Tuesday, August 27, 2013

God empower us to do good

I have been reading a verse recently. I find it so interesting that I have been stopping on that verse for many days. 
Yes, the stork in the sky knows her appointed times; and the turtledove and the swallow and the crane observe the time of their coming; but my people don't know Yahweh's law. (Jeremiah 8:7, WEB)
It is interesting the Lord would compare bird's migratory instinct to us knowing His law. This word "law" also means justice or judgement. There is nothing unpleasant about birds' migration. It is how the birds move to greener pastures in different seasons of their lives. It is an inborn instinct that they have that benefits them greatly and ensures their survival. This means in the same way, we are supposed to know God's law on the inside as an instinct. And this instinct is supposed to guide us to greener pastures in different seasons of our lives. If we continue to read Jeremiah, not having this instinct causes great suffering to come upon us. Although the context refers to the Jewish people not following God, we can learn from the verse because we make the same mistakes. See the verse below.
How do you say, We are wise, and the law of Yahweh is with us? But, behold, the false pen of the scribes has worked falsely. The wise men are disappointed, they are dismayed and taken: behold, they have rejected the word of Yahweh; and what kind of wisdom is in them? Therefore will I give their wives to others, and their fields to those who shall possess them: for everyone from the least even to the greatest is given to covetousness; from the prophet even to the priest every one deals falsely. (Jeremiah 8:8-10, WEB)
Is there hope for us? Who will save us? Actually, God saved us :). Praise God! The last word in verse 7, "law", appears the first time in Genesis 18:19. By the Law of First Mention, when a word appear for the first time in the scriptures, there would be something significant. And as it turned out, if you read Genesis 18:19, God provided a solution to our problem and it is hidden in the verse itself.
For I have known him, to the end that he may command his children and his household after him, that they may keep the way of Yahweh, to do righteousness and justice; to the end that Yahweh may bring on Abraham that which he has spoken of him."  (Genesis 18:19, WEB)
Yes, the stork in the sky knows her appointed times; and the turtledove and the swallow and the crane observe the time of their coming; but my people don't know Yahweh's law. (Jeremiah 8:7, WEB)
All the words of the same color is the same word. If you look at "bring" and "coming", it has the meaning of going into a time (fruition) of God's blessings. We can thus say, from Jeremiah 8:7, that because the people did not know the way of the Lord's justice, they could not keep the time of their blessings and miss them. But as part of the Lord's blessings to Abraham (Genesis 18), now instead of us knowing the Lord, the Lord will know us, to cause us to keep the way of the Lord and do right, that blessings may be brought upon us. [We can partake of Abraham's blessings because  believers belong to Christ (Galatians 3:29)].

Wow. Really? God has done it all for us? And our doing right is from the Lord? Yes, indeed. And God has a covenant with us that seals this in our lives.
"For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel. After those days," says the Lord; "I will put my laws into their mind, I will also write them on their heart. I will be their God, and they will be my people. They will not teach every man his fellow citizen, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for all will know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. (Hebrews 8:11, WEB)
Through the New Covenant, God put His laws (His instructions) in our mind and write it in our hearts. So we know what to do and we have a willingness to do them. And then God says He will be a God to us - which means whatever challenges we have is over. Wow! This covenant is good for us! Instead of the least to the greatest suffering for their failures (Jeremiah 8), now all of us from the least to the greatest will know the Lord and be blessed!!

Many people might not have realized that God's covenant contains His instructions (His laws) for us. And to God, His enabling us to follow His instructions is a pre-condition to Him being a God to us and taking over our lives. God's New Covenant will cause us to do the right things for God's glory. 

Every Christians want to do the right things to glorify God. And many times we are frustrated when we fail again and again and we may see that God's goodness to us is not the answer. We are frustrated at being forgiven too many times. Actually, the power for us to do right for Him is given by Him, by His covenant, by Abrahamic blessings that we received in Christ. 

Recently I heard of a lady from the church who left after getting feeling that God's work in us may not be enough. She read the bible, has questions, but could not get them answered. She felt that there are more to God's goodness when it comes to redemption and sanctification. My personal take is that she did not realise that relying on God's grace, because of God's promise to enable us to do good in both the Old Testament and New Testament, does not amount to lawlessness. In fact, only God's grace can bring us to God's level of holiness. Efforts may be sincere, but it will never be sufficient. 

For what can we give if we have not received from Him? We are bankrupt. Knowing that God has provide for us and enable us to do good, we can rest in Him, and do good. And when we succeed because of Him, then can we fully give Him all the glory, as we have no part in it. Praise the Lord.

The Lord bless you richly. Shalom.