Do you ever feel as though God has allowed you to go through difficulties, trials, and tribulations so that you feel his heart? So that, when he speaks, you get his words, down deep into the very depths of your soul, because you have experienced, to some extent, what God has or is experiencing?
Well, if you have ever been cheated on, lied to, and betrayed by your spouse, not just once, but multiple times, but with no obvious signs of true repentance, over a long period of time, then you should be able to identify with how God feels when his people, the sheep of his pasture, turn away from him to “other gods,” and to finding their intimacy in all sorts of “other lovers” rather than in Christ, their true husband.
The Lord Jesus led me to read Isaiah 1 (Select vv. NASB).
Hear the word of the Lord,
You rulers of Sodom;
Give ear to the instruction of our God,
You people of Gomorrah.
“What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me?”
Says the Lord.
“I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
And the fat of fed cattle;
And I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, lambs or goats.
“When you come to appear before Me,
Who requires of you this trampling of My courts?
“Bring your worthless offerings no longer,
Incense is an abomination to Me.
New moon and sabbath, the calling of assemblies—
I cannot endure iniquity and the solemn assembly.
“I hate your new moon festivals and your appointed feasts,
They have become a burden to Me;
I am weary of bearing them.
“So when you spread out your hands in prayer,
I will hide My eyes from you;
Yes, even though you multiply prayers,
I will not listen.
Your hands are covered with blood.” Vv. 10-15
We, the church, the body of Christ, who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior of our lives, are the sheep of his pasture. We are true Israel, God’s chosen people, his bride. And, Jesus Christ is our husband and our Lord (master). He paid the price to redeem us back for God with his blood shed on a cross for our sins, so we now belong to him, and thus we are to honor him with our lives.
When we believe in Jesus Christ, we enter into a covenant relationship with God/Jesus, like a marriage covenant in the Old Testament. While we wait for Jesus Christ to return for us, his bride, and to take us home to be with him, we are in the engagement period, which, in OT times, was legally binding. The couple was as good as married. They just had not yet consummated the relationship. And, we won’t consummate our marriage relationship with Jesus Christ, too, until he comes to get us to take us into his home. That is when our salvation will be complete.
So, we need to see our relationship with the Lord as a marriage relationship, because that is what it is. We should see our faith in him as a vow of fidelity and a promise of faithfulness. And, our desire for him should be to please him in every way, to want to be intimate with him, to spend time listening to him, and to share our hearts with him. Since he is our Lord (owner-master), we should also want to obey him, and to follow him in the way he would have us to go, not resist him, and then go our own way, while ignoring him.
Nonetheless, many who have trusted in Christ as Savior and Lord have since drifted away from their pure devotion to Christ, and have gotten caught up again in the ways of the world. They are once again engaging in evil acts and rebellious ways, in sexual immorality, spiritual adultery and in idolatry.
Yet, they go through the motions of religion, and they are involved in religious practices, and they think God will be satisfied by their performances. But, he is not fooled. He knows what they do behind closed doors. He knows when they are lying through their teeth, while they mouth empty words of praise to him, but their hearts are far from him, because they are living to please the flesh, instead of submitting to the Spirit.
We can sing “My Jesus, I Love Thee,” but it means nothing to him if it is just words. He wants “more than words.” He wants action. He wants lives surrendered to him that prove their love to him, and who don’t just give lip service. He is not moved by our “I love you, God,” if by our actions we say just the opposite. And, he knows the difference, because he is God! He wants truth, not lies, and faithfulness, not adultery. He is not interested in a passing “hi,” either. He wants us sold him to him, having eyes only for him, and having singleness of mind and devotion toward him, too.
“Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean;
Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight.
Cease to do evil,
Learn to do good;
Reprove the ruthless,
Defend the orphan,
Plead for the widow.” Vv. 16-17
So, he is calling out to his rebellious ones, who have strayed from his precepts, and who are giving way to the flesh on a consistent basis, i.e. habitually, and he is calling them to repent. He is telling them that they need to leave their lives of sin behind them, and they need to follow Jesus Christ in his righteousness. He is calling them to put off their wicked practices and to put on love, compassion, holiness and righteousness. He is saying to stop lying and to tell the truth, to stop cheating, and to be faithful, and to show him they love him by their deeds, rather than mouthing empty platitudes.
In other words, he wants “more than words.” He has heard enough words. He has heard enough false promises, which are never carried through, even though they may have had some attempts that direction, but were short-lived, because they lacked genuineness behind them. He doesn’t want our shallow accolades, if afterward we go on, business as usual, in “worshiping” our “idols” of fame, fortune, entertainment, and sinful obsessions. He doesn’t want to hear “I love you.” He wants us to show him we love him by obeying him; by doing what pleases him, and by honoring him with our lives. And, he wants us to love others with the love he has for us, too.
“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are as scarlet,
They will be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They will be like wool.
“If you consent and obey,
You will eat the best of the land;
“But if you refuse and rebel,
You will be devoured by the sword.”
Truly, the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Vv. 18-20
If we will yield to our Lord, submit to his will, and obey what he shows us, he will restore us to himself, renew our hearts and minds, and we will have sweet fellowship with him once more. He will guide us in the way he would have us go, and he will carry us through every storm which comes our way.
But, if you continue to resist him, have it your way, do what you want, and pay him no mind, then it will not go well for you. The Lord disciplines those he loves, so be earnest, and repent, say the scriptures. Give yourselves to God on his altar of sacrifice, humble yourselves before him, and live your lives from this day forward to please him in every way. And, you will be blessed.
An Original Work / September 14, 2012
Based off Romans 12:1-2; 6:11-14 NIV
Oh, holy ones, I counsel you,
In view of God’s mercy,
To give yourselves to God in love
As living offerings,
Pleasing to God, holy in love.
This is your true worship.
Do not conform to worldly lives.
Let God transform you today.
Then you’ll be able to
Test and approve of what
God’s will is – His pleasing
And perfect will. Oh, holy ones,
I counsel you – Offer yourselves unto God.
Oh, holy ones, I counsel you –
Do not be conceited.
Humble yourselves before your God.
Do not be self-righteous.
The strength you have to live in love
Comes from your Lord God, so
Live your new lives in pow’r of God.
Be changed in heart, mind and will.
Do this because of what
Christ did for you when
He died on the cross to save
The world from sin. Oh, holy ones,
I counsel you – Humble yourselves before God.
Oh, holy ones, I counsel you –
Count yourselves dead to sin,
But be alive to God in Christ.
Do not let sin reign in
Your earthly lives so you
Obey its evil desires.
Offer yourselves unto your God
As those who’ve been born again.
For sin shall no longer be
Your lord and master.
Give of yourselves to God
For righteousness. Oh, holy ones,
I counsel you – Be alive to God in Christ.