13 So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today--to love the LORD your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul--14 then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and oil. (Deuteronomy 11:13-14 NIV)
Many of the promises of God are conditional. There is an “if you…” and a “then I will…” In this passage God tells the Children of Israel that their economy is dependent on their obedience. God did give them certain laws that would make their agrarian lifestyle more productive. He also brought them to a land that was dependent on seasonal rains. Farmers throughout the ages have had to depend on the Weather Maker. It was an incentive to obey God. When they turned from God and had drought, they tried other gods that claimed to bring rain like, Baal.
At the moment of writing this, the place I am living is experiencing extreme drought. The government of the area recently repealed what they called ‘antiquated laws’, laws that had to do with sexual morality. “Those came from the Bible and we don’t all believe in the Bible anymore,” they say. But that is not true. All western law is Biblically based. Society has just chosen to pick and choose the laws they will enforce. That does not change the promises of God.
In this drought with devastating forest fires, I have not heard one person say there is a need for us to repent. I hear, “Pray for rain.”That is general enough so as to offend no one. We have forgotten that God is the Weather Maker, and that many of His promises are conditional.
Consider: Difficulty can be an expression of grace to turn us back to God.
16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:16-17 NIV)
The Spirit of God had revealed to John the Baptist that he would see the Spirit descend in the form of a dove upon the Messiah. That was to be the sign by which John would know he had found the Lamb of God. Even before this happened, he somehow knew Jesus was the One. When Jesus asked to be baptized, John said that he would rather Jesus baptize him. Remember, John had been declaring that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. But Jesus, our perfect example in all things, insisted that John baptize Him. John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. The only reason that Jesus would be baptized is in obedience to the Father. He had nothing to repent of. Since the Father instructed Him to do so, He insisted that it was necessary to fulfill all righteousness.
Once John baptized Him, the sign that John had been watching for came to pass. In addition, a voice came from heaven! John must have needed these confirmations because Jesus’ calling was so radically different from John’s. John ate a strict and limited diet. Jesus ate and drank freely. John isolated himself in the wilderness. Jesus mingled with every kind of people. This contrast may have caused John to doubt, for when he was in prison he sent word to Jesus asking him if He was indeed the Messiah.
The voice also commended the Lord for His obedience. Jesus, being all God and yet all man, may have wondered if the Father was indeed pleased with Him, since He was led to the baptism of John, that of repentance. In walking in continued obedience, the Father audibly confirmed He was His loved Son with Whom He was well pleased.
Consider: If you are ever tempted to think God is not pleased with you, remember, if you are in the Son, He is well pleased.
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