So that he who blesses himself in the land shall bless himself by the God of truth, and he who takes an oath in the land shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten and are hidden from my eyes. -- Isaiah 65:16
Friday, September 5, 2014
This chapter in Isaiah is a warning to those who would abandon humility and succumb to spiritual pride, and it is in keeping with the warning given by John the Baptist in Luke 3:8, “Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, We have Abraham as our father. For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.”
It doesn’t matter if the subject is God’s Chosen People, a Christian nation, a church, or an individual, God does not “need” any particular institution, channel, or vessel in order to accomplish His purposes. There are those who preach and teach otherwise, who will say that if you or I fail in our calling, the consequences are dire. I do agree that I will answer for my management of the time and resources I have been given. That alone is pretty frightening when I think about it in light of all the silly stuff that distracts me sometimes.
Nevertheless, my understanding and the view I have is based on passages like these quoted. God will work it out no matter the mountains He has to move. We can choose to be part of the process of clearing obstacles, or we can get in the way and be obstacles ourselves.
We can’t say God doesn’t care. He wants us to be vessels that He can bless and fill with His goodness. He delights in those who seek Him. But our disobedience cannot thwart the long-term destiny toward which the kingdom advances. David’s sins and failures created great suffering and loss and ruin in his own family and even in the nation, but Jesus still came of the house and lineage of David.
You’ll sometimes hear someone say, speaking motivationally, that we are always only one generation from losing our Christian heritage or losing our freedom or something along those lines. That’s true from the human perspective. It pains my wife sometimes when she thinks that someday she will not be here to make sure her yard and her trees are properly maintained and her house not kept as clean as she would have it. I think my own generation has failed in its stewardship of the liberties that cost so much to obtain and maintain in this country. We wonder what will happen if the beacon of American freedom goes out. What if the “city on a hill” goes dark?
I hate to think that such a thing could happen, but the truth is that it is not entirely unlikely, certainly not impossible. They may cut down the Tree of Liberty, but they will not kill it. It will live and sprout again, perhaps from the stump or perhaps from some hidden root we cannot now envision.
How much more certain then is the triumph of the kingdom of God. As seen in and confirmed by history, the more Christians are persecuted, the stronger and more beautiful becomes the Bride of Christ. The deeper Christianity is forced underground, the higher it will grow in truth.
We ought not let what we see on the news and in the world disturb and dismay us. God will have a people, and He has an eternal kingdom that cannot be shaken though the earth itself split in two.