[forthright] Whose God Do We Follow?

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Aug 2007 14:37:08 -0500
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross


COLUMN: Square One

Whose God Do We Follow?
by Richard Mansel

The sins of Israel led them into captivity under
the Babylonian King, Nebuchadnezzar (Jeremiah 39).
The King allowed some people to remain in the land
of Judah (Jeremiah 39:10). Gedaliah the Governor
of the land protected Jeremiah until assassins
vacated his throne (Jeremiah 40-41).  

Johanan takes the people of God towards Egypt.
Johanan comes to Jeremiah and asks, "Please, let
our petition be acceptable to you, and pray for us
to the Lord your God, for all this remnant (since
we are left but a few of many, as you can see),
that the Lord your God may show us the way in
which we should walk and the thing we should do"
(Jeremiah 42:2-3, NKJV). Jeremiah assures them
that he will petition God on their behalf and they
must be ready for what the Lord will say.

God waits ten days, telling Jeremiah that they
must remain in the land of Babylon, and submit to
the King (Jeremiah 42:7-22). Angrily, they reply
to Jeremiah. "Johanan the son of Kareah, and all
the proud men spoke, saying to Jeremiah, 'You
speak falsely! The LORD our God has not sent you
to say, 'Do not go to Egypt to dwell there'"
(Jeremiah 43:2). They go to Egypt anyway, taking
Jeremiah with them. Judgment comes upon them and
the nation of Egypt, while Jeremiah's faithfulness
brings life.

Johanan's subtle word usage is very interesting.
He comes to Jeremiah to ask what "your" God
desires. When the forthcoming answer is
displeasing to him, he claims that "our" God did
not say that. This mentality is all too common.

Man will often rationalize what he wants to be
correct so he can find peace of mind./1 He will
create a god in his image so he will always find
verification for his fleshly desires. The self-
denial required of this lie is comprehensive.
Everything must be reoriented to suit this new
reality.

God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according
to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the
fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and
over the cattle, over all the earth and over every
creeping thing that creeps on the earth" (Genesis
1:27).

God is the Lord of Heaven and earth. He possesses
the right to life and death. We submit to him or
find ourselves under his judgment (1 Peter 5:6).
We cannot try to wrestle authority away from him
without consequence (Psalm 99:1). Paul wrote, "Let
God be true but every man a liar" (Romans 3:4).
Only he is God, man is a pretender. We are not
prepared to "fight against God," no matter what
preparations we make (Acts 5:39; Job 38-41).

Approaching Scripture with such a domineering
attitude will bring similar results. Paul warned
against stepping outside of Scripture because it
brings vanity (1 Corinthians 4:6). Manipulating
God's Word rather than bowing ourselves to its
truths will bring storms of misery upon our lives.
The man who tries to force Scripture to be his own
toy is no better than Jehoiakim, king of Judah,
who attempted to destroy God's Word in the fire
(Jeremiah 36:20-32).

We must realize that God's truths existed before
men and their folly (Psalm 119:89). The only wise
alternative left to man is to submit, rather than
trying to substitute our will for his. God's
criterion for judgment also predated man, so man
cannot alter or avoid it (Revelation 20:11-15).  

Creating a god in our own image will bring
fleeting satisfaction. However, it will yield an
eternity of horror (Matthew 8:12)

__________
1/ http://tinyurl.com/3a49eu

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