Saturday, November 12, 2011

Choose ye this day.

Now these are the nations that the LORD left, to test Israel by them, that is, all in Israel who had not experienced all the wars in Canaan. It was only in order that the generations of the people of Israel might know war, to teach war to those who had not known it before. These are the nations: the five lords of the Philistines and all the Canaanites and the Sidonians and the Hivites who lived on Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal-hermon as far as Lebo-hamath. They were for the testing of Israel, to know whether Israel would obey the commandments of the LORD, which he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.  (Judges 3:1-4 ESV)
I was startled to find that it was part of God's plan - that some of the nations in the "promised land" were not overcome totally.  I'd always thought it was lack of faith to do what God called  the Israelites to do when they went into the land.    But I see here it was in His plan.  The factor for Israel was worshiping the one true God and obeying him or choosing their own way.  Each generation had to face this choice.  It wasn't a given. 
In a way,  it seems to me to be a bit like the tree in the garden of Eden all over.  The tree was not put there to make us partakers in sin but God giving us the freedom to choose. He wants our love and worship because we want to.  The fact is God wants a people who love him and joy in his love and his gift of life.
There are consequences for our choices.  It's not just a matter of God saying, " Choose me or I'll wipe you out.  It's "I am life and in choosing me you will have life".  If you chose yourself, you are under the kingdom of self and that kingdom is ruled by another, and has it's own results.
Every generation has to face these choices for themselves.  The blessing beyond our imagination is that at any point in your life you can turn to and choose God. 
Yes, there will be battles.  But those are written into the fabric of living and faced by all.  And our part is  whether we are living for the Kingdom of self or for the Kingdom of God.  The glorious truth is that God's offer is not, in our life time ever removed.  And even in our failures he has healing and forgiveness.  He makes himself available at all times and will even make beautiful our worst failure and sin if we turn to him.

One of my favorite passages in literature is in The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien.  It's the first chapter and it is to me a wonderful picture of how God makes  ".........all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Rom 8:28  (KJV)  I love the KJV language in those verses I learned while using that version.

The truth is, there is always, in our life choice, hope, joy and to be loved by the LORD God Almighty, savior and creator.

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