Returning Repentance

With the revelation of the pretensious treachery of Judah God again extends mercy to the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Though they had departed from God and since the departure from the Southern Kingdom, had never really had much worship and care for God they were not pretentious in their behavior. You will not find one righteous king among the people of Israel. Jereboam, the first king of Israel, it is said of Him, “Jereboam did not turn from his evil way…” (1 Kings 13:33). And, that is of all the kings of Israel.

One clear thing that we can see from this invitation from God through the prophet Jeremiah is that God hates pretention, hypocrisy, and He extends mercy to all.

“Then the LORD said to me, ‘Backsliding Israel has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Judah. Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say: ‘Return, backsliding Israel,’ says the LORD; ‘I will not cause My anger to fall on you. For I am merciful,’ says the LORD; ‘I will not remain angry forever. Only acknowledge your iniquity, that you have transgressed against the LORD your God, and have scattered your charms to alien deities under every green tree, and have not obeyed My voice,’ says the LORD.” Jeremiah 3:11-13 (NKJV).

It is amazing to me the number of people who have told me, and some I have heard of from others who do not believe that the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament are the same. Right here is clear evidence of it. God is merciful, gracious, and loving in the New Testament. He has always longed for His backsliding people to return to Him.

The Northern Kingdom got off in a backsliding agenda. their first king, Jereboam set up two idols for them to worship, and keep the people from returning to Jerusalem. He set up a golden calf in Dan, and at Bethel. None of the following kings had a heart for God and hated His prophets. They sacrificed their children in the fire. Worshipped many false gods, and were perverse in their behavior. Now God pleads with them to repent.

My, how God’s heart grieves for His people. He calls for repentance. Though it is not immediately seen God will accomplish His Word, and His people will return to Him. Hosea, the prophet had a wife who turned from him to pagan, idolatrous, prostitution, and worship of pleasure rather than the God of glory. Hosea pursues his wife, and this is the picture of God pursuing His nation of people to bring them back to Himself.

This was accomplished. The people who came back from the captivity of Babylon were a mixed people. People of the Northern and Southern Kingdoms returned together, and they have been one nation since that time. They were one nation in the time of Jesus. They will be one nation through all time.

When God calls for His people to repent He is calling for us to turn from going the wrong direction, ie., away from Him, and turn around and go with Him. No matter what we have done; no matter how evil and vile; no matter our guilt, or our associations; God’s call to return is still powerful and valid. If you have gotten out of His will; if you are still in your sins; if your life is in a real mess; and if your worship has grown cold; then His call to return to Him is for you. He asks only that you acknowledge your iniquity – that you had turned from Him to sin. He is merciful, will hear your cry, and will receive you back to a walk with Him.

We have all sinned. We all fall short of His glory, and yet He calls us to Himself. Repentance is Returning to God. Returning to God is Repentance.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

People Deportment

There are people who are “Bird watchers”.  These people will go and watch the dilapidated, redheaded woodpecker show up however and wherever it shows up.  You can tell I am not a “Birdwatcher”, though I love to hear the sounds they make, and I know that description I gave of the woodpecker is not accurate.  I hope if you are, you get humor from my gross inaccuracies.

There are people who like shopping, driving cars, and just for the sake of driving – even though that is getting to be a rather expensive venture nowadays.  When it comes to shopping; that mostly involves women and girls, though there are some men who enjoy it as well – I am not one of them.  There are times when it comes to shopping that people will pile into stores, the day after Christmas, and practically, or all together stomp on one another to find and get whatever it is they want.  You know there have been a few injuries in this gang shopping.

If there is anything that I enjoy watching, even more than a good movie, is people.  I have been know to sit down in a Mall, on one of their benches, and just watch the people as they go by, as they window shop, as they eat and drink.  Sometimes, I see a fuss and  quarrel.  I don’t enjoy seeing people fighting with one another.  I don’t enjoy fights at all, and I especially don’t like being in the middle of one.  To be the cause of one is an anathema event for me, and I will do almost anything short of lying to avoid it.

I never cease to be amazed at the gullability of people.  Just last week I heard the story of a man named Robert Salisbury, from Jacksonville, OR. who came home to find all his household goods, work tools, and even his horse being carted away.  It seems that someone had in jest put a notice on a website called “Craig’s List” that was supposedly placed by Robert, telling the people who read the site that he was being forced from his home, would not return, so everything in the house and outside it were free for the taking.  When he arrived home to find people carting things away; he was met by rudeness, an “I don’t care” attitude, “It’s too late now”, and Robert lost about everything.  Gullable people who because of a prank, end up becoming thieves.  I don’t know how this turned out for the people who stole Roberts possessions, or for Robert; but I do know this certainly proves the gullability of people.

Then, there are those who are just out in out thieves.  On March 12 or so, within seven miles of where my wife and I live some Bank Robbers broke into a bank, took a safe, and opened safety deposit boxes.  They did this in the late night, early morning hours, under the cover of darkness.  Isn’t it amazing how evil is done mostly under the cover of darkness.  Dark hearts work best in the dark, I guess.   These thieves broke in the back door of the bank, disarmed the alarm system, spray painted the security cameras, they had turned the outside security cameras backwards.  The more I think about this the more it sounds as though they had help from inside the employment of the bank.  My thoughts only, and a few others probably.  The employees of the bank arrived around 8:00 a.m. to find the back door broken and a mess on the inside.  These thieves had planned this to the max.  They had evidently worn gloves so as not to leave fingerprints.  They had stolen a truck for a while and then left it behind in another location.

Some things like the above really disturb me about people.  It would even worse if I didn’t know that people are all basically evil.  Even myself.  A man whom I know was recently convicted of bad check charges of $500 dollars or more, and sentenced to three years in prison.  I had sat and ate breakfast with him a number of times.  It hurts when you see people do these things.  We are truly an interesting lot.  How God must laugh, and my  how He must cry at times. 

There are so many things happening in this world right now.  All involving people.  Most all are drawn to the gathering of more things.  All on a search for love, and some finding it, and some not. 

Now is the greatest time in the history of man to be the Christian God has called us to be.  Mankind has never had the opportunities which we have now for telling others.  The means I am using right now, this computer, and the internet, are great tools for telling the world about the true source of love.  Love is of God, for “God is love”.  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16).  Jesus said also, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by Me” (John 14:6).

People Deportment will not change until people give themselves to Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.  Will you turn to Him today?  He died for your sins, was burried, carrying sins away, then He rose from the grave and is forever alive and seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven.

-by Tim A. Blankenship