Tag Archives: consequences for sin

Judges 9; What Will People Say?

Abimelech was not a nice guy. Not only did he weasel his way into become king, he hired some low-lifes to be his muscle. I guess he gave them an offer they couldn’t refuse.

Then to top it off, he killed his seventy brothers, one at a time, gruesomely, and very publicly. You didn’t mess with Abimelech. Violence accompanied his “reign.” They were into idol worship, leaving God entirely out of their lives.

Now here’s what spoke to me today: When Abimelech was dying, his only thought was, “What will people say about me?” The most important thing to him as he entered eternity was that no one could say he’d been killed by a girl. No regret for an evil life. No repentance. Just what will people say?

Sometimes I think we give too much thought about what people think about us. We have to be politically correct, we want to blend in, we don’t point out sin for fear someone won’t like us. And there are some who live like Abimelech, as though they have no eternal souls, as though there is no God to whom they will be accountable.

Abimelech’s story is tragic. And right this minute, he is living a horrible consequence for his choices made thousands of years ago. He now knows that living a sinful, ego driven life isn’t worth it. Oh, he believes in a Holy God right now. But it’s too late.

Friend, where are your priorities? Are they made with an eye on people, or position, or lifestyle? Or are they made with an eye on eternity?

Because in eternity it won’t matter what people are saying about you. It will only matter what God says about your relationship with Him.

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September 11 – A Lesson From Former Priests

Ezekiel 44-45

The Levites were sinful men. Some of them had done things that resulted in God’s taking away their positions as priests. In this life, they had to bear their shame for the sins they committed. Yet God gave them other responsibilities in the care of the temple and the temple services.

All of us bear the marks of the sins we have committed. Some of us publicly bear the shame and embarrassment of past choices. Broken marriages, addictions, abortions, and the like never go away. We remember. Others remember.

And sometimes those sins can exclude us from certain parts of ministry. But I am thankful that God doesn’t just write us off.

God has things for us to do in service to Him. He forgives every sin we bring to Him and dresses us with Jesus’ righteousness before the Father. So if that particular sin we’ve committed excludes us from serving as a deacon, we can serve as a grounds keeper. We can visit the sick, or care for widows. If our past prevents us from being a pastor, we might help with the food outreach or keep track of the church finances.

I know there will be some who disagree with me on this. Doesn’t God forgive and wash us clean? Absolutely! We are whiter than snow before our Holy God when He sees us through the blood of His Son.  I think of Matthew, a dishonest tax collector, or Paul, a killer of Christians, both of whom served God in incredible ways after they met Jesus. I am forever thankful for that fact.

A murderer still faces the consequence for that murder, even if he or she comes to the Savior while behind bars. They are free from the law of sin and death. But they are not free to walk out of that prison. A child who was aborted does’t automatically come to life when the parent confesses that sin. People hurt by the actions of an addict don’t automatically heal just because the addict asked God to forgive him or her. Sometimes we just have to live with consequences for sin.

But that’s not an excuse to quit serving. Ezekiel tells us the former priests took on other responsibilities to keep the ministry of the temple running. They could no longer serve as priests because of the sins they had committed, so they got busy serving in other ways.

I guess I’m just suggesting that, if your church fellowship feels led to take away a ministry you’ve participated in, don’t get mad and walk away. Find some other way to serve. Serving God is not about you, anyway.

 

June 20 – Parenting 101

Ecclesiastes 7-12

Just reading over these chapters doesn’t do justice to the wisdom here. I find the book of Ecclesiastes to be one I need to read slowly, and take time to digest it all. I don’t have the time, or even the desire, to dissect every verse on this blog. But I would like to share one verse that God used to get my attention today.

Since yesterday was Father’s Day, I guess I am still thinking about parents and parenting. Here is God’s advice for parents, given through Solomon in 8:11:

Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to evil.

1) Don’t do that. 2) I told you not to do that. 3) How many times do I have to tell you to stop? 4) If you do that again, I’m going to spank you. 5) Do you want a spanking? 6) Did you hear me? 7) I’m tired of telling you to stop. 8) Stop!

Sound familiar? Your child willfully disobeys you. Not once, eight times in this example. And what you’ve taught your child is that they can break your rules eight times before they have to obey. Sometime your child learns they never have to obey because your threats are meaningless.

WHAT YOU ALLOW, YOU TEACH. Not only does the guilty child learn that lesson, so does everyone within hearing distance.

Look at the crime rate here in the US compared to countries that hand down swift and harsh punishment for breaking the law. What you allow, you teach.

Parents, it is your responsibility to raise children who are not “given fully to evil,”  as Solomon says. How you discipline your child for disobedience makes all the difference in the world.

And it’s a lesson your child just might take into eternity. It’s that important.

 

June 9 – WHACK!

Proverbs 19-21

When I was in junior high (about a hundred years ago, I think) it was not uncommon to be sitting in the classroom and hear the door open just a crack. We could hear one door after another all the way down the hall open in the same way. We’d all sit up a little straighter, eyes wide open, and no one, not even the teacher most of the time, would speak.

Then we would hear that dreaded, WHACK. Sometimes we would even hear it again, WHACK! Often we’d hear a teacher scolding the guilty student in such a way there could be no mistake. A rule had been broken, and this is what happens when rules are broken.

Solomon says: When a scoffer is punished, the naive becomes wise… (21:11) You can bet more than one student learned an important lesson from those paddlings back in junior high. I know I did. I never wanted the student in the hall to be me! I became a rule-follower. It seemed the wise thing to do.

Those days are long gone because someone was more concerned about the guilty child’s ego. I find myself wanting to get up on my soapbox. Especially in light of the recent convicted rapist, Brock Turner’s light sentence, the unbelievable statement he read at sentencing, and his own father’s statement after the fact.

Let’s make it personal. Parents, do your children know the rules of your home? Are the rules enforced consistently? Are the consequences swift and painful? Hear me when I say if we don’t teach them this truth on a small scale, they won’t understand it on a larger scale. And they’ll grow up to think the consequences for breaking God’s rules are no big deal, either.

I shudder to think about the lesson other young people have learned from the judge’s decision in the Turner case. Because lessons have been learned. The doors of the classroom were opened, and instead of hearing the WHACK, they heard the teacher pat the guilty child on the back and send him on his way.

 

The way you discipline your children, the way our society disciplines law-breakers, is done in a classroom occupied by others. When the guilty are punished, the naive become wise. That’s what Solomon said through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

I pray that we are raising wise children instead of children who will remain naive. Just the other day we learned that naivety is a death sentence.

It’s that serious.

 

March 31 – It’s Not About Them

Judges 3-5

There is a running theme throughout Scripture. God blesses obedience and punishes disobedience. God turns His back on those who reject Him. But He is faithful to save those who call on Him.

There are examples of this here in these chapters in Judges. Israel sinned, God punished, Israel repented, God saved. Israel sinned, God punished, Israel repented, God saved…

I attend a Precepts Bible study. Each week we watch a video of Kay Arthur’s lectures. And we are presently studying the Old Testament Kings. (talk about more examples of consequences for disobedience and blessings for obedience)

Kay said something on the video we watched this week that came to mind as I read these chapters in Judges today. The video was taped about ten years ago. But she could have given this lecture yesterday, as relevant as it was in light of what is in the news these days.

She asks a question: Is God going to punish the United States because we have turned from Him? Then she said:

He has to.

His holiness demands it.

Here’s what I know about God. He is the same today as He was in the time of the Judges and Old Testament Kings. He does not ignore disobedience. He disciplines those He loves.

But God has also said that if His people – we who are called by His name – will “humble themselves and pray and seek (His) face and turn from their wicked ways, then (God) will hear from heaven, and forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chron 7:14)

So, it’s not that America needs to turn back to God. God is talking to HIS PEOPLE. Christians. He’s talking to you and me.

If CHRISTIANS humble themselves, turn from the evil in our own lives, if WE seek His face, then He will heal our land. God’s punishment on the United States won’t be because there are unbelievers in the White House.

God’s punishment on the United States will come because we Christians are not obeying God. What is happening to America isn’t on unbelievers. It’s on us.

It’s time for a revival in our churches among believers who have been living with sin. What are you going to do about it?

Holy God, I am convicted as I realize what is happening in our country and our world is a direct result of my own disobedience. It’s easy to blame “them.” It’s not so easy to point that finger at me. Forgive me. Cleanse me. Help me to stand for the Truth You have laid out in Scripture. May I not take my eyes off You. May my desires be only Yours. May Your people, we Christians, humble ourselves and call on You out of pure hearts. And may You heal our land as we submit to You.

March 21 -A Matter Of Choice

Deuteronomy 30-31

So often you hear people questioning God when bad things happen. Some have walked away from God when they don’t feel God has treated them fairly. But I heard God say something to Moses today that got my attention.

God told Moses, “See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity.” (30:15)

Now, before I go any further, let me make something very clear. God was speaking to Moses about the land He had promised Israel. It was, and is, a place on the map. But I wholeheartedly believe if we limit God’s Word to the material, we miss so much of what God intended for us to know.

God had promised the Israelites that there was the potential for unimaginable blessings there across the Jordan. A land full of milk and honey, abundant crops, plenty of water, and peace. But there was also in that land, the potential for war and sickness and death.

These verses are God’s promise to His spiritual kingdom as well. And it’s an existence so much sweeter than mere milk and honey. He’s promised a walk during this lifetime of joy and peace and strength and blessing with Him living right in our hearts.

So when I read what God said to the Old Testament Jews about the land, I picture my own relationship with Him and know what He said to them, He’s saying to me. God has set before me life and prosperity – the riches of His glorious grace! He has also set before me death and adversity. And He says, “Choose Me, Connie. Love Me. Walk in My ways, keep My commandments so I can bless you today and eternally.”

Scripture tells me that if I choose obedience, I am blessed beyond what I can ask or think. If I choose disobedience, my relationship with Him will die. And I think a lot of the bad things that happen to us are a direct result of that dying relationship caused by disobedience.

Once again God is laying it all out there. On one hand you have life and love and blessing. On the other, death and separation from God. On one hand you have obedience. On the other, a life of sin.

The choice seems pretty clear to me, a no-brainer. What is your choice today?

March 20 – Warning! Warning!

Deuteronomy 28&29

When I read God’s curse on His people should they disobey Him, I find it hard to think of an aspect of life that wouldn’t be effected. The curse would touch them in the city and the country, their food, their children, their livestock, their minds, bodies, health, marriages, their ability to win wars, whether they are coming in or going out. I could go on. Read it for yourself in Deuteronomy. I’m just glad I wasn’t alive back then.

But wait. Did God get that specific with the Jews for their benefit only? Or is He speaking to me today?

Doesn’t my own disobedience hit me where I live? Doesn’t it effect my mind, my soul, my joy, my relationships, perhaps my health, and my ability to fight my own wars against Satan?

And isn’t our country – our entire world- feeling the effects of disobedience through hate, and disease, and unrest, in violence, and persecution?

It should come as no surprise that the effects of sin are devastating. It’s not like we weren’t warned.