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Refreshment in Refuge

    by Gina Burgess

If/Then: Working with God
Date Posted: October 13, 2013

I started a series a while back about the promises of God in His word. There are numerous promises where God does not require anything from us such as His promise to never again destroy the world by water. He caused the rainbow to appear as a reminder of that promise. However, there are more than 300 if/then statement promises that mean there is something required of us for God’s promise to happen.

These take many forms. In Genesis for example God says to Abraham, If I find more than 50 righteous in Sodom, then I will spare the city for their sakes. Powerful promise. In Exodus 19:5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. Tremendous promise that is conditional towards the Israelites to keep His covenant, and we see how that back and forth turns out in the book of Judges.

In Leviticus 5:3 Or if he touches human uncleanness—whatever uncleanness with which a man may be defiled, and he is unaware of it—when he realizes it, then he shall be guilty. Here we see God’s infinite mercy that ignorance is a justified innocence as long as the guilty person remains unaware of his sin. Paul affirms this when he says when he became cognizant of the Law, he became guilty. Romans 7:7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, "YOU SHALL NOT COVET." 8 But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. 9 I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died.

In Numbers 33:55 But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall be that those whom you let remain shall be irritants in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall harass you in the land where you dwell. Here is that certain promise that requires work from the believer. You have a choice. Drive out the bad influences from your life and there will not be great harassment or irritants or thorns in the sides. Live with the bad influences and the terrible things will happen. This does not mean that all believers will lead charmed lives completely without trials or troubles that are common to humankind. It does mean that you are ridding yourself of the obvious consequences of sin that the wise person avoids.

Think for a minute about the consequences of sin: prison, parking/speeding tickets, IRS audits, firing from a job, broken family, horrible bodily afflictions from drug abuse or alcohol abuse, self-built wall between you and God that means broken relationship. Those are the results of bad choices, and they do not only affect you but also affect those close to you. Sometimes you may speed and not get caught, sometimes you may steal or cheat and not get caught. Continually practicing sin will catch up to you. It not only harms you, but also destroys your witness. Deuteronomy 8:19 Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the LORD your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish. Other gods are those things that we put ahead of God.

Believers can do ungodly things. Often times we can get drawn into Satan’s sticky web before we know we’re caught in a tangle of our own doing just because we did not think past the temporary pleasure to the potential harm beyond. We are eternal beings in a finite body. It is the Holy Spirit in us that convicts of sin and gives us the ability to see the consequences. When we choose to obey God, we avoid them.

In Deuteronomy God presents great hope in an if/then promise: 30:14 But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it. 15 "See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, 16 in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the LORD your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. 17 But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, 18 I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess. 19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.

The Holy Spirit lives in believers’ hearts. The word is in our hearts, on our lips, that we may do it. Jesus pointed out the greatest command is to love the LORD with all our hearts, minds, and souls, and the second is like it that we should love our neighbor as our selves. When we do this, we look beyond the temporary into the eternal consequences bypassing self-satisfying, craven things. We find pleasure in pleasing God. We find a clean conscience is more pleasurable than hiding sin in our hearts. Pleasing God becomes a lifestyle. The if is the choosing, and the then is life and blessing. Paul affirms the blessing is the Fruit of the Spirit: Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

We are free from the Law because the Fruit is all that which we need to please God and that splashes all over our fellow man. How can we go wrong in that? How much easier it is to let God have His way and supply us with all we need, to give us the Fire of righteousness, the Living Water of refreshing, the Bread of Life, and the Gift of love and mercy. Splash that around! There may be a cold, thirsty, hungry person sitting right beside you.

For the other parts to this series see Part 1-Genesis, Part 2-Exodus, Part 3-Leviticus, Part 4-Numbers.

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Biography Information:
Gina Burgess has taught Sunday School and Discipleship Training for almost three decades. (Don't tell her that makes her old.) She earned her Master's in Communication in 2013.

She is the author of several books including: When Christians Hurt Christians, The Crowns of the Believers and others available in online bookstores. She authors several columns, using her God-given talent to shine a light in a dark world. You can browse her blog at Refreshment In Refuge.

If you'd like to take a look at some Christian fiction and Christian non-fiction book reviews before the books hit the book store shelves, check out Gina's book reviews at Upon Reflection

Gina is a partner and COO of Common Sense Marketing Strategies, LLC that owns Authors Community and
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