Comfort? Or Obedience?

It was “Mission Sunday” at our church. Our pastor preached on Jonah’s call to Nineveh, and linked that story to Jesus’ last words, when He commanded us to go to the nations:

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 18:18-20)

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:15-16)

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My Gift

The story of Israel and Judah is mostly a sad one. King after king rejected God, with disastrous consequences. David’s example of passionate obedience became the “gold standard” against which all the future kings were measured—and most were found wanting.

Solomon, with all his wisdom, still married foreign wives, who brought their pagan idols into their marriage and into the popular culture. It’s therefore no surprise that his son Rehoboam became an idolator. Consider 2 Chronicles 12:

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Where Do We Look for Help?

I’ve been praying about a friend’s unwise choice of solution to a major problem in her life. I can’t fault her for wanting relief. This issue is consuming her, causing her deep distress, and needs to be addressed. She isn’t breaking any laws, she isn’t hurting anyone else… so why do I feel so uneasy about this whole thing?

God showed me clearly this morning what the problem is. I was reading Isaiah 31, which just happened to be my next reading as I go through the Bible. The problem isn’t the avenue she is choosing. The problem is where she’s looking for help. Starting in verse 1,

Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help,
who rely on horses,
who trust in the multitude of their chariots
and in the great strength of their horsemen,
but do not look to the Holy One of Israel,
or seek help from the LORD.

In a sense, my friend has gone down to Egypt for help. She’s relying on horses and chariots, but hasn’t looked toward God. In fact, even though she claims to be a believer, she’s currently flatly rejecting Him.
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