Beware the Flammable Frauds

September 24, 2014 at 12:33 pm | Posted in Amos, The Fives | 1 Comment
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The people of the “House of Israel” thought they had worked out a viable system. Historically, they had been called the people of Jehovah, the One True God, the God of holiness Who hated sin. But they also really liked to indulge in the practices of their pagan neighbors and their many “gods.” So, they took sort of a “best of both worlds” approach, and attempted to worship idols and the true God at the same time.

God’s prophet, Amos, tried to warn them that the real God was coming to deal with them concerning their abominable syncretism.

For thus saith the Lord unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live: But seek not Bethel, nor enter into Gilgal, and pass not to Beersheba: for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity, and Bethel shall come to nought.

Amos 5:4-5

Bethel, Gilgal, and Beersheba were places where the people could find altars set up to golden bulls and other false idols representing little fake gods. The Lord was giving them one last chance. They could turn to Him and repent… or they could behave irrationally. What does an irrational person do when he’s confronted with the threat of judgment from a powerful God? He seeks refuge in other, kinder, gentler gods. In those days, the fake gods were images or statues that were built, graven, carried around, and spoken to (although the images themselves were silent and couldn’t talk back). This still goes on today. A person mired in sin gets confronted with the Truth, and, instead of repenting and trusting the mercy of the Savior, he looks for relief in the form of alcohol, drugs, sinful sexual behavior, hobbies, entertainment, luxury purchases, or fine dining. These are just a few of the Gilgals, Bethels, and Beershebas of our day.

Amos was very clear about the consequences of this:

Seek the Lord, and ye shall live; lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and devour it, and there be none to quench it in Bethel.

Amos 5:6

Trying to escape the consuming wrath of the Creator by hiding in or among His creation is like trying to dodge a forest fire by crawling into a papier-mâché tent.

https://i1.wp.com/i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/09/07/article-2034549-0DBE1C6600000578-23_634x443.jpg

If you have fallen into the sin of idolatry, seek refuge from the wrath of the Savior in the Savior Himself. He is merciful to the repentant.

Righteous Jealousy

September 30, 2009 at 8:42 am | Posted in Biblical Violence | 21 Comments
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A currently popular television talk show host grew up attending traditional Christian churches, holding to fundamental Biblical teaching and preaching. She recently explained her rejection of these beliefs by referring to something, at the age of 28, she heard preached in church: The God of the Bible is a jealous God. This struck her as very strange. How could God, Who is all-powerful, and Who owns everything, be jealous of human beings? What a tragic misunderstanding, and what a shallow view of Scripture.

Oh, God is jealous, alright.

God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies.

Nahum 1:2

But He is not jealous of what people have or what they are able to do. He is jealous because of the love He has for his Own people. We might say He is jealous over His people, not of His people – the way a loving and faithful husband would be jealous over anything that would tend to steal his wife’s affection away from him.

God loves His people very much. And although we would rather hear about the love of God, we must not ignore the fact that God reserves wrath for the enemies of His people. Did you know that, even though God is love (I John 4:8), He also hates (Psalm 11:5)?

Recently, my wife and I visited California. On the flight I was reading Nahum Chapter 1, and looking down at the tops of the clouds, which the Bible calls “the dust of his feet,” and I got to thinking about some of the ways the Lord shows His righteous anger, and His power over His creation.

The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.

Nahum 1:3 (tornadoes, hurricanes, and storms)

He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languisheth.

Nahum 1:4 (droughts)

The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein.

Nahum 1:5 (earthquakes, mudslides, and forest fires)

Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him.

Nahum 1:6 (volcanoes, avalanches)

But with an overrunning flood he will make an utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue his enemies.

Nahum 1:8 (floods)

Most people, when asked to quickly name the opposite of “love,” will blurt out, “hate.” But this is incorrect. The opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is indifference. And our loving and just and jealous God is anything but indifferent.


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