Saturday, September 26, 2020

I Will Deliver

Bobservations Column
By Pastor Bob Lawrenz

We have repeatedly seen in the scriptures, that when Israel looked to their neighboring countries, they failed to draw the line when it came to the pagan religious beliefs of those neighbors. God’s Commandments were quite specific, and held no room for compromise. In the New Testament we read how we are IN the world, but God calls us to not be OF the world. So the same concept of separation applies to the Church that applied to Israel. This is not a double-minded message; we can live peacefully among those with whom we do not share beliefs and cultures. It’s called “civility.” But we cannot adopt their pagan beliefs without putting our faith at risk of compromise. This is a major pitfall in a multicultural society like our own.

Whether it was Egypt, the Philistines, Assyria, or Babylon, it was a rule of international law that you “conquered, or be conquered.” Being at the crossroads of ancient trade routes between three continents, Israel always found themselves with foreigners in the land. And for the biggest and most powerful nations, whoever controlled the Trade Routes, controlled the spread of great wealth. They all had their eye on Israel because of its strategic location.

God is more powerful than them all, so Israel should have been turning to God at every threat. But they didn’t. They turned instead to the pagan gods of enemy nations to supply provision and protection. God eventually used those same foreigners to bring judgment upon His people.

But in God’s anger, He never sought to destroy them, because they were His people. And to free His people from idolatry, He would judge the ones He used to bring judgment upon His own. That’s what these next few chapters are all about: Judgment against the nations that sought to overrun Israel and conquer her, and to use and abuse her people... God’s people! Egypt, the Philistines, Assyria, and Babylon all became targets of God’s wrath.

God wants His people to be free, free to live for Him, and free to worship Him only, and free from the world’s habits and tenets.

Today's Audio Message: "I Will Deliver"

As the book of Jeremiah comes to a few remaining chapters, God has some final words for the surrounding Gentile nations who had not escaped God’s judgment for their own sin.  In the OT we have the Word of the Lord against the Gentiles, in the NT we have the Word of the Lord for the Gentiles.  Egypt is the first to be judged. In 605 BC two major world powers would come to a face off.  The Babylonians were on the move to take over as the most powerful nation. God had warned Judah not to go to Egypt because He knew they would be defeated, yet they willfully disobeyed.  Judah would not be safe apart from God, they would be punished for their disobedience and deliberate sinfulness. Egypt is defeated by the Babylonian armies and ceases to be a dominant power. 

Eighteen years is a long time for God to move on His prophetic word, but He did, and He will. Today is no different! As we await the Lord’s return and coming judgment, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that God has delayed His coming.  The apostles expected him in the first century, but he did not come. Now many centuries later, those who have given up the hope of His return have fallen away serving themselves and other gods. When you do not take God at His Word, the consequences are devastating. One thing is for sure, He Is Our Hope, We Can Be Sure Of His Word, and He Will Bring It To Pass.  His delayed timing is an act of mercy, giving His children time to repent and turn back to Him. Don’t overlook the years of mercy that He is possibly extending to you, because He will keep His word and it will come to pass! God is merciful, longsuffering and loving, and is not willing that any should perish, but He is also Righteous, Holy and True, and He will not turn a blind eye to sin.

Chapter after chapter we have seen that when we stray there are dire consequences. But we also see when we repent, He forgives and restores us.  When we are overcome by the enemy, He provides protection.  When we feel abandoned, He comes to our rescue.  When we are discouraged, He give us Hope!  And He certainly provides hope for Israel as He reminds them of His promises to come! 

“ . . . behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.  2 Corinthians 6:2

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