Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Desire to be Faithful

22 And Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven: 23 And he said, Lord God of Israel, there is no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart: 24 Who hast kept with thy servant David my father that thou promisedst him: thou spakest also with thy mouth, and hast fulfilled it with thine hand, as it is this day. 25 Therefore now, Lord God of Israel, keep with thy servant David my father that thou promisedst him, saying, There shall not fail thee a man in my sight to sit on the throne of Israel; so that thy children take heed to their way, that they walk before me as thou hast walked before me.  –I Kings 8:22-25 (KJV)

I often wonder how many people actually stop and consider what God would have them to do with their lives. Is this a consideration? It is up for discussion? Is it even on the table? For countless people, the answer is no. Many people either do not know or do not care that the Living God has a deep and personal interest in them. There are those who believe God exists, but that He is unconcerned with us personally. The Word of God teaches otherwise. The Bible demonstrates God has an interest in us and He is concerned with us on a personal level. Have you even gone somewhere and you had to take a number a wait? When your time came, they did not call your name, but they called your number. In God’s eyes we are not numbers, for God knows us by name. God’s desire for us is that we walk before Him and live in His blessing. 

Think about that for a moment; what is our desire in regards to God? Do we desire to be faithful to God in all aspects of life? Do we comprehend the magnitude of such a challenge as this? Following God’s will and being faithful to Him is something to be taken very seriously.

The Bible shows us a man named Solomon, who was King in Israel, acknowledged his need to be faithful to God. He recognized and understood the gravity of the situation. Moreover, when he completed the Temple and dedicated it to God, he prayed and worshipped God for His mercy, and Solomon asked God that the people might dwell in His blessing. What is the desire of our hearts? Is it to live life our way, or is it to live for the Lord and be faithful to Him? When our desire is to be faithful, rest assured God will honor our request.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Call to Repentance

Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, are these.  For if ye throughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye throughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour; If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt: Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever.  -Jeremiah 7:4-7 (KJV)

God made it clear to His people that a change was needed in their lives.  It was a challenge for them to amend their ways and their doings.  If they would, the result would be remaining in the land of Israel.  They would be victorious over those who sought to destroy them.  This message of repentance was delivered by Jeremiah to religious people going in and out of the Temple.  The problem was they were trusting in their heritage and religious experience to get them in right standing with God.  What places a person in proper standing with God?  It is having received salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.  These were a people whose hearts were in need of regeneration.  They went to the Temple and worshipped, they boasted about their heritage as the people of Israel, and yet their hearts remained far from God.

Jeremiah warned them not to trust in lying words.  The people were not being taught the Word of God by the priests.  The priests were watering down God's Word down by telling the people they what they wanted to hear.  The last thing that we should preach today is that people are fine just the way they are, for they are not.  What is needed is a heart changed by the power of Jesus Christ.  Only then can a person be in right standing with God. 

The priests were putting great emphasis on the Temple, telling people that this was their security and as long as they had the temple they were all right with God.  Nothing could have been further from the truth.  They came to find out later on that their strength did not rest in the Temple, but in God.  In 587 BC the Temple was torn down by the Babylonians, and in succeeding years, after the exile, it was rebuilt.  Recall what Jesus said about the Temple during His ministry on earth.  The Bible says in Matthew 24:1, 2, " And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.  And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

These words were fulfilled In AD 71.  The Romans came in and destroyed the city of Jerusalem and tore down the Temple, and it stands in ruins even today, with only the Wailing Wall remaining.

Our hope is always in the Lord.  Everything else is temporal, but God is forever.