Wednesday, April 22, 2009

God Listens

I. God Will Not Overlook Blasphemy

A. Treating God’s name with disrespect is closer to a felony than to a misdemeanor; every society punishes what it considers to be blasphemy.
“Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. (Exodus 20:7)

B. God takes light treatment of His name as a personal insult. “And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:12)

C. When nations and civilizations fail to conform to God’s law, He punishes them until they understand; airheads get the opposite of blessings. “If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD; Then the LORD will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance.” (Deuteronomy 28:58-59)

II. Do Not Be Confused by Bad Examples

A. Eli let his sons abuse the instruments of grace in his day, but God eventually destroyed them for their blasphemous behavior. “Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD.” (1 Samuel 2:12)

B. The sons had no respect for the offerings they received for the Lord, treating the religious value of the offerings with contempt and by their example caused other people to have no respect for the offerings. “Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the LORD: for men abhorred the offering of the LORD.” (1 Samuel 2:17)

C. By doing nothing about the disrespect shown God and His word, Eli became a co-conspirator with his evil sons; Eli’s silence was a form of idolatry. “Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.” (1 Samuel 2:22) “Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation; and honourest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people?” (1 Samuel 2:29)

D. God’s patience should not be confused with complicity. “These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.” (Psalm 50:21)

III. Be Honest about Blasphemy

A. If people encounter silence when punishment is appropriate, they stop taking punishment seriously; such silence recruits further sin. Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. (Ecclesiastes 8:11)

B. The purpose in God’s withholding damnation is entirely gracious and the abuse of that reprieve multiplies the guilt of sinners. “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;” (Romans 2:4-5)

C. Sin brings about a self-correcting punishment; imaginary money causes actual wealth to evaporate and disregard for God’s revelation causes moral capital to disappear. Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts.” (Jeremiah 2:19)

D. God has no room in His house for the unrepentant wicked; do not let them think they are welcome. “But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth?” (Psalm 50:16)

E. Self-excuses and silent complicity can be subtle, but they are no less serious in earnest believers than they were in the life of Eli. Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?” (Romans 2:21-22)

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