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Thursday, October 13, 2011

10/14/11 Seek God and Live

1 Hear this word, Israel, this lament I take up concerning you:
2 “Fallen is Virgin Israel, never to rise again,
deserted in her own land, with no one to lift her up.”
3 This is what the Sovereign LORD says to Israel:
“Your city that marches out a thousand strong will have only a hundred left;
your town that marches out a hundred strong will have only ten left.”
4 This is what the LORD says to Israel: “Seek me and live;
5 do not seek Bethel, do not go to Gilgal, do not journey to Beersheba.
For Gilgal will surely go into exile, and Bethel will be reduced to nothing.”
6 Seek the LORD and live, or he will sweep through the tribes of Joseph like a fire;
it will devour them, and Bethel will have no one to quench it.

(William Hole- prophet denouncing Jeroboam's altar at Bethel/Dan)

Thoughts: Where do you seek God?   Does it matter at all?  The people of Israel thought they could seek God at Bethel, or Gilgal, or Beersheba.  These were three special places in Israelite history and they stood at the border of Juah to the north, east and south.  They were holy places that became corrupted with idolatry.  Bethel was the place where Jacob had a dream of the angels descending and ascending.  The northern king of Israel indicated was a holy place- there he set up an altar to the Lord for worship in order to keep the people of the north from going back to Jerusalem in the southern kingdom of Judah (1 Kgs. 12:25-33).  Gilgal was seen as a holy place, for it was the headquarters for Joshua (10:43), and was the first place the Israelites set foot on when they crossed into the promised land and were circumcised.  Beersheba was a spot where Abraham and Isaac dug wells.  Elijah took refuge there from Jezebel.  But Amos 8:14 speaks of Beersheba as a center for idolatry.  It is clear that a holy place where God met someone once, can be corrupted. 
    I have heard many say, "I can meet with God any place.  I can meet him on the lake, or on the river, at the ocean, on the mountain top or on the golf course."  I have heard people say, "He leads me beside the still waters and green pastures" (semi-quoting Psalm 23 to justify their seeking God other places); Beautiful places, where God perhaps has met people before.  But such places are not prescribed by God for worship.  When we think we can meet God in our own way, on our own terms, at our own place, we are setting ourselves up to corrup the holy.  We should seek God, and seek Him by submitting to His voice- listening for His direction for how to seek Him. 
    In God there is life.  When we leave God, or seek other gods, we are moving away from life toward death.

Prayer: Lord, you asked us to meet together for the sole purpose of seeking you.  We need your help, your presence, your joy, your peace, your provision.  Give us ears to hear you once more, and call us back to you.  Instill in me a never-ending desire to seek you first.

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