A Voice in the
Wilderness

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Re: Open Wide

"O Corinthians! Our mouth is open to you, our heart is wide open...  
Now in return for the same (I speak as to children), you also be wide 
open...Open your hearts to us." (2Cor6:11-20; 7:1-2)

Let's take a little trip down memory-lane here. You who were raised by 
parents who expected obedience from you, let's remember back to our 
childhoods. You who have children, think about your own children a 
moment. Paul says he is speaking "as to children".

There are times parents leave the house momentarily where they don't 
take the children along, for whatever reasons. If the children are very 
young, they might be under the care of older siblings, babysitters, 
other relatives, etc. If the children are old enough, they might be left 
unattended. As the parents leave, the parting exhortation is: "be good".

As the parents leave, the younger the child, the more the tendency might 
be to cry in sadness that the parent is leaving. And as the parents 
return, that sadness is turned into exuberant joy, as they -RUN- to 
mommy and daddy, with wide-open arms, to hug and receive kisses and "I 
Love You" and "I missed you soooo much!" There is -JOY- at the reunion.

Now supposing... while the parents are away, some mischief has been 
going on? For older ones, the parents left them with 'chores' to do, but 
instead, they have idled away the time. Due to the mischief something 
has been broken, something spilled. Whatever the case, they have -not- 
heeded the departing exhortation to "be good". As the time for the 
parents to return approaches, there is no 'joy'. As they walk through 
the front door, rather than running towards the parents, they sulk away, 
hide out in their room 'pretending' to 'not realize' the parents have 
come home. But their arms are certainly -NOT- "open wide" to greet the 
parents. The parents might open their arms wide, and call out, "come 
give me a hug...I missed you" but the child is reticent. Why? There is 
'sin' against the parents' exhortation; and the child knows he's in deep 
trouble of the expected 'consequences'.

Corinth, apparently, was this way to Paul. And notice the context of 
this talk of "open wide". The church at Corinth is not able to "open 
wide" to Paul (and others)... he exhorts: "..beloved, let us cleanse 
ourselves from all defilements of the flesh and spirit, perfecting 
holiness in the fear of God." (2Cor7:1)

What were the defilements Corinth was guilty of? In the context, they 
were "unequally yoking" themselves with the world; with unbelievers. 
They were "fellowshipping" with unrighteousness and darkness. (6:14) 
Their fellowship, by definition, was with satan. They were joining with 
unbelievers. (vs15)

Who is it that objects most vehemently to the 'absolutes' of God's Word? 
Those who are being disobedient to it. Who tries to change the 
Scriptures or explain it away? Those who are not following it. Who is it 
that becomes angry with God's messengers who 'proclaim' God's Word? 
Those who are rejecting God's Word. It is not that they are distant from 
the messenger; they are distant from God's Word; and in turn, God 
Himself.

Do you find that your life 'just' doesn't 'quite' have the fullness of 
joy that you think it should have? Do you have a spot within your heart 
where you are grumbling against God's messenger? If you were to spend 
some quiet time away from all your worldly cares for just a moment, you 
would realize that what you are sensing could be called a "leanness" in 
your soul.

You see, Israel in the wilderness 'forgot' God, and lusted after the 
world. God allowed them to have some of their lusts, but notice what it 
says: "And He gave them their request, but sent leanness into their 
soul." (Ps106:13-15)  

Do you want the Joy of the Lord in your heart? You won't get it from 
that lion/wolf-den of unbelievers you 'fellowship' with every week-end. 
You won't find it in being more "tolerant" of all faiths. You will only 
find it when you become obedient to the Lord, to purify your life, and 
throw out the contaminants that have put the divider of 'sin' between 
you and God. You say it seems that God doesn't hear your prayers? That's 
because of "sin". (Is59:1-2) If you are tolerating and fellowshipping 
with the world in their unGodly 'churches', you are living in sin.

As a side-bar here: Maybe this is why there are many who don't believe 
in an 'imminent' Rapture of the Church? They know they have guilt in 
their lives, and would not be able to meet Christ with open arms? And 
since they don't want to get rid of their sin (they 'love' their sin), 
they've changed the doctrine to claim that Christ is "delaying His 
coming" (Mt24:48) ??

For Corinth, in order for them to be able to "open wide" to Paul (and to 
God), was in the context of them heeding the exhoration to "be good":

"Therefore, Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do 
not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.  And I will be a 
Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters,  says the Lord 
Almighty". (2Cor6:17-18)  

You will then be able to run to Him with wide open arms, crying out 
eagerly, "Daddy, Daddy!" ... "Abba, Father!" (Rom8:15)

Amen!