I don’t want to get into the whole debate about the inerrancy of Scripture, which bits count, what we can ignore. That’s not the aim of my writing although I think I’ve made my views clear by what I do write. I just need to say that sometimes when I read I get raised eyebrow syndrome and have to think. Thinking is never a bad thing as I hope you will agree. Today I was faced with Hezekiah in 2 Chronicles and the Israelites in Exodus.
If you know the stories then both of these situations had experience of the awesome power of God. The Chronicler tells us that Hezekiah followed the Lord like David, a great epitaph as I have said before. He experienced God’s power and protection and in 2 Kings 20:11 we see God made the sun move backwards as a sign. The Israelites had had sign after sign culminating in manna from heaven and water from a rock just yesterday. In
In 2 Chronicles 24-26 Hezekiah became proud and the whole of Judah suffered. Israel constantly grumbled, complained and defied God but He remained (for the most part) patient with them. At one point, when He had had enough (Exodus 32: 7-14) and was going to destroy them and start over; it is Moses’ intercession that stops Him. It seems at first view to be unfair, one man’s sin can affect a whole nation and a whole nation can be forgiven because one man interceded? Surely we need to be responsible for ourselves? I suppose it is the same argument about why God chose one nation out of all the world to be His. It’s not the way we would do it. It’s not the way we think is fair. But God says without embarrassment His ways aren’t our ways and I have a choice to accept that, try as much as I can to understand and keep loving Him.
As a follower of Jesus, I have one Mediator between me and God. The One who takes the punishment for me and whose behaviour causes God to look favourably upon me. I’m a sheep following Him my Shepherd and relying on Him to keep me in good with God. That only works if I am following Him if I take myself off to another field then it’s between me and God and, of course, I am free to choose to do that…
I can never stand in front of God and say that I am responsible for the people around me whom I love, unlike Moses and Hezekiah. But I can be a leader as I follow Jesus. In a flock of sheep when one moves the others follow and that’s good and bad obviously. I can’t be responsible for those around me, we each choose our paths but I can show my choice, I can make it plain in how I live, in how I speak, act, treat others, how I behave that I am following Jesus. Funny thing is, just like there’s eyebrow raising in the Old Testament it happens in the New Testament too. I spoke about it the other day but God is driving this home.
10 Neither let anyone call you “leader,” for you have one leader—the Anointed One. 11 If you are recognized at all, let it be for your service. Delight in the one who calls you servant. 12 For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
It’s a personal relationship with Jesus that drives my life, personal, intimate, and absolutely one to one without needing another person mediating between us. But it’s not secret. it can never be secret because it needs to be shouted out in every action, every thought, every word.
Jesus (quoting Scripture): 37 “Love the Eternal One your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind.”
Neither is it solitary, as believers, we are one body supporting and helping each other, loving each other. As believers, we have to extend that love to all those around us whether they agree with us or not, whether they are like us or not, whether they love us or not.
Jesus: 39 And the second is nearly as important, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”