I said, ‘Listen, my people! I will warn you. O Israel, if only you would obey me!
~Psalm 81:8, NET
For the people of God, fruitfulness is dependent on faithfulness.
~Daniel J. Estes
I discovered a new word yesterday: found it in the NEW AMERICAN COMMENTARY. The word is ‘recalcitrance’ and it means, having an obstinate and rebellious attitude toward discipline or authority. It is a perfect description on me as a teenager and a perfect description of the Israelites as a whole. God wanted to bless them. He wanted to give them protection and security. He was willing to make them the most prosperous nation on the planet but there was a condition: they had to obey. Unfortunately Israel had a recalcitrant attitude and they refused to listen and to obey. God gave them the law and the prophets and they ignored both.
We humans are not robots or puppets on a string; we are free to make our own choices and follow our own council but not without consequences. The moment we rebel, we step out from under the umbrella of God’s protection. This means we forfeit the divine blessing and lose our sense of security and peace. Our refusal to serve God leads to bondage. As humans, we are born to serve and we will serve someone. Israel refused to serve God and so God allowed the Babylonians to enslave them. It is much more pleasant to serve a God who loves us than an enemy who despises us but this is a lesson the Israelites just could not seem to learn.
Meanwhile God is dying to bless us: “Open your mouth wide and I will fill it,” the LORD said to Israel. This is the picture of a bird feeding their young. The chicks open their jaws wide and the hens drops food into their mouth. It is a poor analogy in a way but as an earthly father, I want to bless my children but there is a condition. If they disrespect me and disobey me, I am limited. In such cases all you can do is pray but if they repent, respect and obey they will have access to everything I have. Of course, this is where the analogy breaks down: I have limited resources and God does not. The prodigal squandered some of his father’s wealth but not all. Had the father given him all, he would have wasted all and there would be no ministry left for the father–he too would have become a beggar.
Well, we are getting some much needed rain and I am thankful. I love rain and I love to study or read while it is raining, so today I am in hog heaven. Another fantastic crowd at the POINT last night with 33 YOUTH and that doesn’t count the adults who work with them: Josh, Reagan and Cris. We also had around 10 children and we appreciate our children’s team.
We are going to do something different on July 4 which falls on a Sunday. We are going OUTSIDE with an 8:30 am service followed by breakfast inside and give our folks a long day to spend with family. This means there will be one service July 4th.