Tuesday, January 3, 2017

God is Ahead of Us

Talking with my wife Barbara early this morning about the section of the Iron Kingdom manuscript we read last night, my soul was awed, again, by a realization of how great God’s work is!  “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God!  How unsearchable are His judgments, and inscrutable His ways!  Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor?” (Rom. 11:33–34).  I had to write and tell you about it.
It was about twenty years before Jesus was born that God changed Rome from a Republic governed by Senators into an Empire governed by one man, a king whom the Romans called an emperor.  In making this change, God was setting up a choice for His people between His dear Son and the Empire of man, a choice between the Spirit and the flesh.  We know that God’s New Testament people chose the flesh instead of the Spirit because they rejected Paul’s gospel of the Spirit and devised their own fleshly religion, Christianity, instead.  But the following portion of Scripture shows us that the Jews chose the Empire over the Son first, years before the believing Gentiles did:

John 19
13. Pilate led Jesus outside and sat on the judicial bench,
14. and he said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” 
15. But they cried out, “Away with him! Away!  Crucify him!”  Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priest answered, “We have no king but Caesar!

Before God changed Rome into an Empire, there was no Caesar for the Jews to choose as their king instead of His Son.  Before God changed Rome into an Empire, they could not have said, “We have no king but Caesar!”  But decades before He sent His Son into the world, God had prepared an alternative king for those among His people who would not have His Son.
God is ahead of us all, creating paths for our feet that will accommodate the hidden desire of our hearts.  When we make our choice, whether it be right or wrong, the choice will seem right to us, whether we be among the few who choose the Son of God or among the many who choose the Empire of man.
No wonder David prayed that God would put right desires in his heart.  And he warned his son Solomon to make every effort to keep his heart pure, “for out of it”, he said, “are the issues of life.”
Somebody help me praise God!  Who would not fear Him?

The Power of Unity

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
for brothers to dwell together in unity!
It is like the precious ointment upon the head
that ran down upon the beard,even Aaron’s beard,
that went down to the skirts of his garments.”
Psalm 133:1–2

The anointing oil that was poured on Aaron’s head made Aaron the high priest of Israel.  It gave him great authority.  In some cases, he even had the power of life and death over his fellow Israelites.
In this Psalm, David is saying that when the people of God are united in His light, their decisions carry weight equal to that of the high priest of Israel.  Unity in Christ brings the anointing of Christ to the body of Christ.
Jesus said it this way: “Again, I tell you truly that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything at all that they ask, it will be done for them by my Father who is in heaven.  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there, in their midst” (Mt. 18:19–20).