Wednesday, August 22, 2012

God Has Left The Plane

Many people find the Old Testament, or at least parts of it, to be confusing and laborious to read.  Its certainly understandable why people would struggle with the seemly endless description of regulations, offerings and instructions found in Leviticus.  Other books are difficult to understand without some context -- like Amos or Haggai.

At the same time, a number of simple themes are found throughout the Old Testament that are not only easily understandable, but completely relatable.  One of the more prominent of those themes is the consequences of us individually or corporately turning our back on God.

In fact, the Jewish people as a whole seem throughout the Old Testament to be in an endless cycle of disobedience, enduring God's wrath and ultimate reconciliation.  We see time and time again the people drift away from God and His commands, and the dire consequences that inevitably follow.

I suspect that most people would agree that the United States has in recent years drifted away from God.  I am sure that some people see that as a good thing.  In fact, some people seem to have made wringing God out of America their life's ambition.

Sadly, at least on the legal and political front, those who want to exile God from American institutions seem to be winning.  I am not surprised by much anymore, but I have to say that the article I link to below caught me off guard a little.  

It seems that the United States Air Force has instituted a new set of regulations which, among other things, is specifically intended to keep Christian officers from sharing their faith.  More specifically, the regulations instruct officers and supervisors to "avoid the actual or apparent use of their position to promote their personal religious beliefs to their subordinates or to extend preferential treatment for any religion." 

There are potentially huge ramifications to such a regulation, since any public profession of faith by an officer -- such as saying a prayer before combat; or even being seen praying before a mission -- could be construed as the apparent use of position to promote Christianity.  

I never really had any serious interest in a military career.  But, if I did, I could not imagine getting in harm's way without first seeking God's favor and protection.  

Like most of you, I am worried about our Country turning its back on God.  Some think that God has already warned us more than once, and that His wrath is coming because of our refusal to repent.  I don't really claim to know about such things.  I do know, however, that those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.    

God Has Left The Plane

The Lord has sent a message against Jacob;
    it will fall on Israel.
All the people will know it—
    Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria—
who say with pride
    and arrogance of heart,
10 “The bricks have fallen down,
    but we will rebuild with dressed stone;
the fig trees have been felled,
    but we will replace them with cedars.”
11 But the Lord has strengthened Rezin’s foes against them
    and has spurred their enemies on.
12 Arameans from the east and Philistines from the west
    have devoured Israel with open mouth.
Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away,
    his hand is still upraised.
13 But the people have not returned to him who struck them,
    nor have they sought the Lord Almighty.
14 So the Lord will cut off from Israel both head and tail,
    both palm branch and reed in a single day;
15 the elders and prominent men are the head,
    the prophets who teach lies are the tail.
16 Those who guide this people mislead them,
    and those who are guided are led astray.
17 Therefore the Lord will take no pleasure in the young men,
    nor will he pity the fatherless and widows,
for everyone is ungodly and wicked,
    every mouth speaks vileness.
Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away,
    his hand is still upraised.
18 Surely wickedness burns like a fire;
    it consumes briers and thorns,
it sets the forest thickets ablaze,
    so that it rolls upward in a column of smoke.
19 By the wrath of the Lord Almighty
    the land will be scorched
and the people will be fuel for the fire;
    no one will spare his brother.
20 On the right they will devour,
    but still be hungry;
on the left they will eat,
    but not be satisfied.
Each will feed on the flesh of his own offspring:
21     Manasseh will feed on Ephraim, and Ephraim on Manasseh;
    together they will turn against Judah.
Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away,
    his hand is still upraised.

Isaiah 9:8-21 (NIV)

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