When the Lord brings someone into His family, the transaction that takes place isn't one that makes sense to human logic. It's often hard for people to see through God's eyes but this can be especially hard when talking about restoration. It is easy to believe that once a human had gone so far one way they can never go back. It's easy to push away the people who are different and who's sin has marked their lives openly. But God is so clear that this is not what He would have us do. He tells us not to let the sons of foreigners joined to the Lord ever be able to say that they are cut off from the community of God's people. But, how often do we see churches where cliques reign and if you aren't "in" then you're definitely "out." Or how common is it to believe that one decision you made will determine the rest of your life? The eunuchs were looking a their lives realizing that once they died their lineage would end. Quickly the memory of them would fade and no one would even know they existed. In a culture that prized genealogy this would have crushed them. But as they cried out to God, He answered them with a promise. He promised that if they chose to live for Him, doing what pleased Him, He would give them a place to belong and "an everlasting name that shall not be cut off." The Lord does not just restore what seems humanly possible. He does the impossible and gives what no man could ever give. He doesn't just restore what could have been, He offers a life only possible when the One offering it is the God of the universe. In this life He offers is holiness, joy, and communion with Him. God's restoration of the individual goes so far as to say that their sacrifices and offerings will be accepted. In God's eyes, he foreigners who loved Him were no different than those born into the nation of Israel. What an incredible gift it is to be part of a house of prayer that is open to all nations!
Thursday, June 8, 2017
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
"In that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the Lord at its border."
It wasn't until recently that I even tried to read any book in the Old Testament. I thought that they were all completely irrelevant and too hard to understand. And while I still think parts of it are hard to fully understand, I now see how the Old Testament is relevant in today's world even though it was written thousands of years ago. The books that I've read recently have been about how faithful God is despite the Israelites regular relapses into complete rebellion. Through those stories the Lord showed me a little bit more of how deeply He loves His people. My own tendencies to stray were revealed each time the Israelites walked away from God. He never let them down or broke His promises and yet again and again they tried to do things their own way. In Isaiah 14 it says that God "will still choose Israel." Still. Despite their failure and sin, even though they don't always choose Him... He chooses to call the Israelites His people. But even more than choosing the ones He has already chosen, He loves to rescue the lost. God loves to redeem those who seem completely out of His reach. In Isaiah 19:19 we are told that there will be an altar to the Lord in Egypt. If you don't slow down and really consider the gravity of this statement, you'll miss out on something beautiful. A land that was never, by human standards, supposed to love the Lord now has both an altar and a pillar dedicated to Him. The altar showed their hearts attitude towards God. They were devoted to the point of spending something in their worship. The Egyptians understood that the cost of worship isn't free and built an altar to worship the Lord. But their devotion didn't stop there. Often as American christians we play a game where we say we love Jesus at church on Sunday's and Wednesday nights but nothing in our life actually changes. None of our co-workers or friends see any genuine devotion in our lives. The Egyptians in this verse understood something that thousands of years later we still have a hard time grasping. If your love for Jesus is real, if He really is your Savior then the world will know. Before anyone crosses the border to settle into your life they'll see the pillar and know that there's something different about you. This pillar proclaims that you have a purpose. It shows that there is genuine worship in your heart that isn't ashamed of Who it's devoted to. As the Egyptians turned to the Lord in worship, it affected both the public and private aspects of their lives. Reading this while in Ignite is both encouraging and convicting. It shows that the Lord is able to soften the hardest hearts but also that my life needs to be lived for Him in every single part of my life, not just the public and not just the private.