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3 These are the nations the Lord left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wars in Canaan 2 (he did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience): 3 the five rulers of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites living in the Lebanon mountains from Mount Baal Hermon to Lebo Hamath. 4 They were left to test the Israelites to see whether they would obey the Lord’s commands, which he had given their ancestors through Moses.
5 The Israelites lived among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 6 They took their daughters in marriage and gave their own daughters to their sons, and served their gods.
7 The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord; they forgot the Lord their God and served the Baals and the Asherahs. 8 The anger of the Lord burned against Israel so that he sold them into the hands of Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram Naharaim,[a] to whom the Israelites were subject for eight years. 9 But when they cried out to the Lord, he raised up for them a deliverer, Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, who saved them. 10 The Spirit of the Lord came on him, so that he became Israel’s judge[b] and went to war. The Lord gave Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram into the hands of Othniel, who overpowered him. 11 So the land had peace for forty years, until Othniel son of Kenaz died.
Richard: There could be a parallel here. As a nation, we have turned far away from God. So could the troubles we are experienceing as a nation be a way for us to give penance? Could President Trump be someone God has inspired to fight against the corruption of “the swamp”, and help bring the nation back to a closer alignment with God?
1 Chronicle 5
23 The people of the half-tribe of Manasseh were numerous; they settled in the land from Bashan to Baal Hermon, that is, to Senir (Mount Hermon).
24 These were the heads of their families: Epher, Ishi, Eliel, Azriel, Jeremiah, Hodaviah and Jahdiel. They were brave warriors, famous men, and heads of their families. 25 But they were unfaithful to the God of their ancestors and prostituted themselves to the gods of the peoples of the land, whom God had destroyed before them. 26 So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria (that is, Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria), who took the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh into exile. He took them to Halah, Habor, Hara and the river of Gozan, where they are to this day.
Richard: Interestingly, God repeats his warning in the first reading; the nation and the people suffer due to unrighteousness in the eyes of God.
Jesus Whom God Wanted To Find
Rev. Sun Myung Moon
October 18, 1959
What is the sorrow of Jesus? Where did the three disciples who were with Jesus in the hills of Gethsemane go? Where did his beloved parents and younger siblings go? Jesus longed for them all. If Jesus’ tribe had attended him centering on Joseph’s family, Jesus would not have died, but he was chased out by his family, by John the Baptist whom God had prepared, by the religious body, by the race, and by his disciples. Thus, he had to die. Without knowing these circumstances, people say that Jesus came to die. If what I say is true, people who have been believing that Jesus came to die are crucifying Jesus a second time.
Jesus is looking for people. He is seeking beloved younger brothers and sisters. Where did my beloved parents go? Where are my brothers? Where are my relatives? Where is my tribe? Where is my church? Where is my religion? In order to dissolve this sorrow, Jesus has been praying for two thousand years, “Heavenly Father, please forgive us again. I did not complete my mission as the representative of the world. I did not complete my mission to lead the Israelites. I did not complete my mission to lead the church. I did not complete my mission to lead the tribe and family. Therefore, please forgive us.” This is the truth.
What is the sadness of God? When God saw that Jesus was being betrayed by his own blood brothers, how much did He grieve? When God saw that even Jesus’ parents, who had brought him up, did not know him but separated themselves from him, how much did God grieve? After preparing for thousands of years, God sent Jesus to Joseph’s tribe. What did He feel when that tribe, which was supposed to rejoice and attend Jesus, betrayed him? What did God feel when the Jewish religion expelled Jesus? What did He feel when the Israelites betrayed Jesus? You should realize that God’s heart burst in pain when Jesus was rejected by individuals, by his brothers and sisters, by his family, by the people He had prepared, by the church, by society and by the nation.
God promised to send Jesus again. He will surely come, and he will take responsibility for this age. You who are facing the Last Days share the common fate of attending the one who comes. If the age of attending him is coming, what frame of mind should you have in order to attend him? You cannot attend him by merely believing in the Bible. When Jesus came the people of his time believed only in the Old Testament and thus failed to attend him. Moreover, you cannot attend him just by blindly believing in God. People failed to attend the prophets in the Old Testament age as well as in the New Testament age. Who is to say that the same thing will not happen in this age? We must reach the position of sons and daughters. We must become a family of Jesus. Without that we cannot attend Jesus.
Thus, we must be sons and daughters of the historical God. We must reach the position of binding a relationship with God’s heart. In this age do you think you will enter the Kingdom of Heaven just by going to Church with a Bible in your hands? Let’s see where you will go. I have often seen this kind of image. Ministers who have been boasting that they will go to the Kingdom of Heaven are in a desolate place spiritually. There are lots of people like that. Do not boast. Even if they are devoted to making their church prosper, it doesn’t mean that they are sons and daughters of God. Even if people respect you, saying that you have a Ph.D., it doesn’t mean that you are a son or daughter of God.
Similarly, if even the apostles could not become Jesus’ sons and daughters or his family members, who among the people on earth would be able to claim that he or she is Jesus’ son or daughter, that he is Jesus’ brother or sister? Why couldn’t the apostles take those positions? It is because they did not recognize the historical Jesus. They did not recognize the Jesus of the age.
Thus, for us to become his sons or daughters today, we must know the God of the six thousand years of history. We must know the historical Jesus. We must believe in the God of the age, who is leading the 2.7 billion people who comprise mankind. We must believe in the Jesus of the age. Moreover, we must believe in the Jesus of the future, the future that is unfolding from this moment into a form that is 180 degrees different from what we now know. Do you think that Jesus will come and lead people just the way they are? No. He will overturn them. At that time the spoken words, the written words, and everything will be different. That is the essential point here. You must become a better disciple than the apostles were, a better bride than the apostles, and a better brother to Jesus than the apostles were.