Tag Archives: God’s Law

April 6; They Refused

Judges 19-20

The man was a Levite, a church leader. This story is bad enough, but considering this Levite’s association with the church of that time, it is all the more despicable. He was sidetracked by the temptation to “enjoy himself,” “refresh himself.” It looks like he “partied” with his father-in-law for five straight days. Don’t get me started.

Then, when he was threatened by a group of sexually perverted Benjamites, he tossed his concubine at them instead. They raped her, abused her all night. And she died as a result. Does that make you as angry as it does me?

You can read for yourself what happened. It’s just too disgusting.

Later, when the Benjamites were confronted with their sin, when their brothers told them to rid themselves of the evil, they refused.

THEY REFUSED!

Thousands of people lost their lives because of that refusal. Thousands of people lost their lives.

Chapter 19 begins with, “In those days Israel had no king.” That explains it. When people are allowed to do their own thing, make up their own rules, come up with their own definition of morality, people die.

Yes, we are seeing babies die, kids killing kids, addictions taking lives, wars both abroad and on our own streets. People die every day because too many are living like there is no king, or that they are their own king.

But there is a King. And the King established the rules, defined morality according to His holiness, laid out consequences for breaking His laws, and He has not changed one bit since He inspired His Words to be written down thousands of years ago.

I wonder if we are becoming a bit like the Benjamites. When confronted with our own sin, what do we do? Do we repent, get rid of the evil? Or do we refuse? (and you do know that ignoring a sin is a form of refusal, don’t you?)

The Bible tells us thousands of people died because the Benjamites refused to deal with their sin. I wonder how many people will die today because of their own refusal? I’m not even talking about the physical death. I’m talking about that awful, eternal death that comes from refusing to obey God. How many people will die today without any hope?

Once again, God isn’t satisfied with me thinking about “them.” Generalizing a lesson from Scripture is sure a lot more comfortable than making it personal. But if I am serious about my walk with God, I need to allow Him to make it personal.

I feel God is asking me how many people are going to die that eternal death today because I refuse to eliminate sin in my own life. How Benjamin-like am I? My life touches so many who associate me with the Church, they know I’m a Christian. What do they see that draws them to their Savior? Or do they see things in me that make them want to run?

If I refuse to deal with a sin God reveals to me I know it effects my relationship with Him. I know that I am treading on thin ice. What I’m seeing today is, I may have invited others to join me there on that thin ice without even realizing it.

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me… then I will teach transgressors your ways so that sinners will turn back to you… My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. (Psalm 51:10,13,17)

May I never refuse to repent of sin brought to my attention. For my eternal soul. But also for yours.

March 13 – blessingsandobedience

Deuteronomy 5-7

Someone sneezes, and you hear, “Bless you.” When you’re in the south, the words, “Bless your heart” are used in sympathy or to acknowledge a kindness. I, myself, have intentionally eliminated the word, “lucky” from my vocabulary and replaced it with the word, “blessed.” And if you part company with a loved one, you might find  yourself saying to that person, “God bless you.”

I believe the Bible clearly reveals that God loves to bless people. Look around. Nature is a blessing. Family is a blessing. Freedom is a blessing. Health, money to pay bills, our jobs are blessings

But God is interested in blessing us with more personal blessings, too. And I think, from what I read in the Bible, those intimate and precious blessings are tied to obedience. They go hand in hand. It’s like one word all fused together.

These chapters in Deuteronomy give us several examples of this:

Obey God’s commandments so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. (6: 1-2)

O Israel, you should listen and be careful to do it, that it may be well with you (6: 3)

You shall do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord, that it may be well with you (6: 18)

So the Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God for our good always and for our survival, as it is today. (6:24)

Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments. (7:9)

Then it shall come about, because you listen to these judgments and keep and do them, that the Lord your God will keep with you His covenant and His lovingkindness which He swore to your forefathers. (7:12)

Now don’t misunderstand me. Obedience isn’t the magic key that opens the door to getting what we want. It’s the key that opens the door to receiving what God wants for us.

May you obey our Lord today… and be blessed.

 

 

Renewed Days

I read Lamentations this morning. God was unresponsive to the cries of the disobedient nation of Israel. There was a famine in the land and the Jews were not spared. In fact, the actions of some to survive are unimaginable. How desperate they were! Why did God reject his people?

Woe to us, for we have sinned. (5:16)

The last two verses of this sad book caused me to pause. Here’s what they say:

Renew our days of old, unless You have utterly rejected us, and are very angry with us.

The truth of the matter is God was angry, and they were rejected because of their disobedience.

Psalm 119 reminds me how important is God’s Word, how necessary it is that we obey it. God’s not playing around. He’s serious about sin. And so should we be. He has spelled out His demands, His Law, and has demonstrated the severe consequences for disobedience. This psalm challenges me to love Scripture and obey it. There is evidence of God’s holiness, power, and love on every page.

Then I read the beautiful letter Paul wrote to Philemon, and I am reminded what Jesus did for me. I sinned against God, like Onesimus sinned against Philemon. Philemon had owned Onesimus, but Onesimus walked away from him, may have stolen from him. God created me to be His, but I, too, walked away when I sinned. Onesimus owed a debt he could not pay. There’s no way I could pay my sin debt, either.

But Onesimus repented. He became a follower of Jesus, a helper to Paul. So Paul asked Philemon to forgive Onesimus, to accept him as a brother, to place any debt of Onesimus’ on Paul’s account. And Jesus did the same for me. He paid my enormous debt, asked the Father to forgive me, and accepted me as His child when I repented, too .

My days are renewed and I am not rejected, thanks to Jesus. I pray you can say the same.

Blushing: A Lost Art?

When King Josiah heard the Law of Moses read (2 Kings 22), he ripped his clothes in grief. He recognized God’s Sovereignty and his own guilt, and understood God’s righteous anger. Josiah repented. But it didn’t deter God from punishing a disobedient nation. What Josiah’s repentance did was to protect him from God’s wrath.

Repentance does the same today. When faced with our own sin, when driven to our knees in despair over our own guilt, and after accepting Jesus as Savior, we, too, are protected from God’s wrath. Oh, not from hardships during our lifetime on earth, but the greater expression of God’s wrath – eternal hell, separation from God forever. We who have humbled ourselves will only know his love and presence – forever!

But in our society it’s getting harder and harder to convince people of their need of Jesus. Sin is considered normal, fun, an alternate lifestyle, or a right. 

Confess what?

Jeremiah, in chapter 5 of his book, talks about how low the people had become. Verse 15 says, “Are they ashamed of their disgusting actions? Not at all – they don’t even know how to blush!” 

Isn’t that true today, too? Acts of sin are so blatant we can become desensitized. When was the last time you blushed at the sight of sin on TV, in a song, in your own life? Why is that? What does that say about your heart’s condition before a holy God? What does it say about mine?

God, I confess that I have become hardened to the presence of sin. I have seen so much, accepted so much, I have forgotten how to blush. Remind me, Lord. Help me to see sin the way you see it. May I be grieved, may I repent, may I turn from sin, and honor you with my life every minute of every day.