Locally we have been spending an extended period of time studying the Kings and Prophets of the Old Testament...10 courses over a period of a year or so…and this is just a start...Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel upcoming…
It has been, and continues to be, time well spent.
The Lord has given us His written Word for a purpose…
4 For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
The things “written in earlier times” at the time of Paul’s receiving the Word to the Romans was a reference to the Old Testament.
We as believers are to know the entirety of the Word - Old and New.
Yet, most believers choose not to spend time in the Word.
Sometime it is the distraction of the cares and concerns of the world.
Sometime it is the lies of the evil one.
Sometime it is idolatry - giving greater heed to the things of the flesh rather than to the Lord.
Sometime folk simply do not know.
I am amazed at how much so-called “church leadership” is deceived in this manner.
The Word brings encouragement, yet we seek the word of man.
The Word brings perseverance, yet we seek the “motivation” of man.
The Word brings hope, yet we seek the affirmation of that about us for hope.
As of this writing I am watching/reading blog/tweets of folk that are gathered to “get motivated.”
Now, there is nothing wrong with listening to a couple of championship football coaches.
There is nothing wrong with listening to a born-again, business man who markets motivation.
There is something seriously wrong with turning to a couple of extremely corrupt politicians for “motivation” and “leadership” skills.
The Word of the Lord reveals all that is needed for motivation and leadership.
Want a guide?
The Lord led me to this resource one day - in what we would call a “supernatural” way...another story for another time.
I have noted through the years that folk will gather together to hear/learn of something, but will quickly scatter when time comes to do it.
Study the Word?
Read the Word?
Meditate upon the Word?
Speak the Word?
But when it comes to doing it?….fade away…
Same with prayer.
I noted many years ago that the more a gathering of leadership within the local church prayed together, the less of them came to the meetings. Sad.
Where is the true hunger for the Word of the Lord?
We seek and pursue the patterns of man and the word of man and use this as the measure of success of the Kingdom of God.
This is a grave error.
One that is revealed in the Word.
The Northern Kingdom of Israel was doing this.
The Word of the Lord was spoken through Amos and addressed the situation.
The Northern Kingdom had created its own form of worshipping the True God.
They had perverted the true worship as designed by God for the sake of “convenience for the people” and control of the people.
King Jeroboam, son of Nebat, did the following…
- established “their” way to worship
- 2 golden calves, one placed in Dan, another in Bethel (I guess he built two because it worked out so well the first time…where is the sarcasm emoticon when you need it?)
- built altars
- established a “priesthood” from whoever wanted to be a priest
- told the folk not to go to Jerusalem, they could worship here
- several other things, you get the idea.
This led them to the point that the Word of the Lord comes to them through Amos.
Read the book when you can.
Thomas Constable summarized the first portion…
In summary, the reasons for Israel's coming judgment that Amos identified in these five messages were legal injustice, economic exploitation, religious hypocrisy, luxurious self- indulgence, and boastful complacency. These sins involved unfaithfulness to Yahweh, the supreme, all powerful Lord of Israel with whom the Israelites lived in covenant relationship. Though national judgment was inevitable, individuals who repented could escape punishment.
This describes our society.
Sadder, it describes most of the Body of Christ.
They thought all was well because…
- they worshipped God there own way
- they were “successful”...basically peaceful, prosperous...so, God must be pleased
- injustice reigned
- they abused the poor, needy and humble
- they were hypocrites as regard to their faith in the Lord
- they were self-indulgent...God actually calls the women “cows of Bashan”
- they were complacent...thought God was not talking to them about judgment
They would soon learn about judgement.
Judgment for the nation was determined. Nothing would change that.
Individuals could do something...God tells them three times “seek me that you might live”.
So, what motivates you?
The words/experience/strategies/”successes” of man?
Is your hope, encouragement and perseverance found in the Word of the Lord God Most High?
Can’t be both…