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December 2, 2014

Text:  “Hear, O heavens, and give ear,  O earth: for the Lord has spoken: Children have I reared and brought up, but they have rebelled against me.  The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master’s crib, but Israel does not know , my people does not understand.”  Isaiah 1:2-3

There may be different kinds of rebellion; Israel’s separation from God was a rebellion of heart, mind and soul. As Israel drifted from God theirs was a  rebellion. It was not a rebellion of tumult and uproar. Not a Boston Tea Party; not a storming of the Bastille. But the rebellion came quietly into the hearts of the Israelites. So quietly that the citizens did not realize that they had abandoned God. The abandonment was not achieved by armaments, but by ignorance. The Israelites uncaringly drifted away from their knowledge of  God’s word.

The word of God was resident among them, distributed by the priests daily. But these  holy men abandoned teaching God’s laws to Israel and led them into the worship of  the Canaanites. It was desertion of leadership and people. Worship and morals alike were discarded. The Lord began the withdrawal of material as well as spiritual blessings. God was forgiving however and gave a prescription for their healing. “Seek good, and not evil, that  you may live.; and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you, as you have said.”  Amos 5:14

The first false step was Israel’s failure to remember the law of Moses (the word of God). They had been exhorted to remember these words and order their lives according to their teaching. “Then take care lest you forget the Lord, ,who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” Deuteronomy 6:12 Read the book of Deuteronomy and note how frequently Moses urged them  either “to remember” or to “not forget” the word of God.  But, that is exactly what they did!  As they adopted the Canaanite worship they forsook God and his precepts.  What was the outcome?   They didn’t just close the temple doors with full pews; they waited until the pews were empty! Slow abandonment!

So, here’s your remedy. Read and study your Bible daily.  Say, 30 minutes a day, plus prayer. Can’t find time? Look at your schedule and drop something unimportant. Feel you don’t know enough?  Find a Bible study pal who knows more than you do. JUST DO IT.

False step number two: negligence.  My wife kept on me all the time about keeping my car clean. It was not bad, a coffee stir, a paper napkin, maybe a crumb or two. Then one day I pulled up beside a car in the parking lot. I got out and happened to look as its occupants de-boarded. Their auto was filled with garbage: dirty clothes, shoes, empty milk jugs, napkins, newspapers, and what else I know not! How did it get that way? Negligence! One day at a time of carelessness. And that is the way your soul gets sluggish! Postpone. Tell yourself someone else will do it.

So here is a plan for your negligence. Place a priority on the time you have to work for the Lord. “We must works of him who sent me while it is day,  night is coming, when no one can work.” John 9:4  Keep on laboring in the kingdom. Keep producing fruit for God.  “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in  the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not vain.”  I Corinthians 15:58

The third prescription is: defeat your own ignorance.  If Satan can keep us ignorant he can keep us from serving God. Ignorance lulls us into inactivity. Satan uses the tools of laziness and procrastination to thwart us from improving our knowledge. Keep learning and growing in the church of the Lord. Remember that you are your own teacher all your life long. “Do your best to present yourself to God, as  one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” II Timothy 2:15 

Let’s wrap it up. The issue is choosing ignorance. Of being guilty of choosing the lazy way rather than the difficult road. So think and choose wisely for your soul’s sake.

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