Haunting Bible Verses I: We Can Cause God Pain
Sometimes when I am drowsy while driving a car, a near-accident results in a surge of adrenaline that serves to keep me awake the remainder of the drive. The “near miss” awakens me, sobers me, and helps me focus on the remainder of my journey.
In the ensuing eight week sermon series, we will be talking about eight different passages of the Bible that have this same sobering effect, passages of Scripture that haunt me in the sense that they hit me at such a deep personal level that I cannot easily forget them–they have a message for me through which God desires to wake me up from my spiritual drowsiness.
Genesis 6:5-8 NLT:
5 The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth,
and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil.
6 So the Lord was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth.
It broke his heart.
7 And the Lord said, “I will wipe this human race I have created from the face of the earth.
Yes, and I will destroy every living thing—all the people, the large animals, the small animals that scurry along the ground, and even the birds of the sky.
I am sorry I ever made them.”
8 But Noah found favor with the Lord.
God can feel pain.
1. Why does this matter?
a. It shows that God is a person–not just an idea/force/concept/philosophy or a distant/unapproachable God;
b. If God is a person, then God can be KNOWN personally (a difference between Christianity and the religions of the world);
c. If God can be known, what is He like? Do I really WANT to know Him? (please click HERE for more on this)
d. If my decisions can cause God pain, this should help me work hard each day to make wise/right decisions that honor Him
(don’t get nervous–I’m not saying that we should work hard to do good in order to get to heaven–Jesus’ forgiveness is an unearnable gift to be received by faith alone in Christ alone. But I am saying that after we receive Jesus’ free gift of grace we should work hard–with the Holy Spirit’s help–to grow/mature in Christ, to make decisions that bless God and that do not bring Him pain). Please click HERE for 1 Thessalonians 5:15 NLT.
e. God is patient (Exodus 34:5-7 NLT)…but His patience sometimes wears out; God is slow to anger…but He does sometimes get angry! Here are a few examples from the Bible:
-Jesus overturning the tables of the money changers in the Temple (Matthew 21:12-14 The Message),
-Jesus rebuking Peter (Matthew 16:21-23 NIV),
-the destruction of Judah and the Babylonian Exile (2 Chronicles 36:13-21 NLT),
-God removing His blessing from Saul (1 Samuel 15:17-29 NLT),
-the death of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11 The Message),
-Moses trying to wiggle out of the command/mission that God gave Him (Exodus 4:1-14 NIV),
-Mordecai rebuking Esther for contemplating NOT stepping up to save God’s people (Esther 4:6-17 NLT),
-the blood of Abel crying out to God for justice [imagine the sounds crying out to God NOW–WOW He is patient!)(Genesis 4:8-12 NIV)
I’m not saying that in anger God is going to take away someone’s salvation! But even though God removes our eternal consequences of sin when we receive Christ, He doesn’t always remove the earthly consequences of sin. This should give us pause in how we live…are there any sins that I am continually giving in to? Are there any sins that I am NOT fighting against/resisting? Am I causing pain to God in the way I treat my spouse, my children, my friends, strangers, MYSELF?
Some of God’s commands regarding sin/characteristics of sin:
1). Genesis 4:7: Sin is crouching at your door DESIRING to have you–control you, chain you, imprison you. We must master it. This takes God’s daily help and our daily attention/focus.
2). Genesis 3:17-19: Sin is so powerful that it contaminates nature (hurricanes, tornadoes, weeds, thorns, thistles, earthquakes, etc.);
3). Genesis 4:8-14 and Genesis 3:8-13: Sin causes humans to murder, to lie, to care about ourselves more than others and to be indifferent to the suffering of others. Sin also causes us to disobey, mistrust God, hide from God, and blame others when we do something wrong. Wow. That is a powerful disease indeed. If you realized that there was some bacteria eating away at your flesh/skin, you wouldn’t say, “Hmm. Interesting. I’ll get that looked at tomorrow!” We must therefore address our sin immediately and ruthlessly (please see “So What Can We Do?” at the end of the article below).
5). Ephesians 4:30 NLT: Our sin grieves God’s Holy Spirit. Wow. If you knew right now that a friend would totally and genuinely forgive you if you punched him the face as hard as you could, would you still punch him in the face. Even though you’d be forgiven, wouldn’t it be better both for you and for him if you didn’t punch him in the face in the first place?
6).Mark 10:45 NIV:You can tell the power of a disease by looking at the intensity of the cure/treatment. Sin caused the death of God’s only Son, Jesus. His death was the only key that could unlock us from the eternal and earthly chains of sin. Enough said.
7).Hebrews 12:4-13: Resisting sin is a STRUGGLE and sometimes even leads to us shedding blood. This is serious stuff. God treats it as such and will discipline us severely if necessary to suck out of us the poison of earthly sin. He wants us to SHARE in HIS holiness! WOW!
8).Isaiah 57:15and Isaiah 66:2and Psalm 51:17 NIV: God will always deal gently and lovingly with a sinner who is truly sorry–He won’t rub our faces in our sin but will rub sins eternal effects away (IF we let Him!).
So what can we do?
-Receive Jesus as your Savior (Forgiver of your sins) if you haven’t already; trying to limit future sins on your own without accepting Jesus payment for past, present and future sins is like starting an exercise routine after you find out you have stage IV cancer;
-Confess sins to one another;
-Ask God for daily help;
-Practice living in a way that honors God;
-Remember that once you accept Jesus as your Savior, God has then forgiven you of your sins–past, present and future! Thus we are able to strive for holiness daily not to earn God’s love but to thank Him for His unconditional/un-earnable love! What a promise!
The less sin is caked on our flashlights the brighter we can shine and point others to Jesus. 🙂