Track 1: When Israel Was a Child I Loved Him
Do ew see God as a loving father? Israel did not always do so. Reading from Hosea:
When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called my son.
The more I called them,
the more they went from me;
they kept sacrificing to the Baals,
and offering incense to idols.
Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
I took them up in my arms;
but they did not know that I healed them.
I led them with cords of human kindness,
with bands of love.
I was to them like those
who lift infants to their cheeks.
I bent down to them and fed them. (Hosea 11:1-4)
Those of us who are parents can surely understand the hurt a parent must feel when children seem to reject the love shown them. God had done so much for Israel. How could they forget?
The psalmist wrote:
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his mercy
and the wonders he does for his children.
For he satisfies the thirsty
and fills the hungry with good things.
Whoever is wise will ponder these things,
and consider well the mercies of the Lord. (Psalm 107:8-9,43)
Israel got distracted by the things of this world. They wanted a king like their neighboring countries. They wanted the excitement of worshiping foreign gods. They wanted to build a kingdom nation that suited their needs and desires – a nation that they could make secure so they could ignore what God’s prophets were saying.
How about us. Is God our loving Father? Do we remember how God has cared for us and provided for us? Are have we got into some of the distractions of the Israelites? The exciting of big league sports over church worship services. Maybe we have taken credit for some of God’s blessings?
Have we noticed that there can be an attitude about blessings? God has blessed us, but what has he done for us lately? The enemy has a way of testing our faith. Almost everything that we are currently going through in this country is a test. This is true for nearly all the of the nations of world, many who are going through more serious tests than we are.
Is God our provider” Is he our loving father? Maybe we should read the prophets of old, and perhaps a few of the newer ones who still listen to the voice of God.
Perhaps it is time for us to ignore the concerns and distractions of today’s society. The Apostle Paul wrote:
If you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-4)
Track 2: Rich toward God
In today’s Gospel reading Jesus tells the parable of the foolish rich man:
“The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, `What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, `I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, `Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, `You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:16-19)
How many of us have dreamed of winning the lottery? Perhaps we have speculated how we might spend the money. But the main benefit for us might be that we would not have to work so hard. Our motto could easily become: “relax, eat, drink, be merry”
But thee is another element to being super rich. The psalmist tells us:
The wickedness of those who put their trust in their goods,
and boast of their great riches?
We can never ransom ourselves,
or deliver to God the price of our life;
For the ransom of our life is so great,
that we should never have enough to pay it,
In order to live for ever and ever,
and never see the grave.
For we see that the wise die also;
like the dull and stupid they perish
and leave their wealth to those who come after them. (Psalm 49:5-9)
Our riches can become our gods. When we have all the money we need to live in this world we might believe that there is less reason to trust in God for our provisions. Not only that, we might be insulated from not keeping God’s commandments.
We might be set for this world, so to speak. But what about the next world? Jesus ended the parable this way:
But God said to him, `You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:20-21)
Are we rich toward God? If not, then we are the poorest of all. We God’s true blessings in this life. And we will miss eternal life with God that the Lord Jesus Christ so graciously purchased for us on a cruel cross.