“Behold, I send an Angel before you to keep you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared. Beware of Him and obey His voice; do not provoke Him, for He will not pardon your transgressions; for My name is in Him.” Exodus 23:20-21
As I read today’s focus text and the instructions and promises following it I was reminded of the following quotation from Thomas Jefferson, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.”
Thomas Jefferson was fearful for our country as he considered the justice of God but I am fearful for the church, those that have chosen to be called by his name, who have been I trusted with his gospel, his laws, and his words. We have drank deeply from the springs of the knowledge of his word and have still only grown wise in our own ways and not in the ways of the Lord and of salvation. As a result we’re no better and very little different from the people living around us who are for the most part wholly ignorant God and his word.
Haven’t we received great blessings from the Lord? For centuries faithful Christians have enjoyed a higher level of education, greater prosperity, longer lifespans, and more peaceful countries than what’s typically found throughout the world. Studies have shown that in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the denomination to which I belong and am a pastor, this is especially true.
These blessings ought to have caused us to turn to God with even greater devotion and obedience as we offered him still better offerings of praise, personal sacrifice, and worship but, instead, like the children of Israel living beneath the cloud of God’s presence, drinking water flowing from a rock which God provided, and Manna from heaven which God rained down, we dismiss God’s leading, criticize the leaders he’s sent, and return to the ways of the world and our own appetites.
Friends, God will not bear with us forever. Revelation chapter three and verse sixteen say, “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”
God can’t do anything with us for the saving of the world. If we were hot or cold he might accomplish something; hot and cold water is useful therapeutically in hydrotherapy treatments but tepid water is basically useless. God warns us that if we continue to be rebellious and of no usefulness in the saving of the world that he will purge himself of us, he will vomit us out of his mouth.
Friends, there’s only one way to stay close to God and it requires that we listen to him, as he speaks through his word and his spirit, obey all his instructions and commandments, and work with him as he battles to bring others to a knowledge of himself and his salvation.
We no long have time to keep doing things the ways we’ve always done them. We have to do things God’s way.