The Message of God
Yesterday, I wrote about the love of God and how we tend to forget that in jealousy, the Lord will bring us low to reclaim our hearts. Judges 6:1-6 revealed that God not only allows -- but indeed willingly causes -- trial and suffering in order to win back our allegiance.
Today, I want to continue with the Judges passage and look at a few more verses:
" 7 When the people of Israel cried out to the Lord on account of the Midianites, 8 the Lord sent a prophet to the people of Israel. And he said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: I led you up from Egypt and brought you out of the house of slavery. 9 And I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all who oppressed you, and drove them out before you and gave you their land. 10 And I said to you, ‘I am the Lord your God; you shall not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell.’ But you have not obeyed my voice" (Judges 6:7-10, ESV).
SOMEONE CALL 911
God, in love, has brought Israel to their knees. They are suffering tremendous pain and they finally cry out to the Lord for deliverance.
What do you think a loving God would do? If I'm honest, I would want God to simply end my pain, drive out the Midianites, and return my life back to its peaceful normality, thank you very much!
But that's not God's response. Instead, He sends a prophet. That makes no sense to me -- it's as if I'm in a terrible car accident and instead of sending a police officer or EMT officer, the 911 dispatcher sends a reporter! My illustration is imperfect, but here's the point -- when God sends a prophet, it tells you that He's after something more than just situational relief.
God is after the heart -- He's not content with just changing circumstances. He doesn't receive some sadistic pleasure when you experience pain, but in love, He's willing to allow that pain to continue if it means you're more receptive to His Word.
THE MESSAGE OF GOD
There are three things that the prophet says to Israel:
1. "Everything Good Comes from Me."
The prophet is reading God's resume of goodness. It's quite a list! But Israel, in their sin and ignorance, forgets about the goodness of God and chases after idols.
Don't be too hard on Israel - you and I not only forget about God's goodness, but we actually take credit for what only He could produce. It's a sad and dangerous reality; when we think we have graduated from divine provision and start to rely on individual strength, the consequences can be devastating.
2. "I Redeemed You So I Own You."
If you're God's child, you must never view your life as belonging to you. Every situation, location, and relationship belongs to the Lord because we've been bought with a price.
God delivered Israel from slavery in Egypt and as such, He has the divine right to tell them how to live their life. In the same way, He delivered us from slavery to sin, so He has every right to tell us how to live (1 Corinthians 6:20). There can be only one King of your heart, and God refuses to give up His throne.
3. "I'm Not Faithless - You Are."
Don't waste your spiritual and emotional energy worrying about the faithfulness of God. God has been faithful throughout the history of the world, is currently faithful to you, and will ever be faithful to His promises.
Instead, expend your spiritual energy out of concern for your own faithfulness. Each and every person reading this article, regardless of your age or maturity, has a faithfulness problem inside their heart (myself included).
It's so easy for us to become unfaithful idolaters. Our idols aren't made of gold and shaped like animals, but don't fall into thinking that idolatry was just the problem for Old Testament Israel. Idolatry is a struggle for us today.
But God remains faithful; He will call His children back. He will even allow trouble to enter your life to remind you of where true life is found.
I would ask you today -- where has the Lord troubled your life to get your attention so that you would give your heart to Him once again?
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