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Sunday, September 4, 2016

The Frustrated God

As Christians, our heart's desire must be to love and worship God. Jesus commanded us to teach, heal, exorcise, forgive sins, and love. The Holy Spirit empowers us, when we are open. This is why the church exists.

God's will is love and salvation, but like all of us, God does not always get what He wants.
Jeremiah 8:1-17 makes clear, His people reject Him, reject His law, and feel no shame about any of it. The result for Israel is catastrophic. Jeremiah's reaction is gut wrenching. Hear him cry: 

"My sorrow cannot be comforted...
My heart is sick and weak...
I am broken, I am heartbroken, feeling the pain of those I love. They are desolate, so am I.
Where is the doctor? Where is the cure?
Where is the Lord's saving love?
I cry day and night for the dead whom I cherish."

Jeremiah called Judah to repent. They responded with insults and abuse. They abused Jeremiah, but still he loved them. Clearly YHWH's heart of love has melded with Jeremiah's. Maybe that is how you become a prophet?

God is not coercive. He withdraws from those who reject Him through social injustice and false gods. Judgement and Wrath! His absence opens the door to other things. The Babylonians invade. People are massacred, with survivors exiled or scattered. The King sees his family slaughter and is then blinded. The kingdom is no more.

Jeremiah loves an undeserving people. He feels their pain as his own. He is like the Crucified Messiah Jesus. Jesus also called them to repent, but they did not listen. Rome invaded with unspeakable horrors. God does not always get His way. Life, love, healing can be rejected. We can embrace the Darkness but there are evil things lurking there.

1 Timothy 2 contains the revelation which is central to my own understanding of God. It is my starting place to interpret Scripture: "God our Savior, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." Everyone saved. Sadly, we can thwart God's desire.

Jesus is the only mediator with God.
Jesus is God reaching out to those who reject Him.
His cross is God's saving response to human evil. Human evil is very real.

Human evil in Germany wiped out almost 40% of the 16 million Jews worldwide. Today there are about 15 million, 3/4ths in Israel or America. Today Jerusalem faces a fourth threat of annihilation. Nuclear weapons in the hand of hostile neighbors is a living nightmare. YHWH God faithfully loves His chosen people. Unfortunately, we know what sin and unbelief can do.

But this is also a message to us. Like Israel, the church is called to trust and faithfulness. Like them we are His beloved. Like them, we are unfaithful sinners. Like them, we will suffer for the choices made. Be clear, God's Kingdom is light, love and peace. The alternative is none of these.

Like Jeremiah we must love everyone. We must love the peoples of the earth, especially those whom we do not like. "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you," Jesus said, Jesus did... We must repent and call others to repentance. We must proclaim Jesus the only Mediator. And until He comes, we preach, teach, heal, cast our demons and reconcile sinners to God. The darkness grows, we are to be the Jesus light.

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