Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Very Convenient Truth: another "commandment with promise"

In Ephesians 6:1-3, the Apostle Paul quotes the Fifth Commandment "honour your father and mother, that it may be well with you and you will live long," and refers to it as the first "Commandment with promise". In other words, God is saying, "if you do -----, I'll do -----".

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But that's not the only "commandment with promise". Another is the "tithing challenge" (Malachi 3), where God basically dares us to test Him by carving off at least 10% from our increase and giving it to Him and then see if He doesn't open the windows of Heaven and shower so much blessing on us that we couldn't count it.

And then there's this one, which forms the basis for my book, A Very Convenient Truth:

If I shut up Heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; if My people, which are called by My Name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:13-14)

The book identifies that passage as one of many -- although probably the most direct -- that ties the state of the environment (Creation, nature, "the land", whatever you want to call it) to the state of our walk with God. The land is polluted, damaged, no longer putting out for us? God says, "turn back to Me, and I will take care of it". It's a variation on Jesus' reminding us to seek first the Kingdom of God and He will provide everything worldly that we need and then some.

In the Covenant God made with us, He has made the first move in so many ways. When He called Abraham out of Ur, He had already prepared the Promised Land for him. When He led the Israelites out of Egypt and through the wilderness, He sent angels ahead to deal with the enemies. And more than anything else, He sacrificed His Son to atone for our sins and draw us back to Him. It was up to Abraham and later the Israelites to go in and claim the land. It's up to us to receive Jesus' sacrifice and claim our own "promised land" -- new life in Christ.

But in 2 Chr. 7:13-14, it's slightly different. God did not heal the land and then say, "right: now come back to Me." Instead, He says, "come back to Me, and I'll take care of the land".

That was about 3,000 years ago. He's still waiting.

A Very Convenient Truth is about encouraging people to take God at His word and re-think the way we've been approaching the current environmental trauma we see. It doesn't matter whether global warming/climate change is caused by humans -- at least, not in the way the world looks at it -- or whether the other catastrophic environmental events like earthquakes, volcanic activity, disease and pestilence have anything to do with global warming/climate change at all. The point the Bible raises is that the situation is connected to our walk with God; and rather than rushing off madly in all directions trying to fight global warming or fix the situation, we need to turn our attention back to God and give Him the chance to heal the land.

Mind: this is not about inaction. Turning to God and suppressing our human desire to Do Something is definitely an action and it certainly does not mean that we keep on going in the way we've been going. Pollution, overdevelopment, working our farmland until it's wrung-out, wantonly destroying animal habitat are all ways that we're responsible for environmental destruction in the broad picture. They're also things that would not have happened -- and would not continue to happen -- if we were to repent for past environmental sins and turn back to God.

Lurking in the background is the fact that the things we're seeing these days are also signs Jesus foretold of His return -- which is probably why Satan is using the global warming "debate" as a red herring to distract us -- and that we not only need to turn back to God but lead others to Him, as well. But since no one except God knows the day and hour of His Coming, we need to focus our attention on the assignment He has given us.

And to do that, we need to be aware of that "commandment with promise".

A Very Convenient Truth is now available in all e-publishing modes, via Smashwords, for US$4.99.

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