Thursday, September 25, 2008

Christian, Learn From Israel!

The more I study God's word, the Bible, the more I am convicted and relate to Israel! My own reading of the entire Bible, took me (reluctantly) into the Old Testament, and brought me from an initial position of criticizing the people of God for their unbelief to completely identifying with them! This completely took me by surprise.It became clear to me that it would be pure hypocrisy of me to be critical of them, when I myself did the same thing either by not being thankful for His blessings and leadings - or by a lack of faith over what He was working out in my life!

I often say I wish I had a "hot line" a red telephone straight to God so He could tell me what He wanted or expected of me. Eventually I realized I do have that, it's the Holy Spirit within me and everything He wants to say to me is in His Holy Scriptures. It was up to me to stay connected to Him!

As I read the Old Testament I felt Israel HAD that very intimate and tangible line to God. The more I read of their failures, the more I wondered at HOW a people who actually SAW and felt His presence in ways too numeous to name here are just a few:
  • the pillar of fire by night and cloud by day
  • the direct speaking to his chosen leaders and prophets
  • the proof though fulfilled prophecy
  • the battles only He could have won for Israel
These and SO many more were all signs that He alone was the one and only God and that He was protecting and blessing them. So how could Israel be so blind?!? Ignorant?!? Deceived!!!!!!!!!!! That was a constant question on my heart as I read through the Old Testament.

Yet, isn't that what we Christians do when we allow the enemy to deceive us into thinking that God isn't listening to our prayer? Do we not often believe that He doesn't care or is too busy to attend to our supplications? It's that same liw that Satan used in the garden of Eden when in his first recorded spoken words to man he planted seeds of doubt in her mind by saying "Indeed, has God said.....?" (Genesis 3:1).

In Galatians 3:6-7 we read "Abraham BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham." I love that verse. Abraham's faith saved him, in the same way our faith makes us descendants of Abraham in God's eyes. By faith Abraham was saved, by faith in Jesus Christ we are saved and grafted on to the family of Abraham. Romans 11 is rich on this subject. It speaks to my heart, I hope it will equally to yours. I wouldn't even dare try to comment on one of God's mysteries!

Romans 11:17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree,
Romans 11:18  do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you.
Romans 11:19  You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in."
Romans 11:20  Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear;
Romans 11:21  for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either.
Romans 11:22  Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God's kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.
Romans 11:23  And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.
Romans 11:24  For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree?
Romans 11:25  For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery--so that you will not be wise in your own estimation--that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in;
Romans 11:26  and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, "THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB."
Romans 11:28  From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies [Gk: hostile] for your sake, but from the standpoint of God's choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers;
Romans 11:29  for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
Romans 11:30  For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience,
Romans 11:31  so these also now have been disobedient, that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy.
Romans 11:32  For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all.

I once heard someone distinguish the difference between mercy and grace. He said "Grace is getting what you don't deserve, mercy is NOT getting what you DO deserve". No one ever deserved the Salvation which was freely (by grace) to anyone who will receive it, by the suffering of Jesus Christ for our sins. It is only by the grace of Yahweh, the God of Israel, that we ARE saved!

As I have shared before on this blog, it was only when I came to the realization that I was NO DIFFERENT than the people (Israel) that my own Christian walk changed! Primarily the shallow teachings of most (even so-called "evangelical") churches of today no longer satisfied me. I suppose this is when I moved from milk to meat! There is a time for milk in our Christian lives, as in a child's life........but a child quickly graduates to meat as must CHOOSING to know God through His Scripture. Only then can we be of use to the Kingdom of God.

Hebrews 5:12  For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.
Hebrews 5:13  For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant.
Hebrews 5:14  But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

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