Monday, March 12, 2012

Jesus Cursed Israel

Remember the law of Moses My servant, even the statutes and ordinances which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel.  Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord.  He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.  
The Prophet Malachi 

The Scriptures close on a serious and conditional note.  The case for either optimism or pessimism hangs in the balance for future Israel, and from our perspective looking back, we can can see how things turned out.  Christ leaves us with no doubts as to which course the religious leaders of Israel chose.  Matthew's gospel gives us plenty of illustrations and in it he tells us on one occasion, "... some Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, 'Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders?  For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.' "  Christ's response was telling: "You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: 'This people honors me with their lips but their heart is far away from Me.  But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.' "

It is obvious the religious leaders of Christ's day had not taken to heart the prophet Malachi's message from God about remembering the law of Moses.  Their concern was more about the propagation of a self-fabricated system, less about loving and honoring the Lord through His Law.  Later in Matthew's gospel we see Christ's lament over Israel's capitol city: "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her!  How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.  Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!  For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, 'BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!' "  Jesus effectively cursed Israel and it remains to be seen if the curse will ever be removed.

Nationally and personally, there is a lesson we can take away from this : "BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!"  The Name of the Lord has to do with God's character, His morality.  Just as the laws of any nation reveal the character and morality of that people, the character of God is manifested through His statutes and judgments revealed by Him through the law of Moses.  We as a people would do well to take note.  Lip service is cheap, and our political leaders know it well.  Just like the religious leaders of Christ's day, our presidents and congressmen – Republican and Democrat alike - 
while promoting practices, policies and laws that practically slap God in His face, commonly end their speeches with the invocation "God Bless America".  We should not be proud, but fear.  Israel possessed favored nation status by God, and yet received a curse as the course of their actions.  As a nation, we should not expect anything less.

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