Tuesday, 12 December 2017

3 ENCOURAGING TRUTHS FROM GOD'S DEALINGS WITH ISRAEL

A glance at God's relationship with Israel
The nation of Israel grew from the descendants of Abraham, whom God had called out of his native land, Ur of the Chaldees, to move to a land He would show him. During a time of famine in Canaan, Abraham's grandson Jacob carried his entire family to live in Egypt on the invitation of one of his sons, Joseph, who,had become the prime minister there. 

After the death of Joseph, the tables were turned and the Israelites went from being favoured to being enslaved by the Pharaoh. They suffered this servitude in Egypt for centuries. As far back as many of them and their grandparents remembered, they had been second-class and oppressed residents of Egypt. But they heard that God would someday take them out of Egypt to the land he had promised their forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. That land was so beautiful and rich it was called the land of milk and honey. Besides, everything was readymade there. This is how Moses described it to them:

"... great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not" - Deuteronomy 6:10-11

But generations lived and died without any change in their situation. And even when Moses came with the claim that he had met with God and was about to lead them out of bondage, it only made Pharaoh furious and he tightened his grip on the Israelites.

Notwithstanding, they eventually left Egypt and after mistakes that lengthened their stay in the desert, they overthrew the nations in Canaan and took possession of the land. Everything was as fabulous as God had promised. They only needed to exercise faith to get them.

Unfortunately, when their circumstances became easy, they forgot God and enemies overran them and sent them into exile away from the promised land. Seventy years later, as prophecy predicted, they were restored to the land. 

3 ENCOURAGING TRUTHS FROM GOD'S DEALINGS WITH ISRAEL

1. Some of the promises that God makes to us are almost incredible. They seem way beyond our reach and our station. That was how David felt when God promised in 1 Chronicles 17:7-14 to make him very great and establish his dynasty over Israel. But in His faithfulness, God fulfills His words. In the case of the Israelites, they went from being brutally oppressed migrants to having a nation of their own. 

What has God promised you? Do not look at your own abilities or the enormity of the task involved in appropriating it. Just trust God and He will do it. Pharaoh absolutely refused to let Israel go, Canaan had fortified cities and giant inhabitants but God defeated them for Israel.

"Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?" - Jeremiah 32:27 


2. God never forgets His promises. Neither should you. From the time, God led Abraham to Canaan, He would often come to remind him of His promise to make his descendants like the stars in the sky and the sand on the sea shore. Even when it seems delayed, remember that God never forgets His promise.

"He remembers his covenant forever, the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations" - Psalm 105:8 (ESV).

Be assured that God remembers you and your condition.

"14.But Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. 
15. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.
16. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me." - Isaiah 49:14-16 

3. God will not forsake you when you err. Rather, He will punish and restore you if you repent and fulfill His word to you. Israel messed up in the desert and in Canaan. Their biggest problem was idolatry copied from Egypt and the earlier inhabitants of Canaan. But every time they repented, God sent relief. God is a merciful Father. He punishes sin but He also restores the sinner.

"Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." - Isaiah 55:7

God sometimes shows us what's ahead and warns us to help us escape sin and its disastrous consequences as He did for Israel through the song of Moses in Deuteronomy, chapter 32. If we heed the warning, we spare ourselves much pain. But even if we fail, we should pick ourselves up and come back to God. He will forgive and build us up again. 

I hope you have been encouraged by these truths about the mercy and faithfulness of God. You are lifted in Jesus' name.

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The scriptures used in this post are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible except where otherwise stated.
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