It's become increasingly clear through being immersed in the minor prophets all week, that there are many VERY appropriate messages contained still for us today. Many of them are difficult to accept, hard to swallow/handle, but all are from God - who many of us seek to serve.
In the Old Testament, God established a covenant with a people, Israel. They were chosen by God. Throughout the scriptures we see a pattern of these people falling away, being punished/restored, and enjoying covenant living again.
We believe that the Israel of Old Testament can be, in many ways, considered the "Church" of today. That is to say, WE are the descendants of these people. Through the blood of Christ, we have become His people, and His desire for covenant living once again, now applies to us.
In the minor prophets, we see God using nations like Assyria and Babylon. Not only USING them, but using them to PUNISH the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah. What are we to think of this? Didn't God choose Israel, and thereby decide that Israel should be blessed?
But we realize God did not simply choose Israel so that He would have "a people". God chose Israel SO THAT the entire WORLD may be reached by His love. It's when the people of Israel forget this, and trample the needy, or do not show love for their Gentile neighbors; that God moves in the correct them.
So what about us? If we (the Church) are now, what Israel was to God in the OT, the connection becomes very, sometimes painfully clear. We are the Church not so that God can have a "body". But we exist SO THAT the entire world may know that God is for them. To proclaim, and live out His Kingdom, ESPECIALLY outside the walls of our churches and confines of "our needs".
Back To Where We Belong
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