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sermon: The Doctrine of Israel (Part Three): A Cycle of Rebellion

A Carnal People
Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Given 04-Jan-20; Sermon #1523; 64 minutes

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National traits are simply family traits applied to an entire people. God variously characterizes Jacob's offspring as stiff-necked rebels and perpetual complainers, often deceitful and disloyal. Because the Children of Israel had absorbed so much pagan culture in Egypt, in the process losing sight of patriarchal standards of right behavior, God "added" a law to the Old Covenant, struck with the people at Sinai. Historically, Israel perennially cycled through (1) rescue at God's hand through a chosen leader, (2) apostasy through idolatry and immorality, (3) divine chastening of some sort, and (4) the peoples' repentance and restoration, a rescue which was sure to be followed by apostasy by a later generation. Characterizing Israelite waywardness to this day is her burning desire to be like gentile nations (I Samuel 8), rejecting God's law and way of life. Instead of being a light on a hill to gentiles, an example of a nation serving God and blessed by Him, Israel has become worse than the gentiles, utterly flouting God's law. Only the destiny-changing transformation which comes through God's living in individuals will remedy Israel's destructive penchant for apostasy.

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