Tag Archives: consequences of sin

(Jeremiah 17-19) God Doesn’t Do Useless

We who have met Jesus at the foot of the cross, and accepted His death as a substitute for our own, want to serve Him. We want to obey. We want to live lives that bring Him joy and show how much we appreciate what He’s done on our behalf. We want to be the clay jar; clean, emptied, ready and eager to be filled and poured out for His purposes.

We want to.

But we convince ourselves a little smudge here and there can’t do harm. A tiny crack is no big deal. The pot can be used for a lot of things, even if it doesn’t hold water, right?

Wrong.

God says He will take that corrupted clay jar and shatter it. 19:11 tells us He shatters the potter’s jar that can never again be mended. Shatters it.

Just this week a dear friend posted a picture on FaceBook of two coffee mugs, filled with dirt and a few plants, she’d set on her window sill. Those mugs had been her husband’s favorite mugs, mugs he used every day for years until his death 18 months ago. It’s a sweet picture, a tender memory of this man she misses so much. She re-purposed those mugs in a creative and even useful way.

God doesn’t do that.

God doesn’t place a useless pot on the shelf to admire, or to remember how useful it used to be. He shatters it, destroy it, gets rid of it.

Now that’s not to say that God can’t perform a miracle and restore that useless pot to it’s original state. That’s a lesson on repentance, and that’s not the lesson God is speaking to me about today.

I hear God telling me not to entertain sin in any form – not in thought, not in a careless word, not in action. Because each smudge, every crack has the potential of rendering the pot useless.

And God doesn’t do useless.

(Leviticus 15-27) What Does This Have To Do With Me?

Sometimes we might be tempted to gloss over chapters like the ones here in Leviticus because we live after the cross, right? Didn’t Jesus come to fulfill the Law? I’m certainly not going to go out and stone someone for saying something bad about his dad, or for sleeping with his mother’s brother’s wife’s daughter, am I? Of course not.

But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t important things for me to learn from all of Scripture. Here’s what I believe God is saying these verses have to do with me:

Following God’s Law involves honesty, integrity, compassion, justice, honor, and hard work. The blessings for obediences are many. The consequences for disobedience are severe. What are some of the areas covered in these chapters in Leviticus?

  1. Respect for one another. That includes protecting each other from diseases, physical diseases as spelled out here, but also from the disease of sin. Just like an unclean person needed to wash themselves so as not to expose others to their uncleanness, we must wash ourselves in the blood of Jesus, so sin in us doesn’t touch others and cause them to sin. Sin is a communicable disease. We need to respect each other by taking care of the sin in our lives so that it doesn’t spread.
  2. Fair treatment of each other. This includes employers’ treatment of workers as well as the workers’ treatment of employers. These chapters speak against our current welfare system and socialism in that help did not come from government, but from individuals looking out for individuals facing hard times – and only for a period of time until the needy individual is able to go back to work. Our perpetual governmental support of non-workers in this nation today is not only against God’s Law and extremely unfair – it is fiscally irresponsible. The chapters here in Leviticus point out that we are to be working, respecting those in authority as well as those who work for us, and always do our jobs in obedience to God.
  3. Honoring God. It addresses idolatry, worship of God, and honoring God with our bodies. But one thing my Apologetics Bible pointed out from chapter 24 was that blasphemy brings guilt on those who hear it as well as on the blasphemer. Recently I have been convicted by some of the TV shows I watch, and the books I read. The common use of God’s name as an exclamation mark, the vulgar word used for the sex act, and the two combined in a shockingly blasphemous manner have become as commonplace as the casual use of the words “hell,” “damn,” and “OMG.” Now, I can tell myself I can handle listening to those things without them effecting me, that the show or book is harmless. But I have to understand that what I have heard cannot be unheard. The blasphemy (which God takes very seriously) has entered my mind. I am guilty.
  4. Sin. We cannot ignore sin. We can’t condone it, rename it, or participate in it. And if we commit a sin, either intentionally or at the hands of another, we are guilty, we have to confess it and repent. “Be holy” is God’s command. And you can’t be holy if sin exists in your life.

There, of course, is much more in these chapters. If you read them, and I hope you do, God may point out other truths He wants you to hear. These chapters are included in God’s Word for a reason. Don’t miss what He has to say.

These things definitely have everything to do with you.

Turning Our World Upside Down (Proverbs 19-21)

So often we do things without considering the consequences. We act and react in the moment, or we make decisions based on how we are feeling, or how we hope it will make us feel. And often, we live to regret it.

Solomon had a lot to say about that in his proverbs.

If you lie, you will be punished. If you don’t work, you will go hungry. Abusing alcohol leads a person on a wrong path. Laziness leads to poverty.

But there are also proverbs that assure us:

He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; he who cherishes understanding prospers. (19:8)

If you are kind to the poor, God will bless. If you listen to advise, you will become wise. If you fear the Lord, you will have life. If you lead a righteous life, your children are blessed.

We would be wise to read the proverbs and apply them to our own lives here in 2020. I believe our world would turn upside down if Christians lived the wise, loving, obedient, caring, righteous lives Solomon prescribes.

It’s My Fault (2 Samuel 24, I Chronicles 21)

Warren Wiersbe says of these chapters of the Bible, that David’s sin was pride. David counted the fighting men in Israel and Judah, which demonstrated the Jews’ superiority over other nations, and revealed David as the most powerful king. But according to Wiersbe, he did not “connect the census with the redemption money,”  as was directed in Exodus 30. (With the Word by Warren Wiersbe; Oliver-Nelson Books; 1991; page 194) It would appear this census was motivated by David’s pride.

What I like about David is, when he recognized that he’d sinned against God, feeling the heavy hand of God’s conviction, he prayed: “I have sinned greatly.” He didn’t blame anyone else, he didn’t make excuses, he didn’t rationalize his behavior. He recognized his sin, and he confessed it to God. have sinned.

We must never ignore the feeling of guilt, or learn to live with a heavy conscience. We must confess our sin, because when we do God is faithful to forgive! What joy!

But there is a lesson here. Forgiveness doesn’t automatically cancel out consequences for our sin. And that’s what spoke to me today.

The consequences for David’s sin didn’t just affect him. The entire nation paid for what David had done. For days, David watched while the people charged to his care, the nation he loved and fought for and led, suffered. Tens of thousands of them died, and there was nothing David could do but sit back and watch it happen, knowing it was his fault.

We all have people we care about: our children, our siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, our friends, co-workers, neighbors, adults and kids whom we love, fight for, and nurture. We all have people for whom we are responsible in one way or another. Isn’t it hard to watch these dear ones go through hard times, suffer illness and loss while you stand helplessly by? It’s a horrible feeling.

But what if the things they are going through are a direct result of sin you’ve committed? Your family loses their home because your drinking ends up costing you your job. Your adolescent child is having trouble dealing with losing you through divorce. Your company goes under because you embezzled money, putting your co-workers and friends out of their jobs. Your family lives in fear because you don’t control your temper.

Even if you confess your sin and receive God’s grace, consequences don’t magically disappear. That is an important lesson for all of us. That sin we are committing has far reaching fingers.

I don’t think there is a much worse feeling than watching those dear people suffer for what you’ve done. I remember the first time I saw my dad cry. We had been out for a family hike at a nearby state park. We’d walked for a time when Dad and I ran ahead and climbed a steep hill to hide from Mom and my sisters. But when they finally came into view, they weren’t even looking for us. So Dad kicked a rock, thinking that would get their attention. The rock rolled down the hill, hit another, larger rock, and went airborne. We watched in horror as that rock was hurled into the eye of one of my sisters.

Blood everywhere. Screams. Panic. Dad ran, picked her up, and ran to the car, Mom trying to get the others of us there as quickly as possibly. We crammed into the car and Dad sped to the nearest hospital.

My three sisters and I waited in the car while Mom and Dad took Peggy to the emergency room. I don’t know how long we sat there before we saw Dad come out of the glass doors. With head down, he walked slowly toward us. He opened the driver’s side door, sat down, then dropped his head onto the steering wheel and cried.

It wasn’t a whimper. The sounds coming from him came from a place very deep inside him. He moaned, and sobbed, it seemed like forever. Peggy had nearly lost her eye. And Dad knew it was his fault. He was responsible, and there was nothing he could do about it now. She would be scarred for the rest of her life.

Dad’s agony came from a place of innocence. And yet he always carried the guilt of that day. It was an accident. But that didn’t prevent Dad and Peggy from suffering the consequences.

How much worse, to know that the suffering of our loved ones comes as a result of our choices, our pride, our willfulness, our rebellion, our sin. How much worse when we are faced with the reality that there was something we could have done to prevent it.

Like confessing that sin, repenting, turning from it before it was too late.

I would encourage us all to be sensitive to the convicting hand of our Lord. If you are feeling guilty over a sin, no matter how small you think that sin is, confess it immediately. Ask God to forgive you BEFORE things get too far, and consequences begin to touch others. Repent before your stubborn pride boils over and burns the people you love.

I don’t think there are more bitter tears than ones that come from knowing:

It’s my fault.

July 4; Evil Didn’t Have To Be A Thing

Isaiah 13-16

We read of Satan’s fall from grace. This angel, a created being with the ability to think and choose, decided he wanted to be his own god. That, not what happened with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, is the first recorded sin.

God didn’t create Satan evil. In fact, this angel we know as the devil was once known as the morning star, son of the dawn. But he took what God had given him, and twisted it until it died, and he was thrown out of heaven never to return.

Some people ask why a loving God would place evil in the world, why He would create sin. The answer is: He didn’t.

Ezekiel 28 seems to indicate that Satan made his decision to sin after the world was created. It would appear Satan enjoyed the garden as a perfect creation of God – until “iniquity was found” in him. Was Satan jealous of the relationship God had with Adam and Eve, and wanted them to worship him, too? (thoughts taken from “When Did Satan Fall From Heaven?” by Eric Hovind, creation today.com)

God didn’t create evil. He created choice. And with the ability to choose Him, we have the ability to choose to reject Him. We have the ability to choose to follow the Truth, and we have the ability to choose to follow our own twisted interpretation of the Truth. That’s where evil comes from. From me. And you, when we choose to deviate from the Truth of the Creator God.

When God created us with choices, He knew some would choose against Him. He knew there had to be consequences for that choice, serious consequences. And before day one of Creation, He knew He would do everything possible to help people choose Him, even as far as going to the cross in a human body to pay the ultimate price for sin Himself so we wouldn’t have to.

So no, evil didn’t have to be a thing. It still doesn’t. But it will continue as long as we who have the ability to choose between right and wrong, between evil and good, continue to choose sin.

You are going to make choices today. Are you going to make evil a thing?

 

Psalms 32-39; Crush Me, Lord

In the psalms I read today I noticed a recurring theme. David, a man after God’s own heart, didn’t get away with sin. God didn’t turn a blind eye toward any sin this godly man committed. And God dealt with David’s sin harshly.

David, under the heavy hand of God’s conviction, said:

When I kept silent (rather than confessing sin), my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. (32:3-4(comment mine from vv 1-2)

Because of your wrath there is no health in my body; my bones have no soundness because of my sin. My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. (38:3-4) (emphasis mine)

He uses phrases like these: (38:5-14)

My wounds fester and are loathsome

My back is filled with searing pain…

I am feeble and utterly crushed…

I groan in anguish of heart.

My strength fails me…

The light has gone from my eyes…

Don’t ignore the fact that David makes a direct correlation between what he is experiencing, and sin. (38:3) He continues with expressing his pain, his grief, the weight of guilt over sin. God is not going to let him get away with it. He’s not going to let us get away with it, either.

And I am talking to we who have accepted Jesus as our Savior. Conviction is a good thing. And if dealt with early on results in blessing. But if left unchecked, it can lead to some pretty painful times, emotionally, physically, relationally.

The more we ignore the conviction over sin in our lives, the further we get from God. Don’t expect Him to be ok with that. He is going to try to get our attention one way or another, to restore the sweet fellowship He longs to have with us.

Some of the other psalms I read today speak of the blessing of walking with God, of being righteous, forgiven, restored. I hope you’ll read these psalms today and let God speak to you about sin, and about what He longs to do when you repent of them.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (34:18)

I don’t want any sin standing in the way of my relationship with my Savior. I want to be sensitive to the convicting Spirit, then confess my sin and repent. Whatever it takes, I want my walk with the Lord to be as close as He deserves.

Crush me, Lord.