Saturday, January 8, 2011

An Empty Throne (Part 2)

A physically empty throne presented Israel with the most trying (and horrible) times there ever was for her people. Everybody was following their own heart. Unfortunately for them, the reality of the heart is that it is so deceitful and desperately wicked! (Jeremiah 17:9) And when the bible tells us that each man in Israel went his own way, there's no doubt that their deceitful and desperately wicked hearts played a part.

The people of Israel were looking for something tangible, someone their human eyes and deceitful hearts can see sitting on the throne. Oh, but unfortunately for them, they have missed the mark greatly. Their hearts never understood their true state as a nation right from the beginning that God marked them as His and plucked them out of Egypt. Israel wasn't supposed to "see" an empty throne in their midst because the LORD GOD was supposed to be their King! What happened to this blessed people, though, was a sad rejection of the LORD.

"And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them." (1 Samuel 8:7)

Oh, but alas, the heart of man deceives him into seeing things differently. Instead of looking up to God as their King (and following every statutes He has ordained for them), Israel drowned herself in the thoughts of wanting to do it their way.

The real score of it was that there never WAS an empty throne for God reigned over His people! The fact of the matter is, Israel REJECTED her King! Because of this, we see the time in the book of Judges unfold. The total depravity of man took hold of Israel's heart and the nation spiraled down the drain with abomination after abomination!

Aren't we so much like Israel? Haven't we also looked at the throne as empty before us and live like there's no reigning king but ourselves? Not that the King of kings isn't reigning, but because we rejected Him who is sitting on that throne! God is erased from the picture leaving us with an empty throne and hearts that aren't afraid of the Sovereign.

The effect of all this to Israel was a life lived in autonomy from God and, of course, a life lived in sin... Sadly, we see the shadows of this in our time today as we live lives rejecting the REAL King who sits on the throne. As we read the last few chapters of Judges we see the evidences of  Israel's children living lives with an empty throne... and we see it in our lives today as well.

  • There was evidence of corruption in the family as children disrespected their parents. (Judges 17 records Micah stealing his mother's silver.) Furthermore, Micah's mother never punished him for what he did wrong. She instead blessed him.
    • Don't we see this rampant in our society today? Children are disrespecting their parents upfront and parents are not even moved by it. We join the world in the ridiculous philosophy of ego-preservation. We don't want to use punishment anymore to correct a mistake. We instead reward children using "positive" reinforcements because it might break their spirits if we punish them for what they've done wrong. We instead dwell in the "Jesus-loves-you-you're-okay-don't-do-that-anymore" foolishness! See the shadows of Israel's corruption in our time today? 
  • An evidence of spiritual corruption was clear when Micah made a graven image and a molten image and had a household filled with small idols and gods consulted as oracles. Micah even consecrated his own son as a priest without the Lord's command like that seen in Exodus 9.
    • With an empty throne, the heart is not afraid to do anything that seems right in its own eyes. God abhors idolatry and the commandment against it landed on number 2 in His given 10 ! (See Exodus 20) But hearts rejecting the seated King will resort to idols to meet the needs of the deceiving heart. We are to worship God in spirit (John 4:24)... we should not have any graven images and we should not convince ourselves that they only represent Him. God's anger burns against idolatry! And oh by the way, anything that takes your focus away from God is also considered an idol.
    • Furthermore, we see hearts that come up with consecrations made of man and not of God. We make our own priests and spiritual leaders that never are of God in the first place. We make up spiritual leaders that would cater to our sinfulness. Jesus had some really spicy words for them in Matthew 15!
  • The spiritual decay in Israel extends to those called to serve the Lord, the Levites. We see in Judges 17 one staying with Micah in exchange for silver, nice clothes and abundance of food. They're in it for the prosperity promised!
    • Don't we have a LOT of that today in our churches? So called "spiritual leaders" who have hearts only for prosperity? There's this other gospel infecting christians today. It's all about blessings, blessings, and more blessings when you have God in your life. Beware of them because they are actually on the broad way that leads to destruction! The gospel of Jesus Christ is not about having a good life but having eternal life in HIM!
  • There was evidence of moral decay as we see the sin of Sodom relived by Israel! Homosexuality was rampant. Also, murders and bitterness reigned, and rape and abduction of girls took hold of society by the neck!
    • We really don't need to have an IQ of >140 to see that these shadows loom in our society today. We see these sins and we are apathetic towards them. We tolerate and embrace sin like it's a harmless fluffy teddy bear. We no longer look at it eye to eye and say to its face "You're angering a Holy and Mighty God." We misunderstand the concept of love and twist its reality to make sin more acceptable. We say to ourselves, "Hey, we should accept them for God loves them too. We shouldn't punish the murderers and rapists and child molesters because it's a slap on the face of human rights." We deny the fact that the God of Scripture is a HOLY God who abhors and punishes SIN.
We ought to really examine ourselves if we are living lives as if the throne is empty. For Scripture warns us to "test ourselves" (2 Corinthians 13:5). Do you see an empty throne in you life? 

I pray that we will all come to a point where our depravity would crush us like never before and that godly sorrow will overcome us so we might come to repentance before the King of kings who reigns forever. He has, is and will be sitting on that throne no matter how you live your life. Do not erase HIM from the picture. Consider your ways then as you live your life before the KING.

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