Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Have Your Church Roots Dried Up? Are Your Leaders Rebels?

The Minor Prophets Speak to Today 

hateful photo: Pennswoods' Eight Hateful Letters IMG_1498.jpg

Remember Your Gilgal?

I Began to Hate You There!


The Lord says, “All their wickedness began at Gilgal;
    there I began to hate them.
I will drive them from my land
    because of their evil actions.
I will love them no more
    because all their leaders are rebels.

The people of Israel are struck down.
    Their roots are dried up,
    and they will bear no more fruit.
And if they give birth,
    I will slaughter their beloved children.”

There I Began to Hate Them

You would think the Gilgal names some place in the Wilderness where Israel made God mad.

That's not true.

The story of Gilgal starts as a story of victory. Gilgal was the first place Israel camped after they entered the Promised Land. From Gilgal, Israel took Jericho, Ai, and the other cities and kingdoms in the Promised Land. 

Disobedient in the Wilderness, Israel entered the Promised Land a defiled people. The men born in the wilderness were not even circumcised. But, at Gilgal the people again consecrated themselves to the Lord their God, re-instituted circumcision, and kept Passover as commanded by God through Moses.

Gilgal became the place of revival for Israel.

What a glorious history at Gilgal.

But, God says through Hosea, "“All Israel's wickedness began at Gilgal;  there I began to hate them."

What can this mean?

Beginning at Gilgal, Israel left the governance of God.

Beginning at Gilgal, Israel left the governance of God to follow a king, King Saul. There God warned them their request had been a sin and admonished them not to sin again or to turn away from him because he had now granted them their sinful request.

Not so stellar now. Not so faithful. Not a place of revival but accommodation. And God's accommodation is not a blessing. It is a harbinger of evil to come.

By Hosea's time Gilgal had become one of the centers of false worship, though supposedly a place of keeping the feasts and sacrifices of the Law.

Gilgal became the place of false revival.

Beginning in revival, the children of God, as so perpetually repeated in Jewish and Christian history, fell away from God's Lordship into form and function, even disformation and dysfunction.

Then, in Hosea's day, Gilgal became a place of false revival.

Doctor Warren Wiersbe says it this way:

"On the surface, Israel seemed to be experiencing a religious revival. Crowds of people were flocking to the "altars" and "shrines", bringing their sacrifices and tithes and even singing songs of praise to the Lord. They offered sacrifices more frequently  than the law required as if to prove how spiritual they were. But their gifts and songs didn't impress the Lord, for he saw what was in their hearts; and the sin in their hearts made their sacrifices unacceptable.

"The people of Israel loved going to religious meetings, but they didn't love the God they claimed to worship. Making a pilgrimage to Bethel or Gilgal was popular in that day, and everybody wanted to keep up with the crowd. The experience included no confession of sin, no brokenness before the Lord, only a religious event that made the participants feel good. The whole system was corrupt; the people were sinning when they thought they were serving God."

And today the same can be said, with truth, about the churches of America and Europe, including the Evangelicals and the Pentecostals. 

"We can easily join a large, happy religious crowd, enthusiastically sing rousing songs, and put money in the offering plate, and yet not be changed in our hearts."

"If the fountainhead of  worship is polluted, the church's entire ministry -- evangelism, education, social action, world missions, or feeding the hungry, everything the church accomplishes --  will be defiled."

And God's warnings remain the same today:

I will drive them from the land because of their evil actions.

I will love them no more because all their leaders are rebels.

Their roots are dried up, and they will bear no more fruit.


Have Your Church's Roots Dried Up? Are Your Leaders Rebels?

Hear Ye The Word Of The Lord!

He Is Not Asking For Your Opinion.


Photo Credits:
Pennswoods' Eight Hateful Letters

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