Summary: Like a grieving husband who has been deserted by the wife he loves, God reflects upon his relationship to unfaithful Israel.
God, the Heart-broken
1. TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Tampa police arrested an expelled student after thwarting what they called a "catastrophic" plot to set off a bomb at his former high school next week, authorities said Wednesday.
Police Chief Jane Castor said Jared Cano, 17, had threatened to plant a device at Freedom High School in north Tampa and discharge it on the first day of school Tuesday. He was arrested Tuesday night after someone tipped off police about the plot.
2. Some people are so hard-hearted, you wonder if they have feelings.
3. Does God have feelings like ours? We know from Scripture that God is an emotional being, yet He does not change and is never surprised. So how do we harmonize these?
4. J.I. Packer does an excellent job defining the doctrine of God’s impassivity: "This means, not that God is … unfeeling… , but that no created beings can inflict pain, suffering and distress on him at their own will. In so far as God enters into suffering and grief … , it is by his own deliberate decision; he is never his creatures’ hapless victim. The Christian mainstream has construed impassibility as meaning not that God is a stranger to joy and delight, but rather that his joy is permanent, clouded by no involuntary pain.".[J. I. Packer, "God," in Sinclair Ferguson and David Wright, eds., New Dictionary of Theology (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1998), 277] cited from http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/articles/impassib.htm
Main Idea: Like a grieving husband who has been deserted by the wife he loves, God reflects upon his relationship to unfaithful Israel.
I. God Remembers His Honeymoon With Newlywed ISRAEL (12:1-6)
A. Israel originated with JACOB
B. Jacob was TEACHABLE and open to God
• Waiting rooms: Highlight magazine: Gallant & Goofus.
• Gallant teachable, Goofus not
C. Why did Israel let things DETERIORATE so?
• Because their hearts were closed to God
• They had not zeal for God – not born again…
Application: A heritage of faith a blessing, but no guarantee; God has children, not grand
II. Israel Was Breaking God’s HEART (12:7-13:3)
A. BUSINESS ethics revealed their flawed character (12:7)
• A pastor friend in a new church was taken out to lunch by a lay leader in the church. He charged the lunch to the company he worked for as business…
• If you are out to cheat or take advantage of others, your testimony is negated…
• It is one thing to be shrewd, another to be a cheapskate or crook
B. The people IGNORED God’s warnings through his prophets (12:9-10)
• The city gave out emergency weather radios; we have moved to the basement on several occasions because we took well-advised warnings seriously
• God’s warnings are better than those issued by the weather service…
C. They OFFERED bulls at Gilgal (12:11)
• religious practice, contrary to God’s Word, is worse than no religion
• modern Christians are becoming enamored with religion; we may respect the sincerity of those who worship God or gods contrary to his Word, but we need to reassert that unless one is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God…
• God’s people are to be transformed, not merely religious
D. Jacob honorably found a wife, but NOT Israel (12:12-14)
E. Even their DECLINE did not alert them (13:1)
• What does it mean, "…and died?"
• Takes us back to Eden…
F. Their paganism became more and more DETESTABLE (13:2-3)
Application: Does it surprise you that God allows things that break his heart? He does not impose a double standard: he allows suffering in our lives that break our hearts, but can you see that he does the same for himself?
III. God Defends Himself As a Faithful but Betrayed HUSBAND (13:4-13)
Like a husband who feels wronged by an unfaithful wife, God defends his part of the marriage…. it does not always take two…nor is the husband always at fault….
A. He protected and PROVIDED
B. He accommodated and COMPROMISED
C. Only route: JUDGMENT
Application: Many people are bitter against God for allowing the world to get into the mess it is in; they do not understand that the world is in this mess because of sin, and God is gracious to redeem us out of this world. Like Adam and Eve, it is our nature to blame others for our own personality quirks, failings, and problems.
IV. Interlude: God Will Redeem His REMNANT (13:14)
A. Ransomed and REDEEMED
• parallel terms… used interchangeably in both testaments…
• God has last word; true believers who suffer along with unbelievers have not lost
• sometimes our only hope is in eternity…
• [possible parallel to Job 19:23-27]
B. Victorious over the GRAVE
C. Paul’s MIDRASH (I Corinthians 15:54-58)
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