by Christian Gedge
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I have loved you, says the LORD. Yet you ask, "How have you loved us?"
I created your inmost being; I knit you together in your mother's womb. Your frame was not hidden from me when I made you in the secret place. When you were woven together in the depths my eyes saw your unformed body. All the days ordained for you were written in my book before one of them came to be. My thoughts toward you were precious. Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.
When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when he divided up the human race; he set up boundaries for the peoples. He made Aotearoa ride on the heights and fed him with fruit and crops of the field. He nourished him with manuka honey, and with fish and oil from an abundant coast. He gave milk from herd and wool from flock together with fattened lambs and beef, with choice lamb from the hills together with the finest wheat. You drank the finest wine.
But Aotearoa became self-satisfied; filled with food, he became fat and stuffed. He abandoned the God who made him and made light of the Rock his Savior. You deserted the Rock, who fathered you; you forgot the God who gave you birth.
A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?" says the LORD. Even the priests, show contempt for my name. And yet you ask, "How have we shown contempt for your name?"
I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce. But you came and defiled my land and corrupted the inheritance I had promised you. The priests did not ask, 'Where is the LORD?' The judges ignored me; the politicians legislated against me. The preachers prophesied novelties, wasting their time on nonsense.
Therefore I will bring my case against you," declares the LORD. "And I will bring charges against your children's children. Cross over to India, and look, send to Bali and observe closely; see if there has ever been anything like this: Do nations casually exchange their belief for another god (even though their gods are nothing)? Yet my people have exchanged their true faith for worthless philosophies.
The heavens are shocked at such a thing and shrink back in horror and dismay, says the LORD. For my people have committed two evils: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have constructed artificial reservoirs, leaking cisterns that hold no water.
Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn't worship him as God or even give him thanks, so their thinking became addled and their hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be sophisticated, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. But you say, "Thatís not true! No one worships idols here!" Then what are these, erected in pride of place, playing with their puhataís in every public square? Culture? And what is this you teach in every public school saying to pictures of animals, "You are my father", and to fish, "you are the one who gave me birth?
The outcome of this line of thinking has been that God gave them over to the pursuit of pleasure - to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped the things God made rather than the Creator himself.
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of evil, greed and depravity. Just as the prophets predicted. "These are the distinguishing marks of the final days:- "People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power."
You have acted corruptly toward him; to your shame you are no longer his children, but a warped and crooked generation.
Is this the way you repay the LORD, you foolish and senseless people? Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you. You deserted the Rock, who fathered you; you forgot the God who gave you birth. The LORD saw this and rejected you because he was angered by his sons and daughters. I will abandon them," he said, "and see what their end will be; for they are a twisted generation, children without integrity.
Why has New Zealand become a nation of slaves? Why has his wealth become plunder for overseas owners and foreign investors? Lions have roared against him. They have wasted his land; his towns are unpainted; his shops are empty; his factories are silent. Also, the men of Canberra have taken your sovereignty. The bankers of New York have mortgaged your souls as security on your unrepayable debt! Have you not brought this on yourselves by forsaking the LORD when he led you in the way?
Now why go to London to raise another loan? And why go to Brussels to plead for help? Your own actions will punish you; your backsliding will rebuke you. Consider then and realize how bitter it is for you when you forsake the LORD your God and have no awe of me," declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty.
Ano te tini o aku meatanga kia whakaminea au tamariki, kia peratia me te heihei e whakamine nei i ana pi ki raro i ona parirau, a kihai koutou i pai!
Does a young woman forget her jewelry, a bride her wedding dress? Yet my people have forgotten me, days without number. Long ago you broke off your yoke and tore off your restraints; you said, 'I will not follow you!'
Yet how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Now your house is left to you desolate.
Therefore this is what the LORD says: "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it. Even now,' declares the LORD, 'return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. Don't punch your walls with fists of frustration; instead break your hearts. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful, He is not quickly angered. He is filled with kindness and eager to divert the calamity. Who knows? Even at this late stage he may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing -- so much that the overflow may be offered back to the LORD your God.
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