LIFE can be iffy.
If I hadn’t wasted my younger days. If I had made a different career choice. If I had more money, talent, ambition, education, time. If the economy doesn’t get any better I’m going to lose my job. There are a lot of “ifs” in life. If looks backward and forward and seems to be the central focal point of worry and regret. If shapes our dreams, gives us hope, and causes governments and financial systems to collapse. If is the center of life.
There are numerous “ifs” in the Bible. In Leviticus, God outlines to Moses and the children of Israel what course of action should be taken if this or that happens. If a man hit’s a pregnant woman and causes her to lose the child. If there is a skin disease on a person or mold in the house. These were common sense rules for healthy living. Every one of these came with a sacrifice to be offered for the person or object to be deemed clean.
The common “if” referred to is found in 2 Chronicles, which deserves a look on two levels.
2 Chronicles 7:13-14
13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
First, is the idea that a loving God would cause all this mayhem on His people. This is generally left out of the quote when pastors proclaim the need for prayer and repentance. It doesn’t sell very well. If God is so loving why would He withhold rain and send plagues and locusts?
God is a loving God, but, just like any parent, He can only take so much disobedience from His children, then the punishment must commence. The devastation is a way for God to “spank” His unruly children all at once. He has to get their attention. But God IS a loving God and He will stop the punishment IF.
If His people will humble themselves (quit thinking they’re all that and a bag of chips), talk to Him, get to know Him and turn away from what caused the punishment in the first place (which they are fully aware of) then the absolute promises begin. God says, “I WILL, hear from heaven. I WILL forgive their sins. I WILL heal their land.” This isn’t God requiring conditions for His love. This is simply God saying. “I want you to know me, love me and follow my rules. In return I will give you everything you need. Just trust me.”
But now you say. “That was thousands of years ago. How does that apply to me right now, today? God isn’t going to send locusts down on me. There‘s medicines for the flu and stuff like that.” The same rules apply today as then. The same “rules” in the sense that we are to follow God’s commands. We don’t live under the law of Moses, but under Grace through Faith in Jesus Christ. Okay, what does that mean?
That means through Jesus Christ we no longer have to live by all the rules, regulations and statutes set forth in Leviticus and perverted by the Pharisees. Jesus made it simple:
Mark 12: 28-32
28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ “There is no commandment greater than these.”
Love God with everything in you and love your neighbor as yourself. Pretty simple. It’s a learning process. The more you learn about God, the more you begin to realize His love for you and then that can radiate that love out to others.
But how are we supposed to get to know Jesus and God if they’re not here where we can see them and talk to them? Jesus had an answer for that, too, and it came with a promise just like the one in 2Chronicles:
John 14: 15-17
15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another counselor to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth (the Comforter, Holy Spirit). The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
Two simple commands which baffle the mind of men. Love The Lord your God with everything in you. Love your neighbor as yourself. If you do that then, God WILL send the Holy Spirit to be with you FOREVER. The Spirit of Truth to help you understand His Word. The Comforter for you to turn to in time of need. Not a replacement for God and not a substitute for Jesus, but a teacher to help and guide us and a conduit for Gods love, mercy and grace to flow in and through us.
Makes things a whole lot less “iffy” doesn’t it? We have His Word on it.
© Simply Consider This, 2013.