Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Thought for Tuesday 7/16/13

“Thus says the Lord, ‘Keep justice, and do righteousness, for My salvation is about to come, and My righteousness to be revealed.  Blessed is the one who does this, and the children of those who lay hold on it, who keeps from defiling the Sabbath and keeps their hands from doing any evil.”  Isaiah 56:1-2

It was traditionally understood that while Gentiles (non-Jewish people) were to be treated justly by the Jews, it was also understood that Gentiles could never really have a place in Israel.  This promise spoken through the prophet, however, reveals the Almighty with a heart for “all nations” (vs 7e), all who “keep justice and do righteousness … all who keep from defiling the Sabbath”.

This is an important word for the Church today just as it was for the Israelite nation which was in exile as a result of having continually offended the Lord, violated His Law, and mistreated their “neighbors”.  The Church still has the same charge the Lord expected from His nation: to proclaim His holy name to “all nations” and to all people.  Failure to embrace this Holy Charge will bring consequences just as Israel was suffering those consequences.

This does not mean we need worry ourselves about trying to repackage the Gospel or water down the Law of the Lord to appeal to a new generation, or try to find new meaning for ageless wisdom.  Rather it means we are to find our own vocation as the Body of Christ, and reconnect to the Scriptures so that as we are proclaiming the Name, we do not mislead our neighbors or misrepresent our Lord.

Yes, believe in the Lord our God.  Yes, believe His promises.  Yes, believe He can and will forgive the worst of our offenses if we truly repent and turn to Him.  But also believe that justice, righteousness, and mercy (works of piety) are all necessary fruits of that belief, that faith.  These are truly the fruits others will find sweet enough to partake of for themselves, but they will never eat what they are never offered.  And like you or me, they will not accept an offer of rotted fruit unless they are starving and rotted is all that is being offered.  They will not be nourished, however; they will be sickened.  Thus they will not come back for more.

If we really want to see a nation living by biblical principles, it falls upon us to live these biblical principles, to be our “neighbor’s” keeper and not our “neighbor’s” warden.  Quoting a few key phrases will never work if we do not understand its context or application – and there is a lot of that going around especially within the Church.  Worse than rotted fruit, that is a lot like offering a whole lot of green plums; it won’t kill, but it will sicken because the fruit was not properly seasoned, not yet ripe and ready for consumption.

We have the fullness of the Word which is in Messiah, and He has shown us all that is good.  So let us live the good for our neighbors in our Lord.



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