Tuesday, May 31, 2011
It's a good question isn't it? Does God ever give up? At times, I get a little miffed at the Disciples who "occasionally" asked questions, but often didn't ask very good ones! LOL As I reflect upon the parable of The Lost Sheep, I have questions. Maybe you do too. Maybe you're a lost sheep. Maybe your child is. Or maybe you have loved ones that are so lost that it appears God has stopped looking for them. We can grab hold of the parts of the gospel that we choose to . . . or we can accept it all. (FYI: God advises the latter) Jesus tells us that a good shepherd goes after his lost sheep until he finds it. But, my question is, "What happens if he finds it and it keeps running away again, and again, and again, and again, and again?" . . . well you get the point. Does God give up? The question I would have asked Jesus is, "Will God continue to leave His faithful sheep time and time again, threatening their well-being, just to find the lost one who obviously doesn't want to be found??????"
So, in prayer, I asked God this question. He revealed many things to me. And the truth is, God's love is unfailing . . . He never "gives up." BUT, He will "give them up." Although God is always waiting with open arms for that lost sheep that keeps running off . . . He will let them go their own way . . . to allow them to wander in despair, in order that they might realize their need for a Shepherd. Let me back this up with Truth. Here's some Scriptures to chew ; ) on:
So I gave them up to the desires of their hearts;
that they might go after their evil purposes.
Many times he delivered them,
but they were bent on rebellion
and they wasted away in their sin.
. . . he gave them over (up)
to the penalty of their sin.
So God turned away from them and gave them over (up)
to worship the heavenly bodies.
In the past God allowed
all people to live as they pleased.
and with all the deception of wickedness
for those who perish, because they did not receive
the love of the truth so as to be saved.
(2 Thessalonians 2:10)
Therefore God gave them up
in the lusts of their hearts to impurity
Friends, every sinner is running against the time when God "gives them up." (When God removes His restraining grace and allows the sinner to reap the consequences of their sin.) Every sinner is in danger of their heart hardening so much that they cannot hear the Truth. AND Truth says God does that. He gives them up to their hearts of stone.
"The Lord has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts-
so that their eyes cannot see,
and their hearts cannot understand,
and they cannot turn to me and have me heal them."
The "cannot" part insinuates that they "want to," but "cannot." These are words to be heard and shared with every sinner. Time is running out. We don't know when the time will come that God will take action in this way.
It was interesting, a friend of mine told me that she had gone to speak with a VERY respected pastor about her husband's sinfulness. She described in detail his addictions, and the pastor told her that there was about a 2% chance that her husband would ever change. Although he verbalized clearly that with God ALL things are possible, he said that given the situation, the chances were slim to none . . . when it came to her husband surrendering his will to God's. I was shocked! But, then I realized, this pastor sees ALOT AND He KNOWS TRUTH. He knows, "God gives them up." He doesn't give up on them, but He DOES let go. He will allow the sinner to go their own way.
I have seen God CHASE after the sinner. I've seen Him pour down His love and grace with hurricane force. And I've seen the sinner look into the eyes of God and turn his back on Him . . . crucifying the Lord all over again. God has something to say about that:
Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning
after we have received knowledge of the truth,
there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins.
Brothers and sisters, pray for the lost before God "gives them up." Remember that you might be the only Bible people ever read. Be willing to speak Truth in your everyday conversation so that the Spirit might work within the hearts of the lost. Pray that they might realize their need to be found.
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