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Israel Part 2

• Greg Boyd

In week three of our sermon series, we’re diving into the tragic nature of not trusting God. The history of Israel is one of a people who have trouble trusting God to provide for them. However, the people of Israel are not the only ones with trust issues.

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Last week, we studied the beginning of God’s plan for the redemption of creation. God chose Abram to be the father of a great nation who would be God’s people in this world. And we followed the story of the Israelites until they entered the Promise Land. And we saw that God rewarded and cultivated the faith of the Israelites throughout the desert, and yet still many chose not to have faith in God.

This week, we’re looking at the Israelites and their history in the Promised Land. We see God calling his people to trust in Him and to let their God lead them. But, not too far into the history of Israel, we see the Israelites asking God to let them have a king, just like the other nations. This would be the beginning of a tragic history for the nation of Israel.

Because the Israelites wanted to trust in a king and not God, they got the whole package of having a king. This stems back to the tower of Babel. When humanity got together and tried building a tower to Heaven, God spread the people out into different nations with different languages. God’s purpose for Israel was to be a people that united the world back together. However, the people of Israel decided to follow the broken ways of this world. As a result, their nation reflected these broken ways.

Bloodshed became a norm for the Israelite people. We see throughout their history many different nations waging war against Israel. We see famines and plagues. We even see human sacrifice to other gods.

We also see an imperfect human trying to lead Israel. The people chose their first king, Saul. Saul looked the part, but he didn’t have a humble heart that wanted to follow God. Instead, he wouldn’t admit when he was wrong, and it led to Saul rebelling against God. David followed Saul, but David fell into sin with Bathsheba and having a census of the people. Solomon followed David, and even though God gave Solomon supernatural wisdom, Solomon fell into idolatry. No king was able to fulfill the role that God wanted to provide the Israelites.

In truth, even after Jesus, we have trouble trusting God to lead our lives. We live like the Israelites live, constantly falling away from God and wanting to do things our own way. But what the Old Testament shows us is that God is always seeking after us and wants us to join with his story and redemptive work in this world.

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Topics: Calling, Kingdom of God, Nationalism

Sermon Series: The Forest in the Trees


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8 thoughts on “Israel Part 2

    Roy says: Tuesday October 8, 2013 at 11:01 am

    As a person who is very detailed oriented and gets really bogged down with non-essentials, this message was a breath of fresh air. Made so much sense and helped put some things in perspective. Loved every minute of it! Great message!

    Reply
    Jill says: Tuesday October 8, 2013 at 11:16 am

    Your passion regarding this is awesome. It’s like your one of the new testament authors that has come alive in Greg Boyd’s body to teach us this. I can picture a lot of the NT authors trying to drive this truth into people just like you are doing. I would guess you have put more then 15,000 hours of research into this topic (7 years worth), and I feel fortunate to be a recipient of all that hard work!

    Reply
    Peter says: Wednesday October 9, 2013 at 1:45 am

    While we all agree (hopefully) with the points that Greg makes, it is disheartening to be guided in our decisions by our former (and current) life experiences. The issue that needs attention is that we trust with our own eyes (politics, power etc), as a means to an end (and as Sandra Unger rightly says that we are ‘holiday Christians’)…..such that there is little difference between the our former life and our current life mainly due to the underdevelopment of our spiritual maturity.

    While the imprimatur of having a Christ like love is what all Christians should have (that then differentiates us from the world), it is this character that the Holy Spirit assists to develop in the life of the believer……the exchange of your old life for His new life in Christ to which we should hold fast.

    In Paul’s seven letters to the Churches he was involved with, each letter contains admonitions concerning the new life in Christ so that congregations would not revert to their former lives….which is indicative of its importance. Examples include:-

    Rom 6:6 “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin”

    Gal 4:8-9 “Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods.9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?”

    Eph 4:22 “to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires”

    Phil 2:5 “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus”

    Col 3:9 “Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices”

    2 Thess 2:15 “So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.”

    The main issue is that man has conformed to his own image through the actions of the flesh, the world system and the forces of evil against God. As in Rom 12:2 Paul implores “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” and as Peter also says (1Pet 1:14) “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance”.

    To conform to the image of Christ includes spiritual formation or reformation from within which is so often neglected by churches leading to a lack of spiritual development within those churches. But for those seeking to take the next step, I’m sure WH or Greg can guide in appropriate directions or, alternatively Greg’s book “Present Perfect” and Ken Boa’s book “Conformed to His Image” or similar publications are an excellent starting point to assist personal Bible study.

    Reply
    M85 says: Wednesday October 9, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    This was an amazing message. I’m really beginning to understand how much God hates violence: sometimes with a flat reading of Scripture we completely miss it.

    Reply
    Dave Pritchard says: Thursday October 10, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    Early on in the message Greg mentions that he wrote an essay on the the topic of violence and death in the “Pre-Fall World” –

    “The Goodness of Creation and the Openness of God” &
    “Evolution as Cosmic Warfare: A Biblical Perspective on Satan and “Natural” Evil”.

    These two brilliantly crafted pieces are replete with examples of how essentially, Satan and his fallen cohort have been maliciously messing with Creation since the beginning. The implication being that the “Ontological Goodness” originally inherent within the animal kingdom has been compromised. To what extent Satan actually had the power to destructively manipulate evolutionary morphologies is particularly relevant to the foundation of the “Cosmic Warfare Model”. As CS Lewis states in “The Problem of Pain” (Chapter 9: Animal Pain) –

    “The intrinsic evil of the animal world lies in the fact that animals, or some animals, live by destroying each other. That plants do the same I will not admit to be an evil. The Satanic corruption of the beasts would therefore be analogous, in one respect, with the Satanic corruption of man. For one result of man’s fall was that his animality fell back from the humanity into which it had been taken up but which could no longer rule it. In the same way, animality may have been encouraged to slip back into behaviour proper to vegetables. It is, of course, true that the immense mortality occasioned by the fact that many beasts live on beasts is balanced, in nature, by an immense birth-rate, and it might seem, that if all animals had been herbivorous and healthy, they would mostly starve as a result of their own multiplication. But I take the fecundity and the death-rate to be correlative phenomena. There was, perhaps, no necessity for such an excess of the sexual impulse: the Lord of this world thought of it as a response to carnivorousness – a double scheme for securing the maximum amount of torture.”

    This description paints a slightly different sequential scenario for Man’s “Emergence and Fall” but nevertheless, the “Warfare State” would still actively exist! But thank God the grip of destructive darkness that has permeated both the “Natural World” and the Soul of Man has been broken and crushed by the tremendous power of His perfect Love shown to us on The Cross!

    Reply
    Michael Erdman says: Friday October 11, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    “If God can make a king out of a puny but handsome, harp playing shepard boy, then he can probably do something incredible with you” (paraphrased) I only need to listen to God’s voice to know where he wants me to go.

    Reply
    Kevin says: Tuesday October 15, 2013 at 8:28 am

    Can anyone think of any scripture that might explicitly say how God “stoops” to our level in order to work with man? thanks

    Reply
    Kevin says: Tuesday October 15, 2013 at 8:50 am

    I can see well how God’s wrath/punishment took the form of allowing the surrounding nations to come and hurt Israel; How is in Not God’s Direct action when he brings famine or plagues of locusts?

    Reply

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