Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Love AND fear the Lord.

Ok here's the story. The condensed version at least.

Joshua fought the battle of Jericho, and the walls came tumbling down. - I like that line.
God had told Joshua about certain things that the people weren't suppose to take as plunder, only Achan found some things that he really liked. So he kept them.
Joshua sets off to continue his conquest with a neighboring city and sends guys to spy out Ai. They come back saying "We can beat these guys easy." Only since God was angry with all of them because of what Achan did, when they went out on their supposedly easy conquest of Ai, they didn't do so well. They ended up turning tail and running back to Joshua who was equally upset that they lost.
Joshua sprawled on the ground before God and asked Him why on earth this had happened. And what would begin to happen to the people once others found out that the Children of Israel (whose very nearness struck fear into the hearts of any neighboring King) had had to run from their enemies for once.
So then God tells Joshua about Achan, and told Joshua he had to get rid of the items taken as plunder pronto.
And this is what happens next. (Reference is Joshua 7:19-26, whole story is in chapter 7)
Then Joshua said to Achan, "My son, give glory to the LORD, the God of Israel, and give him the praise. Tell me what you have done; do not hide it from me."
Achan replied, "It is true! I have sinned against the LORD, the God of Israel. This is what I have done: When I saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two hundred shekels of silver and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. They are hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath."
So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent, and there it was, hidden in his tent, with the silver underneath. They took the things from the tent, brought them to Joshua and all the Israelites and spread them out before the LORD.
Then Joshua, together with all Israel, took Achan son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the gold wedge, his sons and daughters, his cattle, donkeys and sheep, his tent and all that he had, to the Valley of Achor. Joshua said, "Why have you brought this trouble on us? The LORD will bring trouble on you today." Then all Israel stoned him, and after they had stoned the rest, they burned them. Over Achan they heaped up a large pile of rocks, which remains to this day. Then the LORD turned from his fierce anger. Therefore that place has been called the Valley of Achor ever since.

I admit, I found myself hoping that somehow Achan would make it out alive. There was something in his confession, it seemed humble, and 100% honest. I pictured him scared. 36 guys had died already because of the battle they'd lost because of his sin. And in Verse 18 in chapter 6 he had specifically been told: "But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it".
I'm sure some people could see arrogance in his confession. But I saw (maybe chose to see) fear and humility. I can only imagine his terror as all his possessions and - worst of all - his children are gathered around him and marched out of the city. It's one thing to sin and get yourself stoned, but your sons? your daughters? That's a whole different ball game.

Now... to my point.

The God that demanded their stoning is the same yesterday, today, and forever. There isn't even a shadow of turning from Him. But you don't hear much about that God.

And that's why I get nervous during communion time.

People generally object when I start pointing these scriptures out, but when the bible talks about communion, it makes a special point to mention what happens "If you drink it unworthily." 1 Cor. 11:29-30 states (though if you're actually checking you should read the whole chapter 11:
"For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep."
I know people, and I'm sure you know people, that spend half of their time at the doctors. They have 7 diseases and 13 medications, 4 of which are to counter the side effects of the other 9.
I don't point to these people and say (or even think) they've obviously taken communion when they shouldn't.
But I've often come to God, with the list of sick people in the church, and asked Him "WHY?" If you're God, and we're Yours, doesn't it look bad on YOU for the lot of us to be sick half the time?
And then since the scriptures that promise us healing, don't seem to be getting me anywhere I look at the scriptures that promise us sickness. And I have to tell you, I shudder. I shudder and I wonder.

I know the loving God. I don't believe at all that our every trouble is because God is punishing us. But surely, we serve a God that does punish. David's baby still died, Saul (King Saul) still had his kingdom stripped from him for choosing sacrifice over obedience, Moses stood across the river from the Promised Land God refused to let him enter, and Annanias and Saphira both dropped dead.

I serve a loving God. But I serve a loving and a just God. And that's why I worry, I worry that people no longer serve God with fear and trembling. We're too busy being lovey dovey to realize that our Father really will take us behind the woodshed and whup us if we disobey Him. And I don't want my family, my church family, my friends, my acquaintances, ANYONE, to get so comfortable that we forget to respect. I dread that we would fail to hold the cup with the reverence of someone that understands we're holding the blood of a King, not having a snack courtesy of our beloved Friend and Comforter.

I looked at the last paragraph and thought that would be a horrible ending to this post. So, I'd like to leave you with a bit of good news.
There are several instances in the Bible where a blessing is removed, as well as a curse is removed. He is a loving God and there is only one unpardonable sin, and taking communion unworthily isn't it.
God loves, God forgives, God is good.


One Sided said...

Don't mix daily life with a specific mission from God.
Don't mix the natural course of actions with God directed actions.

IF God calls you or us to a mission and we declare to the world that we are under the direction of God adn they should stand back and see the wonders of God at work. And then we show all of those people watching , that even we do not think we need to follow his instructions, then God has been left with no recourse. He either becomes smaller than the people he is God off or He sets things stright.
But to daily be asulted by the germs of 12 , 4 year olds and demand that God alter the normal sequence He put in place, just for us. I don't think so. Can He? Yes. Do I appreciate it when He does? Yes. Do I pay for Him to do so? Yes. Do I question when He does not. Not as frequent as I use to.
He is not about altering things, He is about altering lives. A cold or the flu, or a broken arm or cancer are not signs God does not care or that we have personally offended God. It is a result of living in this world until we are called to the next.

flyawaynet said...

I hope this doesn't sound confusing, but I believe every word that I posted, and still agree with you a hundred percent Sir.