Faithful God

3/10/09 9:45p

Joshua 17-20

Pericope: Joshua 17:3-4

One thing that irritates me is when someone promises something and then never fulfills his promise. Political campaigns are the worst. Obama and the entire democratic party as well as most republicans have made me sick the past 8 years and even more the past 3 months.  I guess Obama’s pledge of fiscal discipline and cutting pork spending and pet projects are empty words. Check out the latest news. Another several hundred billion dollar spending spree that will mortgage the mortgage that is already on my generation and my son’s generation and his future children’s generation- thanks to the “bailout” failure already passed.

One thing that is comforting to me is that there is hope for today in the midst of a  world knocked up by sin. Since creation, Yahweh has been at work to restore rest to this world. He is at work doing away with evil and has already conquered sin on the cross. It will be a matter of time before evil will be judge. We know this because God is faithful. In today’s passage, we see that the Land is being distributed to God’s people, just has he has promised. This was a point in Israel’s history when things were being done, “as the Lord had commanded.” God made his promise to Abraham and his people were experiencing the truth to His words. When God speaks, it is effective. There is never a time when God speaks empty words or outright lies. There is never a time when he deceives His people. There is a world of difference between the empty words promised by people today and the effective faithful words of God. If you find it is difficult to trust because you have been burned by people who fail to keep their promises, then you ought to consider changing your vantage point. Make your starting point God’s word and discover His faithfulness as He cares for His people!

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Unfailing Love

1/26/2008 1:00pm

Genesis 22-27

Recently I was flying back to Dallas after driving up to Denver. The woman who sat next to me on the plane shared that she had spent the weekend together with her boyfriend skiing. From the conversation, she gave me the impression that her relationship with her boyfriend was much more than platonic- i.e. physically intimate. I was not at all surprised since physical intimacy before marriage seems to be the norm for our culture today. After she finished, I was able to share the blessing of having a wonderful wife and a beautiful baby boy. My wife and I have been married for 3 years. There have been times when it has been difficult, but the hard work has been worth it all. There is nothing more freeing and satisfying than sharing a commitment that is mutual.

This morning as I read through Genesis 22-27, I became grateful for the security that I have in the love of Christ. Because of his love, I enjoy both heavenly riches by being in right relationship with the Father, and I enjoy earthly riches by being blessed with a beautiful wife who is faithful to me. The love that God has for us is much richer than our love toward him or even our love toward the one we love most.

When Abraham’s servant was searching for the wife of Isaac, he recognized this faithful love God had toward Abraham. It is called Checed (Kesed) love, or faithful love. This love is not only an endearing love, but much more than that. It is a love that is continually faithful to uphold its commitments. In the case of Abraham, God was firmly committed to the Covenant whereby God would bring redemption and blessing to all mankind.

I am thankful for being in Community with Christ. He is the ultimate fulfillment of Chesed love. God does not want us to spin isolated in the fleeting pleasures of one night stands, cheap sex, or pornography. They all seem intoxicating at the moment, but such moments are quickly fleeting and leave one feeling unsatisfied. Instead, God is delivering us from a world of hurts, habits, and hangups that are less than a cheap imitation of love. Love without commitment is dangerous and hurtful- it really is no love at all. True love is committed. If your life is caught up in isolation and uncertainty, and you are looking for a way out, that way has been provided through the unfailing love of Christ.

Roots

Genesis Chapters 6-11. 1/20/2008 4:00pm

Origin is something that affects everyone in some way. Family roots and heritage will vastly shape everyone’s future. Familial background is something that cannot be overcome. It is what it is. However, that is not to say that it must determine everything about one’s destiny. In studying God’s people, family roots are essential in one’s role in community and relation to others. Sometimes it seems that you have to be some sort of religious nut who exhausts his life with certain religious nut ball exercises in order to be accepted by God, but that it actually rarely the case.

For example, in the biblical account of Adam and Eve, we can see that all of mankind’s role in community and relationship with God and people have been significantly marked through the choices of Adam and Eve. Everyone struggles with the effects of sin: hurts, habits and hangups. Yet scripture also records how God graciously intervened in the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:16) and his presence was in the midst of people who were sinful.

Back in the early days of humanity, people existed in the midst of brokenness. Scripture provides some insight into the wickedness that prevailed (See Genesis 6). The earth was in a state of decay. With the exception of one man, Noah, Scripture indicates mankind lived in the absence of community with God. Consequently, evil spread to the point where God’s creation was ruined and God regretted that he made humankind. Eventually, with the exception of Noah and his family, God passed judgment on the earth and destroyed it by flood. Through the ark, God’s grace miraculously provides for the salvation of people.

But even after such salvation, the descendants of Noah rejected community with God and tried to build a name for themselves at the tower of Babel. God’s confuses the languages and scatters the people, thus forcing the world to return to the original plan of “be fruitful and multiply”. Nations were formed and people lived and died without community with God. 

And then in Genesis 11, we see a biblical icon, Abram, who was later renamed Abraham. Abram was from Ur, a city of the Chaldeans (Ancient Babylon). Abraham, like Noah, was surrounded by wickedness and people who knew nothing of Community with God. There is nothing significant that is mentioned in Scripture that would picture Abram as a man God would choose because of Abram’s skill or religiosity. Yet we know that God calls Abram away from Ur and eventually to the land of Canaan. Yet, one of the most significant things about this story is that Abram receives the Covenant with God before he left Ur. Abram did not have to do anything to earn this Covenant. God graciously injects His presence (community) into the life of Abram.

The point of all this is that community is God’s plan. It is a plan that was broken by man and affects everyone. Yet, God, even in spite of a spiritually diseased people, immediately began a work of healing and redemption to cure the ailments of sin. The reality is that we all have roots that are historically embedded in unhealthy soil. Our ability to thrive is found in God who is the giver of life. Many of us, like Noah and Abram, live among people who know nothing about relationship with God, and we wonder how we can have the freedom and life that is found in the midst of God’s presence. It is not found by the performance of religious activity! Religious activity does not make us holier. It only makes us religious nuts. Our acceptance into the community of God only comes because of His gracious provision through Jesus Christ. Jesus is the spiritual stimulus package of all time. He is the plan that God has provided from the beginning! So if we come from roots that are planted in the soils of religiosity, sin, or even blatant rejection of God, we still have hope. God has provided a way for such roots to be cut and pruned and for us to be transplanted into the vine of Christ!