This morning, as I bask in the presence of God, soaking in His goodness on this bright Shabbat, I find that I am releasing a bit of stored up anxiety of recent days! The reports seem so contradictory, so alarming!
Some prophetic voices are proclaiming the gloom and doom of seemingly inevitable judgment – while others are proclaiming His Mercy and deliverance! All are respected, and have been formerly reliable sources in recent past history. So how can this be? Which is it?
One thing I have heard from the Spirit of God recently is that we must get away from “either/or” thinking, when it comes to the supernatural. In the Kingdom of God there are many divine ironies, which may seem contradictory, but are based on a mere choice. So it is often “both”. And it is our responsibility to choose which possibility will become our reality.
First, it would help to have a clear grasp on the origin and purpose of judgment! If we think of judgment as a mere hormonal hissy-fit, of a Zeus-like entity, then there will be much cause for consternation! However, that, thankfully is NOT the case! We do indeed serve a God of Love, whose mercy triumphs over judgment as often as our choices allow it!
We tend to think that we would never call down judgment upon our own heads! And, of course, we would never consciously do that! BUT – many of our choices are not rooted in a conscious knowledge of Truth. We tend to filter truth through our particular biases, religious/academic training, emotional issues, and comfort zones! So that, too often, what we lean toward as “truth”, and base our lives upon, is often falsehood, doctrinally incorrect perversion of scripture, and fleshly generated ideologies. But since the flesh's great idea is what got us put out of the presence of God we need not expect that to be able to reinstate us to that coveted place! We must be transformed – by His Spirit and the renewing of our minds (conscious and subconscious) by study of, and obedience to, His Word!
Judgment, then, is clearly the result of repeated bad choices, born out of red-handed rebellion and disobedience – deliberate non-compliance – with the Word/Standard of God! Judgment is both a tool in the hand of God - to draw our attention to the fact that we chose poorly – and to draw – push – or influence - us back to a place of obedience and blessing! It is a disciplinary action of love to guide us back to the path of life, and to guide us away from ultimate, utter destruction - and a tool of the enemy to insure our destruction!
The only dilemma is whether we will allow ourselves to be guided or gutted. Whose influence will we follow? Whether or not we will choose to stubbornly harden our hearts, thereby increasing the judgment and the probability of eternal destruction – and permanent separation from God – or humble ourselves in repentance, gaining the chance at a new crop, a new life, and eternal security?
While one is able to suffer, one is able to choose! There does come a time when the Grace departs from our lives and the crop which we stubbornly planted – despite His faithful efforts to turn us from it - must be reaped in full. And yet – even then - for those who cry out to Him in true repentance – can be given a new grace to endure the reaping, and to plant a new, different crop for the future!
We should not despair at the crop! That need not be the last word! Though it may indeed be a difficult row to hoe! But we need to remember that, if we repent, He will empower us, and give us seed for another crop, if only we will trust Him! So,
We should not be frightened at the judgment which HAS come against our nation! instead of wasting time fearing, we should be crying out in true humility and repentance! We should own up to the places where we have left His Word and His presence to go our own head-strong way! We should cry out for forgiveness, mercy and cleansing! A bruised reed He has promised NOT to break!
He is not vengeful against any but His sworn enemies! But we were not called to war against HIM! We were called to war against His enemies WITH HIM! So why don't we stop trying to figure out which prophets are right and which are wrong! They are both right! There IS a great darkness, a heavy, threatening cloud of judgment against our nation - right now! But there is also a path out from under that cloud – IF God's people, who are called by HIS Name – will simply do as instructed and seek HIM, beg forgiveness, and put aside the sin we have been protecting! He has promised to HEAR from heaven (to which He has retreated at our neglect and insistence), FORGIVE our sin (because of the Atonement which we imagine that we've accepted – but which our choices belie), and to HEAL our land!
The question is – how bad do we want our land healed? Is it worth the price of our pet sins? We must stop protecting sin and surrender it to God! This judgment could be easily reversed in a day. But if not....then yes....be afraid....be very afraid! Rebels will be condemned – and religious white wash will prove to be of no avail. Doctrinally unsound, scripturally illiterate, socially correct ideologies, which please man but insult God won't cut it. That is what got us here. We can not fix this wreckage with the same religious duct tape that has stuck our thin moral fabric together for the last decades.
Rebellion or Repentance? Destruction or Decision? Fear or Faith?
The choice is up to us, but time is running out. Today is the day of Salvation. Today. Now. Is always the time for Teshuvah.
Shabbat Shalom Chavarim!