Why We Deserve Chastisement
First Baptist Church
Des Moines, NM
We have been discussing rain this week on the Ministerial Alliance program. I started out by showing how God undeniably controls the weather and sends rain both as a blessing and as a means of correction. On Tues, I started showing God using rain as a corrective tool and weíll continue that discussion today. May God be glorified by this message, may He grant us repentance unto the truth, and may this happen in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Letís go to Deuteronomy for another example of God using rain as a tool for blessing or for chastisement. Here, God is speaking to the Hebrews who have been released from their Egyptian bondage. He tells them:
Deuteronomy 11:1-7 "Therefore you shall love the LORD your God, and keep His charge, His statutes, His judgments, and His commandments always. (2) Know today that I do not speak with your children, who have not known and who have not seen the chastening of the LORD your God, His greatness and His mighty hand and His outstretched arm (3) His signs and His acts which He did in the midst of Egypt, to Pharaoh king of Egypt, and to all his land; (4) what He did to the army of Egypt, to their horses and their chariots: how He made the waters of the Red Sea overflow them as they pursued you, and how the LORD has destroyed them to this day; (5) what He did for you in the wilderness until you came to this place; (6) and what He did to Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, the son of Reuben: how the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, their households, their tents, and all the substance that was in their possession, in the midst of all Israel (7) but your eyes have seen every great act of the LORD which He did.
God is charging these people with keeping His laws and Heís pointing out that their children have not seen His mighty works, but they have and they therefore have no excuse for forgetting the mighty things of the LORD. When people call themselves a people of God, God holds them accountable. Think about that a secondÖGod does all for His glory and if a people claim to be a people of God and yet act in reprehensible ways, what you expect God to do? Letís look to the Bible again:
Joshua 24:19-27 But Joshua said to the people, "You cannot serve the LORD, for He is a holy God. He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. (20) If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you, after He has done you good." (21) And the people said to Joshua, "No, but we will serve the LORD!" (22) So Joshua said to the people, "You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the LORD for yourselves, to serve Him." And they said, "We are witnesses!" (23) "Now therefore," he said, "put away the foreign gods which are among you, and incline your heart to the LORD God of Israel." (24) And the people said to Joshua, "The LORD our God we will serve, and His voice we will obey!" (25) So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made for them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem. (26) Then Joshua wrote these words in the Book of the Law of God. And he took a large stone, and set it up there under the oak that was by the sanctuary of the LORD. (27) And Joshua said to all the people, "Behold, this stone shall be a witness to us, for it has heard all the words of the LORD which He spoke to us. It shall therefore be a witness to you, lest you deny your God."
Do you see what happened here? Joshua warned the people that they could not serve the LORD because He is holy. Yet, the people said "Oh, noÖweíll serve Him." And so, Joshua made a covenant with them, to put away their false idols and then, as he says "It shall be a witness to you, lest you deny your God."
Now, I have a question for you- do you have piece of U.S. currency handy? If you do, take a look at it. On every single piece of money that I have is this statement "In God we trust." Our pledge of allegiance says "Öone nation, under God." Our Declaration of Independence makes reference to a "Creator". Today, people try to wiggle out from these claims stating that the originators of them didnít really mean God Almighty of the Jewish Bible. They really meant, well, I dunno, some other god. Well, maybe and maybe not. God knows. All I know for sure is that if a people claim the name of God, that He will hold them accountable. I know for sure that the LORD, our God, controls every aspect of the universe, of which the weather is a part. I also know for sure that God created all men, whether they call upon His name or not and that He will ultimately hold all men accountable for their actions. So, trying to weasel out of the statement "In God we trust" is just not going to work. It is FAR better to claim "In God we trust" and then do it. Keep in mind that when I point out the fact that God uses rain for blessing and chastisement, Iím NOT saying that this IS the reason for our current drought. Iím not a prophet and I canít say that. All Iím saying is that Biblically and historically God has done this, will do it when necessary, and that we should consider these facts.
But, my point here is that in Deuteronomy 11, God is charging the Hebrews with the fact that they have seen His miracles first-hand and therefore have no excuse for not following Him. Hereís what God then tells them:
Deuteronomy 11:13-15 'And it shall be that if you earnestly obey My commandments which I command you today, to love the LORD your God and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, (14) then I will give you the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, your new wine, and your oil. (15) And I will send grass in your fields for your livestock, that you may eat and be filled.'
Well, this sounds like a good deal to me. Obey the LORD, and heíll give you rain, grain, wine, oil, and grass for livestock. Pretty much all the essentials that the people needed so that they might "eat and be filled." All they have to do is obey the commandments that He gave them, starting with "Love the LORD your God."
What happens if the people do not obey? God immediately follows the above promise with this:
Deuteronomy 11:16-17 Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them, (17) lest the LORD's anger be aroused against you, and He shut up the heavens so that there be no rain, and the land yield no produce, and you perish quickly from the good land which the LORD is giving you.
Note that God starts off the penalty for disobedience by saying "lest your heart be deceived and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them.." If this happens, God promises that He will "shut up the heavens so that there be no rain, and the land yield no produce, and you perish quicklyÖ" Ouch. Well, we here in the United States and in Union County certainly do not worship other gods, do we? I mean, we spend a lot of time watching TV and a lot of time counting our money and a lot of time at school sports events, but God knows that deep down we still love Him, right? Well, umÖ no. Actually, the commandment is to "love the LORD your God and serve him with all your heart and with all your soul". Jesus tells us in:
Matthew 6:24 "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
So, which of you do that? Please raise your hands. Which of you listening can honestly say that you serve no other gods other than the LORD God? Which of you have never given credit to "Mother Nature" for the rain we receive or to "Lady Luck" for the good things that occur in your life? How many of you rely on your own wits instead of seeking Godís guidance? Maybe youíre not guilty of these things, but I sure am! When it comes to serving false idols Iím as guilty as can be. There are countless things in my life that interfere with my relationship with the LORD God. I call myself a Christian; that is, a follower of Jesus Christ, one who has accepted the payment He made for sins on my behalf. Therefore, God has every right in the world to hold me accountable for disobedience, just like you have the right to hold your children accountable when they disobey you.
And speaking of children, letís go back to the Deuteronomy passage for a second.
Deuteronomy 11:18-21 "Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. (19) You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. (20) And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, (21) that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land of which the LORD swore to your fathers to give them, like the days of the heavens above the earth.
I wonder how many of us lay up the word of God in our hearts and in our soul? Do we here in Union County meditate on these words? And do we teach them to our children? Or do we hide TV schedules and football/basketball/baseball game schedules in our heart? Do we teach our children the word of God, or do they learn secular philosophy and evolutionary teaching that does away with God Almighty? Consider these questions carefully "lest the LORD's anger be aroused against you, and He shut up the heavens so that there be no rain, and the land yield no produce, and you perish quickly from the good land which the LORD is giving you."
According to the Bible, all have sinned. We saw yesterday that God sent 40 days and 40 nights of rain upon the earth because "the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." (Genesis 6:5). Nothing really has changed. Manís heart is still prone to wander and he is still prone to place false idols in his life and worship them instead of the LORD, our God. God is perfectly just in withholding blessing rain from us.
What then is man to do? Hereís one approach:
Revelation 16:21 And great hail from heaven fell upon men, each hailstone about the weight of a talent. Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that plague was exceedingly great.
We could blaspheme God. We could curse Him and say "when is this blankety-blank drought going to end? Why the bleep doesnít God send us rain? God is over-reacting hereÖas usual!" Thatís certainly one approach. Another approach is this one:
2 Chronicles 7:13-14 When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, (14) if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
So, thereís the choice. Blaspheme or humble ourselves? Curse God or seek Him? Continue in our wicked ways or repent? May God have mercy on us.
Iím Bryan Kimsey from 1st Baptist Church in Des Moines. Join me again tomorrow here on KLMX at 9:45 as we look at what happens when people repent.
Let me again mention that the Ministerial Alliance 5th Sunday singing will be held June 29 at 1st Baptist Church in Des Moines. We will start with a potluck at 4:30 and the music will get rolling about 6 pm. Thatís the 5th Sunday Singing at 1st Baptist Church in Des Moines. Weíre on the west side of the high school- just take any turn going south into town and youíll find us. Give us a call at 278.2421 for information or check out the church website at www.fbcdesmoines.org. Hope to see you there!
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