Thursday, September 27, 2018

Breaking the Chains

Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man and with the seed of beast.  As I have watched over them to pluck up, to break down, to overthrow, to destroy and to bring disaster, so I will watch over them to build and to plant,” declares the Lord.
“In those days they will not say again,
The fathers have eaten sour grapes,
And the children’s teeth are set on edge.’
 But everyone will die for his own iniquity; each man who eats the sour grapes, his teeth will be set on edge.
 Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord.  “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.  They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
Jeremiah 31:27-34 NASB

The quote from this passage, "The fathers have eaten sour grapes and the children's teeth are set on edge," is something they would say back in those days that is similar to what many of us say today. How many of us have heard, "You're going to be just like your dad!" or "You're acting just like your mother did!" "The things they did are going to come upon you!" Sometimes even your spouse may say it and it usually really gets to you because no one wants to be like the worst parts of their parents. Our parents may be great people but there is always attributes or things they did that we do not want to repeat in our own lives. 
There are in all of our families certain things that are passed down like, some people can have a glass of wine and their families do so socially but other families have addictions to alcohol that almost destroy them. One family may get angry but they are able to control it and other families are controlled by the anger. 
  Teaching in the prisons has been an opportunity for God to use obvious things to reveal subtle truths to me. I remember one time a dear friend told me he was in prison for incest and that it had been passed down in their family for generations.
In my own life and relatives I have seen a fear or inferiority in some that keeps us distant from people and I wrestle with some of those same things, having to press through them. There are conversations that come into our minds and those negative thoughts must be recognized and "taken captive" to what God's word tells us is true. 

  Sometimes we have fears of becoming the worst parts of others that we see in our lives. Now I will tell you that you do become like that which you judge. If you look at others and say in your heart, "I'll never become like them and do the things that they do," you will do the very things that you have judged them for.

All of us have a heritage of sin, no one had to teach you how to lie. It's passed down from the fallen nature and some specific things are passed down through certain families lives. 

What are the things that prepare the soil for God breaking those ungodly ties and starting a, "new DNA?" A new bloodline? 

Look with me at Ruth chapter one in verse four....

They took for themselves Moabite women as wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. And they lived there about ten years.

In this book we see a man from Bethlehem take his family to Moab because of a famine in the land and he wanted to preserve their lives. 

Now if you recall the origin of the land of Moab was when Lot fled from the city of Sodom and Gomorrah. The angel told Lot to go to a nearby city but Lot was afraid and asked to go to a nearby mountain. 

Now God was instructing them to go to the city and if God tells us to do something we can trust Him to keep us safe. However, Lot chose to trust his own thoughts of self preservation and asked to go to a cave in the mountain. You may know the story, how it was Lot and his two daughters and daughters began to worry that they would have no descendants, so they got their father drunk and slept with him. One of the resulting offspring was the nation of Moab. 

In the Bible in the book of Isaiah its tells us that Moab was a nation of perversion and idolatry. They were children of wrath separated from the promises of God.

  So here this man in Ruth chapter one, takes his family to Moab and his sons marry Moabite women. The sons Mahlon and Chilion names meant "sickness" and "wasting away," which I believe was a picture of where their hearts were. 

So now we have these Moabite wives that have married the man's sons so we have this new family.  However, these two Moabite daughter-in-laws have a mother-in-law named Naomi. Now this is my own opinion but I think that mother-in-law while living in Moab talked about the God of her youth. 

That is the only reason I could think of that would persuade these two daughter-in-laws to want to follow her when she was heading back to her homeland. I think that is the place where Naomi found herself after having traveled to this strange land. She knew she was not in the place she was supposed to be and she remembered the God of her youth. 

  I believe as Ruth and Orpah heard Naomi talk about her God, they longed for the liberty and freedom she spoke of. There came a day when Naomi's husband and two sons died and she heard that her God had visited His people in Israel by giving them bread. I want you to know, God will always visit the people that wait upon Him. How long? I don't know but a scripture Rebecca and I were talking about from Psalms is, "Those who trust in Him will not be ashamed." Sometimes you find yourself waiting a long time but God is always faithful.
When the two daughter-in-laws saw Naomi ready to depart to her homeland something in them compelled them to follow. They wanted what Naomi had. Naomi told them if they follow her she had no more sons for them to marry. So the two Moabite women found themselves in that place of the cross. Orpah kissed her mother-in-law affectionately and turned back to Moab and to her gods. Orpah was unwilling to let go of her life and what was familiar to her. She is never mentioned again. 

 Then there was Ruth who was, "at the cross," of possibly never getting married and never having children. She clung to her mother-in-law and said, "Where you go I will go, where you lodge I will lodge, your people will be my people and your God will be my God. May nothing but death separate us."  Naomi saw that Ruth was steadfastly minded....

What are you steadfastly minded about? Most people just want prayer but don't want to commit to change, to read and pray God's promises in the word daily, to pray and spend time with the Lord. They aren't willing to turn off the television and spend time with Jesus.

Orpah wanted what her mother-in-law had but wasn't willing to walk that way. Ruth said, "I'm going with you and I have set my heart, whatever it takes."

I'm sure that people told her she was going to be just like her mother but as she went forward, God's sovereignty moved her into the field of Boaz. 

  I won't tell all the details of the story but she married Boaz and became the great grandmother of King David and was included in the lineage of Jesus!

 It doesn't matter who your mom and dad were or what they did because the book of Jeremiah tells us that every person is responsible for their own actions.

God's new covenant is that He will write His laws upon your heart and give you a new heritage. Spend some time meditating on that this morning and remember to give thanks for the precious blood of Christ that has broken every chain. You have the ability to choose your direction and future and as you spend time with Jesus He wants to bring you to a place of liberty and freedom.

“If you will return, O Israel,” declares the Lord,

Then you should return to Me.  And if you will put away your detested things from My presence,

And will not waver,

Jeremiah 4:1

For further reflections today, you can stream this podcast;

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