The Story of Sin: Part X A Bride’s Devastating Fall From Grace!

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Fellowship at Cross Creek
The Story of Sin…
Part X…A Bride’s Devastating Fall From Grace!
By Joseph M. Cross


“I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness;
I saw your forefathers as the earliest fruit on the fig tree in its first season.
But they came to Baal-peor and devoted themselves to shame,
And they became as detestable as that which they loved.” Hosea 9:10.The Story of Sin Continues…

 We last left Sin’s story, suggesting that when the father of the John the Baptist, Zacharias, prophetically proclaims:
“…And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
For you will go on before the Lord to prepare His ways;
To give to His people the knowledge of salvation
By the forgiveness of their sins,
Because of the tender mercy of our God…” Luke 1:76-78…
in essence, through one’s relationship with the Messiah, as will be made clear later, Zacharias is not only forecasting every human being’s invitation to be forgiven his sins and therefore, his eternal salvation, but there is also a strong hint of the forgiveness of Judah’s long term national sins, and therefore also, her deliverance from foreign domination–in this case, from the mighty Roman Empire.  
And once again, why is all this so important?
Because after having been so extravagantly rich in God for a millennium and a half, including:

1) Yahweh God’s unilaterally granting (with no strings attached) to the faithful Abram the Abrahamic Covenant, which includes: a) a nation of descendants (although an elderly Abram had no children at the time), b) lands amounting to the rich Middle Eastern Fertile Crescent and c) to somehow be a blessing to the entire world (Gen. 12; 15, 17)…which we now know to be the Christ himself and his offer of a permanent deliverance from sin; 
2) the sheltering protection of the Egyptian Nile delta, via the providence of Abraham’s great grandson Joseph, in which God transforms a small extended  family of twelve shepherd brothers into a nation–albeit, under a later, much harsher pharaoh, a slave nation, but a nation, no less, and a nation now made up of not just 12 shepherd families, but 12 tribes of families, each numbering in the hundreds of thousands and primed for  a glorious emancipation that will lead to their return to their forefather’s Promise Lands.     
3) via Moses’ leadership and 10 plagues, including the last, greatest and most deadly plague–the Passover Plague, in which Egypt will lose all of her firstborn children–Israel will be granted her freedom and, via her Exodus (meaning “a way out”), she will leave or exit from the nation that once sheltered her, allowing her to grow up into a people, but then became her  enslaving taskmaster (Exodus 1-18);
4) then in the Sinai wilderness, as an impoverished, formerly enslaved and highly dependent people group, via the mediator or Spiritual attorney, Moses, accepting the incredibly gracious and undeserved proposal by an ever-vigilant divine and rescuing groom to become his faithful, national bride: Become my faithful people, and I will become your valued God, protecting and blessing you as the most-prized possession of all people groups or nations of the earth (Exodus 19).
5) In turn, God presents to his national bride her own set of national laws or morals (the Mosaic Covenant or the Law) by which to keep her from becoming Spiritually and morally corrupted by the same moral perversity which had for generations corrupted the nations and people groups within the lands in which she was now replacing (Gen. 15:16; Exodus 20ff);
6) God’s constant daily protection and provision, including manna from heaven (Exodus 16), in which Yahweh God continually cared for and fed several million Israelites for over forty years during her punitive sojourning within the wilderness (Exodus-Deuteronomy);
7) under Joshua’s capably and bold military prowess, Israel conquers the many nations inhabiting her ancestral Promised Lands (Joshua);
8) because of her generationally-repeated national unfaithfulness, as stipulated within her divine covenant, Yahweh God would repeatedly allow his stubborn bride to be broken by outside intervention. Then in much great national pain and sorrow, a repentant nation would cry out for her divine Groom’s merciful deliverance once again, and once again, via national saviors (or judges), such as Gideon, Samson and Deborah, God, as promised in his original covenant with his bride, would mercifully forgive her national sins and, as he had done originally when he had first redeemed her from her harsh Egyptian enslavement, would rescue his bride from foreign domination (Judges);
9) despite having the world’s greatest monarch to watch out over her in the divine-rescue Creator himself, eventually, Israel would foolishly ask for what other nations had–a human king to guide and watch out over her–and despite his reluctance in granting her request, Yahweh God does grant her request–giving her human kings…
10) …kings that despite God’s patient, loyal, merciful and long suffering covenant love, would lead both Israel and Judah into further national apostasy, including the idolatrous worship of other gods which Israel sought to please through such Spiritual apostasies as the sacrifice of  their children (Lev. 20:2-5; 18:21; Deut. 12:31; 18:10; 2 Kings 3:27; 16:3; 17:17; 21:6; 23:10; Ps. 106:35ff; Is. 57:5; Jer. 7:31; 19:4-5; 32:35; Ezk. 16:20ff; 20:26, 31; Hos. 13:2) and male shrine prostitution (Lev. 18:22; Deut. 23:17; 1 Kings 14:24; 15:12; 22:46)…
…Yahweh God’s seemingly endless patience finally runs thin, and, true to his covenant (Deut. 28), he allows the divine hammer of  his perfect justice to mercilessly crush his stubborn, unrepentant bride…
In 722 B.C.E,  having split themselves off from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin in the south, the ten northern tribes of Israel, known as the nation of Israel, and ruled by NOT ONE righteous king in over two hundred years of her sovereign existence, is conquered by the merciless Assyrian Empire, and like ashes in the wind, her descendants will be scattered throughout the earth. 
Then over a century later, the nation of Judah, made up of the combined tribes of Judah and Benjamin, would also be conquered and carried away to the other side of the Fertile Crescent as well, but this time into Babylonian Captivity and Exile.
And although, over the next century and half, as many as 50,000+ Jews will return from Babylonian exile to a vastly reduced version of Judah’s former Promise Lands, for over six centuries, as Isaiah 40 prophesied over a century before her fall, Judah will “pay dearly for all her many sins”…her many errors, idolatries, Spiritual indiscretions, her substantial wickedness, her gross missing of God’s divine moral mark of  justice, truth and righteousness, her willful leaving or transgressing of God’s clearly defined moral path…AND for having done it for so LONG…centuries even…and REPEATEDLY and so EGREGIOUSLY, AND DESPITE God’s long suffering love and many prophetic warnings (2 Kings 24-25; Jer. 3; 32ff; Hosea)!
Israel-Judah had sinned greatly, and now she will greatly. 
Despite all the beauty, wonder and divine splendor the heavenly Groom had so richly blessed and so often sustained and rescued his once-beautiful bride with, she had instead chosen a different kind of pseudo-religious fulfillment. She had succumb to her naturally-flawed, passion-probed inclinations, had played the role of a spiritually-wanton harlot and in so doing, had not only lost all the divine riches she had once so naively enjoyed, but also found herself once-again… to be NOT MUCH MORE than the impoverished slave nation that she had begun as over a millennium earlier. 
It is from within this long, national, tragic love story and Israel/Judah’s resulting desolation that John the Baptist’s broken, priestly father, Zacharias, under divine inspiration, now echoes the long-ago prophet Isaiah’s promise that after a time of harsh punishment, as God had once before delivered a very naive bride, God would once again come to the aid of his now-humbled bride, forgive her sins and restore her to national prominence, which within this era would include, deliverance from Roman domination. 
If so…if Zacharias’ words were really true, then one can begin to sense the growing sense of national and salvific anticipation that is taking place within Judea’s borders. According to the many OT prophecies, beginning in Judea, the world is about to change. And indeed, as we will soon find out, the world is about to change–but NOT in the way some within Judea might have hoped for. Rather than a change that temporarily imposes its physical will, this change begins with the heart of each and every human being, and its rewards are eternal.     
your servant,

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