Thursday, March 27, 2014

But If From There

This morning I am reminded once again of the nature and often hidden will of our covenant God, and that my friend is a good and refreshing thing.

So often in my life, growing up in a culture and community of faith, I was inundated by an over emphasis on strict and tacit obedience to the things of God.  Now mind you, I fully agree with and seek to maintain a life of obedience to God’s Word and His Spirit’s leading.  But somewhere in the midst of all that well-intentioned religious instruction and tutelage, something was out of balance.

And before I move on, let me remind you that God hates scales that are out of balance, because someone always gets ripped off and equity is pushed to the side for the purpose of greed and control.  Religion tends to do that when erroneous leadership finds a doctrinal niche to control and manipulate the penitent – by keeping the facts out of balance – and sharing only part of the truth versus the whole.

Yes, God has called me to obedience and I’m very okay with that.  As a matter of fact I truly love God, and I do seek to obey Him.  But what about those moments or seasons when I fail to obey, or even when I knowingly disobey, because of how I feel or my life circumstances seduce me into self-indulgence or justification?

Let me tell you, the greatest darkness I have lived under is the pall of misdirection by well-intentioned leaders, who for fear of losing control of their constituents, emphasized law over grace.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love the Law of the Lord – it’s perfect and it converts my soul, but the law is only there to remind me of how desperately I need the converse of who God really is – Love and Mercy.

In Deuteronomy chapter 4, Moses is reminding the people of their covenant obligation to remember and obey their God.  To remember that it was Him who did the wonders in the heavens and the earth, for the sole purpose of their salvation and deliverance to a land of blessing and prosperity.  And further to remember when things begin to go well, and their eyes gravitate from heaven to earth, and they begin (they did – so do we) to worship anything else but their covenant God – calamity would befall them.  Divine discipline would bring destruction to them and they would find themselves far, far away from their original relationship and proximity to God their Savior.  Sound familiar?

That’s a very scary thing – and that would preach well.  If my intention was to control and manipulate the behavior of my constituents, but that would be only half of the truth.  That would be an out of balance scale, of which God hates.

But in chapter 4 verse 29 we can see the continuum of God’s whole truth and intention, despite the willful disobedience, failings, and sins of His people.  “But if from there,” from our selfish place of disobedience and wayward proximity to God, we begin to “seek” Him – something happens.

Something amazing happens, if from the very spot where we are in disobedience, we begin to look for or to seek Him – redemption and relationship once again flows from Him to us, in our distant and distracted state.

Do you understand that quality of God?  That if and when we blow it, and we find ourselves like the prodigal son who by his selfish and sinful behavior at a fatal distance from our Father, we simply turn and come to our senses – He rushes to our very side!  He knows and understands and seeks to be right where we need Him, when we need Him.  Even from there, that place, that dark and faraway place that the voice of our enemy told us we could not find light or hope.

Please understand.  No matter where we are, were, or may be going God is extremely willing and ready to meet us.  If from there – from that very place of disobedience and distance from Him we choose to seek Him, and we do so with all our heart, He will restore us.  No penance to pay on our part.  He did it all and it was His Covenant, not ours.  It was His Love not ours.

May we always and ever be reminded of the whole counsel of God.

Deuteronomy 4:29-31 “But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.  30 When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the Lord your God and obey him.  31 For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.”

But If From There you seek Him, He will once again bring the power and blessing of His Covenant to bear upon your life – regardless of where there is.