Friday, December 16, 2011

DECEMBER 16 "COULD I HAVE ISSUE WITH THAT CUTE BABY IN THE MANGER?"

     THERE must be thousands of Christians that God wants to ask this question to. In our Old Testament reading (Micah) we read 1 Listen to what the LORD says: “Stand up, plead my case before the mountains; let the hills hear what you have to say. 2 “Hear, you mountains, the LORD’s accusation;
   listen, you everlasting foundations of the earth. For the LORD has a case against his people;
   he is lodging a charge against Israel.  3 “My people, what have I done to you? 
     The image God is trying to present here is one of a court scene where God is on defense/trial.  He is "the accused".  Accused by who?  Ans:  His people.  This is a court case where his people are prosecuting him and God must make a defense for himself.  Silly isn't it.....or maybe not!!!  Maybe this is often how God feels. And who makes him feel this way?  Ans:  We do!  We do it to our wives, we do it to our husbands, we do it to our children and we most certainly do it with God.  What is it that we do? Ans: we make them/he/she feel like than can never do enough to please us.  In our text God is making a defense for himself and reminding his people of all that He has done for them.  3 “My people, what have I done to you? How have I burdened you? Answer me. 4 I brought you up out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery. I sent Moses to lead you, also Aaron and Miriam. 5 My people, remember what Balak king of Moab plotted and what Balaam son of Beor answered. Remember your journey from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the righteous acts of the LORD.”  
     Ever find yourself having to remind your wife, your husband or your children of all that you have done for them? Isn't that a frustrating exercise and usually not a really profitable one.  Very rarely are we going to remind some ungrateful person of all that we have done for them and then all of a sudden they are going to realize how much we have done for them and just turn into these grateful and fun loving people.  How do I know? Ans: Because I have tried and so have you!  That's okay, because even God tries in our Text, but it didn't work for God either, so don't feel bad.
     As many people enter into the Holiday Season this year they will struggle with the paradox that the one they are "supposedly" celebrating is the one they kind of..... have a chip on their shoulder with.  Ever been in a situation where you had to celebrate the birthday of a friend, spouse or family member that you had an issue with?  You knew it was the "right thing to do" but you did it with much discomfort.  We know that "the right thing to do" is to celebrate Christ, that's what Christ Mass means,  Celebrate Christ!  We know that that baby in the manger was born only to die a brutal death for our sins, but yet, deep inside many Christians this year, there lies a animosity, a bitterness towards this cute baby in the manger. We know that the Israelites were furious with Jesus because He did not do what they thought He would do for them, ie: overthrow the Roman Government. Many Christians this year have no resources to pay their bills, never mind buy gifts for others when they don't even have enough to buy their own children gifts.  Many Christians during this season have lost their homes.  A lady (Christian) was just telling my wife the other day that they have just had the home of their dreams, the home they built, foreclosed on them, with Christmas just around the corner.  These are rough times, the greatest depression sense "the Great Depression" and often in rough times, it is human nature to make someone or something, "the object" of our anger, our dissatisfaction and angst with life.  Christians tend to turn that anger towards God.  We see God as the source of all are unhappiness and lackluster lives. Why? Ans: because we know he controls everything and He is able to circumvent our circumstances.  We know He is able TO BLESS, we know He is able TO PROSPER, we know He is able TO DO MIRACLES and with all this knowledge of God we can't help but wonder...."then why doesn't he, why hasn't He...why...why...why? Why did He let this happen, why do I have nothing this Christmas, why did we lose our home this Christmas, why do we have so little this Christmas, why, has God allowed my circumstances to become so miserable and almost intolerable when all I have done is try to serve him and be faithful to him????
     God senses when we have "an issue" with him and he says back to us, "what have I done to you?".  This is a question we must face this Christmas, not just a question to face, but an "emotion or mindset" to face.  What has God done to you?  And the answer we will probably come up with is, "it's not what he has done to me, but what He hasn't done for me".
     There will be a little disappointment and perhaps a little anger from my children this Christmas because they will find out that I was not able to get them what they wanted.  For all that I've done for them, they will still be angry for what I haven't done for them, this Christmas.  My love and faithfulness to them over the years will be obscured by their present state of mind and circumstances.  God is the same, He cannot provide and give to us everything we want.  He has provided much of what we have wanted, but no doubt, there are many needs God has left unmet and many prayers He has not answered.  My kids think Dad can provide anything, little do they know and understand the concept of money,  bills & responsibility, it is beyond them.  We think God can provide anything, but we don't understand the sovereign workings of God and why He doesn't give us certain things or why He let us go through hard and what we could easily describe as "miserable times", but the fact is He does. We, as his people must in those times, yes even at Christmas, be able to overlook the present circumstance; and unlike our children, still be able to see how God has loved us, has been good to us in the past and will be in the future, even if for now we do not find under  the Tree what we wished (metaphorically and for some literally).  The question you must ask yourself is the one God has proposed in our text, "what has he done to you". Do not make God feel like he must put himself on trial to defend himself, as the children of Israel did.  Take the good with the bad and don't make God feel like he has to rehash to you every prayer He has answered and every good thing He has done for you, for this is not a profitable exercise for anyone to have to perform and please don't put God through that.  As a side note, remember that the original celebration of Christ (Christ Mass) was us "bringing gifts to Christ" not Christ bringing gifts to us.