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July 12th, 2015
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The word “Therefore” appears over 1200 times in the Bible. When you see a “therefore” in God’s Word it is always helpful and wise to see what it is “there for”. “Therefore” always points back to something that was just said.
That’s what we see in Nehemiah 9:32 in this beautiful prayer of God’s people to God.
When constitutions and bylaws are written or proposed for change, there is always the word “whereas” at the beginning, often more than one “whereas”, followed by a “therefore”.
It’s just like saying, “Since all this has taken place, since these are the facts of the matter, since we are aware of the details that has brought us to this point, we therefore make this commitment, this proclamation, this proposal, this promise, this vow, this covenant.”
This is what was happening in this prayer. “Here’s what’s happened as a result of our disobedience and rejection of You and Your Laws. It’s not been good. We are aware of it and now confess our sins, repent, and recommit to walking in obedience to You and relationship with You. So in view of all of this, therefore we make a binding agreement, putting it in writing, and affixing our seal to it.”
We are in such a place right now in our Nation. We’ve turned from God’s laws and rejected relationship with Him.
We are vigorously scrubbing away all vestiges of God from our public places and are commanding the Church to sit down, shut up, & go away.
We are denying God’s part in blessing this nation and setting it apart for His good in our world. We are instead taking credit for our success and saying in essence, “We don’t need God, we can make it just fine without Him.”
One of the minor prophets towards the back of the Old Testament is Hosea. He lived during a time of great prosperity among God’s people, but also simultaneously a time of great falling away and compromise of all things holy and righteous and pure, not unlike America is today.
He was told by God to marry a young lady by the name of Gomer. God warned Hosea ahead of time that Gomer would be unfaithful to her covenant vow of marriage, which she was. It was meant to be symbolic of the people’s compromising commitment to Him in their covenant relationship.
The first part of Chapter 2 speaks of the whoredom and unfaithfulness of Gomer. Starting in verse 14 it speaks of God’s plans to redeem her, again symbolic of God’s heart and plan towards His Bride and His people.
Hosea 2:14-23, “Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor (which means “trouble”) a door of hope. There she will respond as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt. “In that day,” declares the Lord, “you will call me ‘my husband’; you will no longer call me ‘my master. ’ I will remove the names of the Baals (other gods) from her lips; no longer will their names be invoked. In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky and the creatures that move along the ground. Bow and sword and battle I will abolish from the land, so that all may lie down in safety. I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord. “In that day I will respond,” declares the Lord — “I will respond to the skies, and they will respond to the earth; and the earth will respond to the grain, the new wine and the olive oil, and they will respond to Jezreel (which means “God plants”). I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one. ’ I will say to those called ‘Not my people, ’ ‘You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God.’ ”
Many segments of Scripture have dual meanings and fulfillments. And while this speaks to Jesus setting up His ultimate eternal reign of righteousness in the near future, it also speaks to nations and peoples who have throughout human history been in a constant state of needing redemption.
We are in a such a place in our Nation. We are in a Valley of Trouble.
But this valley of trouble we are in in America can also be a door of hope.
No political party, whether it be Democrat, Republican, Independent, Tea Party, or whatever can bring healing and hope and salvation to America.
God alone is our Hope. He alone is our healing and salvation.
God wants to bring salvation to us, to His Church, to our nation, to the world. His covenant of love is unchanging. His justice is perfect. His faithfulness is continual. In all of our whoring and unfaithfulness, in all of our rejection of relationship with Him, He remains steady, constant, faithful, and true. His love never changes.
But as loving as He is, He is also holy and just. And His holy justice demands righteous, restorative judgement. We are in a very precarious place in our nation. The gas peddle has been pushed it seems of late to the floor board and we are speeding towards a very steep cliff and breakneck speed. If we do not repent, His restorative judgment is at the door.
2 Chronicles 7:13-15 says, ““When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.”
This describes our nation and world right now. In so many ways the heavens are being shut up and there’s much devouring of the land.
We as the church of Jesus Christ are called as the front line of our generation to be the first to repent.
“If My people who are called by My Name”. That’s His Church!
“Will humble themselves”. This is a recognition that we are helpless without Him. It’s the opposite of prideful self-sufficiency. It’s an acknowledgment that all things come from and return back to God.
Pride is what Lucifer kicked out of Heaven. But Ps. 51:17 says, “A broken and contrite heart You, God, will not despise.” And James 4:6 says, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
“And seek My face.” This is about relationship. We don’t seek His hand or His things, we seek Him first, and His righteousness, THEN these other things will be added unto us.
“And turn from their wicked ways.” Again, this is the Church’s wicked ways, not the world. We know the world’s wicked ways, but what’s going on the Church, in my life, in your life, that we MUST turn away from. King David cried out in a musical prayer, Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
“THEN, THEN will I hear from Heaven and forgive their sins and heal their land.”
If we will soberly, vigilantly, wholeheartedly, humbly, thoroughly, authentically do our part by coming to God and repenting of our sins individually and corporately, we can see revival in the Church and in our land.
I don’t know what it will take for His Church to get with it. I’m not sure what catalyst will finally bring the Church to its knees in complete humility and repentance.
We saw it for a few weeks after 9/11, but it was superficial. Instead of the world becoming more like the Church has, the Church has become more like the world.
Think about it, have we been the salt and light that we need to be, preserving and rescuing those around us? Or has the world crept in more and more to our churches? Does the bell of holiness and righteousness and purity in your life and the life of the Church ring true, or is it vague, cloudy, and muffled?
What’s it gonna take? How will God finally get the attention of the Church and our Nation and our world?
Let me close this Faith Notes out with this following prayer.
“Lord, since we’ve strayed. Since we’ve neglected You. Since we’ve embraced the things of this world. Since we’ve seen the Church loose it’s savory-ness, it’s passion, and it’s glow. Since we’ve become complacent. Since we’ve not placed You first in our lives. Since we’ve become lukewarm. Since because of this we have seen our nation and our world’s morality crumble, it’s respect for You diminish, and it’s carnality explode. We recognize this as the wicked fruit of the flesh we’ve sown. We therefore humbly come to You today in repentance, making a binding covenant, putting it in writing, and affixing our seal to it.”
Won’t you join me in this prayer and commit to turning to Him with your whole heart and see this valley of trouble become a door of hope. May God turn our hearts, the heart of His Church, and the heart of this great Nation back to Him.