I have been reading slowly through Isaiah and Jeremiah lately because I am so interested in what’s going on in Israel, God’s timepiece, many call her because she is the center, the chosen, Christianity began with her and now she is coming center stage again after about a 2 thousand year break. I, of course, could be off in my calculations because I’m only counting from the time the Messiah left. I have no idea how much time lies between the Old and the New Testaments. I’m sure Jewish historians and maybe the Catholic church have some idea but I digress. Many Biblical events are set by what is going on in this the chosen land and so we are told to watch Israel closely.
Contrary to popular belief in America, America is not the center of attention. It’s nice that there were considerable efforts made to try to ensure that this country remained true to the God who blessed her; however, America has never been the center of attention where the Bible is concerned and she has let go of what little significance she once held and by that I mean that America had a strong Christian base that carried with it, respect for God and less of an unhealthy attraction for all and only that which God can give. The focus here has shifted. American Christian has gotten fat and comfortable and thus watered down. Wealth is not bad of itself. God wants to bless those in the church so that there can be generosity towards the needy but has the church here been responsible with the little? It is the love of money that is the root of all kinds of evil. The love of money will cause people to do all kinds of evil in order to get more and more of it and money cannot replace God. For that matter, neither can experience, education, neither can the excitement of a new anything or anyone replace the relationship one is capable of experiencing with the Creator. Again though, I digress.
Before I began this current read through this section, God called to my attention all the Israel-abuse that has become more politically fashionable lately and then from that there is this temptation to pronounce the response of well intended well-wishing for all of Israel without a thought given to what the Scripture says about who say to her, peace peace. Despite what we see, we do not live by sight but by faith in what God says is truth. I, being a Christian, am fully aware of the command to love God’s chosen people and to pray for their salvation but what are we to do with passages which talk about offering her false security. The false prophets were telling Israel that she was going to have continued peace when in fact judgment was on its way in the form of captivity under Babylonian rule. The people were in sin against God but were told that they could have confidence in their heredity for salvation. They were led to believe that because they were Israelites, they were saved by the inherrant virtue of being born Jewish. They missed that God had chosen Abraham to be father of a nation that would live by His righteousness and be an example to the world if they would be careful to obey God and live by His righteousness. Israel would be instrumental in leading the nations to seek God as Savior of all.
The Scripture warns against false testimony and it also talks about the importance of spanking. Love is not all mushy feelings with no discipline. God is our highest example and he spanks. He also endorses spanking. The misconception I see played out today is that corporal punishment is cruel and that children learn to be violent from its application but what people miss to recognize is that what is cruel is the double standard. A child is not automatically dumb because of his age. He simply lacks much experience in the handling of craftiness. A child can see contradictions but he may not have learned how to make excuses. A child can pick up on lies but he still hasn’t learned how not to call his mother out in front of her admired guests. When a parent tries to apply discipline but refuses to be disciplined, the child sees either that the parent or the discipline as a lie. The parent gives hugs and kisses but discipline is unpleasant. What is a child going to choose–maturity or childish ways?
It is a tough spot for a child to be placed in. Many adults don’t maturity because they weren’t trained to choose it early on. This is what exasperates children. Asking a child to evaluate contradictions involving their parents and discipline and to come out of it with the right perspective about God. But parents are not without sin. How is this dealt with? The child sees the error of his parents and he sees the pain of discipline. He can say that his parent is wrong and conclude that rebellion is an appropriate choice. He can accept the idea that his parents have made an isolated error and reject discipline alone. He can see that the parents submit to the authority over them and accept that discipline is for everyone. He can even develop a victim mentality.
Aside from any of man’s opinions about sin and discipline, God is always right so the correct perspective is to understand that everyone sins and everyone is disciplined by authority–either it be in the form of parental authority, the authority of the law or God’s authority over all. Sin is always dealt with. Either it is forgiven or it is punished. Christ made the greatest and only acceptable sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin, however, his sacrifice has been rejected by many either because there is a misunderstanding about personal culpability, there is the idea that good deeds can suffice as personal rectification for the situation of personal violation, or denial that any of this is real. Where do the nations stand on this issue?
Nations are often discribed as having a collective personality because the people have experienced pretty much the same history and thus have developed a peculiar consensus of ideas. The people are generally of one accord. They generally act a certain and speak a certain language. When God speaks of peoples, in Scripture, he uses this collective tone often. For example, Israel is described as a people who have turned away from and rejected God, however, not all of Israel has turned away of course. In the End Times a remnant will be saved and then it is said that all of Israel will be saved but then the Scripture describes that ‘all’ as being the part of Israel that has not simply relied on being the children by blood but who are children by faith. We can pray that the faithful children be saved while reading through and understanding the warning against believing that everyone will be saved regardless of what God says about hell and eternal punishment. Israel as a whole will suffer but the remnant will be saved. God does not lie nor does he bring this disaster on anyone. Let the truth of God be fully understood and accepted. May your heart and mind be free from contradiction as they are washed by His Word.