Chosen

Message:  In Deuteronomy 32 God had told Moses to teach the Israelites a song that he wanted them to learn and pass through their generations. God knew that they would continue in their rebellion when they reached the promised land and this song would be a prophetic story used as a testimony against themselves in their rebellion. Something that caught my attention as I read the words of this prophetic song was that when the Lord gave the inheritance to all of the tribes of Israel he carefully divided them according to number and size and he divided the human race. Israel was God’s own inheritance and even after all of his care and protection he knew they would reject him as soon as they received all of the blessings from the promised land. Not only would they reject him but they would credit all of the prosperity and blessings to the foreign gods. It’s actually worse than that though because verse 17 says that they would sacrifice to demons. This means they didn’t just credit a fake and imaginary god. They were actually tricked by satan to worship him for all of the care and blessings that God gave them. This would be the ultimate insult to God and provoke jealousy by getting his chosen, promised prize to turn from him and even worse to worship satan. The song prophetically shows not only their rebellion, but it also shows how God would hide his face from them and become known to an “inferior people” to invoke jealousy on his chosen people. The inferior people are the gentiles and most of us are in Christ because of this turn. The prophetic song also shows that he chose not to blot them out and destroy them because of his own reputation. He was not willing to allow satan any credit for their failure. The footnotes in my bible also cross reference Romans 10 where Paul referred back to this scripture to confirm that when the Jews see the favor and the hand of God on the gentiles they will be awakened to their disobedience and finally see their Messiah in the Jesus. Although this is definitely a picture of us as nations, I believe it also represents us individually. God is jealous over our worship and our affections. He has cared for and provided for us and all credit belongs to him.

The Inconvenient Truth

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Message:  In 1 Thessalonians 2 Paul was defending his character in the way he and Timothy had brought in the gospel without motives and without burdening the church financially. They were all under persecution and we have seen in other letters that accusations had come against Paul about his authenticity as an apostle after some false apostles came in and established themselves while manipulating the gospel message and the people. Paul was once again commending the church of Thessalonica for the way they received the gospel. Some thing that grabbed my attention immediately was in verse 13 when he said they had welcomed the message of the gospel not as a human message, but “as it truly is- As God’s message.” As I thought about what that meant I realized that we take “human” messages and we pick out what we identify with and we eliminate the things we disagree with. That’s a healthy way to take a human message because we are imperfect beings. Paul was commending the church because they didn’t treat the gospel that way. They took it for what it was and Paul said they became “imitators of the church” even to the point of suffering like Christ. This challenged me to pay attention to how I am treating the gospel. Am I accepting it all for what it is, or am I eliminating parts of it for the sake of my own comfort. Am I willing to be persecuted for it or am I being a people pleaser? I definitely see areas where my silence of certain hot topics is a way of avoiding the persecution. Lord, please help me identify the areas where I am avoiding parts of the gospel message in order to avoid the disapproval of people, but help me to also seek your wisdom as to how and when to approach difficult topics. Help me to stop trying to “safeguard” people from being exposed to parts of the gospel they may find offensive. Help me to be wise as a serpent ad harmless as a dove in the way that I share and relate with people.