Guest Column: This is the best deal
Democratic candidates have been promising some good deals. Actually, their upcoming election has been labeled the “free-stuff” primary—free college, free houses, free paychecks…
The quest for free stuff isn’t new. We have institutions dedicated to those who’ve acquired free stuff—from inside your home, car, bank, business. Institutions called jails. Free stuff can cost you. In fact, the Bible tells of people who were eaten by lions after receiving a deal from God. Here’s what happened:
Northern Israel falls to Assyria in 721 B.C. and God’s people are taken away into captivity. The victors resettle the area with four different nationalities. As you can imagine, it was a good deal—lots of free stuff: Homes, clothes, jewels, furnishings, fruit trees, gardens—everything left behind as the captives are marched away half-naked.
Today, lions are extinct everywhere except Africa and a small area of India (mountain lions aren’t actually lions), but during Biblical times lions still lived in Israel. When these new nationalities settle into the Holy Land, they anger God by not worshipping Him. Consequently, God sends lions which begin eating them. (2 Kings 17:24-25)
News of these deaths reaches the Assyrian king. What to do? He sends a Hebrew priest from among the captives back to Israel to teach the people how to worship God.
“Well, sure,” the heathens apparently said.
They learn from that priest and appoint more priests, but here’s the rub—these nationalities weren’t about to give up their gods. They welcome the Lord God to join their party, but the command for no other gods never takes hold.
Meanwhile, God’s people now living in captivity are surely thinking about every prophet who’d warned them saying, “Turn from your evil ways and keep my commandments and my statutes…”(2 Kings 17:13)
Scripture tells us exactly how they ended up in captivity:
“But they would not listen…did not believe in the Lord their God. They despised his statutes and his covenant that he made with their fathers…and made for themselves metal images…and burned their sons and daughters as offerings…therefor the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them from out of his sight…exiled from their own land to Assyria…” (2 Kings 17:14-23)
That pretty much sums it up. They wanted nothing to do with God and they got their wish.
The striking part of this story is that centuries earlier, when God brought His people out of slavery and into Israel, He was all about giveaways. The wandering Hebrews suddenly found themselves with furnished houses, clean water, free food. Here’s the Scripture: “[I will give you] great and good cities…and houses full of all good things that you did not build, and cisterns you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees you did not plant.” (Deuteronomy 6:10-11)
It was free stuff as good as anything from the Democratic candidates—politicians who need to refocus. As I’ve said, we enjoy lives billions worldwide would love to have. Countless people have no bed to sleep on. We’re already blessed.
God asks only one thing in return for His blessings: Love me, love my ways, be My people. (Deuteronomy 6:12-25)
That didn’t happen, and in 721 B.C. God’s people lost everything. Here’s the big question—is this country headed down that path?
Listen to me, America is a gift, but if God decides, this nation could fall for the same reason—for not loving Him and not wanting His ways.
If you belong to the Lord, you’ll have His blessings. Jesus plainly says that if a father knows how to give a hungry son bread to eat, how much more will our Heavenly Father give to us. (Matthew 7:9)
God will meet all your needs. Every good and perfect gift is from above. He will make even your enemies to live in harmony with you and give you a peace that passes all understanding. (Philippians 4:19-20, James 1:17, Proverbs 16:7, Philippians 4:7)
No matter the sins you’ve committed, like the Prodigal Son you can always come home. Lay every wrong deed at the feet of our Savior and be restored to our Heavenly Father.
What’s the best deal out there? Always and forever it’s Jesus. Seek Him.
Copyright © 2019 R.A. Mathews The Rev. Mathews is a faith columnist, attorney, and the author of “Reaching to God.” Contact her at Letters@ramathews.com