Decisions for Life

The Fall of Israel …. what a sad focus for today.

And yet, it has a great deal of significance for understanding God and the way we live our lives. After the establishment of the Kingdom under David, peace came upon the land but it was heading for spiritual disaster. The decline began with David’s adultery with Bathsheba and the shrewdly planned murder of her husband by the King, in an attempt to cover over his sin. God thus did not allow David to build the Temple, instead that privilege was passed to his son.

Solomon began as a wise man, seeking from God the gift of wisdom to rule well, but he ended up in the dumps. Someone once said that you can contrast the two parts of Solomon’s life by reading Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. The one is full of hope and wisdom, the other sees no meaning in life. At the end of Ecclesiastes Solomon makes the confession and appeal that we “should remember your Creator in the days of your youth”, that we should fear God and keep His commandments. He did come to his senses in the end.

After his death, Solomon’s magnificent kingdom was divided into two parts, the Northern Kingdom (Israel) and the Southern Kingdom (Judah). The division was caused by rivalry between military commanders and ultimately by the failure to acknowledge God. Look around the world today, do you see anything different?

In the South they still worshipped at the Temple but in a perfunctory kind of way. In the North they raised up two golden calfs (seem to think this happened before …) and ultimately the kingdom sank into the vile evil encouraged by King Ahab and his wife, Jezebel

But the fall of Israel did cause God to raise up the prophets – Elijah and Elisha in the North and Isaiah, Jeremiah and others in the South. Their prophetic voice was not fortune telling (Biblical prophecy is seldom looking into the future!), rather it was full of challenges to a nation and to leaders who had lost sight of God. The church needs to be a prophetic voice today. It needs to stand up to injustice, it needs to boldly proclaim the Word of God  and it must continually offer to people the new life which comes through faith in Jesus Christ. It was the lone voices of Elijah, of Isaiah and Jeremiah, Micah and Haggai and others that kept the truth alive. God is deeply concerned about this world which He has created, His love is so much that He sent His Son to die so that we might live a resurrection life.

He raised up the prophets in those times and He has the church today. The church is not simply a social gathering with singing and teaching – it is an army of Godly people whose passion is not only to live their own lives well and in fear of God, but also having a longing and desire for others to be able to do so as well. Do you think about that? Are you concerned about the direction that this world is taking? You might not be able to change the world, but you can certainly change that little bit of the world in which you live. Fear God, keep His standards, love His people right where you are, and you will be a prophetic voice which will gain as much recognition from God as the likes of Elijah, and Moses and Amos (who, incidentally, was a farmer and a reluctant prophet).

The difference between the eternal success and failure of your life will ultimately depend on the decision which you make about this.

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