Today in the penultimate, while focusing on the similarities between the church of the erstwhile Covenant (Acts 7:38) and the one of the prevalent Covenant, we train the spotlight on the following sub-topics…
Any Christian worth his honesty salt would testify that whenever he went astray, the concerned Heavenly Father would discipline him by using his “hostile” immediate next door “neighbors” (any 1 of the 5 categories mentioned last time, including unsaved neighbours, unsaved government, unsaved bosses, unsaved family members and unsaved former friends). In retrospect, a Christian would always thank the Lord for the “benefits of chastening”:“My child, don’t make light of the LORD’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the LORD disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.” (Heb. 12 5b, 6a NLT; see also Heb. 12:5-11)!
What about our Jewish counterparts? Was anything different? No way. The Book of Judges bears witness to the fact as to how the good Lord would use the “antagonistic neigbours” umpteen times to put the errant Jews back on the “right track” (See Judges 2:11-18/Ps. 119:71-72).
It would also serve us well to note at this juncture that there has always been an escalating order in punishments reserved for the Jews and Christians. Jews, despite being chastened by the good Lord (by using the adverse neighbours), would not lose out on their Promised Land. The highest punishment (again aimed at their spiritual benefit) of losing the “Promised Land” itself would come eventually only on they continued exhibiting stubbornness to remain in sin. Ditto with the Christians. The eventual punishment of losing out on the “joyous presence of the Holy Spirit” is reserved only for those who become insensitive to “smaller punishments”.
The Jewish “Church” (see Acts 7:38), when despite warnings from diligent prophets it kept plunging headlong into sin, was finally handed over to the very hands it was liberated from…Satanic agents (liberated from World super power Egypt). Continual disobedience resulted in these painful consequences…
b) Judah (comprising 2 tribes) being handed over into the hands of the world ruler…the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar (at least initially a Satanic agent till his great reformation — See Dan 4) in 586 BC (See 2 Chron. 36:12-15).
When a Christian plunges headlong into sin, having lost his “first-love” for the Lord, the final terrible punishment (albeit administered with an aim directed at his eventual spiritual recovery — see Mal. 3:3), as he becomes insensitive to “smaller punishments”, would well be around the corner…of being handed over into the very evil hands from which he was rescued (see 1 Cor. 5:5/1 Tim. 1:18-20). Without an ounce of the Holy Spirit, it would be a horrific, excruciating experience of spiritual agony with the “leanness of the soul” (See Ps. 106:15), adding to the virtual “hell-like” spiritual condition. It is in these exacerbating conditions on realizing the value of “virtual Heaven on Earth”, wrought by the presence of the Holy Spirit, that his love for the Lord would be rekindled and his life would turn the corner for good (See 2 Cor. 2:6-8).
Having gone through it once in my life, ideally I wouldn’t want even my worst enemies to go through the same. In retrospect, however, I must be admitted that a Christian at the end of it all emerges out of it as a more “well-rounded” one…of being more empathetic to other Christians going through the desert experience!!!
Prayer: Father, we simply are awed by the infinite wisdom and patience You exhibit in leading us in our Heaven-bound journey. Enable us to trust Thee in all kinds of circumstances. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries