Only Our Obedience will Lead to His Blessing

And without faith it is impossible to please Him… (Heb.11:6).

If the Lord is pleased with us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us-a land which flows with milk and honey (Nu.14:8).

It doesn’t take a degree in rocket science to figure out that the nations of the world are in a mess today. And while it may be legitimately argued that the reasons include economic or political ones, the much more fundamental reason is this one: the nations are a mess today, because the church is a greater mess, and the nations have merely followed the church in its downward moral and ethical spiral, going back now over centuries.

What’s to be done? There is no quick-fix for this problem. When the truck is bogged up to its axles, wishing, hoping and shouting at it won’t get it out. Someone will have to get down in the mud and get their hands dirty, to solve the problem. And that’s the task for God’s people.

Judgment has to begin at the house of God, because that is where the problems started. God’s people must go back to square one, and say,

Where have we gotten off the track? What have we been doing that has been so offensive to God, that He has so reduced our effectiveness among the nations of the world?

This may not happen in a hurry, because people don’t like change, and they won’t change until they have to. Human nature seems to require that God has to ratchet up the pressure in some way, so we all get the message.

Very commonly, that pressure will be an economic one. Hungry people want change, because they really don’t like going without food, and they don’t like seeing their loved ones starving.

This is historical. It’s also Biblical. Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 show us the economic consequences to obedience and disobedience to God’s law. The Psalmist summarised this:

Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now, I keep Thy word (Ps.119:67).

The church is going to have to get a dose of economic affliction before it changes. And that affliction is surely coming, as governments everywhere have over-promised and under- delivered, and the people everywhere will have to pick up the pieces, and start all over again. And that’s all right, because the people are always a part of the problem anyway.

Affliction is never a lot of fun, but as the historian of Germany, Gordon Craig pointed out,

The darkest pages in history are often the most instructive.

At present, 99% of the church is totally disinterested in any discussion of the law of God, despite the fact that the Psalmist declares,

O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day (Ps.119:97).

Is there any connection between the church’s disinterest in the law of God, and the church’s declining influence in the world? Absolutely. The church has been leaving aside its tools of dominion, so now its influence in the world has all but gone.

This has happened many times before. Take the case of Rehoboam, Solomon’s son:

When the kingdom of Rehoboam was established and strong, he and all Israel with him forsook the law of the Lord. And it came about in King Rehoboam’s fifth year, because they had been unfaithful to the Lord, that Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem (II Chron.12:1-2).

This promise of judgment for rejecting the law of the Lord was repeated by the Lord, through the ministries of Jeremiah and Amos (see Jer.9:12-16; Amos 2:4-5).

No doubt there could be some ready to say, “But Andrew! We’re not under law any more, don’t you know?”

Well, the Bible does tell us that “…You are not under law, but under grace” (Ro.6:14). This is because Jesus Christ has in our stead, taken the judgments of God for sin, on the cross. Thus Christians are freed from the condemnation of the law; He has taken our condemnation for us.

Does this mean that God’s law is irrelevant and unnecessary today? No, for Paul told us that “I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man” (Ro.7:22). It’s to be as important to God’s people, as when He gave it to Moses on Mount Sinai.

It is true that Jesus did not teach a comprehensive social theory. He did not have to. He taught from the Old Testament. He said that He was the fulfillment of the Old Testament (Luke 4:16-21). In His divine nature as the second person of the Trinity, He co-authored the Old Testament. Why would any Christian believe that Jesus annulled this judicial heritage? Why would He have done this? He did not say that He did this. Where is the evidence that Jesus annulled the social theory that had been taught from Moses to Malachi?[1]

The church must radically change its attitude to the law of God, before the Second Coming. Why? The Bible makes it absolutely clear that Jesus Christ is not going to return to a world full of His enemies. Psalm 110 (the Old Testament text most often quoted by New Testament writers, including Jesus) promises us,

The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet” (v.1).

Conclusion:                                                                                                                               

The sooner the church gets the message, the better. We’re not to leave God’s tools of dominion (found in Ex.21-23) in the Master’s tool-box. What we are to do is this: get them out, dust them off, and figure out how they are to be applied to individuals, families, churches and all of society in a God-honouring way. Once the church begins to do this, mastering and applying His tools of dominion again, we will see the church’s influence rapidly growing in the world again.

This will require three things of us: our humility, willingness and obedience.

Ready for that?  That’s the only place where His blessing long-term, will be.

[1] Gary North, “Treasure and Dominion,” 2012, p.xv.

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