I think you would agree that as Christians, we spend most of our Bible reading time in the New Testament or in certain Old Testament "favorites". (Daniel, the Flood, the Exit, etc.) But as we read more and more of the Old Testament (which Jesus came to fulfill not do away with!) we've learned so much about what God really asks of us.
I've always thought (and was taught) that Sodom was destroyed because, yes, there was no one found righteous; but that their sin was homosexuality. (They wanted to rape the male angels, remember? Genesis 19: 1-5) This context is always used in sermons about homosexuality. But Daniel pointed this interesting verse out to me the other day. Here, Ezekiel is told to confront Jerusalem who has been unfaithful to God (again) And this is what Ezekiel says: (16:49)
Now, the "prideful" part of me will excuse myself from arrogance, I don't necessarily see myself as arrogant. (PAH!) But anyone else out there (besides me) overfed? Are you unconcerned about the things that concern God? I care about the poor and needy, but what have I DONE to help the poor and needy?
What about Isaiah 58?
6-9"This is the kind of fast day I'm after:
to break the chains of injustice,
get rid of exploitation in the workplace,
free the oppressed,
What I'm interested in seeing you do is:
sharing your food with the hungry,
inviting the homeless poor into your homes,
putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad,
being available to your own families.
Do this and the lights will turn on,
and your lives will turn around at once.
Your righteousness will pave your way.
The God of glory will secure your passage.
Then when you pray, God will answer.
You'll call out for help and I'll say, 'Here I am.'
quit blaming victims,
quit gossiping about other people's sins,
If you are generous with the hungry
and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out,
Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness,
your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight.
I will always show you where to go.
I'll give you a full life in the emptiest of places—
firm muscles, strong bones.
You'll be like a well-watered garden,
a gurgling spring that never runs dry.
You'll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew,
rebuild the foundations from out of your past.
You'll be known as those who can fix anything,
restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate,
make the community livable again.
THAT is what following Christ, being more Christ like is all about. Yes, we can help by donating clothes and canned goods...but is that going to fix the problem??? We are to be about the Father's business. We are supposed to be making God's will being done on earth. And what is His will? (Do you really need to ask???) What is His will for those who are homeless?? What is His will for those who are hungry? Not just to feed them for today...but to do something to ensure that NO ONE will ever go hungry. Is this hard? Yes. Can we solve world hunger before Christ comes again? Probably not. BUT....BUT....we're sure supposed to be trying.
Our hands may need to get a little dirtier washing other people's feet. Our feet may not get as many pedicures because that money is paying off someone else's house debt. We may have to include those excluded and discarded people into our life plans. It's so messy. It's so uncomfortable. It's so necessary. It's so like Jesus.
You think your church is empty now? What if the evidence of fruit (of being a Christian) was required before church admittance? Man, would I be let in? Would you? Praise God, our salvation is not dependent upon our performance...but we should have evidence that we've been saved. God does ask things of His children...He has from the beginning. He admonishes those He loves and disciplines those that are His.
Chaz watches a lot of Veggie Tales. His favorite is "Gideon the Tuba Warrior" (which is great btw!) And one of my favorite lines from the movie is a conversation between Gideon and the angel sent to him.
Gideon: "Is this some kind of a pep-talk? I expected a little more 'well done, my good and faithful servant."
Angel: "If you want to hear The Lord say, 'Well done' then you'll have to do what He says!"
what is right
and what he demands:
"See that justice is done,
let mercy be your first concern,
and humbly obey your God."