A lack of knowledge

Every day I hear people speculate about the future of our country. I hear them complain about lawlessness and about the general lack of discipline and how criminals are literally getting away with murder. There are also daily reports about the decline of the environment. In the book of Hosea the same conditions that prevail now were also prevalent at that time. Hosea was a contemporary of Isaiah.
Hosea 4:1-2, Hear the word of the Lord, you Israelites, because the Lord has a charge to bring against you who live in the land: There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgement of God in the land. There is only cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed.
The result of this sin is very interesting.
Hosea 4:3, Because of this the land mourns, and all who live in it waste away; the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and the fish of the sea are dying.
I find this absolutely fascinating. Because people are committing all kinds of crimes and living in sin, the environment is suffering.
Verse 6, My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. “Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children.
Look at what the countries look that turn away from serving God. Some of the African countries which should be fertile and productive, are shadows of what they could be. Look at a country like Zimbabwe. The majority of the people of Zimbabwe have been evangelized and know who God is, yet they turned away from him and see what has been caused by all the violence. The land mourns. There are other countries like Ethiopia where the same thing happened. Even the earth is crying our for God.
Romans 8:19-21, The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.
Isaiah 24:1-6, See, the Lord is going to lay waste the earth and devastate it; he will ruin its face and scatter its inhabitants- it will be the same for priest as for people, for master as for servant, for mistress as for maid, for seller as for buyer, for borrower as for creditor. The earth will be completely laid waste and totally plundered. The Lord has spoken this word. The earth dries us and withers, the world languishes and withers, the exalted of the earth languish. The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt. Therefore the earth’s inhabitants are burned up, and very few are left.
Isaiah and Hosea are saying the same thing. Because of sin, the earth will suffer, and that’s what we are seeing on a global scale. It is just called by different names. Global warming, ozone depletion, and phenomenons like el nino, which influence the weather patterns. There is only one who is in charge of weather patterns and that is God, the one who created weather.
Isaiah says that people have broken the everlasting covenant, and Hosea says that people are destroyed because of a lack of knowledge. We are going to have to dig deeper in the Word of God so that we can get closer to Jesus and live righteous lives. If we want to call ourselves children of God then we are going to have to start acting like princes and princesses. We are going to have to know what we believe in, and be willing to live out the things we believe in so that the world can see we look different. Once we do that the earth will have be able to start recovering. We can’t be satisfied with the scraps that are falling under the table anymore. Psalm 23 says that God will prepare a table for us in the presence of our enemies. We are supposed to be sitting at that table and taking part in the feast, not cowering under it and being satisfied with morsels that come our way. I invite you to take your seat at the table and start making a difference to your environment.

Burn your Bridges

My husband was reading the newspaper and there was a report about the Zimbabwean government who say they are going to partially compensate farmers whose land was expropriated. There’s an Afrikaans saying that goes, “moet nooit sê fonteintjie, fonteintjie, uit jou gaan ek nooit weer drink nie.”Translated it says, “Never say, Fountain I won’t drink from you again.” In other words, don’t burn your bridges. Farmers will forever be wary of going back to farm in Zimbabwe because of what happened there. Nobody is willingly going to invest money, emotions and hard work in something that can go up in smoke in minutes. If they receive compensation now, it could be deemed as a kind of peace offering and the economy could eventually stabilize with good farmers returning.

Moses, in Exodus 2:11-25, killed an Egyptian and hid his body in the sand. He, not only became an immediate enemy of Pharaoh, who sought to kill him, but also of his own people, the Jews. Instead of seeing him as a hero because he had killed the Egyptian who had beaten a Hebrew, they distrusted him and saw him as a threat. As a result, he fled and effectively burned all his bridges behind him. If god hadn’t called him to go back to rescue his people, he definitely would never have returned to Egypt. I’m just thinking that the way he was saved from being killed as a baby, and how he grew up, should have been an indicator that there was a special assignment on his life. But it’s easy for me to say with all the information in front of me. When Moses returned to Egypt he had to do a lot of proving to his people before they would trust him. Obviously Pharaoh wasn’t his greatest fan either.

John 8:1 -11 describes a woman who had been caught in adultery. She was on the verge of being stoned to death when Jesus stopped the whole process by confronting he persecutors with the words in verse 7, “he who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” In verse 1 Jesus says to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and sin no more.” She had the perfect opportunity to burn all the bad bridges behind her and start fresh. I like to think that she took hold of the opportunity with both hands and started a new life.

Saul, who became Paul, burned his bridges when he became a follower of Jesus and went from a persecutor of Christians, to being persecuted. His was the original Damascus experience and as a result we have most of the New Testament. Paul was so committed to his new life that he risked everything to follow the Jesus he had been so dead set against. 2 Corinthians 11:24 -27, “From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness” Paul purposely burned the bridges of his past to follow Jesus, which is exactly what we must do.

2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”  Here we are being told expressly that we have to burn our bridges and embrace our new life in Christ. We cannot, must not, go back to our old habits and our old traditions. We are brand new and we have to behave like brand new beings. Matthew 6:14 – 16, “you are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

The world says that it’s bad to burn your bridges, but things in the Kingdom of God work differently and it seems like burning your bridges is not a bad thing at all.