Tuesday, June 18, 2013
When, When or Then
1Kings 8:23 - ...Lord God of Israel, there is no God in heaven above or on earth below like You, who keep Your covenant and mercy with Your servants who walk before You with all their hearts.
I have written about "if, then." Well, now it's "when, when or then!" We see in the Old Testament the example of what's to come in the New. You can't have one without the other. The Old Testament lays the foundation for the New. God always lays a firm foundation.
Remember, God never changes. Also remember, none of us is perfect; we are all sinners, no matter how good we think we are. What God offered and commanded in the Old Testament Christ did in the New.
I'm taking several verses and condensing them from the Book of Kings, chapter 8, giving you the when followed by the then. Have fun! (I Kings 8:31-49) Don't forget, although it was written for Israel, we can be substituted there.
When anyone sins against his neighbor, when Your people are defeated before an enemy, when the heavens are shut up and there is no rain, when there is a famine, pestilence, blight or mildew, locusts or grasshoppers, whatever plague or whatever sickness there is, (or) You (God) become angry with them and deliver them to the enemy, and they take them captive to the land of the enemy...because they have sinned against You (for there is no one who does not sin)...
When they turn back to You and confess Your name, and turn from their sin, pray and make supplication; when each one knows the plague of his own heart, and spreads out his hands toward this temple...when they say: We have sinned and done wrong, we have committed wickedness, and when they return to You with all their heart and with all their soul...
Then hear in heaven their prayer and supplication and maintain their cause, forgive the sin of Your people Israel, that You may teach them the good way in which they should walk; and send rain on Your land which You have given to Your people as an inheritance; forgive, and act, and give to everyone according to all his ways, whose heart You know (for You alone know the hearts of all the sons of men), that they may fear You all the days; act, and judge Your servants, condemning the wicked, bringing his way on his head, and justifying the righteous by giving him according to his righteousness.
First of all, this goes for the whole world. God can punish blatantly sinning as a people or as a country. He can cause the pestilences, famines, wars. Yes, He can!
This is telling us what we sometimes don't want to hear: we must admit we are sinners, repent of our sins, turn from them...then God will do good toward us. He will forgive, He will bless, He will heal, He will make us righteous. But it only comes when we are focused on Him, which we just don't see much of anymore. Many churches today only want to preach the better half of this message...that God loves us and He will forgive us. BUT, we have to turn away from all that goes against God's will or desires for us. We must humble ourselves before Him. We must confess we are sinners and that He is the ultimate authority, not us.
The world holds on to values that are not very valuable. Where's the value in too much of anything we don't really need? Do we believe that because we can afford it we have a right to misuse it? Sounds a bit proud. We can be broken some day...through illness or monetary loss, I think even abandonment of friends or family because of unwise choices.
If one wants to go overboard about anything, do it with something eternally valuable...God and His Word. Store up those riches in heaven that will not perish. Living in the here and now may seem the best thing to do because our time on earth is limited but, although and because this is only temporary, we should be considering what's eternal. Where do we want to spend eternity? Living it up today will not secure eternal life.
Are we walking before God with all our hearts? Are we believing that some day will be a better day to be serious about the Lord? What would happen if you were killed in a car accident today? Would some day be good enough? We should not wait. Some will outright reject God, not believing any of this. It's their choice. If you believe there is a God He wishes that all would come before it's too late. He has shown us throughout the Bible what He desires, commands, offers. Are we too proud to heed His words?
There was one part of the scriptures I did not include above--1Kings 8:41-43. Briefly it is a plea from Solomon to God asking that when those who are not the people of God come having heard about this great and powerful (and yes, compassionate) God, would He hear in heaven and do according to all they call for...that the earth may know of His name and fear Him. This is where I come in. I pray that you would seek God now while you have time. When you do this, then...as stated above. He offers His covenant with all but we must be willing to receive it. We must be willing to humble ourselves, confess, repent. Can you do that? Remember, this life IS temporary and there IS a place where we will live for eternity.
1Peter 2:11 - Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul...