Thursday, April 2nd

Thursday, April 2nd

But as he came closer to Jerusalem and saw the city ahead, he began to weep. “How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace. But now it is too late, and peace is hidden from your eyes. Before long your enemies will build ramparts against your walls and encircle you and close in on you from every side. They will crush you into the ground, and your children with you. Your enemies will not leave a single stone in place, because you did not recognize it when God visited you.” Luke 19:41-44

This is what the Lord says: “Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls. But you reply, ‘No, that’s not the road we want!’ I posted watchmen over you who said, ‘Listen for the sound of the alarm.’ But you replied, ‘No! We won’t pay attention!’ Therefore, listen to this, all you nations. Take note of my people’s situation. Listen, all the earth! I will bring disaster on my people. It is the fruit of their own schemes, because they refuse to listen to me. They have rejected my word." Jeremiah 6:16-19

Now if the Gentiles were enriched because the people of Israel turned down God’s offer of salvation, think how much greater a blessing the world will share when they finally accept it .... For since their rejection meant that God offered salvation to the rest of the world, their acceptance will be even more wonderful. It will be life for those who were dead! .... I want you to understand this mystery, dear brothers and sisters, so that you will not feel proud about yourselves. Some of the people of Israel have hard hearts, but this will last only until the full number of Gentiles comes to Christ. And so all Israel will be saved. As the Scriptures say, “The one who rescues will come from Jerusalem, and he will turn Israel away from ungodliness. And this is my covenant with them, that I will take away their sins.” Romans 11:12, 15, 25-27

Watch, for the day of the Lord is coming when your possessions will be plundered right in front of you! I will gather all the nations to fight against Jerusalem. The city will be taken, the houses looted, and the women raped. Half the population will be taken into captivity, and the rest will be left among the ruins of the city. Then the Lord will go out to fight against those nations, as he has fought in times past. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem. And the Mount of Olives will split apart, making a wide valley running from east to west. Half the mountain will move toward the north and half toward the south. You will flee through this valley, for it will reach across to Azal. Yes, you will flee as you did from the earthquake in the days of King Uzziah of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all his holy ones with him. On that day the sources of light will no longer shine, yet there will be continuous day! Only the Lord knows how this could happen. There will be no normal day and night, for at evening time it will still be light. On that day life-giving waters will flow out from Jerusalem, half toward the Dead Sea and half toward the Mediterranean, flowing continuously in both summer and winter. And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day there will be one Lord—his name alone will be worshiped. Zechariah 14:1-9

Resistence and rejection are the bywords that describe the nation of Israel's overall response to God over the centuries. In reality these words capture all of mankind's response to God. But let's take a closer look at Israel in this regard. The Jeremiah passage shows Israel's resistance and rejection in Old Testament times and the consequences that come upon them as a result. The Matthew passage shows us that this pattern of resistence and rejection are still true of Israel even with the visitation of Jesus Christ who is God in the flesh. Earlier in the week we quoted the words of John 1:11, "He came to his own, and those who were his own did not receive him." Jesus reinforces this reality in the Matthew passage above and makes it clear that there are consequences coming for their not recognizing that God has visited them and not understanding the way to peace. The consequences that Jesus referred to took place in 70 AD when the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple took place.

The Romans passage above shows the transition from a visitation of Jesus Christ (Messiah) for the nation of Israel  at his first coming to a visitation for the whole world. This visitation of Christ in his first coming culminates in his death, burial, and resurrection and becomes the means of Salvation for the whole world. The Romans passage also shows us that there will be a second visitation of Christ to the earth when he will come to his people Israel and they will receive salvation. However, the pattern of resistence and rejection continues right up until the second visitiation of Christ to Israel. In the Zechariah passage above (prophetic) we see Israel once again facing the consequences of their wrong response to God. These consequences come at the hands of the nations. It is at this juncture that Christ's second visitation takes place and we are told this: "Then the Lord will go out to fight against those nations, as he has fought in times past. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives (interesting that the honoring of Christ as king with the spreading of palms and coats and the shouting of  praises takes place where the road started down the Mount of Olives). Christ conquers the nations, (See Revelation 19:11-16), Christ restores Israel to himself, and Israel receives the gift of salvation accomplished at Christ's first visitation.

God is so patient. It is the same for us you know. Look at our own pattern of resistence and rejection. God was patient with us, graciously worked to overcome our resistence and rejection, and brought the gift of eternal salvation to us. As ones who have received the gift of salvation, resistence and rejection often continue to be the pattern of our response to God and the process of sanctification he seeks to bring about in our lives. Again he patiently waits and works to bring us in line with himself and his desires for us. We must choose whether we will "enter" fully into the life of living in God presence where living waters are available to us and can fill us up to overflowing. God will continue to wait and work.

Lord, thank you for the story of Israel which is our story in miniature. May our story going forward be one on "entering" fully into the life you have called us to. Deliver us from the patterns of resistence and rejection that have tripped us up in the past. Have your way with us, Lord, and grant that more than ever before we live fully for you.

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