Sunday Morning – 9/6/2020

The Importance of God’s Character Part 2

Photo by Ricky Turner on Unsplash

(6) The LORD passed in front of him and proclaimed:

The LORD ​– ​the LORD is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love and truth,

(7) maintaining faithful love to a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity, rebellion, and sin.

But he will not leave the guilty unpunished, bringing the fathers’ iniquity on the children and grandchildren to the third and fourth generation.

– Exodus 34:6-7 CSB

Moses

God shared with Moses His character. The Lord is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love and truth

As we look deeper into Exodus 32-34 we see the conversations Moses had with God about His people, Israel. God was intent on destroying them and starting over with Moses, but through the intercession God relented.

Moses, through his relationship with Almighty God, made intercession for Israel. He moved God from wanting to destroy them to accepting them as His own possession.

We see that while God is just, He loves mercy (Micah 6:8). His anger burned against Israel, but He spared them because Moses reminded Him who He was. At least it would seem so…

Jonah

As we look into Jonah we see a far different story. Jonah is a prophet of the Lord, yet he doesn’t want to do what the Lord has told him.

You all know the story, if you don’t it is a short book that you can easily read in 48 verses (Jonah 1-4). Jonah starts running away from God.

He is supposed to go to Ninevah. But because he doesn’t think much of them he runs in the opposite direction.

Then there is a storm and a man overboard. He gets swallowed by a whale and remains there for three days and nights.

During this time he prays to the Lord. He promises to fulfill his vow and the fish spits him out on dry land.

(1) The word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time:
(2) “Get up! Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach the message that I tell you.” (3) Jonah got up and went to Nineveh according to the LORD’s command. Now Nineveh was an extremely great city, a three-day walk.

– Jonah 3:1-3 CSB

All Jonah had to do was to give the message that God had given him to the people. There was no intercession for Jonah to make. He just had to be obedient to God.

(4) Jonah set out on the first day of his walk in the city and proclaimed, “In forty days Nineveh will be demolished! ” (5) Then the people of Nineveh believed God. They proclaimed a fast and dressed in sackcloth ​– ​from the greatest of them to the least…

– Jonah 3:4-5 CSB

Was God already doing a work in the peoples heart? Was the message just a sentence long?

That is all Scripture shows us and yet the results were powerful. The king called for a three day fast, no water or food. He included all people and livestock.

(8) Furthermore, both people and animals must be covered with sackcloth, and everyone must call out earnestly to God. Each must turn from his evil ways and from his wrongdoing. … (10) God saw their actions ​– ​that they had turned from their evil ways ​– ​so God relented from the disaster he had threatened them with. And he did not do it.

– Jonah 3:8, 10 CSB

How amazing is this? When a nation responds to the message of the Lord, God keeps His promises. He is compassionate.

We see that He relented because of obedience. Notice that what the Ninevites did, is what God calls His people to do. This obedience brings healing to the land.

Fast – Pray – Listen – Repent

(14) and my people, who bear my name, humble themselves, pray and seek my face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.

– 2 Chronicles 7:14 CSB

Jeremiah

Moses interceded for Israel. Jonah reluctantly brought God’s message to Ninevah. In both cases we see that God relented from what He was going to do because of His interaction with men.

Next we will look at Jeremiah. In the first chapter of Jeremiah the Word of God tells us his purpose.

(4) The word of the LORD came to me: (5) I chose you before I formed you in the womb; I set you apart before you were born. I appointed you a prophet to the nations. … (7) Then the LORD said to me: Do not say, “I am only a youth,” for you will go to everyone I send you to and speak whatever I tell you. (8) Do not be afraid of anyone, for I will be with you to rescue you. This is the LORD’s declaration.

– Jeremiah 1:4-5, 7-8 CSB

Jeremiah had an experience with God. God appointed him over the nations to bring judgment AND hope…

(9) Then the LORD reached out his hand, touched my mouth, and told me: I have now filled your mouth with my words. (10) See, I have appointed you today over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and demolish, to build and plant.

– Jeremiah 1:9-10 CSB

The Condition

The people of Israel had perverted God’s right purposes for their own gain.

They were living two lives.

Because they had the temple of God they felt they had the freedom to do anything they wanted.

They were not treating others justly. They were worshiping other gods. Child sacrifice was occurring.

Yet because they had a form of godliness they thought that they could live however they wanted.

They forgot the covenant with God.

  • 1 Kings 9:1-9 CSB
  • 2 Chron 7:12-16 CSB – The Temple
  • 2 Chron 7:17-18 – Soloman
  • 2 Chron 7:19-20 – Uproot Israel
  • 2 Chron 7:21-22- Temple Ruined

God’s Warning

God warned Israel through Jeremiah to correct their ways. It had been 300 plus years since the Temple was established. God had spelled out the good or the destruction it would bring. It all hinged on the heart and action of the people.

Correct Your Ways, Act Justly Toward One Another

(3) ” ‘This is what the LORD of Armies, the God of Israel, says: Correct your ways and your actions, and I will allow you to live in this place. (4) “Do not trust deceitful words, chanting, “This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD.” (5) Instead, if you really correct your ways and your actions, if you act justly toward one another, …

– Jeremiah 7:3-5 CSB

God was willing to let them continue living in the land (Jeremiah 7:6 CSB).

But behavior modification only goes so far. What is truly needed is a changed heart. Israel’s heart needed to change. So do our hearts.

Because Christianity is only head knowledge for some, we are seeing apostasy in America’s churches. Some feel like they can live however they want, after all, they go to church at least monthly. Others declare they no longer believe.

See what the Lord declares about Israel…

My House Has Become A Den Of Theives…

(9) ” ‘Do you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal, and follow other gods that you have not known? (10) “Then do you come and stand before me in this house that bears my name and say, “We are rescued, so we can continue doing all these detestable acts”? (11) Has this house, which bears my name, become a den of robbers in your view? Yes, I too have seen it. This is the LORD’s declaration. …

– Jeremiah 7:9-11 CSB

Israel had moved beyond God’s compassion and into His justice. “But he will not leave the guilty unpunished…”

Do Not Pray For Them

(16) “As for you, do not pray for these people. Do not offer a cry or a prayer on their behalf, and do not beg me, for I will not listen to you. (17) “Don’t you see how they behave in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? …

– Jeremiah 7:16-17 CSB

My Wrath Is About To Be Poured Out

(20) Therefore, this is what the Lord GOD says: “Look, my anger ​– ​my burning wrath ​– ​is about to be poured out on this place, on people and animals, on the tree of the field, and on the produce of the land. My wrath will burn and not be quenched.” …

– Jeremiah 7:20 CSB

This wasn’t the first time God would have to deal with His people. He had told them through their history to obey Him, but they wouldn’t listen.

Obey Me – But They Didn’t Listen

(22) “for when I brought your ancestors out of the land of Egypt, I did not speak with them or command them concerning burnt offering and sacrifice. (23) “However, I did give them this command: ‘Obey me, and then I will be your God, and you will be my people. Follow every way I command you so that it may go well with you.’ (24) “Yet they didn’t listen or pay attention but followed their own advice and their own stubborn, evil heart. They went backward and not forward. …

– Jeremiah 7:22-24 CSB

God is just. He is omnipotent, He knows all things. He knows that Israel is going to continue to ignore His warnings. But He will still warn them and give them an opportunity to change and move forward with Him.

They Will Not Listen But Tell Them Anyway

(27) “When you speak all these things to them, they will not listen to you. When you call to them, they will not answer you. (28) “Therefore, declare to them, ‘This is the nation that would not listen to the LORD their God and would not accept discipline. Truth has perished ​– ​it has disappeared from their mouths.

– Jeremiah 7:27-28 CSB

We have seen three examples of God dealing with people.

  • In Moses we see a foreshadowing of Christ interceding for the people. – They were saved.
  • In Jonah, we see a message given to a people who did not know God. – They were saved.
  • In Jeremiah we see a message given, but intercession denied. – Israel was uprooted.

In Jeremiah’s day God was bringing justice not just to Israel, but to all the nations. He would use Babylon to punish the nations and then He would deal with Babylon.

What will we see here in America? Will God move us to intercede for the nation or will He keep us from it?

Will we find His favor or will He bring judgement?

Next Steps

As we come into the Days of Awe, we have a unique opportunity to change the course of our nation. We need to do a few things.

  1. Fast – see SERMON – as a minimum, fast on the Day of Atonement (9/28/20). I would suggest three Monday’s 14th, 21st, and 28th. I will be doing 21 days. This is the humbling of ourselves.
  2. Pray – Ask the Lord for direction in how to pray for the nation, what He wants from your life, any sin, or practice that needs to be left behind.
  3. Listen – Allow the Lord to speak to you by being still before Him. This combined with pray is the seek My face.
  4. Repent – Confess any sin the Holy Spirit reveals. Turn from any practice. What fruit are you producing and what are you believing about yourself and God. Does it line up with what Scripture teaches us about God and ourselves? If not repent and believe what God has said about Himself and you.

While we do these things, write down what you feel the Lord is telling you in reference to our nation.

14 and my people, who bear my name, humble themselves, pray and seek my face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14 (CSB)

1 thought on “Sunday Morning – 9/6/2020”

  1. To me this shows how important it is that God himself desires to have a relationship whith his people .
    The chance to press in and be part of his plan what an awesome thing.

    Reply

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