The name “Amos” literally means “burden bearer” and it speaks to how he felt about his message and its content. Continue reading “Amos and genuine religion.”
The book of Leviticus is a book seldom finished. Many start the book with the intentions of finishing it but after enduring rule, after rule, they give up and move on. The result is that many of us never really appreciate the beauty of the book nor understand the big picture lessons.
Last week, we talked about the three and a half tribes of Israel that wanted to settle in the land of Jazer and Gilead. At first glance, it seemed like a reasonable request. They had lots of livestock and the land was perfect for them. In spite of the obvious, Moses was seriously upset with them. Why wouldn’t he be? Especially after God’s reaction to those who chose to not go into the land (Num. 13) that resulted in 40 years of punishment and death. He was afraid that just like before the people would be discouraged and God would punish them. Upon hearing the seriousness of their choice these three and a half tribes quickly resolved to go in with the nation and help them secure their inheritance, as long as they could then come back to their inheritance. They didn’t want to be the ones causing the Lord’s people to suffer, struggle, and ultimately fail.
Yet, there is another reason why these three and a half tribes should have chosen to stick with their people (church). By choosing to live on the other side of the Jordan they are choosing to separate themselves from the people of God and from the promises and blessings of God. In Numbers 32:22, Moses says that after they have fulfilled their responsibilities to the Lord and Israel they can leave and be free from obligation to the Lord and Israel.
That should have been enough to motivate them to withdraw their idea of an inheritance in Gilead instead of the Promised Land. Hearing Moses tell them that they would be free from God and from their family should have caused them to ache in their souls.
What is most scary to me is that many Christians are also choosing to live outside of God’s blessings and as strangers to their church family. The church is supposed to be our family; brothers and sisters in the Lord, and yet, many just want to be free from any real obligations to Jesus or His church. When that is where our heart is at you can rest assured that God is not going to bless your life or faith. It’s going to hurt the church that has to go to battle without you but it’s going to hurt your family and faith more than anyone else.
Choosing to live a life outside of the Lord and His church is choosing to separate yourself from both. You cannot be in Christ, in the kingdom of Jesus with all its blessings (Eph. 1:3), and separate; free from any obligations. You must choose one or the other but you cannot have both.
Another serious problem here is that many Christians are living outside the blessings and promises of Jesus but are not aware of the choice they have made. All they can see is that life is hard, faith is hard, going to church is hard, and they wonder why everyone else seems to be blessed with an easier life. They wonder why everyone else is so committed and faithful. How can they manage to be there every week especially at every service of the church?
Let me tell you why it seems easier for them? Honestly, it is easier for them and I am going to tell you why. I’m not going to hold back, I hope it doesn’t hurt you, and I hope it helps fix your situation. They have chosen to live their life in the blessings and promises of God. You can choose it too! It’s not too late. Make the good decision to commit yourself entirely to Jesus and live your life in his blessings and church.
“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.”
(Galatians 6:7, ESV)
When you commit to investing into God and faith, He will make sure to bless you for the effort.