//
you're reading...
Apostasy, Book: Will You Be Found Faithful? Chapters 1-6

Will You Be Found Faithful?: Chapter Three

God’s Use of History to Teach His People About Faithfulness

As I present my case concerning the importance of faithfulness, I’d like to use a way that was often used by the prophets and apostles–a discourse on the record of history. The Bible itself is an historic book. It’s the story of how divinity has communicated with humanity. It describes the relationship between God and his people and how he desires that they would remember what he has done for them. This is one of the reasons why he commanded the Israelites to institute festivals and holidays. (It’s similar to Americans celebrating the Fourth of July or Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthday.) These special days would be a way for the Jews and their children to remember the miracle of the Exodus out of Egypt.

And it shall be when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What is this? that thou shalt say unto him, By strength of hand the LORD brought us out from Egypt, from the house of bondage. (Exod. 14:14; KJV)

Joshua recalled Israel’s history at the assembly at Shechem. When he was through recalling the history of God’s relationship with his people, he asked the people to serve the Lord in sincerity and truth and to choose whether they would serve him or the gods of the surrounding nations.

Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. (Josh. 24:14-15, KJV; italics added)

Joshua’s recollection of God’s power, as displayed in history, must have been very convincing because right after his speech, the people cried out, “God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods” (Josh 24:16; KJV)

After the wall was rebuilt at Jerusalem, the Levites called a great assembly and recalled the history of Israel to the people. Over and over, their sin of unfaithfulness was recalled to them. (Neh. 9:5-31) while God reminded them of his constant mercy and faithfulness toward them. Yet their forefathers had responded with pride. They “withdrew the shoulder, and hardened their neck, and would not hear. Yet many years didst thou forebear them, and testified against them by thy spirit in thy prophets: yet would they not give ear: therefore gavest thou them into the hand of the people of the lands.”

After recalling the long history of Israel’s unfaithfulness, the leaders acknowledged their sin:

Howbeit thou art just in all that is brought upon us; for thou hast done right, but we have done wickedly. (Neh. 9:33, KJV; italics added)

In Psalm 78, the psalmist also records the history of Israel. He says the history was given so that the Israelite children would see the wondrous works of God and that they “might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation . . . that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not steadfast with God” (Ps. 78:8; KJV). The Lord also spoke through the prophet Isaiah and recalled the history of Israel (Isa. 43:16-21), and when God spoke to Jeremiah the prophet, he recalled his faithfulness to Israel by causing the Israelites to remember their history:

Where is the LORD that brought us up out of Egypt, that led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and of pits, through a land of drought, and of the shadow of death, through a land that no man passed through and where no man dwelt? (Jer. 2:6; KJV)

The prophet Ezekiel was also used by the Lord to remind the Israelites of all the ways they had forsaken God and had been unfaithful to him. Ezekiel’s words in chapter sixteen are especially instructive to us because Israel’s history is used to show how a beautiful bride turned away and became an adulterous woman. He describes how he found Israel a baby and lifted her up and cared for her and made her beautiful, yet she used her beauty to pursue other lovers and betray God.

But thou didst trust in thine own beauty, and playedst the harlot because of thy renown, and pouredst out they fornications on every one that passed by; his it was. (Ezek. 16:15, KJV; italics added)

In the New Testament, Stephen is called before the high priest to give a defense against the accusation of blasphemy. In his defense, he recalled the history of God’s relationship with Israel. After this speech, the scripture records that the members of the council were “cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth” (Acts 7:54; KJV).

History can be an effective teacher. It’s something that can expose evil. God used it as a way to teach his people where they had been faithful and where they had rebelled and gone astray.

Since the time of Christ, the church has had a history also. For nearly two thousand years, those who carry God’s name have had a record of both faithfulness and unfaithfulness. It’s this history that I hope can be used to teach the church about the heart of God in the same way that God used history to teach Israel about what he desired.

 

 

Advertisements

About Diana Lesperance

I'm passionate about Jesus and I love to defend the gospel of grace and truth. I have a large and active family that keeps me busy and overwhelmed on a daily basis.

Discussion

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Books

Why am I WAITING for “Shalom?”

"They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven . . ."
(1 Thessalonians 1:9b-10a)

The word "shalom" in the Hebrew has many meanings which indicate restoration, renewal, friendship, peace, safety and so on. At one time, God placed his creation in a perfect garden--a place of safety, security, provision and peace--and we disobeyed God, losing 1) our relationship with God and 2) paradise.

Since that time, we've attempted to bring back both of these losses in our own way. Religion is our attempt to gain back our relationship with God, and politics is our attempt to gain back paradise.

The solution to both of these losses is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Yet the world refuses to believe the good news! Instead they try to attain the restoration--the shalom--in their own way through their own effort.

I believe that the kingdom of God is restored in the hearts of men as they receive Christ's finished work, but the kingdom of God doesn't come physically to earth until Christ comes.

Any effort to bring about the promise ahead of time in our own strength is akin to Abraham going to Hagar for fulfillment of the promise instead of waiting with Sarah for the birth of the promised child through whom the nations of the earth would be blessed.

The evangelical church is rushing en masse to bring about shalom through their own effort, power, and influence. Men like Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, Jim Wallis, and Donald Miller are losing their faith in the promise of Christ that he would prepare a place for them and they're attempting to restore paradise now.

I want to let it be known that I'm WAITING for shalom. I won't be a part of their dream. They are moving ahead of God rather than waiting on God and they will create another Ishmael as a result.

%d bloggers like this: