Call Upon The Name Of The Lord pt 2

I am the God Of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob

It has become popular over the last 400 years to disassociate Jesus from His Hebrew roots. To replace Israel with the church in many readings from the Old Testament, and to generally hold the God portrayed in the Old Testament in contempt because of His judgments. I am here to tell you today that the God Jesus spoke of was the very same as the one Abraham and Moses spoke to, in fact it seems likely that it was the pre-incarnate Christ that they spoke to. Jesus also makes it clear that He came to seek and to save the lost sheep of Israel first of all. In God’s scheme of things it was only after the nation of Judah rejected Him that God then turned the gospel out into the world at large and made His acceptance of gentiles widely known. This is the meaning of the parable given in Luke 14:16-24 when the original guests who were invited to the feast refused to attend, God went out into the streets and ditches to find people among the poor and sick to attend the feast.
We are those people, we are grafted into the olive tree of God’s family, we are now in His family and God is glad to have us. Yet God has not forgotten Israel.

Here is something to think about for those who reject the idea that the God of the New Testament will levy judgment.
After Judah rejected Jesus and the concentrated efforts of the Apostles in the time between the crucifixion and the year 67 AD. The Jewish Zealots began a rebellion against Rome. The Jewish zealots were trying to force God’s hand. Surely, they thought, God would aid them against pagan Rome.
It was not to be, the society that rejected and insisted on crucifying the Messiah was dealt a blow when Jerusalem, including Herod’s temple, was besieged and burned by the future Emperor Titus, in 70 AD. Josephus the Jewish historian who was working for Titus at the time, chronicled this period of rebellion in great detail. After the fall and destruction of Jerusalem the Romans rebuilt the city in their own image with a temple to Jupiter on the site of Herod’s temple. The rebellion continued, various rebel outposts fell during several separate outbreaks, including the Herodium and Masada, There was a final rebellion in 132-134 AD led by a fellow named Simon Bar Kokhba who fancied himself to be the Messiah. The Romans had had quite enough by this time and after they defeated bar Kokhba they sold the surviving losers into slavery all over the Empire.
These events could be chalked up to bad luck for a bunch of folks who simply could not tolerate pagan overlords and who could not stop themselves from bucking Rome. Or they might be seen as a near perfect parallel to the destruction of Jerusalem (and Solomon’s temple) and the captivity of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar (most of the population of Judah was dragged off to slavery in Mesopotamia for 70 years). This sequence of events was clearly set forth in the Old Testament as judgment for Judah’s worship of idols and non adherence to the Law, in Jeremiah, Ezekiel and other books of the prophets.

So history speaks to us in a way none of us could have foreseen. Here we have a group of people who lived after the resurrection, who rejected and killed Jesus, and who killed some of the followers of Jesus and eventually drove the Apostles away from Jerusalem. They rebelled against and felt the full wrath of Rome, they were slaughtered and enslaved and their Holy city was destroyed. Now I don’t know about you, but I do not believe that this was a coincidence.
This is what Jesus was talking about in Matthew 21:33-46
33 “Hear another parable: There was a certain landowner who planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a winepress in it and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country. 34 Now when vintage-time drew near, he sent his servants to the vinedressers, that they might receive its fruit. 35 And the vinedressers took his servants, beat one, killed one, and stoned another. 36 Again he sent other servants, more than the first, and they did likewise to them. 37 Then last of all he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38  But when the vinedressers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’ 39 So they took him and cast him out of the vineyard and killed him.
40 “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers?”
41 They said to Him, “He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons.”
42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:

‘ The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone.
This was the LORD’s doing,
And it is marvelous in our eyes’?”

43 “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it. 44 And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.”
45 Now when the chief priests and Pharisees heard His parables, they perceived that He was speaking of them. 46 But when they sought to lay hands on Him, they feared the multitudes, because they took Him for a prophet.

Matthew 21:33-46  New King James Version

Even as we consider how God judged Judah, we must also consider how He has so often restored His people.

10 This is what the Lord says: “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again.
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
12 In those days when you pray, I will listen.
13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.
14 I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”
Jeremiah 29:10-14 NLT

God had Jeremiah deliver this message as these people were being dragged off in chains. He is reassuring them that when they are ready to return He is there waiting.

Again and again in Scripture God defines His people as those who know Him, as those who seek Him. If you don’t know Him, He won’t protect you from the hazards of this world.
God’s mercy in this age is shown in the fact that anyone, absolutely anyone, who wishes can know Him. He has given us ample clues in the Gospels that He will go after anyone whose heart is His. Are we to doubt that He can reach a person in another culture if they want to know Him?
We have been addicted to the idea that Jesus is up in His place far, far away and that if anything is going to get done we must do it. I might add that this interpretation of how God’s work is done is highly flattering to our egos. Contrary to our attitudes, Jesus can and does work in people’s lives without our say so. He is even able to make contact with people without our help (ie the angel’s visit to Cornelius in Acts 10). We need to understand that it is not about us, it is all about Him. It is not our place to call the shots, we must follow the example of the Apostles who were directed by God in their work.
So how are we to respond to Him? Should we turn to Him out of fear of judgment?
No, that is not His message at all, really His message, in addition to forgiveness,  is that we can know Him, we can grow in Him, He will perfect us in His image. And last and perhaps least important we will avoid judgment in doing so.
If you are found in Him there is nothing this world can do to harm you.

Explore posts in the same categories: Christianity, Dreams / Vision, God, Hearing God, Jesus, Journaling, religion, Writing, Yom Kippur

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