Psalm 81:8 - 9 "Hear, O my people, and I will testify unto thee: O Israel, if thou wilt hearken unto me; There shall no strange god be in thee; neither shalt thou worship any strange god."
When will we ever get it?
Read the verses above ---For the sake of reading in context and with continuity, I took liberty to join them together as they were meant to be read, regardless of the scowl that I get sometimes from those more terse in their interpretation of God's Word. Verse 9 gives an eternally soul ringing command if left to itself; and if it is left by itself we may be left with a "how in the world?" BUT reading the essentials that are found in verse 8 gives us the relief, and God's personal "come along side of" coaching in the "How to!" "IF THOU WILT HEARKEN UNTO ME" ...Don't isolate the command as your duty alone, see it for what it truly is "If" we Hearken, Listen to the Voice of God - His Voice will fan love's fire and keep us alive and away from the addictions that stem from idolatrous relationships.The potential to obey is found in the desire to listen to the Voice of God.
Just a few days shy of 40 years ago, a young broken hearted couple stood amidst: the birth of a beautiful baby boy with grave physical issue, the choices of "Medical non-practice" (actually "Euthanize by closing our eyes") and "Choose Life", the distance between our Newlywed apartment Chambersburg, PA and Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago, IL, and the stress of trying to make sense out of an event that made no sense ---
Let's do the Math:
1. Saved and sold out to ministry.
2. Leaving Family and Friends in obedience to the Holy Spirit.
3. Moving hundreds of miles from home to get a Bible Education via the "call of God".
4. Trusting God fully for the provisions to move 590 miles from home --(no job, no apartment, no idea except -- going to Bible College).
5. Secretly Expecting our first child. God worked out everything --
We left with a $300.00 gift from a very special close friend, and God directed our steps and provided for our needs ... Right up to the moment of the birth and delivery of our first son, Justin. That was when our world of Faith was turned upside down.
Up to that moment we had learned that God could be trusted for provisions, but at that juncture where Eternity reached into our trembling temporal existence, we learned in an undeniable way that His Personal Presence would be there for us in times that were way beyond our capacity to cope.
Not to minimize the emotions and the scars on our fragility, but 40 years has not washed away what we needed most in that moment - WE NEEDED HIM. AND HE WAS THERE. Although Death is but a shadow, it was a real threat ... we needed Him close in the lonely hours of empty arms, in the valley of unfamiliar decisions, and sorrowfully ... in the planting of our son in the safekeeping of the Love of our God. And the young couple stood by the tiny gravesite ... supported by His Presence, because He literally wrapped His arms around them.
Sin separates and idolatry isolates us from the plans, the provisions, and the presence of God. Here is the RUB -- IF we pay attention and stay tuned to His Heart's Messages to us from His Word - There is no permanent "For Sale" space in our lives for strange gods. And when we are in tune to the fullness of the extravagance of the Voice of Christ's LOVE for us, worship given to any other stranger is not a palatable nor viable option.
Sorry to repeat this but there are some that may read this far and still have not caught it -- still legalistic in the responses connected to Eternity!
- Obedience without love is always looking for loop holes to disobey in secrecy.
- Obedience without love sees only oppression and control that invades the "My Way".
- Obedience without Love will be swallowed by bitterness because it's motivation is only fear, guilt, and regret.
If the only support for love is the empty hope and promises of man, love will soon be swallowed up in the choices led by the festering infection of the self fulfillment of unbridled lust. Give loving attention to His Voice in the Word of God, the Scriptures ... And HE will fill up the void of your soul that could make place for strange gods. Give loving attention to His Voice in the Word of God, the Scriptures ... And worshipful love from and for God will allow no room for idols.
Do you get it yet --- maybe?
Try this (every day)Claim a fresh start right now by spending a few personal moments with the Father in the Word and in prayer to begin "daily" rekindling the Love relationship that He desires with us. Let His Love grow in us as the Word begins to have its perfect work in us ...loving us into a joyful obedience of eternity.
Justin ... We will see you on the other side, thanks to Jesus!
He has Promised!