Search This Blog

Sunday, February 20, 2011

TRAMPLING ON THE HESED OF GOD

My final visit to John Bright's Kingdom of God reveals his words found on pages 73 & 74 where he observes the state of Israel resulting in the judgment of God. Somewhere in the picture of Israel is, at some stage, the evangelical church of this generation and no less represented by the Episcopalian Diocese of Sydney. Bright's words are provided to help the reader imagine the state of things today:

No less menacing than the international situation was the internal decay of Israel. The book of Hosea is the best possible commentary upon it, and it deserves a whole chapter. For Hosea lived through the collapse, and it tore at his heart. He pictures graphically the political vacuum, the mad plotting for power, the collapse of law and order, civil anarchy in which life is no longer safe (e.g., 4:1-2; 7:1-7; 8:4; 10:3). Even worse, the heart has gone clean out of religious faith, and there is complete moral decay. The priests are timeservers who utter no moral rebuke but who are, through the practices they countenance and abet, themselves the corrupters of religion (4:8-9; 5:1; 6:9-10). Instruction of the true religion has lapsed, and with it all knowledge of the God of Israel; the land is permeated with the poison of paganism. Parents set for their children examples of immorality which the children only outstrip (4:6, 11-14). No more revolting or truer picture than this could be drawn of what the breakdown of religion really means. Nor did this sick nation know any way to cure itself save by political maneuvering (5:13). Yet even here was its bankruptcy evident. They trimmed their foreign policy to every political wind that blew, and they were always wrong - because they were morally wrong. Israel is a half baked cake (7:8); "a silly dove without any sense" (7:11), fluttering and cooing this way and that in a panic; a worn-out roué who will not wake up to the fact that he is growing old (7:9). Israel is done for!

Clearly there could be no peace between Hosea and such a nation as that! But Hosea's attack differed somewhat from that of Amos. Although it moved from the same theology, it was delivered at a different point. Hosea has less to say of idle luxury and unethical behavior - although he is well enough aware of these things. After all, he spoke not to national prosperity but to national collapse, and his message was shaped by his own peculiar temperament. The target of his attack was idolatry, Baal worship, apostasy. This is the seat of the disease, the sin in which all sin consists, the poison in the body politic. It is this that has separated Israel from her God, and is the cause of all her calamity. An apostate nation cannot be the people of God.

Most interesting of all is the formulation Hosea gave to the covenant bond which bound Israel to her God. It is a formulation which became classic, and which was taken up by many a subsequent prophet - particularly Jeremiah and Ezekiel. The covenant is a wedlock; in it God "married" Israel and made her his "wife." To worship other gods as Israel has done is plain "adultery," and, if no sincere reconciliation is effected, the end of it will be "divorce" - national ruin. God demands of his people hesed, that utter loyalty which is the only proper response to God's hesed, his covenant favour. No amount of protestations of loyalty through the external forms of religion can play substitute for it:


For it is hesed that pleases me, and not sacrifice;
And the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings(6:6)


Rather than imposing upon God a corrupt form of creative process (evolution); rather than trusting in the corrupt interpretation of God's direct utterances by weak willed men, wouldn't it be desirable for the Church today to respond to the love of God with faith or loyalty to the nature and word of God?

Learn a lesson from an adulterous Israel.

Sam Drucker

20 comments:

Craig said...

I trust you are well, gentlemen. Some of your readers will enjoy my recent blog post, Why I do not believe in Creation Science

sam drucker said...

I don't believe Creation Science either, whatever it is. I believe God and it is made all the easier when he makes unequivocal utterances.

Could I encourage you to do likewise Craig?

Sam Drucker

sam drucker said...

Slight typo.

Include "in" before "Creation Science" in my remark.

Sam Drucker

Craig said...

Yeah, I believe God too, Sam.

Craig said...

Anyway, we both believe that Creation Science is wrong, so perhaps we should quit while we are in agreement!

sam drucker said...

But Craig you don't believe God entirely do you? I mean you don't believe the convictive of Exodus 20:11 do you?

Sam Drucker

Craig said...

Sam, you interpret some parts of Scripture differently to me. I wouldn't, though, conclude that you don't believe God because of that. I recognise that sometimes, in good faith, Christians disagree.

sam drucker said...

Craig, you are insulting God who, in addition to many other wonderful characteristics, is the author of language and thus the author of communication. In essence, you are setting yourself above God by saying he did not say what he really said.

There is no other way to legitimately interpret what God has said as recorded at Exodus 20:11 without throwing out syntax, semantics, pragmatics and apobetics.

I appeal to you to repent of this sin because it bears the same marks as Adam and Eve's sin in the beginning.

Sam Drucker

Craig said...

*There is no other way to legitimately interpret what God has said as recorded at Exodus 20:11 without throwing out syntax, semantics, pragmatics and apobetics.*

I disagree with your statement entirely. In completely good conscience, I can say that I believe you are insisting on an interpretation that is not required by the text. We obviously don't agree on this.

We both do agree, however, that Creation Science is wrong. And that's something!

John said...

Craig said: "I disagree with your statement entirely. In completely good conscience, I can say that I believe you are insisting on an interpretation that is not required by the text. We obviously don't agree on this."

What is excrutiatingly painful here is that you don't even bother defending your statement. If a JW knocked at your door and said the same non-explanation, but with reference to Jesus' non-deity, you would call him intellectually dishonest and arrogant.

So, Craig, please be honest and inform us theological flyweights
why 6 days isn't really 6 days and why this legal extract from a much bigger legal treatise should not be taken as it reads despite the surrounding passages being taken straightforwardly. Why the sudden shift in interpretative rules, given, for example, the adultery and murder laws being understood plainly with no need of special pleading?

Craig said...

John, you know the arguments on both sides. They've both been gone over time and again - I don't feel the need to go into a knock down battle again.

Regardless, the point of my piece was not to defend old earth creation, but to state why I *don't* believe in Creation Science. Sam doesn't believe in it either. I'm happy to have a further discussion on any point I raised in my original article.

sam drucker said...

Craig, it is abundantly clear in Scripture that God is not a Post Modernist. God is absolute.

It is unacceptable, even an offence, to God for you to avoid the clear convictive of God's utterance recorded at Exodus 20:11.

You have a problem: But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him. Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did (1 John 2:5). This identifies where you sit in avoiding the convictive of the direct utterance of God. You demonstrate a propensity to not sit at the feet of God for understanding but, instead, you sit at the feet of the world for understanding and filter what God says through that authority.

Come out from the world.

Sam Drucker

Craig said...

Sam, repeating the same thing over and over again will not make it any more true! I certainly believe the Word of God. It happens that you have a different interpretation of some small parts of it. But provided we are in agreement with regards to the substance of the gospel, there is no reason why we cannot disagree in good faith, and move forward in respectful fellowship.

John said...

Craig,

One thing that you guys have never ever done is to say how you've come to the interpretation that you've arrived at. I know WHAT you believe but I don't know WHY, as per the rules of exegesis. Would you be a true Christian brother and explain that much to us?

Craig said...

John - that is a good question that deserves a good answer. I will give some thought and post up something on my blog, hopefully in the next week or two.

sam drucker said...

Craig, you are refusing to accept the convictive of the utterance of God and that is why I keep repeating it. You are rejecting God's word and that is serious offence.

Hebrews 11 lists those who believed God's word and many did this without having seen or known anything of why God said what he said. They just believed and acted on this belief and they were commended for this. I will even go so far as to say it was credited to them as righteousness in Christ Jesus. You are falling well short of the faith these demonstrated even if you are required to look back in faith whereas they looked forward in faith. It all catches up though. You will be tested on a matter of your future and I wish you were better prepared for it than you presently demonstrate.

Regard with seriousness the convictive of our Lord Jesus' words recorded at Luke 13:26-27.

Faith in what God says is essential and when the convictive is clearly asserted the responsibility to believe is greater.

Sam Drucker

John said...

Craig,

Can't wait.

sam drucker said...

Craig, please don't try to avoid the dilemma that confronts you.

Please explain the interpretation you place on Exodus 20:11 i.e. the rock you have crawled under to avoid the convictive of the direct utterance of God here recorded.

This may help you self diagnose your condition.

Sam Drucker

Craig said...

Sam, don't be patronising, please! As I said to John, I will blog about Genesis 1 in the next week or so. Later on I might say something about Exodus 20.

Regarding self-diagnosis, perhaps it were best if you were to start with, uh, yourself...

sam drucker said...

Craig, I wish you wouldn't respond like that.

I am trying to gently address the offence you have committed against God by avoiding the covictive of his statement recorded at Exodus 20:11.

Surely we are all examining ourselves and I am confident I have problems in areas you don't.

However, the issue before us here is the offence you are committing in your treatment of the direct utterance of God as recorded at Exodus 20:11.

The Kingdom of God has always been about trusting the word of God and acting on it.

You don't need to go to the trouble of posting a blog sometime in the future. If, as you say, you interpret the words differently you should have at the forefront of your mind the explanation.

Please respond here so it can be dealt with now. You don't know what tomorrow holds so I urge you to act promptly.

Sam Drucker