Caulfield Evangelical Methodist Church
- Weekly Pastoral Message -

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"Continuing steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine" Acts 2:42

Weekly Pastoral Message prepared by Rev. Murray Adamthwaite
for Sunday 9th November 1997

From the Pastor: Curious Comparisons VI

"Until the Spirit is poured out upon us from on high ... and the fertile field is considered as a forest." Isaiah 32:15

Forests are mentioned in the Bible quite often: the battle between David and Absalom in the Transjordan was fought in a forest (2 Samuel 18:6-8), the Lebanon forest famous for its cedars, the forest of Hereth (1 Samuel 22:5) which stretched form the hill country of Judah down to the Philistine plain are just a sample. In their time they were very thick, with dense tree cover and heavy undergrowth. Today they are all gone. Various occupiers over the centuries have cut down trees for various purposes and have never sought to renew the forests. This was contrary to the law of Moses which forbad wholesale cutting down of trees (see Deuteronomy 20:19).

This scenario also tells a spiritual message: the deforested state of the land of Israel today is symptomatic of its rejection of Christ and the Gospel at the beginning of our era, about which Paul laments in Romans 9:1-5. Seven centuries before the prophet Isaiah saw the same circumstance: a desolate and forsaken land, and the old order defunct.

Why? Because the people had "spoken error against the LORD", had "devised wicked schemes", and had "practiced ungodliness". However, that would change when the Spirit was poured out. The spiritual landscape will become like a desert transformed into a field growing abundantly with crops, but even more, a fertile field transformed into a thick forest. Neither the land of Israel nor the Western world has seen anything like that during this century. Quite the reverse! The forest has indeed been cut down.

What is the solution? Let us admit that the reason for this state of affairs in our churches is no different to what the prophet described. The way back is first to acknowledge the King of Righteousness (Isaiah 32:1), and let Him rule our lives unreservedly, then to proclaim Him as the "the shade of the Rock". This must apply in particular to the leadership, thence to the people at large. Let us pray that this will happen.

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Caulfield Evangelical Methodist Church
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