Thursday, July 09, 2015

Stop Being a Half-Participant in God's Promises


Our Role in God’s Overthrow of Our Enemies and Adversaries.
Exodus 23:24: “You shall not worship their gods, nor serve them, nor do according to their deeds; but you shall utterly overthrow them, and break their sacred pillars in pieces.”
Wait, we are not off the hook. God has a part for each of us to play in His destruction of our enemies and adversaries. Part of it is, admittedly, passive (things we are not to do), but part of it is very active (things we are to do). He says to the Israelites, “Do not worship their gods; do not serve their gods; and do not do the things they do which relate to their gods.” That’s the general intent of God’s warning to them.  But He goes on and tells them what to do with respect to these idolaters.
God is very clear here.  He tells the Israelites in the wilderness, that when they have to go across the lands of these people, whom you will remember God promised to destroy for them (vs. 23 in this chapter), in order to get to the promised land, they were to “utterly overthrow them and to break their sacred pillars into pieces.”  Matthew Henry suggests:
They must not only not worship their gods, but they must utterly overthrow them, in token of their great abhorrence of idolatry, their resolution never to worship idols themselves, and their care to prevent any other from worshipping them.
I understand that this was said to the Israelites in the wilderness thousands of years ago.  And many will argue it does not apply to us. Often the Enemy would have us believe that and disregard entire Old Testament theology. But yet, we are indeed crossing a wilderness right now and we are coming up against such enemy giants – not the least of which is the Islamic State with its goals to destroy the West in general and Israel in particular. (There are other idolatrous practices like abortion and euthanasia where people take on the role of God.) So, is there nothing for us to take, in a general sense, from this passage?  I believe there is and I disagree with those who say all we can do is pray. I believe we have a responsibility to uphold the worship and authority of God and to promote it; to protect the innocent; and to fight the intruders and idolaters.  I believe we need to understand that while God can do this single-handedly, He wants us to be active partners.  We, on the other hand, must realize that we cannot take the law into our own hands and thus are left to influence those who represent the law in our land – our various levels of government. To sit back and do nothing is not an option any more than burying our loaned talent in the sand so as not to lose it was in the famous New Testament parable, even though we know our Master expects us, as a minimum, to earn interest with it.
It saddens me to see Christian young people or adults waste their lives away, just waiting on God to do it all for them – from having the right future spouse just miraculously appear at their door while they stay home every night praying for that to happen; or for a promotion to come when they do nothing different to earn it but pray diligently for it. 
Are you only a half-recipient of God’s promises for you? Do you accept the passive instructions but not agree to the active requirements?  You need to do both.

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