You Have Forsaken Me

2 Chronicles 12:5
“Thus says the Lord:‘You have forsaken Me, and therefore I also have left you in the hand of Shishak. ’”

A few years ago I was traveling to West Africa to speak at a conference for pastors and church workers. Most of the preparation for the event took place on the ground in Africa leaving me to only be responsible for my own travel needs. Three documents are necessary for entrance into Ghana. First like all countries a passport is necessary, second Ghana requires a visa and finally an immunization card showing that I have received an inoculation against Yellow Fever. Having been to Ghana before I knew of the requirements, planned my trip and headed toward the airport. About fifteen miles into my drive I had an urge to check my documents. I pulled over and dug through my bag to find that I had a passport and visa but had left my immunization card behind. I was forced at that point to turn around and go get it.

Judah under Reheboam had forgotten the Lord. Their prosperity had made them comfortable and in their comfort they had neglected God. It wasn’t until things began to go bad that they realized they had left behind the most important aspect of traveling through this life. They had neglected the Lord. The solution was the same for them as it is for us. They must turn around. Stop going in a direction that led them away from the Lord and start moving in direction toward Him.

Perhaps you have been neglecting the Lord, perhaps you have been busy but have not been busy doing the things that will bring about eternal reward. Stop moving in a direction away from God, turn around and get busy following Jesus.

Jim

 

Not Forsaken 

Jeremiah 51:5

“For Israel is not forsaken, nor Judah, by his God, the Lord of hosts, though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel.”

As Jeremiah writes this, Jerusalem is smoldering in the rubble of its own destruction. Babylonian forces have taken the people captive, burned the city to the ground, and set up their own government to rule over Israel. Since the cause of Judah’s fall was their stubborn rebellion against the Word of the Lord, it would seem logical to conclude that God had forsaken His people. Jeremiah declares that those who are in covenant relationship with God, will not be utterly forsaken, even when we have sinned against Him.

Obviously, sin is damaging and has long lasting effects upon our lives. The children of Israel experienced this first hand, as they were defeated in battle, taken captive, and became strangers in a foreign land for seventy years. The same will be true of us. A man who is unfaithful to his wife and family, may destroy his marriage and lose the trust of his children. A person who is  dishonest at work, may lose his job and find it very difficult to support his family. But a child of God, no matter how hard he falls, will not be forsaken.

Hebrews 13:5 “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’”

The promise that God will never leave us should keep us close to Him, not living on the edges as far away as possible, while maintaining a relationship with God. This promise should drive us closer and closer to the one who loves us with an everlasting love. This truth should motivate us to cry our for mercy, and allow ourselves to be washed in His amazing grace.

No matter what you have done, His mercy is new every morning, and your relationship with Him can be restored.

Pastor Jim

 

Forsaken

Psalm 22:1
“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?
Why are You so far from helping Me,
And from the words of My groaning?”

Although David wrote this Psalm as an expression of the experiences he was facing, it has a much bigger application than he ever could have conceived. It was on the cross that Jesus uttered the opening words to this great Psalm.
“And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ which is translated, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’” Mark 15:34

In order to speak from the cross, Jesus would have to endure unimaginable pain. He would have to straighten Himself up by pressing against the nail driven through His feet, and breathe in deeply to force any words out. When His silence was broken by these words, His followers would have been immediately drawn to the words of Psalm 22. After watching the crucifixion, there could be no other conclusion; David was speaking prophetically of Christ.

This Psalm, written almost one thousand years before Christ, gives a vivid picture of the events of that dark Friday. David speaks in advance of the ridicule that Jesus would endure. We know that the religious leaders, the crowd, the soldiers and even the thieves all mocked Jesus; calling for Him to prove that He was God and break free from the cross. David also describes the way Christ died with amazing detail. He speaks of His tongue clinging to His mouth in thirst, His hands and feet being pierced, His bones being unbroken, yet out of joint, and his heart melting like water within Him. This Psalm gives undeniable proof of the inspiration of the Word of God, and of the claims of Christ.

That being true, the cry of Christ from the cross does more than draw our attention to the prophetic words of David. It also reveals something of the suffering Jesus endured on the cross. While on the cross, Jesus was giving His life as a substitute for ours. He was bearing the penalty of our sin, so we would not have to. Paul put it like this;

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

The penalty for sin is separation from God. While on the cross, bearing our sin, Jesus experienced sin’s penalty. His cry was not mere poetry, but the expression of what He must endure to save us. Our experiences allow us to understand the weight of sin to a small degree. We have all felt the heavy burden of committing sin, and knowing what it has done to our relationship with God, and with others. We can never imagine the weight of all the sin of humanity. Every vile thought, word, and action ever committed by every man,woman, and child who ever lived, bore down upon our Savior as He hung upon the cross, paying for our sin. And we read that the Father forsook His Son.

All this was done, Christ was forsaken, so that we would never be forsaken. Because of His substitutionary death, the writer of Hebrews was able to declare,

“For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5

What love…

Pastor Jim