Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Come Back To Your God! Jacob - A Story of Hope for the Churches!

The Minor Prophets Speak to Today 

Jacob - A Story of Hope for the Churches! 

Hosea 12:2-6 NLT


Israel surrounds me with lies and deceit,
    but Judah still obeys God
    and is faithful to the Holy One.
Hosea 11:12

We have concentrated on God's words about Israel with only a tangential reference to Judah. God has been calling Judah faithful and obedient. But he has hinted that even his faithful, obedient children stand under judgment and are not so pure as they think.

Now he turns his words to address Judah.

God disciplines those whom he loves. He matures and disciplines those who are obedient and faithful because his call to them is not legalistic following of his words, but holiness and purity - conditions of the heart. Conditions beyond deceitfulness and beyond obedience and faithfulness to his word for selfish reasons.

This is why a relationship with Christ and the Father, a relationship with the Holy Spirit, which is based only on the Bible or the laws of the universe is not enough. Better than that of Christians who prostitute themselves to the world and it standards, but still a relationship of deceit.

First God lays out the truth about his faithful (not to be confused with faith full) children.

Now the Lord is bringing charges against Judah.
    He is about to punish Jacob[a] for all his deceitful ways,

    and pay him back for all he has done.  
                                              Footnote:  12:2 Jacob sounds like the Hebrew word for “deceiver.”

In a crushing blow to the witness of his Children, many in his churches, God - using Jacob as an example - declares that even their birth into his family was deceitful.

How? Because it was accompanied with a grasping for new birth for selfish reasons. Many have been born into the covenant family, liturgically or by their own will, with self as the core reason not God. Jacob's birth, like ours, into the covenant family was a purely human act, not spiritual. The flesh alone does not give birth to that which is spiritual.

Having embraced the covenant life for human reasons, though the call is divine, we often remain deceived and deceivers. Our life style, our religion, our faithfulness and obedience, remain legalistic, me centered. Not centered on a living relationship with God.

Now God, in his grace, embraces us and protects us, and calls out to us, and makes earthly promises, and makes spiritual promises. But we like Jacob, though we acknowledge God and his personally speaking to us, still place our own conditions on laying aside our former lives and walking by faith with God.

“If God will indeed be with me and protect me on this journey, and if he will provide me with food and clothing, and if I return safely to my father’s home, then the Lord will certainly be my God." Genesis 28:20 

Note the big "I" is still Lord in this statement. If God will keep his promise and help me reach my earthly goals, then I will turn Lordship of my life over to Him.

We covenant with God as God, but the heart remains deceitful.

This is God's accusation against his Faithful and Obedient children. This is why the faithful church also stands under discipline and imminent judgment. Judgment to call us away from being self deceived into solely God's - Jesus's - lordship of our earthly life, loves and actions.

How about you?

What about your church?

Is the big "I" still the lord of your actions, words, and life?

Again today God is calling us away from being self deceived  into solely God's lordship. Will you and your fellowship turn away from the self deceit we accept as obedience and faithfulness and, as Jacob upon return to his father, embrace true Lordship?

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