March 4

Deuteronomy 30-31, Psalm 63

Many denominations of Christianity believe that God is finished with the Jewish people and the nation of Israel. I don't understand this position because you would need to take an eraser to large portions of Scripture for this to be true. One of the beautiful pictures repeated throughout Scripture is that God is never finished with His People, that He always welcomes them back if they simply come back in a spirit of repentance, and that God upholds His promises. If God has been faithful and true every time in the past, we can trust Him to be the same with us today. Historically, Israel ceased to be a nation for almost 1800 years. The Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. and after Bar Kokhba rose against the Romans in 135 A.D. they were defeated and dispersed. It wasn't until May 14, 1948 that the nation of Israel became a nation for the Jewish people once again. In Ezekiel 37, we see the prophecy of the valley of dry bones depicting the reforming of the nation of Israel, written almost 2400 years before it happened in 1948. We see they came together as a people but not with the Holy Spirit in them. We read at the end of this prophecy an event which has yet to occur in Ezekiel 37:14, "I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken it and performed it", says the Lord." Though we all tend to admire the grit and determination of the Jewish people, there nation has nothing to do with that, and everything to do with God's sovereign power. Sadly, in a recent poll ranking the nations of the world in terms of the percentage of the population that considered themselves not religious and/or atheistic, Israel ranked fourth (behind Hong Kong, Netherlands and the United Kingdom). As the prophecy in Ezekiel states, the Spirit is not yet in the people of Israel.

We read in Deuteronomy 30:11-14, "For this commandment which I command you today is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, 'Who will ascend into heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?' Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, 'Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?' But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it." God doesn't ask us to climb a mountain, join a monastery, or take a pilgrimage, He is always present and available to any who truly seek with an honest heart. He will never play hide and seek with us. Paul quotes this verse, then ties it in to our profession of faith in Romans 10:8-10, "But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."

Just like the promises for the Jewish people these same promises hold true for anyone who desires a true relationship with God. He is as close as a heartbeat or a breath away if we will only humble ourselves and truly desire Him. Just like God is not through with the Jewish people, He is not through with any of us either. His promises are true, have been verified, and can be trusted. What are some of those promises we can trust on no matter what our present circumstances might be? Romans 8:1, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit". Feeling condemned for something done in the past, God has that covered. Romans 8:28, "And we know that all things work together for the good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." If we think we have blown it and made a serious mistake presently, God also has that covered. Romans 8:38-39, "For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." If we have concerns about our past, present, or future, God has that covered. God's faithfulness extends to both the Jewish person and the Gentile. We can experience the Spirit-filled life in confidence and strength knowing that is all based on our God who is faithful to His promises and " He will not leave you nor forsake you." (Deuteronomy 31:6)

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster