The Cost of Disobedience

It’s hard not to draw some kind of parallel between what’s happening with the Coronavirus and what we read in Deuteronomy 28.

It’s difficult to read in the Bible about the curses of disobedience – plagues, ruin, captivity and disease.  Then there is the most horrible curse where they were eating their children so they wouldn’t starve.  Unbelievable!

We think that this couldn’t happen today except – it is.  We continue to hear of current situations where parents are cruel and unfeeling – and their children suffer and die.  Babies are legally killed every day.   Nastiness, violence and slavery are not things of the past.  It’s happening today in the communities where we live.

And now we have the Coronavirus.  Is it a modern-day plague?  God often used plagues in the Old Testament as a form of punishment for disobedience and he also used them to get the attention of his people when they had wandered too far away from him.

Have we wandered too far away?

God knows that each step we take away from him leaves Satan more room to move.  As our distance from God grows, so does evil.   Satan whispers in our ears the same lie he told the Israelites, “You’ll be okay, go ahead and do whatever you want to do.”

The truth that God tells us is we are not okay when we rebel and disregard God.

Have you seen the movie, “The Shack”?   Awesome movie – just make sure you have a bunch of tissues handy when you watch it.  It was really interesting to see that God was portrayed as female at the beginning of the movie and later he was a male because he said the main character of the movie needed a father at that time.  One conversation the main character  had with God is now seared into my brain.  The main character asked God why she  punished people.  And she said, ” I don’t need to punish anyone.  The consequences of your sins are punishment enough.”

As believers, we live under the New Covenant of grace so I don’t believe God punishes us for our sins any longer.  But as our perfect Father, he lets us pay the consequences of our sins and the sins of others while he walks with us through those experiences, teaching us and guiding us.

We punish ourselves when we disobey and wander away from God.  The consequences of our bad choices are often painful and long lasting.

Do you and I think we can do whatever we want and still be okay?

It’s a lie.

Please fill our minds with your truth, Abba Father.

The Light Wins

Secret Arts.

Those are the words my Bible uses when explaining how the Pharoah’s magicians did the same ‘tricks’ as God did through Moses.

It’s interesting to replace ‘secret arts’ with the name of who was really behind the magician’s powers – Satan.  It’s always a battle of good versus evil and most of those battles are fought in the spiritual realm.  This one was very visible on earth.

It started when Aaron threw his staff down in front of Pharoah and it became a snake.  Pharoah’s magicians did the same thing with their staffs with Satan’s help.

But here’s a twist – Aaron’s snake swallowed up the other snakes.  In the writing world, we would call this foreshadowing – this is how the whole battle is going to go.  God is all-powerful, Satan is not.

Even after his snakes are eaten right in front of him, Pharoah remained stubborn and unmoved.  That’s just who he was.

Next, God changed the Nile into blood. (Yuck!)  But then Pharoah’s magicians did the same thing – again with Satan’s help.

Of course, Pharoah’s heart remained hard and stubborn.

So God sent a plague of frogs which covered the ground as well as the insides of their houses.  Once again, Satan helped Pharoah’s magicians do the same thing.

Pharoah’s stubborn refusal to let the Israelites go continued, so God sent a plague of gnats.  But – get this.  The magicians were unable to produce gnats.

What happened, Satan?  Run out of steam?

Or did the Creator of the Universe get tired of playing your games and shut you down?

Suddenly, Satan no longer replies but we read the deadly result of his continued whispers into Pharoah’s ear.  Pharoah’s heart becomes more and more stubborn so God ups his response with the next plague of flies.

Do you notice?  Now the plagues start to only affect the Egyptians, not God’s people.  The 9th plague of darkness is truly amazing to me.  The land was in total darkness – they couldn’t see their hands in front of their faces – except God’s people.  The light still shone down on the people of Israel.

I feel that is true today.  Our world can be such a dark and confusing place – full of disappointment and heartbreak.  Only God brings true light into the darkness.

We can fool ourselves into thinking that money or recognition or a relationship with the right person brings light.  But all of those will eventually feel empty – ‘is this all there is’ – without God.

Have we figured this out yet?  Our lives will be ‘plagued’ by darkness until we put God in the center.

Thank you for being ‘The Light of the World”, Jesus.

 

It’s a Plague

Pharoah’s heart was hard and he did not listen to God.  As a result, Pharoah’s people experienced multiple plagues which built up to the painful deaths of all of their firstborn.Jan 24

Looking at our culture, we can see a lot of hard hearts that are turned away from God.  We can see some modern-day plagues as well.

The Plague of Broken Families – the divorce rate just keeps rising and now large numbers of kids are being raised by single parents.  Many of these parents are trying their hardest but how much better it would be if they had a  loving partner to share the responsibilities so that their kids could experience all of the blessings of growing up in an unbroken family.

The Plague of It’s All OK – it’s all ok as long as you don’t get caught.  Integrity is a lost value in our culture – we lost it at the same time we lost a correct sense of right and wrong.  Morality is a scary word to use these days.

Jan 24bThe Plague of Emptiness – people are working harder and longer to pay off a mountain of debt that just keeps growing as they buy things they think will make them happy.  After buying the next thing and the initial happiness wears off, they start to look for the next thing that will make them happy, never really addressing the God-sized emptiness in their soul.  Sometimes it’s a pill or a bottle that they think will fill the emptiness.

Dear Father, we praise your name!  We thank you for the joy and peace and purpose you bring into our lives.  We pray for those who have hardened their hearts towards you and refuse to accept your love and grace.  Please help us reach out to them every day with your light and your love.  Soften their hearts towards you, dear God.  Free them from the plagues that the Evil one has tempted them with and their choices have brought upon them.  In the miraculous name of Jesus we pray, Amen.