Sunday, March 13, 2005

What God asked me, pt. 2

So, have you wondered about Chronicles 11:15? Has Jesus changed Chronicles 11:15? Now, I figured out it was 2 Chronicles 11:15 after reading the verses. But what a strange verse. "Then he appointed for himself priests for the high places, for the demons, and the calf idols which he had made." 2 Chronicles 11:15. What a strange verse to pick apart all by itself and for God to ask me a question about, right? Not really.
God moments are awesome. He doesn't reveal anything to us that is more than we can understand or endure. He is loving and merciful. You see, Michael, our 9 year old son, has a Sabbath School lesson that he studies each day. Reading stories out of the Bible and thinking about how it applies to our life today. Seeing how God has led His people in the past, and how He wants to be our leader today. Karl or I read the lesson to Michael, and he has to look up the verses in his Bible and read them, and answer the questions. At the time all this took place, Michael's lesson was on the first few kings in Israel. He had just learned how Solomon's son, Rehoboam, listened to unwise counsel and made the Israelites angry with him. So angry that, as the Lord predicted, the kingdom would be divided and a major portion of it given to another, namely Jeroboam.
All of Michael's study questions had been from the Biblical record in 1 Kings, even though it is also recorded in 2 Chronicles. I had just been studying with Michael about how Jeroboam, chosen by God to take part of the divided kingdom, started having second thoughts about the loyalty of the people. He thought they would all go down to Jerusalem still to worship at the temple, and his kingdom would suffer. So, to protect his own interests (a very important point here) and his own desires for self gratification, he made his own temple. He made his own worhsip service. He made his own priesthood, because the Levitical priests wouldn't have anything to do with Jeroboam's folly. So that is what 2 Chronicles 11:15 refers to. How Jeroboam made his own temple, his own idols, his own priesthood, to meet his own needs and wishes.
So, why did God ask me if Jesus has changed 2 Chronicles 11:15? Well, we know that God doesn't change, see Hebrews 13:8. So, what did God mean when He asked me that question?
The many burdens on my heart (it wasn't just one person or one situation) had me grieved because of people doing their own thing, rationalizing it that it was okay since there were a whole bunch of them all doing the same thing, and it's okay because we've made our own church or our own special group for people who feel the same as we do. Believe me, this fits many situations, and I'm not at liberty to name them all, too close to home. Suffice it to say, we have churches that set up their own method of worship, not the worship God instructs us to do. We have churches that force their own way on people (my way or the highway), instead of being the open door for people to come to and meet Christ. I could go on and on. In my own life, I can see how I've tried to build my own temple, institute my own form of worship and my own priesthood, to rationalize and justify something I didn't want to stop doing. But Jesus doesn't change. There will always be people trying to justify doing things their own way instead of following God's plan. Jeroboam lost the divine guidance that had given him the kingdom in the first place. Jesus doesn't change. I'm going to ask Him to reveal to me the things that I'm doing that are against His will. What fasle temples have I set up? No need to be heavy hearted about the world around us. God's Word is sure. God doesn't change. Keep following God's Word and we will reap our reward. That is the hope and good news that eased my heavy heart. The question God asked me was indeed an answer to my prayers.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

What God asked me

God moments. Sometimes they are few and far between. Some, like Moses, had the rare privilege of conversing often with the King and Creator of all life. For most of us, it's more of an impression, or a thought that the Holy Spirit puts in our hearts (minds), guiding us along the way as promised in the Bible.
I remember the first time I had one of these moments, where I was sure that it was God talking to me, impressing me, guiding me, and not some other distraction or idea. I was reading my Bible. Daily Bible Study. I had finished reading one of the books of the Bible, and I wanted to know what I should read next. Obviously, I wasn't going from Genesis to Revelation. So, I prayed. I prayed about it and God gave me the answer. Hebrews. I was so thrilled. Wow! God actually answered my prayer - immediately - and that study of Hebrews was so sweet and so special. Unfortunately, moments like that don't happen often for me.
Recently, there was another moment. This time, I didn't even pray expecting an answer. I was just talking to the Lord, expressing a heavy heart. There was much weighing on my heart right then, and it almost became a burden whose weight I could physically feel. I'm sure you've been in that situation as well. So I went to bed, sighing and bemoaning my burdened heart.
In the middle of the night, God asked me a question. So boldly, so out of the blue that I totally felt like every ounce of adrenaline was running through my veins. I was now very alert and aware of what had happened. Whoa. He asked me a question! He didn't give me an answer, God asked me a question. How many stories can you remember in the Bible where God starts out asking the questions? I was shaky and humbled.
So, what was the question? It was the only thing God said to me. Just one simple question. "Has Jesus changed Chronicles 11:15?" Okay, so what kind of a question is that? I mean, first of all, is it I Chronicles or II Chronicles? Then what does this mean?
Greta had cried during the night and was in bed with us, so I couldn't get up right then and look in my Bible, without waking her up and causing a crying festival. So, I lay in bed, my mind racing, trying to think of what that passage was. I mean, I know my Bible, but not that well. Some references I know, like 1 John 1:9 or Proverbs 3:5,6, but Chronicles 11:15 didn't jump out at me.
Next time, I'll tell you which Chronicles it was and how God helped my heavy heart.