Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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February 20th, 2012 – They Did Not Keep His Testimonies

“Then He led out His people like sheep and guided them in the wilderness like a flock. He led them in safety, so that they were not afraid, but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.  And He brought them to His holy land, to the mountain which His right hand had won. He drove out nations before them; He apportioned them for a possession and settled the tribes of Israel in their tents. Yet they tested and rebelled against the Most High God and did not keep His testimonies, but turned away and acted treacherously like their fathers; they twisted like a deceitful bow.” Psalm 78:52-57

Devotional Thought For The Day

Care must be taken not to equate any nation on the face of the earth today with that nation which God established through the Exodus. Israel was created by God to be a very special people, to keep His testimonies, especially those regarding the “seed of the woman” Who would undo mankind’s sin and take away the eternal consequences of sin, testimonies recorded in Holy Scripture, the Bible, and fulfilled fully and completely by Jesus Christ.  Again, the psalmist recounts the details of God’s almighty and loving acts which delivered these people from slavery and established them as free and independent people, replete with their own geographical territory. The dismal outcome of this is also recounted – “Yet they tested and rebelled against the Most High God and did not keep His testimonies, but turned away and acted treacherously like their fathers; they twisted like a deceitful bow.” The sin and rebellion centered in their relationship to His Word – they tested and rebelled by forsaking His Word, and this is described as being “treacherous” and rejecting God Himself.

While we find all of this unimaginable and unintelligible, how these people could turn away from God’s Word, especially His gracious and merciful promises of forgiveness, life, and salvation through faith, this same testing of and rebellion against God is repeated over and over again in the hearts, minds, and lives of human beings. Even among those who believe God’s love in Christ Jesus, there are many times each day that we think and act contrary to the Word of God, the testimonies of the Most High God. The only distinguishing criteria among human beings, the only way in which we can begin to “keep” His testimonies, is by humble obedience and submission to the preaching of Jesus: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” [Mark 1:15] Repenting includes acknowledging our sin, rebellion, and wickedness.  The only “gospel,” or “good news,” in the face of such “repenting” is the assurance of God’s Word of gracious forgiveness, mercy and salvation, that “though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” [Is. 1:18] This is what Christ came to do, as “the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world.” [John 1:29]

Certainly there are temporal consequences to rebelling against God’s Word, even for those who “repent and believe.” There are criminal punishments for stealing, for slander, for murder, and also some sexual sins. There are an abundance of temporal consequences for sexual sins – several incurable STD’s, not to mention numerous adverse relational effects. And there are eternal consequences for those who decide not to “repent and believe the gospel,” those who reject the testimonies of the Most High God. In spite of the blessings God has showered upon people living in America by granting us victory in the last “world war” and putting us into a unique position to capitalize on the rebuilding needs of the world around us, so that we have been enriched as one of the wealthiest nations in the world, Americans have steadily rejected Christ’s preaching, leaving the churches, plunging themselves into numerous idolatries and immoralities, to the point that the welfare of the entire nation is plummeting into dire and dangerous straits. Yet we do not consider that in spite of God’s gracious love toward Israel, when she refused to keep His testimonies [which she hasn’t done for at least the past 2000 years], God abandoned this people and let them cease as a nation for most of that time. And we must remember that the modern nation of Israel not only refuses to keep the testimonies of the Most High God, they punish and persecute those who dare to do so within their national boundaries.

Again, we must learn the lessons of the past, what history teaches. This enables us to properly understand what is happening around us in the present, and to act wisely in regard to God, His Word, His testimonies.  It also helps us to understand the importance of speaking the preaching of Jesus to others, that the Holy Spirit might also call them to “repent and believe the gospel.”  Likewise, it helps us to understand the critical importance of keeping the testimonies of the Most High God, to adhere to His Word – first and foremost in the matter of personal repentance and faith, but also His instruction in the ways of love, the moral teachings of His Word. We must remember that not keeping His Word is treacherous testing of God and rebellion against Him. Look to history for the reality of what happens to those who choose impenitence and unbelief.

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus, we are by nature sinful and unclean, and You know this far better than we do. Yet you invite us to repent, and provide us with great comfort, hope, peace, and a future, through the assurance of Your forgiveness and mercy, that Your blood cleanses us from all sin. Create in us a clean spirit, and restore to us the joy of Your salvation. Turn our hearts to Your testimonies, Your good and gracious Word. Amen.