Sunday, October 03, 2010

God knew they would fall away (DT 31:14-18)

"The Lord said to Moses, 'Behold, you are about to lie down with your fathers; and this people will arise and play the harlot with the strange gods of the land, into the midst of which they are going, and will forsake Me and break My covenant which I have made with them. Then My anger will be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them and hide My face from them, and they will be consumed, and many evils and troubles will come upon them; so that they will say in that day, "Is it not because our God is not among us that these evils have come upon us?" But I will surely hide My face in that day because of all the evil which they will do, for they will turn to other gods.'" (Deuteronomy 31:16-18)
Moses is about to die, but before he does, God turns to His friend and explains to him what would happen in the days to come to the people he had loved and shepherded for the past forty years. God tells Moses that in the ages to come Israel would fall away and apostasy would come upon the nation of Israel. Their sins and their worship of other gods would turn their hearts away from the true God; the God who lead them out of Egypt with signs and wonders and an out stretched arm. How disappointed and dismayed Moses must have been; to have cared for these people for forty years only to know that one day they would depart from all he taught and commanded them. As bleak of a picture God draws for Moses, this scripture shows use some wonderful truths about God.

First truth is that God is able to love us even while knowing our weakness and faults. Even knowing how the Israelites would abandon Him, God still loved them and still provided for and protected them. He was on their side even while knowing that, at times, they were not fully on His side. It reminds me of the time Jesus healed the ten lepers and yet only one came back to thank Him. "Then Jesus answered and said, 'Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine — where are they? Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?'" (Luke 17:17-18) What I find interesting is that Jesus, while knowing that not all ten would return to give thanks, still healed all ten. Jesus healed all ten because He loved all ten, not because all ten would love Him back. God loves us because we are His regardless of our righteousness, our love for Him, what we have to offer Him, or even our faithfulness to Him. He loves us because He is love. (1 John 4:16)

Secondly, God is able to achieve His will in our lives even when we fail Him. God is more committed to His purpose in our live than we are. We are fickle, sometimes we are strong in faith and our determination to go on, other times we are weak and wanting to turn back. Sometimes we exude righteousness and other times we stumble and fall in sin. However, in all these times, our highs and our lows, our good times and our bad, God remains the same and He remains committed to us and our conformance to His will. I am encourage by the story of Jonah. When commanded by God to go and preach to the Ninevites Jonah rebels and tries to run away from God and His command. Through a series of circumstances Jonah is tossed from a boat and lands in the belly of a great fish. For three days Jonah stews in the fish before he finally repents. As soon as he repents, the scripture says, "Then the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah up onto the dry land." (Jonah 2:10) But this was not just any dry land, he was barfed up on the shores of Nineveh, the very place he was suppose to go. For three days while Jonah was stewing, God was rushing him to Nineveh and to His purpose for Jonah's life. Even in Jonah's rebellion and sin, God was still working His purpose in his life.

Finally, God does not need perfect people for His purposes to succeed. Consider the lineage of Jesus. There were idolaters, adulterers, prostitutes, murders, liars, sinners, and infidels. However, even with the long line of imperfect people, God still brought His Son into the world to save us from our sins. Sometimes we forget how great God is; we believe that He is limited by us and our weaknesses; but the creator of the universe is not weak nor is he limited by human frailty but He is strong and well able to perform His purpose. Let us remember how great God is; let us see Him in His greatness and not through the prism of our weaknesses and failings. God is good and God is great.

David Robison

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