As usual, I was taken with the Word of God while reading two different passages in the Old Testament that indicate two very different attitudes towards God and His Word. The first passage is taken from 2 Kings and the second passage comes from Psalm 56. These passages show the difference between those who know and love God and those who reject God. The ones who love God rejoice in His Word, while those who reject God put His Word behind their backs and refuse to listen to Him. It is good to see this contrast from God’s Word.
The Northern Kingdom, Israel, under the leadership of Jeroboam, had rejected God given worship and embraced the false gods of the peoples around them. Jeroboam, given the Northern Kingdom by God, had made two golden calves for Israel to worship, so there would not be the possibility of them reconciling with the Southern Kingdom, the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. God brought judgment upon them after years of apostasy. The wrath of God was brought upon them, after years of warnings and years of apostasy and apostate kings, through the Assyrian nation. The indictment against the nation is presented by God in 2 Kings 17:7-23.
7For so it was, that the children of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, which had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods,8And walked in the statutes of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which they had made. 9And the children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right against the LORD their God, and they built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city. 10And they set them up images and groves in every high hill, and under every green tree: 11And there they burnt incense in all the high places, as did the heathen whom the LORD carried away before them; and wrought wicked things to provoke the LORD to anger: 12For they served idols, whereof the LORD had said unto them, Ye shall not do this thing.13Yet the LORD testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and by all the seers, saying, Turn ye from your evil ways, and keep my commandments and my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets. 14Notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their fathers, that did not believe in the LORD their God.15 And they rejected His statutes, and His covenant that He made with their fathers, and His testimonies which He testified against them; and they followed vanity, and became vain, and went after the heathen that were round about them, concerning whom the LORD had charged them, that they should not do like them. 16And they left all the commandments of the LORD their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal.17 And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger. 18Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of His sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only. 19Also Judah kept not the commandments of the LORD their God, but walked in the statutes of Israel which they made. 20And the LORD rejected all the seed of Israel, and afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of spoilers, until He had cast them out of His sight. 21For He rent Israel from the house of David; and they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king: and Jeroboam drove Israel from following the LORD, and made them sin a great sin.22For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they departed not from them; 23Until the LORD removed Israel out of His sight, as He had said by all His servants the prophets. So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day.
Nehemiah further reveals the attitude of the Israelites towards the Lord and His Word in Nehemiah 9:22-27 despite the Lord’s great mercy towards them and His faithfulness in keeping His promises.
22Moreover Thou gave them kingdoms and nations, and didst divide them into corners: so they possessed the land of Sihon, and the land of the king of Heshbon, and the land of Og king of Bashan. 23Their children also multiplied Thou as the stars of heaven, and brought them into the land, concerning which Thou had promised to their fathers, that they should go in to possess it. 24So the children went in and possessed the land, and Thou subdued before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, and gave them into their hands, with their kings, and the people of the land, that they might do with them as they would. 25And they took strong cities, and a fat land, and possessed houses full of all goods, wells dug, vineyards, and olive yards, and fruit trees in abundance: so they did eat, and were filled, and became fat, and delighted themselves in Thy great goodness. 26Nevertheless they were disobedient, and rebelled against Thee, and cast Thy law behind their backs, and slew Thy prophets which testified against them to turn them to Thee, and they wrought great provocations. 27Therefore Thou delivered them into the hand of their enemies, who vexed them: and in the time of their trouble, when they cried unto Thee, Thou heard them from heaven; and according to Thy manifold mercies Thou gave them saviors, who saved them out of the hand of their enemies. Nehemiah 9:22-27
Despite the Lord’s loving kindness towards His people, the good land that He brought them into and His glorious law that He bequeathed to them, the people of Israel rejected the Lord, His Word and His prophets preferring instead the false gods of the people around them and living sinful lives that produced great harm to themselves and their posterity. They rejected the Lord and cast His Word behind their backs. Therefore God rejected them and brought upon them His promised judgment and wrath.
There is a glaring contrast between these rebels and the redeemed of the Lord who believe in Him and love His Word. We can see the attitude of those who belong to the Lord in Psalm 56.
To the chief Musician upon Jonathelemrechokim, Michtam of David, when the Philistines took him in Gath.1Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up; he fighting daily oppresses me. 2Mine enemies would daily swallow me up: for they be many that fight against me, O Thou most High. 3What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.4In God I will praise His word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me. 5Every day they wrest my words: all their thoughts are against me for evil. 6They gather themselves together, they hide themselves, they mark my steps, when they wait for my soul. 7Shall they escape by iniquity? In thine anger cast down the people, O God. 8Thou tells my wanderings: put Thou my tears into Thy bottle: are they not in thy book? 9When I cry unto Thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me. 10In God will I praise His word: in the LORD will I praise His word. 11In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.12Thy vows are upon me, O God: I will render praises unto Thee. 13For Thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not Thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living? Psalms 56:1-13
The beloved of God trust Him in their times of difficulty and do not fear man. They have an intimate relationship with the Lord and go to Him in prayer in times of trouble. Those who love the Lord Jesus Christ know Him and rely upon His holiness and goodness towards them. They constantly go the His Word so they can know Him better and serve Him more faithfully. They believe in and count upon His tender mercies towards them and His wonderful watch care over them. They praise their God and praise His Word. The redeemed of the Lord continue in His truth which is found in His Word the Bible and live their lives of obedient faith through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit and belief and reliance upon God’s Word.
God’s Word tells us that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8), we also see that people don’t change throughout the years. If God brought judgment upon those who rejected Him, though they were of the household of His people, and embraced the beliefs of the peoples around them, will also bring judgment upon those who are of the household of faith who embrace the traditions and beliefs of the people around them rather than holding fast to the revelation of God disclosed for us in the Scriptures. Today, those who are of the household of the faith who rely upon the writings of men rather than the pure crystal clear teaching of God’s Word and embrace the beliefs of the unregenerate how they are either seriously deceived believers or they are not redeemed. The genuine ecclesia of God loves Him, trusts Him, obeys Him, and believes His Word. They demonstrate their faith by believing and obeying the Bible. If you find that you have embraced man’s writings and so have no appetite for the Word of God it is not too late to put that book down and take up the Book for your spiritual edification and your well-being. May our Lord Jesus Christ bless us with sincere desire to walk with Him in Spirit and truth.