Kittredge Community Bible Church
10 AM - May 16
- Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
- Victory In Jesus
- RECONCILIATION (Responsive Reading)
- Every now and then I hear about friends I went to college with who have marriages that have fallen apart.People that I used to know fairly well and even looked up to have done some pretty awful things to their spouses including adultery, physical abuse, and complete abandonment.Obviously, there’s always more to the story that I’m not privy to, but that doesn’t minimize the heartbreak, the weeping for my friends and in many cases, for their children.In this section, which is called a lament, God is weeping over the loss of his unfaithful wife. There are things He must do as a result of her unfaithfulness, but he doesn’t take any joy in them.Abandoning the Love of His LifeBecause God is just, he must abandon Israel to her own devices. But it’s not just “good riddance and may I never see you again.”That’s not how God feels. In verse 7 God says,I have abandoned my house; I have deserted my inheritance. I have handed the love of my life over to her enemies.These aren’t the words of an angry person. They are the words of someone who’s been deeply hurt and has made some hard decisions that had to be made.God says, it’s my house, my inheritance that has been handed over. It’s personal for God.And He still calls her “the love of my life” even after all she’s done to him. This is the language of great loss from someone who is still in love.God continues in verse 8,My inheritance has behaved toward me like a lion in the forest. She has roared against me. Therefore, I hate her.This isn’t “hate” in the usual sense of the word. It doesn’t mean God is about to lash out in an uncontrolled rage with eyes ablaze.What it does mean is that God is making a painful decision to disinherit his people. Compared to the great love he still has for her his actions look like hate.Why the hate? Because his people have behaved like a roaring lion in the forest. In other words, they have turned on their God. In rebellion they’re “biting the hand that feeds them” so to speak.Yet, despite this, God still loves His people. They are the love of his life but he has to do what was necessary.He has to abandon them to the ways of the world that they prefer.God continues in verse 9,Is my inheritance like a hyena to me? Are birds of prey circling her? Go, gather all the wild animals; bring them to devour her.The word translated “hyena” in the CSB and can also be translated “speckled bird of prey.” The reason it’s translated “hyena” here is because that’s the way the Jews translated it in the Septuagint and many of their other writings.But no matter how we translate the word, the meaning is this— God is handing over his bride to the wild animals so that they can harm the one he loves. This brings him no joy but it’s necessary if there’s going to be any hope of future reconciliation.So, God has abandoned His people and there are two things to learn from this:First, we should learn that our sins are painful to God. Every time we sin God takes in personally. We don’t sin in a vacuum. Even if no one else knows, God knows and it effects him emotionally.Second, we should learn that no matter what we’ve been through God has been through worse. Maybe you’ve been abandoned or gone through an awful divorce. Maybe you’ve been treated as less than human and it wasn’t your fault. Well, your heavenly Father understands.God the Son understands, too.For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.So God has abandoned the love of his life which brings him no joy, but it’s necessary.God also takes no joy in...Abandoning the LandIn verse 10 God says,Many shepherds have destroyed my vineyard; they have trampled my plot of land. They have turned my desirable plot into a desolate wasteland.Now it’s not that this destruction occurs outside of God’s control. It happens because God wills it to happen. More on this when we get to verse 12.In verse 10 though notice the shepherds. They are a reference to foreign leaders who God sent to ruin the land.As they invaded they destroyed the fields and the vineyards leaving the land a desolate wilderness.Here’s what verse 11 says,They have made it a desolation. It mourns, desolate, before me. All the land is desolate, but no one takes it to heart.Desolation. Desolation. Desolation. It might be translated differently in your Bible but in Hebrew it’s the same word repeated three times.Desolation times three, and yet it seems God’s people hardly notice. Or at least they don’t seem to make the connection between God’s judgment and their bad behavior.No one takes it to heart, so God continues to destroy the land.Verse 12,Over all the barren heights in the wilderness the destroyers have come, for the Lord has a sword that devours from one end of the earth to the other. No one has peace.This was partially fulfilled in the year 602 B.C., a few years before the Babylonians captured Jerusalem. In 602, the Lord sent armies into the land to ravage the land which you can read more about in 2 Kings 24.But notice that the Lord is the one holding the sword and He uses it to harm his own land inhabited by his own people.God sends the foreign armies to destroy everything.Here’s how it’s described inverse 13,They have sown wheat but harvested thorns. They have exhausted themselves but have no profit. Be put to shame by your harvests because of the Lord’s burning anger.The people try to carry on as usual but it’s no good— the land is ruined. They plant seed but all they can get to grow is a bunch of thorns.God has abandoned the land because of their sinfulness and he’s disciplining them justly in burning anger. Now keep in mind this is God’s righteous anger. It’s not an out of control rampage.Restoring the People and the LandWhat happens next is very unusual because there are very few places in the Bible that so closely connect both God’s righteous anger and his gracious restoration. Usually one or the other is emphasized.But in verse 14 God connects them together and says this not just about his own people but about their enemies,This is what the Lord says: “Concerning all my evil neighbors who attack the inheritance that I bequeathed to my people, Israel, I am about to uproot them from their land, and I will uproot the house of Judah from them.In other words, listen up evil neighbors. You may think you’re going to get away with what you did to the love of my life. But not so fast your going to get what’s coming to you.And two things are going to happen: first you’re going to be uprooted from your own lands. That’s only fair, right? You took my people into captivity, I’m going to send you into captivity.And second, God says He’s going to take his people away from their evil neighbors and send them back home.Now, this prophecy was literally fulfilled about 50 years after the Babylonians invaded in 586 B.C. and took the Israelites into captivity.Starting in 537 B.C during the time of Zerubbabel and Ezra and Nehemiah, the people were uprooted from their captors and allowed to come back home.But notice that verse 14 isn’t just about the Israelites being uprooted, it’s also about the evil neighbors being uprooted... and about them being restored, too.That’s the context of verse 14 and the meaning of verse 15...After I have uprooted them, I will once again have compassion on them and return each one to his inheritance and to his land.The “them” are the “evil neighbors” being addressed by God in verse 14. This prophecy isn’t just about Israel. God’s going to have compassion even on Israel’s enemies.This amazing prophecy was partly fulfilled in the past but it point to a greater fulfillment in Christ who died not just for Jews but for Gentiles, too. God is not a respecter of persons and he offers salvation to all people no matter what county they come from.But God’s compassion towards the nations comes with a warning.Warning the NationsOr we could say, His compassion is conditional. Here’s the condition. Again, speaking to the nations in general,If they will diligently learn the ways of my people—to swear by my name, ‘As the Lord lives,’ just as they taught my people to swear by Baal—they will be built up among my people.In other words, they will be grafted in— if they give up their own gods and learn the ways of the true God— then they will receive compassion.In other words, there is only one way to be saved. There’s only one true God and Baal, or the Moslem God, or the Buddhist God, or the Native American God aren’t the way.Some might protest “who are we to say Buddhists and Moslems aren’t saved?” Well, it’s not us that says it, God himself says there is only one way.And Jesus says,Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.So the New Testament and the Old Testament are both very exclusive about who will receive God’s mercy.God’s mercy isn’t given to everyone. It’s given to those who, as it says in verse 16, no longer swear by the name of Baal but by the name of the one true God.And if they don’t, they won’t receive God’s compassion. They won’t be saved.Verse 17 drives this point home...However, if they will not obey, then I will uproot and destroy that nation.” This is the Lord’s declaration.This is true for all people, no matter what nation we come from. There is only salvation through trusting in Christ.Outside of Jesus there is only judgement and eternal death. But if we trust in the name of Jesus, there is redemption, not just for us, but for all people, even our enemies.
- Since I Have Been Redeemed
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