Thursday, February 25, 2016

What makes God angry?

I have read through the entire Bible several times and each time I read through it, different passages stand out to me. This is probably because of the season of life I am in, or it could be what is happening in the world around me at the time of my reading. Our world is in a not-so-good place right now, so I have been thinking about what lies ahead for our country and more specifically, what lies ahead for me. When my life is over here on earth, will I enter the promised land (heaven)? What would prevent me from entering? What makes God so angry that He would not let me enter the promised land?

In the book of Numbers, Chapter 12, we read about Miriam and Aaron criticizing Moses (verse 1). God's response to them?
"So why were you not afraid to criticize my servant Moses? The LORD was very angry with them, and He departed." (verses 8b-9)
In Chapter 14 of Numbers, almost all the people began to complain. They cried "all night." They complained against Moses and against the LORD. (verses 2-3). And God's response to this?
"How long will these people treat me with contempt? Will they never believe me, even after all the signs I have done among them?" (verse 11)
And the punishment? Verses 22-23 of Numbers 14 says:
"not one of these people will ever enter that (promised) land. ...but again and again they have tested me by refusing to listen to my voice." 
A critical spirit, which often leads to complaining, angers God.
Unbelief, which often leads to contempt, angers God.
Refusing to listen, which often leads to disobedience, angers God.

Lest we think this is just an Old Testament warning, let's read Philippians 2:14-15:
"Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people."
I find it fascinating that here we are told not to complain or argue so that no one can criticize us! We are, after all, like Moses, in that we are called to lead our generation into the promised land. And we are like Joshua and Caleb, called to believe, even when all those around us do not.

Friday, February 12, 2016

A love story

This weekend is Valentine's Day where we celebrate our own love story. This morning I was reminded that there is another love story we ought to be celebrating - and sharing - with everyone we come into contact with. It is the story of Christ, our Kinsman-Redeemer.

On the radio this morning, a pastor was preaching out of the book of Ruth, Chapter 3. Ruth, a widow from a foreign country, has arrived in the land of Judah with her mother-in-law, Naomi. They are in need of food and protection and they find it in the home of Boaz. Turns out, Boaz is a kinsman of Naomi and therefore, as was the law, able to redeem this young woman. (That meant he would offer her a home, protection and a family.) The catch is that there is actually one relative nearer to Ruth which would give that person the right to redeem her first.

The pastor on the radio brought out that after Ruth lets Boaz know that she wishes to be redeemed by him, he gives her food and sends her home. Ruth tells Naomi all that happened and in verse 18 of Chapter 3, Naomi tells her:
"Wait, my daughter, until you find out what happens. For the man will not rest until the matter is settled today."
This account of Boaz and Ruth is not only a beautiful love story, but it is a picture of our love story. Our Savior (who happens to come from the line of Boaz and Ruth) does not rest until the matter of our relationship with Him is settled. He is our Kinsman-Redeemer!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

God's favor

Last week I was talking with another Christ-follower. I honestly can't remember the exact details of the conversation because there was something that she said...and the way she said it that made me forget everything else.

She told me that while in this difficult situation, she prayed and asked for God's favor in the matter. That's it. Not very earth shattering, I know. But if you were there, you too would have sensed the simplicity and trust with which she said it. I often find myself making prayer complicated, but that conversation was a reminder that God wants us to come to Him as a child comes to his father. A child that trusts his father will grant his request.

My mother has always said "God is so pleased when we trust Him." I get it now mom.