Monday, March 22, 2010

Nothing New Under the Sun- Yes, People Will Think You're Crazy

So yeah, there are a lot of people out there these days who have no fear of reviling the Only True God of all Creation and/or His followers... in fact take great delight in doing so loudly!

They have this idea that if they reason Him away and can write a lot about it, and debate people and win arguments, He will not exist and they can do whatever they want with their lives. They use everything from seemingly tame phrases like "everyone has a right to their own beliefs"  to outright nasty insults that anyone would be so simple as to believe in a Creator and/or even need saving from anything.

There are also people in my own home town who stand on the street corner and blaspheme our loving Father by saying that they REPRESENT Him while spewing their hatred- when its obvious to anyone who has ever read more than a couple verses in the New Testament that they have no idea who HE really is.

This is nothing new under the sun:)

Whenever you as a believer feel attacked assaulted, insulted, isolated or outnumbered, I hope you can resist the temptation to be drawn into a fleshly argument with the perpetrator of such an attack. The only thing that will win in a situation like that is the POWER of Paul said:

My speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. 1 Cor 2:4-5

The best thing to do is step back and look at the glorious truth of God's Word, step into His presence and receive His direction for how to handle the situation(sometimes He will even tell you to just walk away-see Luke 10:8-12)....this sort of thing has been going on for thousands of years and God certainly isnt feeling threatened by it. Saddened, yes- threatened, no.

There are a couple of examples in the Word that I love to look at in this sort of situation...first is Hezekiah's response to the blasphemous threats of Sennacherib in 2 Kings chapter 19. Sennacherib was boasting about all his conquests of other nations, how their "gods" didnt help them,saying ‘Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you' and threatening to annihilate God's people. Hezekiah had every right to be terrified! In the natural sense, this was a fierce enemy that his people had no real way to defeat. But he did just exactly what the great fathers of faith before him had done- he brought it all before "Him who judges justly" and presented his case! He took the letter that Sennacherib wrote, spread it out on the Altar of the Living God and prayed this AWESOME prayer:
“O LORD God of Israel, the One who dwells between the cherubim,
You are God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth.
You have made heaven and earth.
Incline Your ear, O LORD, and hear;
open Your eyes, O LORD, and see;
and hear the words of Sennacherib,
which he has sent to reproach the living God.

Truly, LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands,
and have cast their gods into the fire; for they were not gods,
but the work of men’s hands—wood and stone. Therefore they destroyed them.
Now therefore, O LORD our God, I pray, save us from his hand,
that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the LORD God, You alone.”
~2 Kings 19:15-19

See what he does there at the beginning of that prayer? HE SPEAKS THE TRUTH ABOUT THE LIVING GOD!! He doesnt repeat the threats or dwell on them, he focuses on GOD and who He really is. He then calls upon Him to judge and to act. He says 'yeah I know they have destroyed other nations, but WE are not just any nation, we are YOUR nation" again, reminding himself of the Truth in the face of the lies that Sennacherib has shouted so loudly!

If you want to really be blessed, go to 2 Kings 19 and read God's response;-). I have often thought about this phrase when I watch people reviling God

"I know your dwelling place,
Your going out and your coming in,
And your rage against Me.
Because your rage against Me and your tumult
Have come up to My ears,
Therefore I will put My hook in your nose
And My bridle in your lips,
And I will turn you back
By the way which you came(v 27-28)

And you know, before someone jumps in here and says something about how violent the old testament was, let me remind you that God is NEVER pleased with having to mete out judgment on the wicked:

As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live!
~Ezekiel 33:11

One of the most intense emotional pains I have ever felt was at the funeral of a friends brother who died cursing the "pastor" droned on about how maybe this young man was a star in the sky now, my gut wrenched with the sorrow of our loving heavenly Father who had lost a child forever.

(for a great teaching on the difference between the Old Covenant and the New see Andrew Wommacks series The True Nature of God)

NOW, on to a New Testament example of how believers dealt with reviling threats! In Acts chapter 4, Peter and John were called before the religious leaders of the day and told to quit preaching in the Name of Jesus (they were in trouble because someone got HEALED who had been lame for 40 years, and they were talking crazy talk like someone had actually been risen from the dead!!). They went back to their "church" and told them what happened and here is the prayer they prayed together in response:
“Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, who by the mouth of Your servant David have said:

‘ Why did the nations rage,
And the people plot vain things?
The kings of the earth took their stand,
And the rulers were gathered together
Against the LORD and against His Christ.'

“For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.

Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.”

And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.
Acts 4:24-31

Can you see the similarities here? They start by STATING THE TRUTH about who God is, and in this case, who their enemies are. They then 'lay their threats out on the altar' so to speak and ask God to notice them..then they pray for the New Testament way to victory..not that the enemies would fall down dead, or even that they would be silenced, but that THE TRUTH would go forth with boldness, strength and with SIGNS AND WONDERS to back it up!! And the Holy Spirit SHOOK the place:)

Christians, we dont need to get stuck in the flesh and wallow around in the muck with unbelievers! We need to come before our loving AWESOME Father and ask for boldness and power to "speak the truth in love" (eph 4:15), to KNOW "what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe"(eph 1:19), that "amazing abundantly above all we can ask or think" POWER that works within us (eph 3:20)

There are many other verses I could use in this article, but Ive gone on a lot already:). What biblical examples can you think of that address these situations? Feel free to share, debate or otherwise comment below if you have thoughts on this topic!

1 comment:

  1. "My Strength and My Song" has been included in this weeks A Sunday Drive. I hope this helps to attract even more new visitors here.