“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Choose life and blessing

“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.” (Deut. 30:19).

We all have lessons to learn. Life will be full of them until we die. Learning is the work of a lifetime. We are forced to learn the big lessons of life. No one can say, “Stop the world, I want to get off.”

This world is full of prisoners. Captivity is a pandemic. We are prisoners to consequences to all the wrong choices we’ve made.

We are prisoners here. There are the obvious penitentiaries for criminals. But there are also the not so obvious prison houses—substance abuse of all kinds, financial indebtedness, bad marriages, indulgence of all type of appetites, etc. Our Creator has offered His sources of guidance to teach us to love the right and to eschew the wrong. But His Law has gone unheeded en masse. In His Law (His word) He has mercifully provided His creatures the path of unlimited blessing.

But the tastes and inclinations of our sin-filled race take a disliking to the purity and love of the Law of God. Neither is it popular. So each sinner that knows what is right but doesn’t do it gambles that God is wrong about the consequences which He predicts. And so they go on in the direction of wrong choices, hoping for the best and laughing to themselves that God is outdated and old-fashioned, and that they outsmarted Him. But “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.” (Ps. 2:4).

Finally the day of chagrin will arrive. The game of sex results in an unwanted, extra-marital pregnancy, or bears fruit in an incurable STD; the thrill of theft or dealing drugs ends in years of incarceration; the careless spree of spending and borrowing descends into a lifetime of repayment and poverty; after years indulging every form of appetite, nature breaks down and cancer and disease stand at the door and knock.

Long-time anger, resentment, and revenge damage the sensitive brain, and senility finally sets in; lessons from the first marriage are refused, and after having one family following another, the promising family life is ruined as both partners are mired in a confusion of multiple ex-spousal issues and children run amuck; a Christian who wants to serve God chooses a career that promises the good life, and after years of having “pitched his tent toward Sodom,” the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke that original desire for God so that he is no longer a Christian, and he loses his place in the book of life.

And then the sinners hear God say, “Wasn’t I right at the beginning? Will you listen to Me now?” But the prisoners bristle, “No! Never!” So the prison sentence becomes an intolerable torment. A similar scene happened to Israel at their first entrance into Canaan after deliverance from Egypt.

They had grumbled about the conditions the Lord put them in since leaving the iron furnace at the Nile. The eleven day journey to Canaan had taken two years. That had been two years of heat, manna, and camping—not living a dream come true. It brought out the bad habit of ingratitude and cantankerous discontentedness in many hearts, and finally, they are on the southern border of Canaan and their spies come back to say that the land was impossible to conquer.

Having all the memories of the Lord’s great victory over Pharaoh and his army, the Israelites continued the self-centered nagging and complaining. It was wrong. They had heard God’s voice from Sinai calling them to be a holy nation. They couldn’t stop His words from entering their conscience, “I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me.” (Ex. 20:5). Yet they kept pressing the envelope of God’s patience, pushing far beyond His threshold of forbearance.

This last grumbling affair was the last of Satan’s taunt at God the Father. The Son of God declared that if they feared to go in, they weren’t ever going in. He told Moses, “All those men which have seen My glory, and My miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted Me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to My voice;
Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked Me see it.” (Num. 14:22,23).

“Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the Lord, as ye have spoken in Mine ears, so will I do to you:
Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against Me,
Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.
But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised.
But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness.
And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness.
After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know My breach of promise.” (Num. 14:28-34).

But if they had grumbled before, now their rage knew no bounds. Forty years of wilderness?! Die wandering? And never see the land of luxury? “And they rose up early in the morning, and gat them up into the top of the mountain, saying, Lo, we be here, and will go up unto the place which the Lord hath promised: for we have sinned.” (Vs. 40). “We have sinned.” Was this repentance—was it sorrow for sin? Or the refusal of consequences?

Nevertheless, they would still try to prove God wrong. Moses warned them “I wouldn’t do it!” “But they presumed to go up unto the hill top…
Then the Amalekites came down, and the Canaanites which dwelt in that hill, and smote them, and discomfited them, even unto Hormah.” (vs. 44,45).

A forty year sentence in a hot, paltry Arabian prison, eating manna, and being preached to by the man they despised the most. He got them into this mess. It was all his fault they were given this totally unreasonable forced labor and pain and eventual death. But they had no way to get back to Egypt; they didn’t know which direction in this desolate land to strike out for. The only water for miles was what came bubbling out of the ground at Yahweh’s command; and there were no clouds except the one covering their camp wherever the pillar of cloud went.

At the people’s realization that their forty year death sentence was inescapable, there was much weeping and gnashing of teeth; their brains were boiling with grinding wrath and bitter hatred toward their heavenly Prosecutor. They were learning that many are called, but few chosen. And they were not the few who were worthy of the land flowing with milk and honey.

Forty years could be enough to rehabilitate the rebels, if they would bend. But, we don’t surrender easily. Pride can take many decades to back down and submit to authority, and sometimes we run out of time before pride surrenders. The cure for rebellion is hard, and rare. It took lock down and solitary confinement of the nation, but with God dwelling among them, suffering right alongside them. Jehovah was suffering from them as much as they were suffering from Him.

Unbeknown to them, Satan controlled the angry adults. They served Jehovah in name only. His Spirit of peace did not reign in their hearts. The enemy of souls had won their natures over to sensual religion and pagan lifestyles, and had whipped insolence into their wills through the taskmasters. The older generation leaving Egypt was incurable. But if their children would learn from the mistakes of their parents, the next generation would go in.

Christ has faithfully preserved this event for all later generations. His grand intention from the beginning has been, “As truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord.” (Vs. 21). We can learn truth two ways—the easy way, and the hard way.

We can choose the easier way of the two. We can open the Law and the testimonies (Is. 8:20), and let their conviction do radiation treatment on our cancer of sin. It will soon give us a hunger for grace and bring us to a Savior from self. He promises us that with Him by our side, our disciplining will be easy and light. We won’t be alone. His companionship will make all the difference in our prison sentence because we will see Him suffering with us. No matter which sentence we get, they are all similar and all doable if we let Him do it with us.

Or we can choose the harder route, the way of imprisonment under harsh conditions and much misery. But the warning is loud and clear about this method. “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” (Heb. 3:12).

“And…if any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone…
And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” (Rev. 14:9-11).


Blogger Nsubuga Daniel said...

This is a good post and give a good challange for my soul. I once choose God. we are in a world of choices.
Thanks again its one of the best posts

12/16/2010 3:35 AM  

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