Monday, September 17, 2012

16 September 2012

10 Have ye not all one father? Did not one God create you? why have ye forsaken every man his brother, to profane the covenant of your fathers?
11 Juda has been forsaken, and an abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Juda has profaned the holy things of the Lord, which he delighted in, and has gone after other gods. 12 The Lord will utterly destroy the man that does these things, until he be even cast down from out of the tabernacles of Jacob, and from among them that offer sacrifice to the Lord Almighty. 13 And these things which I hated, ye did: ye covered with tears the altar of the Lord, and with weeping and groaning because of troubles: is it meet for me to have respect to your sacrifice, or to receive anything from your hands as welcome?
14 Yet ye said, Wherefore? Because the Lord has borne witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, whom thou has forsaken, and yet she was thy partner, and the wife of thy covenant. 15 And did he not do well? and there was the residue of his spirit. But ye said, What does God seek but a seed? But take ye heed to your spirit, and forsake not the wife of thy youth. 16 But if thou shouldest hate thy wife and put her away, saith the Lord God of Israel, then ungodliness shall cover thy thoughts, saith the Lord Almighty: therefore take ye heed to your spirit, and forsake them not, 17 ye that have provoked God with your words. But ye said, Wherein have we provoked him? In that ye say, Every one that does evil is a pleasing object in the sight of the Lord, and he takes pleasure in such; and where is the God of justice?
Listen to Malachias Chapter 3Chapter 3
3:1 Behold, I send forth my messenger, and he shall survey the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come into his temple, even the angel of the covenant, whom ye take pleasure in: behold, he is coming, saith the Lord Almighty. 2 And who will abide the day of his coming? or who will withstand at his appearing? for he is coming in as the fire of a furnace and as the herb of fullers. 3 He shall sit to melt and purify as it were silver, and as it were gold: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and refine them as gold and silver, and they shall offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness.
4 And the sacrifice of Juda and Jerusalem shall be pleasing to the Lord, according to the former days, and according to the former years. 5 And I will draw near to you in judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the witches, and against the adulteresses, and against them that swear falsely by my name, and against them that keep back the hireling’s wages, and them that oppress the widow, and afflict orphans, and that wrest the judgment of the stranger, and fear not me, saith the Lord Almighty. (Malachi 2:10-3:5, LXX)

At first glance one wonders if the writers of the US Constitution and Declaration of Independence were familiar with Malachi.  Do we indeed all have one father and God who created us, so indeed we are equal in God's eyes.  But from here we go downhill.  Yehudah has rejected God by going after false Gods.  Do we not have the same problem today.  We abandon the one true God to worship the gods of sex, sports, alchohol and drugs, and occasionally wonder into church to profane God's temple, just as Yehudah did.  Some do worst.  How many Christians convert to Buddhism, not because they think the religion is better, but because they don't believe it condemns our behaviour.  I once had someone tell me they wanted to be a Buddhist, because they would only have to go to the temple once a year!!!  And then we come crying back to god, because we have found out that our false gods are truly that, false.

But more powerfully, this lesson talks about marriage, and God lets us know what he thinks.  First he condemns unfaithfulness.  He hates divorce.  He wants us to be faithful to our wives and to have children.  And implied of course, he wants wives to be faithful to their husbands.  As we look at the divorce rate in the US, and the abortion rate, is it not amazing that he does not judge us now?  Why is it that God hates divorce?  It is because marriage is an icon of the relationship between Christ and his church. 

And Yah condemns us for calling evil good.  Does this not describe the world today?  Bishops divorce their wives to marry another man, and call this good.  We affirm the right of a woman to murder her own child, and call it good.  Sunday has become the most important shopping day of the week and we call it good, even though our "need" to buy stuff on Sundays keeps people out of church and keeps families from spending time together.  People no longer have children because they are inconvenient, and we call it good.  Yah warns us that we cannot continue on this path.  Just as he warns the Jews that John the Baptist is coming to prepare Yeshua's way, so he warns us that the Lord is  coming, and he is coming to judge the Earth and set things right.  There will be judgement against witches, adulteresses (and adulterers as well), those who swear falsely by Yahweh's name, against those who hold back wages, who oppress the widow and orphan, and against those who pervert justice.  For many, when the Lord returns to judge the earth, it will be a day of tears. 

We need to learn to truly be God's servants.  God does not want us to continues in the same old lifestyle. God expects us to be transformed by the Holy Spirit, but he is not going to force that change upon us.  He allows us to do it at the rate we want, but he does expect us to go forward.  Is God transforming your life?  If not, why not.  This day as we proclaim with trumpets that God is king, we need to consider that in truth.  If God is truly our king, then it is time to put him in charge of our lives.

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