Beloved Brothers and Sisters:
If you have been following along with our Scripture reading schedule you know we are currently reading through the book of the Judges. I remember a time when reading of the faithlessness of Israel and the ease in which they bowed down in worship of idols gave me a sense of superiority; surely I would never be so faithless and foolish to turn from worshiping God to worshiping the creations of man’s hands.
I am ashamed to even admit that was ever my response to the sin of another. Each time I read of the times that Israel forsook God and clung instead to idols I find myself increasingly repulsed; it is and was horrific that the nation God rescued out of slavery and called to Himself so readily rejected Him and strayed, but that is not the primary reason I find my frustration growing as I meditate on these passages. The primary reason I find myself increasingly repulsed in these accounts is that I increasingly am aware of my own sin in this matter.
It would be easy for us to think we are innocent of the outright idolatry that Israel has so often fallen into and even celebrated. I don’t know anyone who claims to be a Christian who also keeps a golden statue in their home that they burn incense to and pray to. I don’t claim Jesus and yet pray to Allah, or Buddah, or Brahma. So I am good…right?
Why did Israel time and again fall into idolatry? Was it because they consciously examined all of the different religions and the evidential works of each deity and decided that Baal or an Ashtoreth were more powerful and more beneficial to them that Yahweh? No. In fact most of Israel’s idolatry was not actively trying to replace God with an idol, but claiming allegiance to God while yet trusting in something else. Baals and Ashtoreths were tempting, not because of anything they actually did for the worshiper, but because they were where the world around them went to find security.
Israel fell into idolatry because they did not have faith in God and instead trusted the wisdom of the world, seeking security where the world sought security. That is where I find my repulsion growing as I continue to read and meditate on Israel’s faithlessness; directed inward.
How often, while claiming absolute trust in Christ, do I yet look for security in the things the world seeks security in? How often do I claim that I trust my good and infinitely able Father in heaven to provide all that I need, while stressing as the world stresses and chasing money, position, and possession like the world chases money, position and possession? How often do I claim that Jesus is my greatest treasure and my sweetest meditation and yet find rest and escape in the idols of sports, entertainment, and leisure? How often do I trust the chariots of Pharaoh for my protection rather than the God with legions of angels at His command?
It is a grace of God that our objection over the failures we see in God’s people in the Bible fall most squarely on our own shoulders. It is a grace of God that we are brought to the conviction of our own sin, the plank in our own eye, rather than and before we have any thought to the sin of others, the speck in their eye.
As with most things lately, I see this issue addressed in the book of Hebrews. Israel had Moses, and even though Moses was faithful in service to God and the commands of God perfect, Israel rejected the grace shown to them and suffered the consequences; they were not able to enter into the promised rest. They chose the securities of the world rather than the security of Yahweh. As bad as it was for Israel to prove faithless to the ministry of the servant, it is much worse for us who would reject the ministry of the Son appointed over the house.
Woe to us if we do not actually place our trust in Him and His path for us. No matter what our profession may be, make sure that we are trusting in Christ in action as well as in word.
In Case You Missed It
- This past Sunday, Resurrection Sunday, we were encouraged by an Easter sermon that proves you can preach on the resurrection anywhere in Scripture. This was the first time I have ever heard a Resurrection Sunday sermon preached from 2 Timothy. Listen to The Message, the Cause, the Goal, and the Seed from 2 Timothy 2:1-9.
- This Sunday we will be continuing our study of the book of Hebrews. Take some time to meditate on Hebrews 3:7-11 in order to prepare yourself for worshiping together.
- Our first Sunday morning worshiping together in Maynardville, our first Sunday as an official commissioned church, was truly a blessed day. It was wonderful to share a meal with each other and then carry that fellowship on through worship in song, word, and admonition. We had a number of visitors with us, a couple of families from Project Christmas even joined us. I thank God for His grace in bringing about the formation of this church in Maynardville; join me in continuing to pray that God would bless this body of believers and grant us much fruit.
- Remember that this Sunday we will be following our normal service schedule; we will begin our worship service at 10:00 am. Please make every effort to be on time, and even a little early, as we want to be faithful to begin when we say we will begin.
Scripture Reading and Prayer
In order to promote unity of heart and mind among us, we are encouraging as many as are willing to join with us in reading through the entire Bible this year together, as well as devoting specific Scriptures to prayer each day. It is our prayer that as we meditate and pray over the same Scriptures each day, that God will work in our midst to bind us to one another, and to give us a common vision for the ministry here in Maynardville. Prayerfully consider joining with us in this endeavor, and we will see how God will work in our midst.
Our Scriptures to pray over this week are:
- Thur (4/24): Rom 10:1; 2 Cor 10:3-5
- Fri (4/25): 1 Tim 2:1-2
- Sat (4/26): Jas 4:6
- Sun (4/27): Jn 17:1-25
- Mon (4/28): Ps 25:1-5
- Tue (4/29): 1 Thes 5:23
- Wed (4/30): Rev 4:8, 11
- Thur (5/1): Rom 12:1-3
Our Scripture reading schedule for the week is:
- Thur (4/24): Judg 2:10-3:31; Lk 22:13-34; Ps 92:1-93:5; Pr 14:1-2
- Fri (4/25): Judg 4:1-5:31; Lk 22:35-53; Ps 94:1-23; Pr 14:3-4
- Sat (4/26): Judg 6:1-40; Lk 22:54-23:12; Ps 95:1-96:13; Pr 14:5-6
- Sun (4/27): Judg 7:1-8:17; Lk 23:13-43; Ps 97:1-98:9; Pr 14:7-8
- Mon (4/28): Judg 6:18-9:21; Lk 23:44-24:12; Ps 99:1-9; Pr 14:9-10
- Tue (4/29): Judg 9:22-10:18; Lk 24:13-53; Ps 100:1-5; Pr 14:11-12
- Wed (4/30): Judg 11:1-12:15; Jn 1:1-28; Ps 101:1-8; Pr 14:13-14
- Thur (5/1): Judg 13:1-14:20; Jn 1:29-51; Ps 102:1-28; Pr 14:15-16
With Love and Affection in Christ,