. He knew what Jeremiah knew. He understood the what and why of God’s dealings with His people. And yet, he was struggling with his feelings.

And just because we understand truths like Romans 8.28-29, 1 Corinthians 10.13, and other similar passages, doesn’t mean we enjoy the trial when it affects us! Perhaps, Baruch was asking “Why me? Why did I have to be born at this time in history? Why couldn’t God have sent me somewhere else until all this was over?” Perhaps, he was reminding God that he had served Him faithfully and didn’t deserve this.

The Lord gently rebuked him for his self-pity, but then encouraged him with a promise.

Verse 5, “‘And do you seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them; for behold, I will bring adversity on all flesh,’ says the LORD. ‘But I will give your life to you as a prize in all places, wherever you go.’”

God was encouraging him to not be focused on himself, but to trust in His sovereign plan and His ability to use it for good, and to trust in His divine oversight and protection.

 

Egypt or Bust?

In chapter 46 God turns to the nation as a whole. The people have now fled to Egypt to escape the hardships at home. Remember they had gone there in defiance of a direct command from God. Not only had God commanded them not to go there, He had promised to take care of them if they stayed where they belonged!

While the book of Jeremiah is written to the nation of Israel, there are many principles that can be gleaned with application to other nations and situations, including America.

In spite of what you hear on the news and in the classroom today, America was founded by godly men on godly principles. For two centuries God used us to spread the Gospel, to protect the weak, and to be a beacon of hope and rescue. Because of that God blessed us with great resources, an abundance of ideas and creativity, and spiritual and physical protection.

But, as a whole, we have rejected the very God who has blessed and protected us. We have loved our sins and hated truth. We have rewritten history to suit our purposes and redefined right and wrong. In fact, we have called evil good and good evil. We have become tolerant of sin, murder, and idolatry; and intolerant of truth and righteousness. And when things turned badly, like the Israelites, we fled to Egypt.

Egypt represents the world and its systems. We are looking to the world, to the government, and to man’s wisdom to care for us, feed us, protect us, and get us out of this mess. Sadly, that is a recipe for disaster. Over and over again throughout the Bible, we have been told to “stand still and see the salvation of God” (Ex. 14.13) and warned not to turn to Egypt. Isaiah 31.1:  Continue reading