Thursday, June 14, 2012

OUR GOD, Part 1

Have you ever bared your soul to someone? Maybe you told them your deepest darkest secret. Perhaps you took a risk and told someone you loved them. Either way, you most likely hoped they would reciprocate. But there is always the possibility they won’t. They may reject it. If you are human, it's likely you have experienced rejection. And let's be candid--rejection sucks!

But we can take comfort in knowing that we are not alone. From the time the foundation of Earth was laid, man has continually rejected their creator. Even in the midst of our rejection and rebellion, He is still willing to risk it all. God is committed to you and me more than we can ever comprehend. Just listen to a couple of promises God makes to us, even today.

"They will be my people and I will be their God."   (Jeremiah 32:38)
"But now, O Jacob, listen to the LORD who created you O Israel, the one who formed you says, 'Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I gave Egypt as a ransom for your freedom; I gave Ethiopia and Seba in your place. Others were given in exchange for you. I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you.'”  (Isaiah 43:1-4)

God has made Himself vulnerable. At the most basic level, He is giving us a proposal. He throws the ball in our court. God says, "I want to enter into an intimate, monogamous relationship with you. I want to be the only God in your life. And I will give myself wholly to you." God risked it all. He steps out and risks that we will reject Him.
Let me put this in some easy to understand, applicable terms. Right here, God says He doesn’t want worthless religion. Following a list of rules and regulations won't cut it. Half-hearted devotion will not suffice. Whoring around with worthless idols is a lose-lose. And guess what, nothing has changed. The same reality holds true today. God has made himself vulnerable.  He made the first move. He says "I’m committed to you and I want to know where you stand. Will you reciprocate in this relationship? Will you love, honor and trust me?"

It's your move!
Before you respond, how about we dig a little deeper? In this very passage I believe God is giving us a glimpse into what it means to be His people. Nowhere in this passage do I see anything about rules or regulations. There is no discussion of sacrifices or burnt offerings. He doesn't even mention any of the 10 Commandments. In all reality, He doesn’t quantify or qualify anything. So, if none of that is what it really means to be the people of God, what does it mean to be the people of God?
First, we must understand what exactly God is saying when He promises to be our God.
Before we get into that we must first understand this. Almost all religions ‘gods’ make the claim that they will be our god. However, it is only Christianity that makes good on that promise. While the 'gods' of other religions remain distant and disconnected. Our God, the God of Christianity, the One, True God is the only one who sacrificed Himself to bridge the gap and ransom us back to himself.  Furthermore, after that, He utters these promises: "I will be with you always. I will dwell within you. I am in the midst of you. I will never leave you nor forsake you." And you should know God can't break these promises--nor does he intend to.

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