1. Proverbs 29:1,
“The wicked flee when no man is pursuing, but the righteous
are bold as a lion.”
“And do not fear those who kill the body….”
“IF UNRIGHTEOUSNESS AND FEARFULLNESS WOULD BE
VIRTUES, THERE WOULD BE NO MARTYRS.”
“ONLY THE RIGHTEOUS ARE VALIANT AND LIONHEARTED,
AND READILY CHOOSE DUTY WHEN FACING DANGER
The wicked are always looking over their shoulders, and from fear they run for their lives even when no one is coming after them. Why? They are fearful of death and punishment because of a prickly conscience which knows they have done wrong. It is a bummer of a way to live, trying to act cool and cocky, but deep inside there is always that haunting paranoia that someone up above is tracking them. You know how they refer to that somone – THE MAN UPSTAIRS or THE OLD MAN IN THE SKY or BIG DADDY UP ABOVE. However they try to neutralize and humanize God, they still keep looking over their shoulder just in case He might be after them.
In contradistinction, the righteous carry in their hearts a peace too big to fear those who can kill the body, and they are not at all afraid of Him who can destroy both body and soul in Hell. They live and walk in the light and therefore they do not fear but instead dare to defy the powers of darkness. Only those who keep themselves right before God are bold to roar like lions at the wrong. The righteous keep on looking up, but the unrighteous keep on looking back.
The good pooch that is housebroken and obeys the rules lives in poochy peace, but the bad pooch that breaks the house rules cowers in the corner in poochy panic when the master comes. The child who knows that he has pleased his parents and receives the hug of love and approval sleeps at night like a baby after a good dose of mother’s warm milk. But the child who has been naughty shudders at the slightest creak of a floorboard outside his bedroom door and has nightmares that trouble his sleep. He will lie or blame others or both to save his skin. So too, fear will make a man swear, lie, and do anything to rescue him from that impending reckoning. Fear will betray a man into all other sins, even so far as to deny his Lord.
We are living in the final days of great Christian martyrdom around the world. Fox’s Book of Martyrs has only begun to be written. The righteous lionhearted will boldly roar their faith in Christ, and as they stand firm at a high price, the wicked will think themselves safe at a far cheaper one. But then the moment will come when the unrighteous cry for the mountains and the rocks to fall on them to hide them from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. But suicide will not sidestep the confrontation with God. They will be trampled to death by their own kind fleeing over them in panic and horror from every direction.
The world of the wicked, as the Bible calls them, will suddenly spin out of control as their ongoing party-time is finally over and their sense of fun is no longer in the air. What they have always feared has come upon them, and what they uneasily watched for in their rearview mirror has now overtaken them. No one gets away with murder in this world. In fact, in the end no gets away with anything. The anti-God pursuers of the righteous have now become the terrified pursued, and only the righteous are left standing in triumph with “The Righteous One.” Which answers the prophet’s question, “Who shall stand when He appeareth?”
2. Psalm 50:10 and 12,
“For every beast of the forest is mine…if I were hungry I would
not tell you.”
“O Lord, how many are Thy works…the earth is full of
“HOW FOOLISH TO THINK THAT HE WHO MADE AND OWNS ALL
IS RICHER BECAUSE OF OUR SACRIFICES (TITHES), AND
COULD NOT MAINTAIN HIS GLORY WITHOUT OUR
“WHAT WANT OR NEED COULD THERE BE IN ALL-SUFFICIENCY,
AND WHAT NEED DOES THE OCEAN HAVE OF THE
DROPS FROM OUR BUCKETS?”
“WE GIVE AND SERVE NOT TO BOLSTER HIS ESTEEM OF US, BUT
TO EXPRESS OUR HIGHEST ESTEEM OF HIM.”
The Jews in the Old Testament were apparently stupid and egotistical enough to think that their animal sacrifices gave God food to satisfy His hunger. Sort of like when they covered the altars with their sacrifices, they were in turn spreading a table in Heaven before God Who then hungrily ate the flesh of bulls and thirstily drank the blood of goats. In other words, God was dependent upon them, not that they were dependent upon God. Poor God, He keeps on running out of sustenance, and what in the world would He do without them. Sound famaliar?!
What God is in effect saying is that because this was their carnal and vulgar attitude about Him, He was hurling their food out of Heaven, and pouring their drink down the celestial drain. As if God was on some sort of earthly food-stamp program. I mean, God, be sure to do your shopping with us, and You will SAVE A LOT. There is never a shortage in Heaven. There is never a shortage with God. The truth is, even if He were hungry or thirsty, which He is not, He would supply His hunger and thirst from His own unending supply.
So too, what the Israelites thought of their offerings, gobs of religious people today also think of their prayers, gifts, and services to God. That is, from these God is the richer for them, and the height of His glory can be maintained much better because of them. But God answers those today in the very same way He answered the Jews about their sacrifices and services, namely, “If I had a need, I would not tell you about it.” Again, God is not dependent upon us for one thing, and we are dependent upon Him for everything. Guess who has to tell Who about needs!
God has been in business a lot longer than First National Bank and the FDA. Listen, God hates evil, but the people who really tick Him off are not only those who think they need God less than others, but those who think that God needs them just as much as they need Him. Those generally speaking are the same people who feel that they are better than all of the others too. Fact is, without the Heavenly Father, we are all dead men walking, and without Jesus Christ we are all damned men walking, plain and simple.
Look, God upbraids them and us to their and our faces by declaring His universal creatorship and dominion over all the bounties of nature, from which He could supply Himself without the least ministry or offering from them or us. He who can command tens of thousands of angels does not need our obedience. He who owns the cattle upon a thousand hills doesn’t need us to drop off one of our beaf roasts.
We do not give to God to take the edge off from His hunger, but to sharpen the edge of our dependence upon and gratitude to Him. The Psalmist therefore goes on to the injunction to offer sacrifices of thanksgiving to God. That is why we serve and give to the Lord! The Psalmist wrestled with the question, “What shall I render to the Lord?” The fact is, He has everything already. It is hard to find a find a gift for one who has it all. It isn’t the size of the gift, but the size of the heart that gives.That is what God is looking for!
Nor do we give to get from Him as is being so sickly and selfishly taught today. You must be on to it by now! Yoiu know, we share out substance with God, and the purpose is to get dessert from Him. Like a child at dinner who is told if he doesn’t finish his macaroni and cheese, there will be no chocolate brownie for him tonight. So in effect, we don’t even sit at a dinner table with God, for what it comes down to is a bargaining table. What the ticket is to cookies, cake and ice cream is to share our stuff with God, which by the way we got from Him in the first place. So we are left with the replacement religion which teaches that there will be no dessert from God unless we share our dinner with God. Give God a few left overs and He will give you a whole pie.
3. II Corinthians 10:12-13,
“…but when they measure themselves by themselves, and compare
themselves with themselves, they are without understanding.
But we will not boast beyond our measure….”
“LITTLE THINGS ARE EXAGGERATED BY THOSE WHO HAVE
NEVER SEEN GREATER.”
“IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR HIM WHO EXALTS IN HIMSELF TO
EXTOL GOD, EVEN AS IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR HIM
WHO EXALTS GOD TO EXTOL HIMSELF.”
Man looks so gigantic to himself as he compares himself to the ant. But he never appears so tiny and inconsiderable as when he looks at his Creator with one eye, and at himself with the other. That is, looking at dust and ashes with one eye, and at Him Who created him out of dust with the other eye. Suddenly he finds that he is bored with himself, and he comes to the conclusion that he is by himself a nothing compared to Him who raised him up out of nothing but dust in the first place. Everything and everyone finite is truly measured when it and he are compared with the infinite God. A candle burning amounts to little when it is set before the sun.
Man apart from God has such vain imaginations about his importance, as he then grows proud and conceited. It is like the bushman who built and gloated in his mud/grass hut because he never saw a picture of the Empire State Building. But one glimpse of the latter will reduce him and his tiny hut to their proper dimensions in a big hurry. But without that contrast before us, we make ourselves our own measure, and therefore we are unable to discover any defects or limitations in ourselves. But when we see our intellect for instance in the light of Divine omniscience, only then can we see what a super-genius God is and what simpletons we are. More on that in a moment.
More to the point, God will not measure us by some arbitrary standard. God for that matter does not care how we compare to others. He is not the least bit interested how we compare with what society thinks we should be. He is only interested in how we compare with His Son Jesus Christ. Have we been conformed to the image of the Son of God? Nothing else matters.
Or again, from another angle, have you ever met a “Know It All?” The person who measures his intellect and all other intellects by his intellect, and sets himself up as the standard for all brainology? The one who never asks questions, not even of God, but has all the answers about every subject, issue, and problem known to God and man! He will contradict you if you are right and he is wrong even if it is obvious, simply because he alone knows everything and must mark his exclusive territory with every know-it-all answer, right or wrong, dumb or smart, like some animals mark their territory with urine. I know that is a strong image, but there are those people about whom lesser images just won’t do.
God, please keep us from measuring ourselves by ourselves, and give us the grace to say things like, “I don’t know,” and “I’m not sure,” and “I am so glad that God understands because I surely don’t.” I remmeber in my rookie pastorate giving answers to questions like that in a men’s Bible Study in which I was the teacher. I could tell that it really threw those traditional, stayed fellas for a loop. After all, that is what pastors are for and I was hired to know, and if I didn’t know, who did? My answer to unanswerable questions was always, “God knows, and that is all we need to know.” That never seemed to be enough and in their eyes tarnished my theololgy degree.
You see, in those moments when we have no answers but the one, “God knows,” we are measuring ourselves by God and not by ourselves. That is why not knowing is so terribly uncomfortable, for we have been measured and found to be mental midgets. I forget that even my children asked me questions again and again that I could not answer, so I would make up something thinking I could snow them, but they never were. Questions like, “Daddy, why don’t shadows have shadows?” and “Daddy, what makes rain wet?” Dah! It gets pretty humbling when even a child reduces you to nothing. God has His ways! Out of the mouths of babes.
If God were giving us a one-million-question exam, it would take no effort on His part to ask questions to which each one of us would need to say one million times, “I don’t know.” He could ask a trillion questions to which we would all have to give the same dumb but smart answer, “I don’t know.” When we accept that as the norm for God and for us, then alone can we have the peace of that passes our understanding, for we have taken and come to peace with the true measure of ourselves.
God is God, and we are not no matter how many degrees we have behind our names or how many graduation caps we have worn. By the way, I would like to introduce God to you professor. What did you say your name is? Did I just hear you say, “Dr. Dumb?” Good for you, for now you have come to the true measure of yourself – God!
4. Jeremiah 9:23-24,
“Thus says the Lord, ‘Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and
let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man
boast of his riches;’
‘but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows
Me, that I am the Lord Who exercises lovingkindness, justice,
and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,’
declares the Lord.”
“HE WHO BOASTS OVER HUMAN WISDOM, POWER, AND WEALTH BOASTS
OVER IGNORANCE, BUT HE WHO BOASTS OVER DIVINE
LOVINGKINDNESS, JUSTICE, AND RIGHTEOUSNESS
BOASTS IN THE TRUE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD.”
Knowledge about Divine lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness and how to live these gloroius virtures far surpasses human wisdom, riches, and might and how to acquire them. As long as man continues to gloat in human wisdom, power, and wealth, he continues to boast in the insignificant. Churches today that major in power, success, and wealth preaching and seminars God takes absolutely no delight in.
Of course, ignorance is the badge of human nature, and as long as man boasts in his wisdom, power, and money,, he continues to erect monuments to his stupidity and emptiheadedness. How terribly dishonoring to God for the world in its boasting to continue to revel in that which God takes no delight whatsoever. How much more the church! It is this miscontrued value system that is at the bottom of all of world’s societal woes.
While God is looking for those through whom He can exercise lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness, corporate man continues to thumb through his catalogues on human resources. And while God looks for faces that show kindness, fairness, and rightness, corporate man looks for faces that show the potential for smarts, money, and might. While God looks for the tender smile in the eyes of men, corporate man looks for those who have eye pupils in the shape of dollar signs. What God gives a Triple AAA rating to, man looks upon as weakness, inferiority, and failure.
You see, what natural man takes great delight in, namely human wisdom, God does not delight in whatsoever. What man brags about, namely, human riches, God is quite uninterested in and basically unavailable for comment. What man gets all stoked up about, namely human power, God yawns over.
What gets God’s attention and what He takes great delight in Him are loving and kind societies, just societies, and righteous societies. He is infinitely more pleased with and delighted in city missions and soup kitchens than He is with military might and elegant White House dinners. He told us what turns Him on! How many naked men have we clothed? How man hungry men have we fed? How many strangers have we taken home lately? How many in prison have we visited? Those are the only issues that we have been told will be the heart of the final judgment. That will be the final test, and we will not able to copy answers. They must be authentically our own.
God is not about how smart we are, or how many bucks we have made, or how much clout we have in the company or the community. God could care less that we are top dogs, when all the while we have let our community, schools, and even churches go to the dogs. God couldn’t give a flip that we have achieved prominent standing, but rather how have we treated the least ones.
If you will, great human wisdom, power, and wealth may make you “Man of The Year,” but only God‘s lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness displayed in your life will make you “A Man of God Forever.”
5. Genesis 3:5,
…and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
“...I will make myself like the most high….”
“SATAN CHARMED ADAM AND EVE INTO THINKING THAT AS FORBIDDEN-
FRUIT EATING GODS THEY COULD INTELLECTUALLY DEFINE
GOOD AND EVIL, RATHER THAN GOD DEFINING
GOOD AND EVIL FOR THEM.”
“REMEMBER THEN THAT MAN’S PREPOSTEROUS DESIRE TO
HAVE KNOWLEDGE AS GOD RUINED HIM, AND ONLY
THE PURE DESIRE TO HAVE THE KNOWLEDGE OF
GOD WILL RESTORE HIM.”
The devil is sly and slick and a very sad sack of nothing. I guess on second thought I wouldn’t use the word sad, but rather despair and misery. He became his own dream gone very, very bad – a Hellish nightmare. He too wanted to know as God, but he did not want to know God. He became the devil of Hell, and misery loves compary. He convinced Adam and Eve that they too would be as God if they simply disobeyed God. That way you can have your fruit and eat it too. But forbidden fruit only made them as rotten as their father the devil. They now knew only guilt and grief, as their once perfect world of life suddenly became a deathbed. What was once the fullness of life and love was now a hollowed out shell.
Now instead of enjoying knowledge as divines, they became as demented as demons and blind as bats. They became to Satan what Samson was to the Philistines without his eyes, going wherever Satan lead them, undergoing all of the slavish drudgery of sin that the malicious devil could bind them with. Instead of being as intelligent as God, they became ignorant of God. And when you are ignorant of God, you have become a total dunce. No, they didn’t become intelligent as God, but instead became as defiled as sin and as dumb as rocks. Satan will always give to you the exact opposite of what he promises.
In essence, Satan’s promise was nothing more and nothing less than the opportunity for Adam and Eve to define their own moral code. That was and still is the core of his mischief, and in their going along with him, Satan became the mis-chief of everything bad in their lives and world, and the mis-chief of all the missing good in their lives and world.
In short, they and their kids became totally immoral. They expected wine and roses, and instead woke up to a bag of flaming devil dung on their front steps like the hijinks on Mischief Night of Halloween. No wonder they call it “Devils Night.” They stepped in it to try to put it out, and ended up foul smelling like the devil and the sweet aroma of God had now departed off from them. No wonder kids dress up like devils rather than angels, for their masquerade isn’t really a disguise at all as it portrays the qualities that they really do have deep inside themselves.
Neither Adam nor Eve nor mankind discerns the cheat called Satan, nor the trials and tragedies that he is putting upon them. But there it was, for in their desire to have the perfection and omniscience of God to know all things, they ended up with the disaster of not being able to know anything aright. Their foolish minds were darkened. In rivaling the great Fountain of Light, and attempting to be able to pass their own judgment as gods on everything that concerns them, they now could judge nothing correctly. Everything they now thought was right was wrong, and everything they marked as correct was incorrect, and everything they thought was smart was stupid. And all of that was passed down through the generations of mankind to this very day.
The only way that this all can and must be reversed is for men to unknow themselves as their own gods, and come to know God as the only God with the only true Word for their lives. Then instead of being imitation gods, man can and must become imitators of God through Jesus Christ. He alone can restore everything forever that we all have lost. No, not “KNOW AS GOD,” but rather, “KNOW THY GOD.” But this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Him Whom Thou hast sent, even Jesus Christ His Son and our Lord and Savior.
6. Micah 6:9 (KJV),
“The Lord’s voice crieth unto the city…hear ye the rod, and
who hath appointed it.”
“WHEN A SON SEES HIS FATHER TAKING HOLD OF THE ROD,
WILL HE NOT FALL DOWN BEFORE HIS FATHER
AND CRY OUT FOR PARDON?”
“WHEN GOD WIELDS HIS ROD OF JUDGMENT OVER A NATION,
AND THE PEOPLE DO NOT CRY OUT FOR MERCY AND
PARDON, IT IS A GRIM NATIONAL SYMPTOM OF A
DECAYED AND A PERISHING STATE.”
“WHEN A PEOPLE TURN A DEAF EAR TO THE ROD OF GOD’S
VOICE, IT IS AN ACT OF NATIONAL CONTEMPT AND
DEFIANCE AGAINST AND INDIFFERENCE TO GOD.”
When God is shaking and speaking His rod of judgment over a nation, and the people do not feel or hear God’s thundering voice and take no notice of His shaking and speaking, that nation and people are in the gravest of terminal states. When the calamities of floods and earthquakes and tornadoes and droughts and fires are divinely, hugely, and continuously being shaken and spoken over them, and they do not tremble in sorrow for thier individual and national sin and repentance before God, spiritual and moral decay have metastasized seemingly beyond reversal.
Then soon, the disasters no longer merit even a back page mention in the newspapers. Life quickly returns to normal as if nothing out of the ordinary is happening, as people return to work, look for jobs, and take time out for a meal, a nap, and a movie as they write it all off again and again to Mother Nature who is being angered by reoccurring migraines. The trouble is there seems to be no medication for Mother Nature these days to ease her pain and thereby sweeten her temperament. However, it is not Mother Nature but the Holy, Heavenly Father that we are dealing with here, unless of course you believe in a greasy grace, sloppy agape God who keeps what little wrath that He has against sinners all stuffed within Himself forever.
To what then can we liken all of this? One could point to Samuel when he was a child hearing the Lord speaking to him in his sleep. So then, the voice comes and awakens him, and he hears it, yet takes little notice of it and falls back to sleep again. When our nation hears the voice of God in judgments, and yet over and over again falls back into its spiritual and moral slumber, it is because she is suffering from acute spiritual and moral narcolepsy. So far, unlike Samuel, America has not responded and said, “Speak Lord, Thy Servant Heareth.”
It is not a trifling warning when severe storm cells with strong lightning approach within six miles of a football stadium jammed with 109,000 people in Ann Arbor, MI, and the teaming thousands of people are ordered to evacuate and take cover. But when God’s judgments are ravaging the earth and mankind, while many leave and go inland or run underground or climb to higher ground for more secure environments, many defy the warnings and ride it out right where they are just as they are. The latter is present-day America under the judgments of God.
What then should be the response? Very simple and yet profound! We should humble ourselves in national and personal confession and repentance under every judgment. The Bible lamenter cried out, “My eyes run down with streams of water, because of the destruction of the daughter of my people.” The prophet found no more necessary time for weeping as at the times of national and public calamity. So it was that the weeping prophet mourned and humbled himself when there was that devouring and bloodthirsty army of the Assyrians approaching.
We must remember this Biblical truth, namely, only in the humbling of ourselves and the forsaking of our sins is there strong reason in God’s great mercy to believe and hope for the removal of the severest of Divine judgments. And so it was that God spoke to and through the runaway prophet, “But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth; and let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands. Who knows, God may turn and relent, and withdraw His burning anger so that we shall not perish.”
Educators tell us that we should learn something new every day. I believe that we should relearn something old every day. The time-tested Biblical truths regarding history and temporal judgment call us to realize that when a nation is being sorely bombarded from every side and on every front, we must humbly and contritely listen and respond to the rod of judgment and to Him who appointed it.For after all, we are not dealing with nature’s gas pains, but with Divine Appointments.
7. Matthew 18:8,
“And if your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it
off and cast it from you…”
“And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw
it from you.;
“THE EYE FOCUSED ON SIN DESIRES IT, AND THE HAND
OR FOOT ENGAGED IN SIN ENJOYS IT.”
“IT IS AS PAINFUL FOR DESIRED AND ENJOYED SIN TO BE
CUT OUT OF OUR LIVES, AS IT IS TO CUT OUT AN EYE,
HAND, OR FOOT FROM OUR BODIES.”
There is nothing dearer to us than our eyes, hands, and feet. True, we take them for granted, but when the Apostle Paul makes the statement that no man hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, no doubt among the prized and loved the most are our eyes, hands, and feet. Dear God, without them we would not see, accomplish, or walk.
And yet sin is so heinous to and despised by Jesus Christ our Lord, that when our eyes, hands, or feet are concentrating on and involved in sin, we are commanded to cut out and cut off all three of these dearly beloved body parts and throw them away from us as far as we can. If you will, it is better for us to live without these cherished parts than to go on sinning with and through them into Hell with them.
Physically speaking, when we have a speck in our eye, we seek to remove it because it feels like a boulder. When we have dirty hands and feet, we wash the dirt off of them ASAP because we feel soiled all over because of them. We simply cannot tolerate an eye-invader or a hand-and-foot defiler, and they must be expelled and removed ASAP.
But the thought of removing an eye, a hand, or a foot because they are spiritually morally dirty leaves us dumbstruck. We are suddenly and shockingly awakened to the reality that as painfully opposed as we are to a speck of dust in our natural eyes, God is much more repulsed by spiritual filth on and in the window of our souls – the eye. As repulsed as we are at grimy hands and grungy feet, God is far more offended by hands and feet polluted by the muck of sin.
When it comes to the speck in our eye, we say, “Out Damned Speck,” and when it comes to dirt on our hands and feet, we say, “Our Damned Dirt.” However, when God sees an eye focused on immoral filth, He says, “Out Damned Eye,” and when He sees a hand or foot stained and polluted by the slime of sin, He says “Off Damned Hand” and “Off Damned Foot.” When it comes to physical and temporal contamination, lesser cleansing is required, but when it comes to spiritual and eternal contamination, much severer cleansing is required.
Here then is the real point! Jesus is talking here about eyes constantly focused on and hypnotized by sin, as well as hands and feet continually sunk amd mired in sin. He is talking about the perpetual pursuit of and involvement in sin by the eyes, the hands, and the feet. He is talking about addiction to sin, that is, when sin reigns over our eyes, our hands, our feet, and our souls by a cursed kind of succession. That is, when one wicked look is over, another one is looked for, and when one wicked action is ended, another one is begun. Then, it would be better for us to be eyeless, handless, and footless, than to have two dirty eyes, two hands, and two feet and be thrown into Hell.
Man oh man, If that doesn’t make us cut sin out of our lives and cast sin from us as far as we can immediately, nothing will. Either throw away the rotten apple from our eye, or cut out and throw away the eye itself. Either get mean on sin or get mean on ourselves. The choice is ours.