Seek Me and Live

Seek Me and Live (Part A)

Read Amos 5…

Years ago, I was led by the Spirit to share this exhortation with church fellowships I belonged to:  It was based on Amos 5: 1-7, the warning was not heeded and much heartache followed. In the years since I have often wondered what was missing why couldn’t people hear?  So let us take a look at God is saying in these and other verses that were pertinent to this exhortation to Seek God and Live…. Amos 5  A call to repentance, that the prophet Amos gave to the house of Israel, many years ago the Holy Spirit quicken this chapter to my heart I  had to read it aloud for a week at the end of the week some of the verses came alive to me, with this message.

I was reminded of this again when visiting with Eddie and Sue Hyatt , they suggested I write it down if I could remember it, today as I read the chapter I feel a leading to do an  overview of much more of the chapter. I’ll use a combination of the Amp version and the NKJV translations for the purposes of this article and Strong’s concordance as it is the only OT concordance I have.

Amos 5:1 Hear this word which I take up concerning you in lamentation, O house of Israel:
2 The Virgin of Israel has fallen; she shall no more rise; she lies cast down and forsaken on her land; there is no one to raise her up.
3 For thus says the Lord God: The city that went forth a thousand shall have a hundred left, and that which went forth a hundred shall have ten left to the house of Israel.
4 For thus says the Lord to the house of Israel: Seek Me [inquire for and of Me and require Me as you require food] and you shall live!
5 But seek not [the golden calf at] Bethel nor enter into [idolatrous] Gilgal, and pass not over to [the idols of] Beersheba; for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity and exile, and Bethel [house of God] shall become Beth-aven [house of vanity, emptiness, falsity, and futility] and come to nothing.
6 Seek the Lord [inquire for and of Him and require Him] and you shall live, lest He rush down like fire upon the house of Joseph [representing the ten tribes] and devour it, and there be none to quench it in Bethel [the center of their idol hopes].
7 You who turn justice into [the bitterness of] wormwood and cast righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God) down to the ground,  AMP Bible

In my spirit I hear again the admonition for us the church as the Spirit weeps, like Israel we have fallen and are cast down, but we are not forsaken as the Spirit is brooding over us.  Once we went out in strength and left a hundred now we go out and only leave ten…

What is the state of Israel at this time when God has Amos proclaim this lament over them? What is happening that has called for this call for repentance?

Amos prophesied during the reigns of Uzziah of Judah and Jeroboam II of Israel it was a time when Israel was able to consolidate its borders and gain control of main trade routes and because of this had become very prosperous.  It would seem to be a time when God had really blessed them. Why then is he having his prophet proclaim a lament over them? Let us see if there are any clues in what Amos tells us…

7 “For those [shall be consumed] who turn justice into wormwood (bitterness)  And cast righteousness down to the earth.”
10 They hate the one who reprimands [the unrighteous] in the [court held at the city] gate  [regarding him as unreasonable and rejecting his reprimand],
  11 Therefore, because you impose heavy rent on the poor And   demand a tribute (food-tax) of grain from them,  And they detest him who speaks [the truth] with integrity and honesty.
12 For I know your transgressions are many and your sins are great (shocking, innumerable),  You who distress the righteous and take bribes, And turn away from the poor in the [court of the city] gate [depriving them of justice].
13 Therefore, he who is prudent and has insight will keep silent at such a [corrupt and evil] time, for it is an evil time [when people will not listen to truth and will disregard those of good    character]. AMP

It would seem from these verses that God’s people had become prideful, selfish and unrighteous, hating correction and justice.  They reject truth and those of integrity and honesty, would this by any chance be present in today’s church, which is considered God’s people?

21 “I hate, I despise and reject your [sacred] feasts,   And I do not take delight in your solemn assemblies.
22 “Even though you offer Me your burnt offerings and your grain offerings,I will not accept them;  And I will not even look at the peace offerings of your fattened animals.
23 “Take the noise of your songs away from Me [they are an irritation]!  I shall not even listen to the melody of your harps.
24 “But let justice run down like waters  And righteousness like an ever-flowing stream [flowing abundantly].
25 “Did you bring Me sacrifices and grain offerings during those forty years in the wilderness, O    house of Israel? [Certainly not!] 26 You carried along your king Sikkuth and Kayyun [your man- made gods of Saturn], your images of your star-god which you made for yourselves [but you  brought Me none of the appointed sacrifices]. 27 Therefore, I will send you to go into exile far beyond Damascus,” says the LORD, whose name is the God of hosts.

God goes on to tell them that he hates their religious offerings and rituals.  Do we have practices that make God unhappy, have we brought our man-made doctrines and habits into his sacred assembly?

 

(Let us take a few minutes and think on this question. I will continue this tomorrow)

Break Up the Fallow Ground Part 2

All Scripture is God-breathed

2Tim. 3:16-17. All Scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, for reprPiccidillyMountian4003THMoof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfected, thoroughly furnished to every good work. MKJV

The whole Bible Old and New Testament have been given for our instruction; we are to learn about God through its pages.  In the Old Testament we learn about God’s heart for his people and we learn about human beings their strengths and weaknesses and how God deals with them, it is through these example we also learn what to expect.

We have an advantage in that Jesus ‘the Word’ has been made manifest and as believers we now have the word written in our heart, we have entered into the New Covenant that Jesus has made with Father God in our place taking our sin to the cross.

In the Old Testament it is shown that it was impossible for human beings to walk in accordance of the Law, because with the fall the Law of Sin and Death had taken over.

God made a covenant with Abraham, put Abraham asleep and walked the covenant (Gen. 15:9-18) in the form of a smoking fire pot and blazing torch, in essence God cut a covenant on man’s behalf with himself. As he already knew it would be impossible for human beings to keep a covenant.

God gave Moses the 10 Commandments as Laws for the Israelites to follow; they completely destroyed them before they heard them by making the Golden Calf while Moses was on the mountain out of fear.  As we read through the Old Testament we will find example after example of the nature of being human and God’s nature.

When we walked in harmony with God people prospered and lived without fear, when we give into fear and begin to walk according to our own understanding and the lust of our flesh God’s protection is lifted and the people reap the consequences of our action under the Law of Sin and Death.

Col. 2:17. For these are a shadow of things to come, but the body is of Christ.

Heb.8:5. …who serve the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was warned of God when he was about to make the tabernacle. For, He says “See that you make all things according to the pattern shown to you in the mountain.”

Heb.10:1  For the Law which has a shadow of good things to come, not the very image of the things, appearing year by year with the same sacrifices, which they offer continually, they are never able to perfect those drawing near.

The Old Testament reveals God’s plan for His people and how he would save them from the Law of Sin and Death that entered God’s prefect creation with the Fall.

(Rom 8:2  But the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

I have been using the phrase ‘the Law of sin and death` perhaps I should explain this, when humans fell from God`s perfection by choosing to go their own way, sin and death enter and we became separated from God, the nature of humans changed, now instead of God`s nature we had a sin nature, we now had knowledge of good and evil and because God had created us with free will to choose, once we choose to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil our rebellion moved us from under God`s protection and made `the Law of Sin and Death` active`.  Our disobedience to God made us a slave to this.  It is this law in our flesh that causes us so many problems and must be continually brought into submission to God`s Law, without Christ Jesus this is an impossible task.)

One thing is evident if we as a body of Christ are to be relevant we must again return to the Scripture and know what they are say to us as human beings, it is all well and good to read what others have learned in their walk with God but we each and every one need to know God personally and to know God we must we need to know what is written in His book!

As we study this book we call the Bible we come to know the infallibility of God and the total inability of humanity to live holy lives without Him.  When we really understand the magnitude of our treason against God our creator and the length to which he has gone to redeem us, it enhances our security in Him!  Let us now look and see what the spirit would say to the church!

 

Break Up The Fallow Ground

MorningSnowPeggysLightBreak  Up the Fallow Ground!!!  Part 1

Hos 10:12-13, Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground. For it is time to seek Jehovah, until He comes and rains righteousness on you. You have plowed wickedness; you have reaped iniquity; you have eaten the fruit of lies because you trusted in your way, in the multitude of your mighty men. MKJV

Life has many seasons, farmers are very aware of this and every year they have fields that have been allowed to lay fallow for a few years, often used as pasture for their cattle, but the season comes when it is time to begin the cycle of life again.  The scripture often uses pastoral illustrations to show us many truths.  During the process of sowing and reaping the land becomes depleted and weeds begin to overtake the desired crops and so it is in the body of Christ.

The road we are called to walk can be a lonely one in the natural, we often lose sight of the Master and get distracted by our call / ministry and forget that first we are to remain in Him and rest, allowing Him to do the work through us, (Eph. 2:13) we get so busy helping God we forget that it is only His work through us by the Holy Spirit that the mission is completed.  His desire for us is that we “Seek Him” spend time with Him and in His word listening to the Holy Spirit and moving as He moves. Perhaps the best scriptural picture we have of this is the Children of Israel in the wilderness where they were led by the cloud in the daylight and a column of fire at night, if the cloud or the column of fire didn’t move the Children of Israel stayed where they were camped.

One of the biggest failures of our time with all the access we have to information, has been that so many have not been diligent to study the Scriptures using the best tools available to them, but have opted to follow traditional biases and manmade doctrines without proving them by the Word and serious study to find where the root of some of the most egregious error has come from, Acts 17:11,

And these (Bereans) were more noble than those of Thessalonica, in that they received the Word with all readiness of mind and searched the Scriptures daily to see if those things were so. MKJV

2Ti 2:15, Study earnestly to present yourself approved to God, a workman that does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth. MKJV

Many of us have heard Hosea 4:6, My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: … but how many have read what it says after the colon or to whom this was written for the reason why God’s people are destroyed? Or why they lacked knowledge?  All of us at one time or other has taken things we are taught at face value because we trusted our teachers, and they trusted theirs and through the years because no one used their own due diligence and searched the written record, innocent errors became great stumbling blocks to the body of Christ.  It is also true that some of these errors, history teaches us were not so innocent, but power grabs by corrupt men for power/authority and control over people, something Jesus was adamant about was that we would not lord it over one another but rather serve another, our power/authority was to be over our circumstances and spiritual wickedness.

Through the years I have watched when well respected leaders dissuaded the youth from seeking a university degree or anything other than a local Bible College education that specialized in the particular doctrine/dogma that they were persuaded was the truth, they also discouraged any questioning of what they taught with phrases like, ‘touch not God’s anointed’ as they and they alone had the truth.

It wasn’t only the church where this kind of thing was happening it seemed to me that secular education also made a serious error at the same time in that they no longer included Biblical knowledge as being legitimate.   Knowledge in and of itself is neither good or evil, it is how it is used, when we take the filter of God’s Word out of the equation we fall into error, when we reject knowledge other than what is written in our Bibles we also fall into error, because we don’t get the complete picture.

Rom 1:20, For the unseen things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being realized by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, for them to be without excuse.

The Holy Spirit was put in us so we could if we listen hear truth, and be empowered to change our World, in Jesus name.

In Mark chapter 7:1-23, Jesus addresses the Pharisees use of tradition to nullify the Word of God;

Mar 7:13-23,” making the Word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have delivered. And you do many such things.”

And calling near all the crowd, He said to them, “Listen to Me, every one of you, and understand. There is nothing from outside a man which entering into him can defile him. But the things which come out of him, those are the ones that defile the man.

 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”

 And when He had entered into the house away from the crowd, His disciples asked Him concerning the parable. And He said to them, “Are you also without understanding? Do you not perceive that whatever enters into the man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not enter into his heart, but into the belly, and goes out into the waste-bowl, purifying all food?”

And He said, “That which comes out of the man is what defiles the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things pass out from inside and defile the man.” MKJV

In Colossians Paul also so teaches us to beware of traditions of man:

Col 2:6-9  Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him, and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.  Beware lest anyone rob you through philosophy and vain deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the elements of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. MKJV

Let us with all diligence begin to plow up our fallow ground by searching the scripture to see what the Holy Spirit will teach us and not let our spiritual eyes be clouded by what we think we know, in painting we are often instructed to paint what we see not what we know, as an artist I have found this to be a true saying the tree we know is green may not be what we see.

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