The Ever-loving, Saving Father
When the Israelites took the sword, thus rejecting God’s way in favor of their own, the Lord was faced with several possible courses.
First, He could have simply abandoned them to their own devices. This would have been perfectly just and righteous on His part, though it would have been justice without mercy. The result would have been the speedy disappearance of the household of Israel from the face of the earth. Second, God had the physical power to force the Israelites to continue in His way, but He could not do this from the moral point of view. Third, God could have completely ignored the sin, pretended that it did not exist. To do this would be to condone it, and this God cannot do, for life cannot exist apart from God. He will not sustain sinful life for the purpose of continuance in sin.
These are three obvious alternatives, but none of them are possible with God. In the first, God has to do something He is not, unmerciful. God cannot be anything He is not, for He is unchangeable. In the second, God cannot do anything immoral. In the third, God is not the author of sin. But there is another “possibility” that is normally overlooked. Herein, the Lord recognizes that he has failed to save them from taking the wrong turn: therefore, the work calculated to save them from that is now valueless. Because they have not yet tasted the bitter experience of the consequences of their apostasy, they are not disposed to come back. But they have not gone beyond the possibility of restoration. So God, in His infinite love, will not abandon them and thus cut off their opportunity to rectify their misdemeanors.
If no saving help is provided to draw them back from experiencing the worst effects of their choice, then they would not survive long enough to ever return to God. Therefore, the Lord works to save them from those evil results both to make their suffering as mild as possible and to extend the time in which they may learn and repent. It is because this aspect of God’s working has not been understood that He has been so seriously misjudged in the Old Testament.
By illustration, picture a small town located in an area where the wild animals such as bear, deer, mountain sheep, and various big cats abound. As is to be expected, the majority of men in town are keen hunters who never miss the opportunity to take their runs out and track down the game.
But one man is different. He has the love of God in his heart, and to kill the beautiful dwellers in the forests and mountains is contrary to his nature. So he is never seen in company with the men trailing off on another hunting adventure. For the other men in town, they were troubled by this old man, and they never lost an occasion to persuade him, if possible, to join them.
This man had a fine son whom he was most anxious to protect from the influence of the hunters around. He worked untiringly to instill in him the same love of the wildlife that he possessed and was gratified to see that he was having good success in this direction.
But the father did not take away the boy’s freedom of choice. When he eventually reached later youth, he became answerable for himself and was no longer under the direct control and discipline of his father. He received an invitation to spend some weeks away from home with his friends on a camping and hunting adventure, and eager to see new country, he accepted the kind offer. They urged him to try hunting with them just once to see how he liked it.
His first reaction was unfavorable, but something about the challenge, thrill, and excitement drew him in, and soon he was an enthusiastic devotee. He went to the sports store, selected a beautifully engineered weapon, and in due time returned with it to the dismay of his father. He had exercised his choice, and now the father was confronted with a situation that required a response. How would he now relate himself to this turn of events? Clearly the young man had instituted in his life a course contrary to the ways of his father and of God.
For the father, as for God, the choice lay between several alternatives. The first option was to disown the son, forbidding his entrance into the home and requiring that he go his own separate way. Another course would have called for the use of force to coerce the lad’s surrender to his father’s wishes and ways. This was not the answer, for the youth had achieved the age of independence, and it was not in his father’s nature, anymore than it is in the character of God, to use force. To them the only acceptable service is that which springs from an educated heart of love. A third alternative was to quietly ignore the change, pretend that the rifle had never been brought into the home, and act as if al were well. Again, this was no way out, for sin cannot be ignored. Neither love nor justice will permit it. Iniquity demands attention. A response to it will always be forthcoming whether it be the saving out-reach of love or the indictive reaction of destructive hate.
Having considered and rejected each of these possibilities, what would have been left for this godly man to do? What would God do in the same situation?
First, the older man recognized that his son had placed himself, other people, domestic livestock, and wild animals in a position of great danger. Being an inexperienced and untrained rifleman, he did not understand the necessity of looking beyond the target to ensure that there were no buildings, people, or farm animals in the line of fire. He needed to understand how to carry the weapon so that in climbing through fences, for instance, he did not, as so many have done, shoot himself or his friends. He must be made aware of the awful potential of the ricochet when a bullet, glancing from rock or tree, will embed itself in a target far to the right or left of the original setting. He must come close enough to the game to eliminate the possibility of only wounding the animal, which would then drag itself away to suffer in lingering death. These and other things he could be taught in order to save himself and others from the worst effects of what he had chosen.
While the father could no longer save the youth from taking the gun, he could, if permitted, provide the instruction needed to save him from these serious consequences. Even the wild animals would benefit from this saving ministry, for, while they could not be saved from death, they could be delivered from a painful and lingering one.
The response of God and those who walk with Him will always be saving love; therefore, there is only one course among those suggested above that the Lord of the Father, would follow. God is by nature a Saviour. So too was the father pictured in this illustration. When God is blocked from saving people in one area, He will still exercise His saving power in whatever possibilities remain. Thus, when the boy’s father found that his long-pursued objectives of saving the youth from taking up weapons had failed, he still recognized that there was much he could do to save the boy from the worst effects of what he had chosen.
So, sadly, but with tender dignity, the father drew his son aside and spoke with him. He expressed disappointment that the younger man had chosen to go the way he had, but he assured him that he would respect his decision fully. He gently suggested that there were many dangers associated with the use of such a weapon, from which perils he could only be safeguarded by receiving and obeying a number of specific precautions. The father intimated that he was more than willing to carefully instruct the son in these things so that he would be saved from the worst results of what he had chosen.
The Father introduced the training session by emphasizing that nothing he was about to do or say indicated that he had changed in any way, even though it could be interpreted that way.
God, who has been placed in the same position by the determination of His children to take up weapons of destruction, has likewise solemnly warned that His effort to save them from the worst effects of what they have chosen does not indicate any change in Him, even though His actions could and have been interpreted otherwise.
“For I am the Lord, I do not change” (Malachi 3:6). “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8) With whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17).
Despite the fact that people know that before sin entered God never destroyed, and despite these solemn declarations from God that no change has ever occurred in Him, human beings still look on His everlasting efforts to save an interpret them as being the actions of one who has become like them.
The father in our story did not have to change his ways in order to instruct the son how to be a kind hunter, neither did God have to change His ways to save Israel from being cruel users of the sword. Neither of them took life. They were only bent on saving it, or, if that were no longer possible, to save it from as much suffering as possible.
Now suppose that one of the villagers had happened to come down the lane as the father was instructing his son in the use of firearms. The villager would have interpreted what he saw as sure proof that the father had changed. This man would have lost no time in returning to his hunting companions to announce the father’s conversion. He would have told them that he was now one of them – a gunman. He would have offered as proof to his incredulous listeners what he had seen of the father actually instructing the boy in gun handling. The evidence he offered was factually true, for this is exactly what he had seen the father doing, but the conclusions drawn from those evidences were the opposite from the truth.
Even as that father was misjudged, so God has likewise been.
At the golden calf, God gave direct instructions through Moses for the Levites to take their swords and execute the unrepentant rebels. People have taken these facts and from them have drawn their own conclusions. While the facts are correct, the conclusions drawn from them are wholly wrong. They have declared with great satisfaction that God has become one of them – a destroyer.
They could not be more mistaken.
Thankfully, God has not changed. He has not become like humanity; He is not a destroyer. Sin has not changed Him, neither have sinful human beings. When His character and works are correctly understood, it will be seen that he did nothing differently at the golden calf then he did when Adam and Eve elected to go their own way.
In His great love and mercy, God does not leave people to themselves to reap the worst consequences of what he has sown. To whatever extent humanity will accept it, God provides them with counsel and blessing so that their lives are less severe and painful.
The golden calf episode is not the easiest place in the Biblical record to see this principle. There are others where it is more clearly revealed. Therefore, it is better that they be studied first. Then a preparation will have been made for an enlightened reassessment of the God’s part at the golden calf.
The outstanding example is God’s behavior before and after the Israelites went into Babylonian captivity.
Never did a nation pursue a more provocative course toward God than did Israel in those years of apostasy, rebellion and idolatry between the reigns of David and Zedekiah. After an excellent beginning in Joshua’s time, there had been the heartbreaking frustration of Israel’s vacillation between good and evil during the period of the judges, but in David’s day, the kingdom had reached its pinnacle of glory. The people were basking in the manifold blessings of the Lord, and everything was set for the most glorious reign of righteousness yet to be witnessed in the world. Unfortunately, the people took the gifts of the Lord and transferred their trust from God to them, thus entering into the worst period of their history up to that point. It had cost heaven a great deal to bring Israel to this hour of promise and opportunity only to see it all thrown away so despitefully, selfishly, and irresponsibly
From the human point of view, God would have ben entirely justified if He had destroyed Israel when they pursued so daring and insulting a course as they did during that great apostasy.
But the scriptures do not reveal any such disposition developing on God’s part as the fateful years dragged on. Instead, they reveal Him in an entirely different attitude. He is shown as a compassionate Saviour; seeing the dreadful, self-imposed plight of His people, He worked to deliver them from the power of the Babylonians and the sufferings that would follow their overthrow. Hear Him speaking through the prophet Jeremiah.
“Hear the word of the Lord, all you of Judah who enter in at these gates to worship the Lord! Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Repent of your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. Do not trust in these lying words, saying, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are these. For if you thoroughly amend your ways and your doings, if you thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor, if you do not oppress the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, or walk after other gods to your hurt, then I will cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever’” (Jeremiah 7:2-7).
As these words were spoken, the might nation of Babylon was rising spectacularly in power, and nation after nation was succumbing to it. Israel, weakened by years of idol worship and sin, could not hope to resist the northern tide. If God has possessed even the slightest traces of the spirit people think He has, His attitude would have been very different at this time. He would have declared to Israel, “For centuries I have blessed, protected, and prospered you, and all I get in return is insult, disobedience, disrespect, and rejection. The might of Babylon is coming against you in the very near future. They will savage you, and you will deserve all you get and more. I wash my hands of you and leave you to your fate.”
But we do not find such an attitude on God’s part. If we did, then God’s love must be less than infinite. There would be a limit to it. It would go so far and then stop, or be replaced by a spirit of revengeful reciprocation. Such is the changing nature of man’s love, but it is never the way of God’s infinite love. Nothing can change that.
In the face of all their rebellion, God could truthfully say, “For I am the Lord, I do not change; therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob (Malachi 3:6).
His relationship to them was the same at the end of this trying experience as it had been at the beginning. It is true that at the end they were not recipients of His blessings to the same extent as when their relationship with Him had been so good, but that was not because the Lord had retaliated by withdrawing those blessings. It was only because they had shut themselves away from them.
God did not call on them to endure appropriate punishments or a period of penance before they were reinstated in their land and in His favor. This is very difficult to accept, for humanity’s philosophy demands that if a person sins, he or she pays for it.
There is a double motivation behind this human disposition. One is the spirit of rendering evil for evil, the other is the impulse for self-protection and security. Accordingly, courts of justice seek to measure an evil to the person equal to the evil he or she has committed. This satisfies the requirement for revenge. At the same time, the penalty is administered in such a way that the public is aware of it. The example of the wrongdoers serves as a warning deterrent other would be offenders. By this means the hope is entertained that security will be guaranteed.
But this is not God’s order. He does not dish out evil for evil. He returns good instead. Though this is the truth, it is exceedingly difficult for earthlings to grasp. So deeply ingrained is the concept of meeting evil with evil that it cannot be understood how God can operate on opposite principles.
Yet the case under study here verifies that this is His way. To prove otherwise will necessitate finding scriptures that record God’s demands that they endure a series of punishments before they could regain His favor. But such references are not to be found. The only chastisements they suffer were those they had brought upon themselves but from which God had worked to save them.
If any doubt this beautiful attribute of God, let him study the story of the prodigal son, which is expressly designed to tach this truth. In this parable, both the sons exhibited the same belief that appropriate punishments must be endured before there could be a restoration. The erring son asked for it, and the other demanded it. the father, who directly represents God’s behavior, would not hear of it. All he required was true repentance.
When the prodigal returned to his father, he asked only a place as the least of the servants. This, he felt, would be a humiliation so great as to be a punishment befitting his case. He was sure he was asking for his just reward.
The elder brother was incensed when he heard of the complete restoration of the sinner to the place from which he had gone. He thought of the prodigal’s wasteful expenditure of health, money, time, and the father’s reputation. He did not mind the repentance and the return, but he did object to the reinstatement. To be accorded the same place as he had left, without being sentenced to an appropriate punishment, was too much for his human morality to accept.
The father accepted the boy back into the household as if he had never sinned. Exactly so, God receives sinners back and accepts them as though they had never sinned.
If you give yourself to Him, and accept Him as your Saviour, then, sinful as your life may have been for His sake you are accounted righteous. Christ’s character stands in place of your character, and you are accepted before God just as if you had not sinned (Steps to Christ, p. 62).
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:1).
There is truth expressed through Jeremiah to Israel when the Lord said that if they would repent they would stay in their own land forever. In other words, He would treat them as though they had never sinned. No clearer view could be given of the unchanging nature of God. His blessings never cease to flow toward humanity. His attitude is always the same. When people turn away from Him, they place themselves out of touch with those blessings, but the moment they return, they find themselves back in the same position they were in when they left.
In the great, original rebellion, this truth is revealed with clarity and force. Lucifer had served God with unfailing devotion for what must have been a long period of time. Throughout his service, he received the fullness of God’s blessings and the joy of fellowship. Eventually, he lost confidence in God and consequently entered in to rebellion against Him. If he had gone no further, it would have been bad enough, but he added greater offense by enlisting as many as possible in the same spirit of disaffection. A threat was thus directed against the entire kingdom. When this happens in an earthly dominion, the monarch speedily deals with the offender, making such an example of him or her in an attempt to effectively deter others from a similar course.
But the ways of human beings are not God’s ways. Consequently, God did not relate Himself to Lucifer by making an example of him, by administering disciplinary actions, or by changing in His relationship toward him in any way. Instead, all the loving agencies of heaven were to put in motion to plead with him not to persist in a course that could only propel him into deadly ruin. “But the warning, given in infinite love and mercy, only aroused a spirit of resistance” (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 36).
God did not even demote the covering cherub. He did not take this type of action no matter how far the bright one departed from Him. The initial of his position and later of heaven itself was lucifer’s own action. It was never the work of God.
In a loving effort to save both Lucifer and the angels who were coming under his influence, “the King of the universe summoned the heavenly hosts before Him, that in their presence He might set forth the true position of His Son and show the relationship He sustained to all created beings” (Ibid).
That was a marvelous sermon on the divine order and organization in which was revealed the love of God toward everyone of His creatures. They were brought to see that the position occupied by Christ was one of great personal sacrifice, made for their good from a heart warmed by infinite of love and wisdom.
Lucifer came close to sharing the adulation of the other angels, but the strange, fierce conflict raged within him until self and pride obtained the mastery. It was then that he left his place in the throne room of God. God did not dismiss him and require his departure, Lucifer took himself away as it was written: Leaving his place in the immediate presence of the Father, Lucifer went forth to diffuse the spirit of discontent among the angels (Ibid. 37).
The time had surely come for positive preventive action such as the extermination or, at least, expulsion of the rebel. After all, it is sound policy to throw out the rotten apple to prevent corruption of the remainder. But God did not do this. It would have been a denial of the principle that He had given complete freedom to serve or not to serve Him. Therefore, He would not take any action requiring force. He would use only the outreach of saving love to draw His much-loved creature back from destruction.
A compassionate Creator, in yearning pity for Lucifer and his followers, was seeking to draw them back from the abyss of ruin into which they were about to plunge (Ibid, p 39).
The result of this was that he came close to the point of yielding and coming back to God. Quite a time had elapsed, and he had done a tremendous amount of damage in God’s kingdom. From the human point of view he deserved a great deal of punishment, but “though he had left his position as covering cherub, yet if he had been willing to return to God, acknowledging the Creator’s wisdom, and satisfied to fill the place appointed him in God’s great plan, he would have been reinstated in his office” (Ibid).
In other words, he would have been accepted before God as though he had never sinned. He would have gone back to his place in God’s presence and would have continued there as if he had never left it. Lucifer was not required to suffer any punishments, endure penance, or pass through a period of probation before being readmitted to his place. He was not even called upon to accept a lowly position from which he could work his way back to the top.
Therefore when Christ revealed His Father in the parable of the returning prodigal, He was not simply telling what the Father would do to the repentant. He was confirming what He had always done. What Jesus told of the father’s attitude toward the prodigal son is exactly how God related Himself to Lucifer. The only difference is that the prodigal son was repentant, Lucifer was not.
The Bible requires two or three witnesses to confirm any truth: “by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established” (Matthew 18:16). Here are the three needed witnesses to confirm this truth about God’s character. The case of Lucifer, the experience of the Israelites as they faced Babylonian oppression, and the parable of the prodigal son all confirm that God does not administer punishments to sinners but seeks to save them from the chastisements which they are about to inflict upon themselves. If they will only repent and return to the circle of His blessings, then they will be accepted back as if they had never sinned.
But those who do not really believe that God’s love is infinite and that He never changes by so much as a hair’s breadth will ague that there was a limit to His patience, and when that limit was exhausted with Lucifer, He turned to active warfare to run him out of heaven.
Their proof text is Revelation 12:7-9, which states, “And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil, and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”
To millions, these words have pictured an intense physical struggle between the forces loyal to heaven and the rebels. It has been seen as a conflict involving the use of physical power versus physical power. Great artist have portrayed Christ at the head of the hordes of shining angels standing with an unsheathed sword which Lucifer is plunging downward into the darkness of empty space.
But this is a superficial and inaccurate view of the nature of that struggle. It is the view consequent with the practice of seeing God’s behavior as being identical to humanity’s. There was war in heaven; it is true, but not war as human being’s fight. Satan was cast out, but it was God’s way of doing it, not humanity’s.
God could have destroyed Satan and his sympathizers as easily as one can cast a pebble to the earth; but He did not do this. Rebellion was not to be overcome by force. By compelling power is found only under Satan’s government. The Lord’s principles are not of this order. His authority rests upon goodness, mercy, and love; and the presentation of these principles is the means to be used. God’s government is moral, and truth and love are to be the prevailing power (The Desire of Ages p. 759).
In that struggle then, God did not use force. This weapon is never found in His kingdom but only in that of Satan’s therefore, it was by another way that Satan was cast out of heaven, never to return. God fought with nothing other than the weapons consistent with His kingdom.
The struggle in heaven was a very real one nonetheless. It was a war – a total effort on Satan’s part to change the entire structure of heaven’s order and organization. In order to succeed, he needed to convert the angel’s allegiance away from God to himself. At that time the only sword Satan could use was that of deception, against which God used only the weapon of truth. The battle raged on over a considerable period of time until the point was reached where the devil had penetrated as far as he could. Each angel had made his choice with sufficient numbers standing for the truth to enable God to maintain His position as Protector of the heavenly hosts. With God’s continued presence assured, there was no hope of the proposed new order being established. The old and proven order would remain. But Satan’s deformation had brought him into such disharmony with those principles that he found it impossible to remain where they continued to operate. To him, heaven had become a place that was foreign, unacceptable, and unendurable, and he could not leave it quickly enough.
It was the truth of God that drove him out, not the use of any kind of physical force. The same reason for Satan’s leaving heaven is the reason why the wicked would never be happy if there were to return there. They would not be able to tolerate the place and would want to leave it as soon as possible. They would be driven out by their sheer unfitness to remain.
Could those whose lives have been spent in rebellion against God be suddenly transported to heaven and witness the high, and holy state of perfection that ever exists there, – every soul filled with love, every countenance beaming with joy, enrapturing music in melodious strains rising in honor of God and the Lamb, and ceaseless streams of light flowing upon the redeemed from the face of Him who sits upon the throne, – could those whose hearts are filled with hatred of God, of truth and holiness, mingle with the heavenly throne and join their sons of praise. Could they endure the glory of God and the Lamp? No, no; years of probation were granted them, that they might form characters for heaven; but they have never trained the mind to love purity; they have never learned the language of heaven, and now it is too late. A life of rebellion against god has unfitted them for heaven. It purity, holiness, and peace would be torture to them; and glory of God would be a consuming fire. They would long to flee from that holy place. They would welcome destruction, that they might be hidden from the face of Him who died to redeem them. The destiny of the wicked is fixed by their own choice. Their exclusion from heaven is voluntary with themselves, and just and merciful on the part of God (The Great Controversy, pp. 542, 543).
Confirmation of this is already available. The worldly and ungodly today find that the society of true Christians engaged in devoted worship of God is intolerable to them, and they desire only to leave such society. They are happier elsewhere.
As Pharaoh’s heart was hardened by his continual resistance to God’s effort to save him, so Lucifer’s whole being was warped as he fought off God’s loving efforts to draw him and his followers back from the abyss into which their steps were surely taking them. This is how Satan was driven from heaven, not by God directly driving him out but by His efforts to save him.
So then, in al of this we find that if Israel had repented and turned away from idol worship and all the licentiousness and evil that goes with it, they would have been delivered from the Assyrians and the Babylonians as if they had never sinned. The certainty of this is contained in the Word of god as quoted above in Jeremiah.
That these were not mere words with God is proven by the fact that when He was given the opportunity to carry them out, He surely did so. The mighty Sennacherib marched victoriously against the whole Idol-worshipping world. The ten tribes of Israel fell before him and he intended to add Judah as a further prize to his conquests. But there was a king on the throne who believed God. Hezekiah came to power after a succession of very wicked and idolatrous rulers. The land had been filled with images and the sanctuary was in sorry state.
Over the whole land loomed the dark shadow of the Assyrian global conquest, demanding that instant action be taken to meet the threat. Mankind would have concentrated on the formation of military preparedness by gathering, equipping, and training the largest army possible in the shortest time. The restoration of the sanctuary and the obliteration of the images could wait until a later date.
But not the king. First, he set to work to cleanse and restore the sanctuary and its services. With his whole heart he turned to the Lord and put his trust there. He claimed the promise that they would be protected and saved in their own land, and they were. God dismissed the Assyrian threat with such totality that it never assailed Judah again. Study the story with care, and see how the Lord did not demand that they pay their debt to Him. He did not require a long period of proving before He would act on their behalf. As soon as they repented, He stepped back into His rightful place as their Protector and Saviour and delivered them as if they had never sinned.
Had Zedekiah been a king of Hezekiah’s character then Nebuchadnezzar would never have had any hope of overcoming the Israelites. But despite the fact that the king of heaven sent His prophet Jeremiah to him with the assurance that if he would repent the Lord would work for him as if he had never sinned at all, and despite the fact that the history of Judah’s deliverance from Sennacherib proved this, the king elected to reject God’s counsels and go his own way, thus frustrating any hope of God doing what His loving heart longed to do, namely to save them from the cruel oppressor.
What the Lord would have done for Lucifer and Zedekiah, He did for good king Hezekiah and four countless others who have believed the Lord. These experiences are the proof that the portrayal of God rendered in the parable of the prodigal son is the truth. Satan is desperate in his fear that people will become acquainted with such as God, for he knows they will then have confidence to come to Him for deliverance from his machinations. Therefore, he presents God as being no different from sinful individuals – severe, exacting, and determined that the full measure of punishment for sin be born before mercy can be extended. Then the devil leads the souls into sin so terrible that the victim knows he can never serve out the sentence and is thus discouraged from ever seeking God.
Let God’s wonderful willingness to forgive and restore Israel in the face of their sad and desperate apostasy be to every man and woman an inspiring encouragement to come. Back to the God of mercy and light.
God says to the sinner: “I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, and like a cloud, your sins (Isaiah 44:22).
I will forgive their iniquity and their sin I will remember no more (Jeremiah 31:34).
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon (Isaiah 55:7).
In those days and in that time,” says the Lord, “The iniquity of Israel shall be sought, but there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, but they shall not be found (Jeremiah 50:20).
Do not listen to the enemy’s suggestion to stay away from Christ until you have made yourself better; until you are good enough to come to God. If you wait until then, you will never come. When Satan points to your filthy garments, repeat the promise of Jesus, “Him that comes to Me I will in no wise cast out.” John 6:37. Tell the enemy that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin. Make the prayer of David your own, “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow” Psalm 51:7 (Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 205, 206)
Those who rejoice in deliverance from the old Satan – inspired concepts of God will know him as He is presented in the parable of the prodigal son. They will have the faith and courage to bring their sins for pardon and cleansing and to thus stand before Him as if they had never sinned. These are they in whom true love of God will be found and from whom a stream of dedicated service will flow. Such will inhabit the universe throughout eternity to experience the fullness of eternal joys and pleasures. There is small wonder then that heaven will be a place of perfect bliss and security.
Our next in this series will be, “God goes the Second Mile”
We will explore the following: When the Jews disregarded God and were carried into Babylonian captivity, He did not forsake them but worked with them to mitigate the effects of their wrong choices. How?
It is seen that when Israel decided to take up the sword they will acting contrary to God’s intent and desire for them to rely upon Him in all things. He then gave them directives within that choice. Does this mean that god intended to destroy the enemies of Israel directly but had to revert to an alternative, or “plan b” approach, and use their sword when the Israelites got into the work of helping Him to fulfill His plan for them?
If Israel had been abandoned by God to their own way with no directives or assistance, what would the outcome have been for them? For us?
What other option could God have exercised beside total and immediate abandonment of His people?