Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Shunning the ‘inexpensive Gospel’.


Recognizing Their ‘Bad’.
Exodus 33:4-6: When the people heard this sad word, they went into mourning, and none of them put on his ornaments. For the Lord had said to Moses, “Say to the sons of Israel, ‘You are an obstinate people; should I go up in your midst for one moment, I would destroy you. Now therefore put off your ornaments from you, that I may know what I will do with you.’ So the sons of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments from Mount Horeb onward.
To call the decision from God not to accompany His people a “sad word” is in my opinion a great understatement to those Israelites who were true believers in the Almighty and relied on Him for direction on a daily basis. It is no wonder then that the text says the people went into mourning. And this wasn’t just an attitude of the mind and heart for the people as it is for many of us who may ‘be in mourning’ after a loss of a loved one today – this was a mourning that involved visible changes to those looking in. The people stopped wearing their various ornaments for the loss they sensed could only be equated to how they felt when they laid a relative to rest.
And yet this action was not all self-induced for which we may have given the people much credit. No, in fact God had told Moses to put off their ornaments while He had time to think about what He would do with them. Commentator Robert Jamieson writes this:
In seasons of mourning, it is customary with Eastern people to lay aside all gewgaws and divest themselves of their jewels, their gold, and every thing rich and splendid in their dress. This token of their sorrow the Lord required of His offending people.

I do not believe ‘mourning’ qualifies as ‘repentance’. But it can lead to it. Certainly when it comes to salvation, true repentance is definitely needed but often nowadays it is downplayed in the steps of one coming to Jesus Christ. We must shun the ‘inexpensive Gospel’. We must do our best to help potential converts to Christianity know that Jesus died for our sins first and foremost as compared to dying to ensure that we have an eternal home. It is the weight of those sins (both those we see as ugly and those we tend to overlook as just human nature) that His death has lifted from off our shoulders; sins that otherwise had marked us all as dead men.
In this case, here in our text, God wants the people to mourn. Also, this gives Him a chance to think about what He will do with them.
Matthew Henry points out that if people were willing to give up their ornaments in order to fall into sin, it made sense that they would be willing to put off their ornaments in an attempt to regain God’s favor. This is God Who because He was so angry with them, He could have easily destroyed them on the spot. But He didn’t. As an always caring Father-God, one Who is always willing to provide a way out for His children, He says, “Just mourn; know what you have done; and give me a chance to subdue My anger against you.” They (like us) deserved a much greater punishment, but He wanted to find a way out for them that would be acceptable to Him. And that is what His Son Jesus Christ did for us several thousand years later.
All they had to do now was obey in order to show God a change of heart.  And then we come to the last sentence in this portion. Reading it at face value, we understand that the people got rid of their ornaments going “onward” that is, from that point forward. It seems, at least outwardly, they were prepared to pursue a change in life. But we’ll soon find out what kind of impact that decision had on their hearts.


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Sign up (on the right) to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends and while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.

Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

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