"So," they say, "nobody's perfect!"
But the Vinedresser won't buy that.
Given the opportunity, He will trim the unproductive suckers and shape the branches so each one will bask in Sonlight.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Another "IF"

Deu 28:6-9 ESV Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out. (7) "The LORD will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before you. They shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways. (8) The LORD will command the blessing on you in your barns and in all that you undertake. And he will bless you in the land that the LORD your God is giving you. (9) The LORD will establish you as a people holy to himself, as he has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the LORD your God and walk in his ways.
What a beautiful promise to God's holy people! In this context Moses referred only to Israel, God's original chosen race. The LORD(the Only Self-Existent One), however, included two conditions that must be met before receiving the full blessing of vss. 6-8. Moses could just as easily have written the if first, establishing the condition before the necessary result, but he chose to keep it positive, with the promised result first.
        When God utters an oath, we can take it to the bank. Since, however, his people Israel have modeled their corporate, stiff neck countless times throughout history, God had a "Plan C." If the nature of Plans A & B are a little obscure, we need only study Biblical history to observe his three attempts at fashioning a people for himself. "Plan A" was God's direct involvement with Man, the crown of his creation. Man entered into being as the wonderful artwork of the infinitely creative God, and since God can't do anything imperfectly, he made Man in his own image; the physical representation of the Creator. Part of that perfection was God's gift of personal volition, or choice ... we all know how that ended.
        "Plan B" was a new start, in the heights of the Mountains of Ararat. With Noah and his family the only survivors of a universal flood, Man had a second chance at obeying his Creator. But according to Genesis 6-9, this new beginning didn't last long.
        Millennia passed in cycles of gross disobedience and temporary repentance, before the time came for "Plan C," for Church. Man had suffered two strikeouts, with the game's, and Man's, eternal destiny depending on his response to God's Anointed. Would Man swing-and-miss, make a base hit, or finally put one over the fence. Strike One put Christ on Calvary's cross. Strike Two sent God's church into fearful hiding. But with the Holy Spirit's help, a base hit put the church on base.
        The next two millennia delivered too many errors, fouls and walks to count, and God's church is still playing lousy ball with God. Of course, right there the metaphor falls apart, for in baseball's actual rules the inning--and the game--would end after just a few tries. God's rules, however, are tempered by his love, his grace and his infinite patience.
        Only God knows when this game of life will end, but end it will. Personally, I don't want to be stuck on base when Umpire God calls for it to end.
        We, God's church, are "Plan C," the last chance for Man to live up to God's expectations in creating us. We--corporately and individually--had better not blow it.

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