Response to Blessing
Israel received God’s blessings but failed to respond and recognize God as the giver. Instead of worship and commitment to God, they increased in dedication to a false worldview. The altars and pillars were part of an effort to view this world differently from what God had revealed. Thankfulness is the proper response to God’s blessing. Luke 17:11-19
The Character of Thankfulness
It properly recognizes the giver and the receiver,
It is a path to staying close to God.
It is a means of letting others know about God.
Losing their Identity and Way
Moving their eyes off God enabled them to look in so many other directions. Their choices would lead everywhere else except God and it would lead to poisoned living.
The legacy of Calves
About 150 years earlier, Jeroboam I instituted idol worship in the newly formed the Northern Kingdom for political reasons. 1 Kings 12:25-33 That action would be a legacy of destruction for Israel. They would experience a collapse of the things they had placed their hope in. Matthew 7:24-27 Everybody builds something on some foundation. What is yours?
God will discipline in love in the hope that His people will respond in repentance. Although God’s discipline is unpleasant, it can build a stronger faith and help destroy the sinful things that control our choices. Hebrews 12:11
A Lesson from the Farm
Israel’s choice to reject the call to be God’s people would result in them being enslaved once again. But in the middle of the judgment, there is a call to repentant living and growing.
Breaking Fallow Ground
Fallow ground describes ground that has not been prepared for farming. It is hard and not able to be productive unless a work is done to it. Breaking fallow ground begins with the confession that the heart is in need of change.
Sowing Seeds of Righteousness
The work of farming continues with sowing something in the ground. The completed work of Christ is the foundation for us to add the word of God in our lives so that it becomes the more natural response and view of life.
God delights in sending rain upon the contrite heart. Our growth in Christian character is never an act of our will but a cooperation with the Spirit of God through obedience.
Reaping Steadfast Love
The result of such actions in cooperation with God results in the deeper relationship of knowing God and being his effective tools of healing on this earth.