Posts Tagged ‘consequences’

Poisonous Gas

April 12, 2018

Over the years this blog has gone through various changes.  In the beginning, I posted 4-5 times a week with articles about many different things.  Then for quite a while, my posts have primarily been sermon outlines that I wanted to share.

Today, I want to return to my roots, at least for today and write about a current topic.

Someone has used poisonous gas in Syria in a rebel held area.  The popular assumption is that President Assad is responsible.

My question is: “Why would he do that?”  The civil war has been going on for years and it appears that the Syrian army, with the support of Russia is making significant headway.  Now that ISIS is no longer controlling much territory in Syria, America is considering withdrawal.  Things were looking good for Assad.  Certainly, he would know that the use of chemical weapons would cause a backlash that would  ignite renewed opposition.  So again; “Why would he do that?”

On the other hand, the rebels are a combination of different groups.  They are aware that things are not going their way.  Perhaps someone opposed to the government has decided that desperate times call for desperate measures.  Chemical weapons could have been obtained at some time during the long civil war.  It is possible that someone may believe that using chemicals against their own people may be justified for their version of the greater good.  They also would be aware that a chemical attack, blamed on Syria, would likely bring retribution and perhaps a renewed opposition to Assad.

So is President Assad guilty or is he being framed?

What does he stand to gain?

What would his opponents stand to gain?

I hope that our government investigates carefully before reacting to this terrible atrocity.  Certainly, if Assad is guilty there should be consequences.  However, if this is an attempt of someone in the opposition to provoke America to respond, then that response should be something very different.

I would encourage my readers who are people of faith to pray for our leaders, that the truth will be known and that they will make the right decision.

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The Cost of Sin

April 28, 2016

King David was a man after God’s own heart.  This does not mean that he was perfect.  Even when he was a mature man of God who had served the Lord for years,  he made some serious mistakes.

I.  If God…then God…  II Samuel 24:1-2

Again the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel, and He moved David against them to say, “Go, number Israel and Judah.”

So the king said to Joab the commander of the army who was with him, “Now go throughout all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, and count the people, that I may know the number of the people.”

A.  When we read this with our cultural understanding, it seems as though God had caused David to sin so that He would have justification to punish Israel.  We have a problem with this understanding because it makes God actively causing sin and death.

Ancient Jews, and many contemporary Christians, believe that God is in control of what happens in the world.  For ancient Jews, they interpreted that to mean that God caused things.  They did not have a problem with that thinking.  Today, we do not believe that God is an active source of evil.  The way that we interpret it is that there is evil in the world, both humans and angels.  God restrains much of the evil that could happen, but sometimes He allows evil to have it’s way.  King David was not supposed to number the children of Israel,  that is one of the commandments that God had given them as a nation.  David knew the commandment, and broke it.

B.  Why God?  Why does God allow evil to have it’s way?  First, if we could not sin, then we would not truly be free.  Why does God allow some sins, but not others?  We do not have an answer to that question.  I would suggest that we be thankful for all the evil that is restrained, rather than be upset about what God does allow to happen.  God will give us the grace to deal with what He allows to happen in our lives.

II.  David Repents:  II Samuel 24:10-14

And David’s heart condemned him after he had numbered the people. So David said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done; but now, I pray, O Lord, take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have done very foolishly.”

11 Now when David arose in the morning, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying, 12 “Go and tell David, ‘Thus says the Lord: “I offer you three things; choose one of them for yourself, that I may do it to you.”’” 13 So Gad came to David and told him; and he said to him, “Shall seven years of famine come to you in your land? Or shall you flee three months before your enemies, while they pursue you? Or shall there be three days’ plague in your land? Now consider and see what answer I should take back to Him who sent me.”

14 And David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Please let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for His mercies are great; but do not let me fall into the hand of man.”

A.  David’s heart condemned him.  He has grown in his relationship with God.  He did not need a prophet to confront him with his sin.  He knew he had done wrong and asked God for forgiveness.

B.   David was given a choice of what would be the penalty for his sin.  This is highly unusual.  We do not normally have a choice.   He chose the plague, perhaps thinking that God would show mercy and the price would not be too great.

III.  The Price of Sin:  2 Samuel 24:15-17

 So the Lord sent a plague upon Israel from the morning till the appointed time. From Dan to Beersheba seventy thousand men of the people died. 16 And when the angel stretched out His hand over Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord relented from the destruction, and said to the angel who was destroying the people, “It is enough; now restrain your hand.” And the angel of the Lord was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.

17 Then David spoke to the Lord when he saw the angel who was striking the people, and said, “Surely I have sinned, and I have done wickedly; but these sheep, what have they done? Let Your hand, I pray, be against me and against my father’s house.”

We do not realize how our sin affects others.  In this case 70,000 people die.  That is a lot of people, a lot of death.  When David saw this he wanted to change his mind, but the choice had been made and it was too late.

We can be forgiven for the eternal consequences of our sins, but there may be consequences here on earth that may be severe.

We should resist sin.  James 1: 12*-13

Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.

We sometimes think that because God is loving and merciful, that sin is no big deal.

That is not true.

Sin hurts. 

IV.  David’s Offering:  2 Samuel 24: 18-25

 And Gad came that day to David and said to him, “Go up, erect an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” 19 So David, according to the word of Gad, went up as the Lord commanded. 20 Now Araunah looked, and saw the king and his servants coming toward him. So Araunah went out and bowed before the king with his face to the ground.

21 Then Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?”

And David said, “To buy the threshing floor from you, to build an altar to the Lord, that the plague may be withdrawn from the people.”

22 Now Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take and offer up whatever seems good to him. Look, here are oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing implements and the yokes of the oxen for wood. 23 All these, O king, Araunah has given to the king.”

And Araunah said to the king, “May the Lord your God accept you.”

24 Then the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. 25 And David built there an altar to the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord heeded the prayers for the land, and the plague was withdrawn from Israel.

Jesus has paid the price for our sin.  There is nothing due.

However, out of gratitude we should offer something to God.

Actually, our whole lives should be given to God.  We are meant to be His servants.

What are we offering to God?

These are the sermon notes from 4/24/16.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

*This is the memory verse for this week. 

 

Haiti:Judgement and Grace

January 26, 2010

Is the devastation in Haiti an act of judgement?

Yes… and no.

Yes, it is an act of judgement in two ways.  First, since the expulsion from the Garden of Eden, humanity and the world, have lived with the consequences of sin.  There are many things that take place in this world that would not, and will not happen, in Paradise.   Secondly, even a cursory glimpse at either the Old or the New Testament reveal that God is displeased, even angry, about sin.  The reality of harsh judgement against sin is demonstrated in the flood, the deliverance from Egypt, the conquest of the promised land, the exile of Israel, and the description of a coming ‘lake of fire’.  So, the earthquake can be seen as a  foreshadow of judgement against the sin in the world,  a reminder of what is to come.

And…No, it is not a specific judgement against the people of Haiti.  They are not worse sinners that other places in the world.  If it were not for the grace of God we would all likewise perish.

The grace of God is also seen in the outpouring of support for the people of Haiti.  Many are motivated by their love for God, expressed in their love for humanity.    Help flows to Haiti from people around the world.  People of many faiths working together to provide aid to the suffering.

God’s grace is also seen in that He is willing to forgive us our sins.   We are promised deliverance from the coming judgement of sin,  through our faith in Jesus.  That deliverance may, or may not, take place in this world, but is promised in the life to come.