Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Living Faith Or "Itching Ears"?

I was reading this morning in Jeremiah 28. The main thing I noticed was that human behavior is still unchanged. We want the easy way out and soothing words that say what we want to hear. Politicians are great at dishing that out. They tell us what they think we want to hear so we will give them our votes.

Jeremiah had prophesied that the Jews would be captives of the Babylonian king for 70 years. It was  because of their sin of worshiping false gods they had made and invented instead worshiping  the living God of the universe who brought them out of Egyptian captivity and blessed them in spite of themselves. Hananiah, a prophet, told the people the captivity would actually be very short, two years in fact. He spoke in God's name but He didn't speak what God had said or confirm the word Jeremiah had already spoken. He told the people what they wanted to hear. 

Because Hananiah deceived the people with a false prophecy, he died later that year according to the Lord's word spoken to Jeremiah.  The Jews spent 70 years in captivity and it was harder on them because they believed Hananiah's lies and deceptions. Serious stuff, here.

It's easy to believe what we want to hear. All of us have been there. Maybe, just maybe this is what will really happen. We all know deep inside of us whether a course of action is right or wrong. Yet we seem to conjure up excuses and reasons for not doing the right thing.

Yes, I'm upside down on my mortgage because I really couldn't afford it but somebody will bail me out. Yes, I know I shouldn't have had that affair, but I needed my needs met.  Everybody seems to be doing it. Ok, so I cheated people in a massive Ponzi scheme. I needed the money. The courts will be lenient, right? I really couldn't help myself,  because I have a personality disorder and my socio-economic background doesn't give me the same opportunities as my neighbors across the street. I deserve this even though I didn't work for it.  The Jews did the same things we do today, especially in forgetting that God is in charge and the One who should be the object of our worship and affection.

The Jews sinned because they forgot who was ultimately in charge-- God. In Deuteronomy 28 God told the children of Israel what would happen if they followed Him and what would happen if they didn't.  Pretty clear cut. When the Jews abandoned God in favor of following and living for someone/something else instead of the living God, the Lord allowed them to reap the curses of Deuteronomy 28. When they had lived for Him God allowed them to reap the benefits of the blessings.

Things haven't changed. When we have a living faith in the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, we reap all the blessings God has for us. When we sin, we can expect the consequences of those actions. Just because we are part of God's family through faith does not mean we are exempt from living the way God expects. That doesn't mean keeping a rigid set of rules but it does mean loving God with our whole heart, mind and soul and our neighbor as ourselves. That fulfills the law. When we sin, we are to confess to Him and to any person we may have injured in the commission of that sin. We then accept God's forgiveness and continue on with the walk.

God's word to us will always be faithful. The question is do we want to follow Him as His word shows us or do we want to follow the words of the false prophets and teachers who tickle our ears as Paul wrote of in 2 Timothy 4:3-4.  If nothing else, God's word is consistent. You can only know God's word by reading in and applying it as the Holy Spirit leads.

God bless.