Monday, June 28, 2010

2010 – June 28 – Creeping Incrementalism

Study from God’s Word 2nd Kings 15: 29 [1st Chron. 5: 23 – 26]; 2Kgs 15: 37; 2Kgs 15: 30-31; 2Kgs 17: 1-2; 2Kgs 15: 36, 38a [2Chron 27: 7, 9a]; 2Kgs 38b [2Chron 27: 9b, 28: 1a]; 2Kgs 16: 2b-4 [2Chron 28: 1b-4] … Passage for Reflection: 2nd Kings 15: 29 … NIV 29 In the time of Pekah king of Israel, Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria came and took Ijon, Abel Beth Maacah, Janoah, Kedesh and Hazor. He took Gilead and Galilee, including all the land of Naphtali, and deported the people to Assyria.

My Journal for Today: After reading through the OT history which Dr. Smith led me to in his directed chronological study of the Bible for today’s date, I was led to read about all the political and social intrigue which had transpired in over 200 years of Israel and Judah becoming split kingdoms, … God’s people, who, for the most part slowly wandered away from their devotion and worship of their God, … the God Who had made them His chosen people, led them out of captivity, and brought them into a land He had promised them.

It was well over 200 years of what Dr. Smith today calls ”Creeping Incrementalism.” And today’s highlight verse only captures a snapshot of some of these people being deported as Assyria broke them down into captivity. And here were God’s people being taken captive by pagan nations, just as a number of God’s Prophets had warned. No, it wasn’t because they were ignorant of truth or God’s will. It wasn’t because they hadn’t been warned and rewarned and rewarned … over and over and over again. God had been incredibly patient and forbearing; but slowly, … incrementally, … God’s people had become Satan’s pawns. How does it happen; as I think you recognize how powerfully it applies to our lives as well?

Creeping incremental sin certainly applied to my life. For over 22 years of my life, I chose to ignore the warnings and let my flesh choose sin and Satan over the Savior. And slowly, gradually I made one seductive choice after another, leading down the primrose path toward death. Fortunately, for me, as God’s word says it will happen for God’s people, I surrendered by will to the “hound of Heaven.” And ultimately the mind of man will surrender and hear the truth of the Gospel, especially when Christ, Who is God’s Redeemer, will come again to reclaim His Bride; and there will be rejoicing at the wedding feast of the Lamb of God. But in the meantime, we are now – again – seeing the effects of those who deny God, ignore His warnings, and try to mock Him with their sin.

However, as it began in history with today’s reading, God’s people and even more of the lost people who surrounded them in life, are going to experience the death-knell of God’s wrath as He will not allow even those He loves to perpetuate disobedience and fleshly ways of life. Sin always has consequences [!], even for those who are believers and most certainly for those who mock or deny God. And if it takes a season of separation, as it did for Israel and Judah, … well, so be it! And that’s what we read from today’s study of Hebrew history.

We cannot abide and choose to do things in the way of the flesh, especially knowing that we’re ignoring God’s way. Ultimately, God will leave us to our own sinful minds and hearts (and that’s the subject of one of the most sinister passages in the NT – meditate on Romans 1: 18 – 32 - linked). But if/when we can know God’s ways (through His word) and surrender to His will, God’s mercies are new every day (see Lam. 3: 22, 23 - linked]; and He will be there to save His surrendered children.

Oh, how I hope that any who read here are in surrender mode to God’s will for their lives; because if you are letting “creeping Incrementalism” with sin choices repeatedly taken you into captivity, at some point, God will simply turn you over to your self and let Satan have you for a season. OR, God could choose to take you home and not let you become a tainted witness of His love and mercy. But, make no mistake about it, we cannot continue to choose sin and self over our Savior. God will not be mocked!!!

My Prayer for Today: Lord, You know my heart; and You lift me up with Your strength to choose Your ways over the ways of my flesh. Help me to continue to walk in Your footsteps. Amen

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