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Did God Cause the Corona Plague To Get Us To Repent? My answer from scripture.

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A friend of mine wrote:
Dustin, I have seen the following posting recently. It bothers me and I’m not sure why. I would love your input.
“In three short months, just like He did with the plagues of Egypt, God has taken away everything we worship. God said, “you want to worship athletes, I will shut down the stadiums. You want to worship musicians, I will shut down Civic Centers. You want to worship actors, I will shut down theaters. You want to worship money, I will shut down the economy and collapse the stock market. You don’t want to go to church and worship me, I will make it where you can’t go to church.” If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”Maybe we don’t need a vaccine, maybe we need to take this time of isolation from the distractions of the world and have a personal revival where we focus on the ONLY thing the world that really matters. JESUS”

My answer –

Personally, I think there are a number of critical errors – and overall it borders on blasphemy.

First, the people in Egypt weren’t in a relationship with God when they were afflicted by the plagues. The descendants of Abraham were not so afflicted. So that point is way out of whack.

Second – God has promised to not curse the entire world at once again in Genesis 8:21-22. “21 And when the LORD smelled the pleasing aroma, the LORD said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. 22 While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”
Genesis 8:21-22 (ESV)” SO a global pandemic like its is not God cursing us, as the quote describes

Third, this paints God as one who isn’t himself long-suffering and patient with us, not willing that any should perish.but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9. The kind of thing the quote you reference assumes is that God isn’t patient. It looks to repentance as a demand, not a blessing offered.

Fourth, Luke 13:1-5 describes a concept – Jesus never says these tragedies are caused to punish sin (which Idolatry is) but that we can realize that life is short because of them, and welcome the repentance the Holy Spirit grants/ gifts us.

5. Next look at this, “25 Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. 26 Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants. 2 Timothy 2:25-26 (NLT2)
Again we see gentleness at work as God changes the heart ( this is what repentance truly is – God’s work changing us. See Ezekiel 36:25ff – the promise of baptism

6. Again, more on repentance
31 Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.
Acts 5:31 (NKJV)
and
31 Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.
Acts 5:31 (NKJV)
notice how God gifts/grants repentance? It is not something God browbeats people to do?

Will trauma be instrumental in bringing people to repent? It can, but it is not the primary way God has ever worked.

7. One last thing – the end of the quote where it talks about a personal revival is completely in error God always works in and through His people as a community. The church, the people of God is the bride of Christ, not billions of brides of Christ. We are 1 Body (see Romans 12, 1 Cor. 12, and Ephesians 4) united with Christ together.
Remember – there are 2 commands – Love God and Love Neighbor (the one Sunday I preached at NOCC – it was on this – as you reminded me years and years later!) This would seem to indicate that we don’t have to do that anymore, – that it is us and God in isolation.

Not that I feel strongly about this quote… 🙂

Ultimately, while I understand the zeal of the person, I really disagree with the approach because it doesn’t portray God as either just or loving. It is this kind of theology drives people away from God, more than draws them to Him. Yes – we need to repent – but repentance is something the Holy Spirit generates in us, alongside of the faith needed to do so.

At any rate – these are my opinions, based on scripture, and more than a share of dealing with trauma and those traumatized.  Please dialogue below.

Backseat Conversations on the Way to Heaven #10: This Trip Was So Fast!

 Backseat Conversationson the Way to Heaven:

This Trip Was So Fast!Featured image

Psalm 90:1-12

Jesus, Son, Savior

May your confidence in the grace, mercy and peace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be strengthened, and enjoyed!

 

The Journey Continues as We Draw closer

As we’ve compared our life to a long car journey, often times the journeys included a little conflict as some of the sermons mentioned.  But there were times of great fun as well.  Times were we competed in quizzes, or saw the glorious surroundings, or just had great times talking or singing silly songs…..

Anyone remember 99 bottles of beer on the wall?

Did anyone ever finish it?  The song, not the beer!

There were times when we had so much fun in those journeys that we were disappointed when we arrived at Grampy’s house, or Auntie Lainey’s.  We would be so disappointed that we’d have to be dragged out of the car.

It is as if we forgot what was waiting for us when we got to where we were going.  The feast of incredible proportion

We would get to the door, and smell the sausages, or remember there were presents or French onion dip awaiting us, and of course the car was a faint memory.

We had forgotten the destination, we were so intent on the fun.

As we look at the psalm that was read earlier, we can see we aren’t the only ones who spend the journey forgetting about the destination.

We so need what the psalmist prays for, in verse 12 where he writes:

12  Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.”

The Trip Is Too Fast to Get it Right!

Have you ever gotten to the end of the week and realized that all the things you meant to get done didn’t happen?  Then Friday comes, and as we come to think about the week, we realize all that we’ve done that wasted time, and all the important things that we didn’t accomplish.

Life can be like that, it flies by too fast.  One moment I am sitting in a favorite hiding place, reading a Hardy Boy’s book, the next moment I am approaching 50, watching my son read the same story.

Beneath this time issue is an ominous problem.  Like the servant with only one talent in the parable today, when the master returns, what will we have to show Him?

Will Jesus find that we did what He’s asked, giving others the message that God has given them the gift of reconciliation?  Will He find us making disciples of every nation, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit?  Will He see us confessing our sins to one another, that we would be healed?  Will He hear of us caring for the sick, the imprisoned, the lame, the widow and orphans?

Or will our lives be like the Psalmist describes?

3  You turn people back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, you mortals!” 4  For you, a thousand years are as a passing day, as brief as a few night hours. 5  You sweep people away like dreams that disappear. They are like grass that springs up in the morning. 6  In the morning it blooms and flourishes, but by evening it is dry and withered. 7  We wither beneath your anger; we are overwhelmed by your fury. 8  You spread out our sins before you— our secret sins—and you see them all. 9  We live our lives beneath your wrath, ending our years with a groan.

In thinking about how short the time is, do we see a need for God’s desires, God’s will, God’s priorities to be out own?  Or do we do what we think is right in our own hearts? If we bother to think about time from God’s perspective, then what follows should be realizing how much of God’s wrath we deserve.

Yes, the wrath we deserve.

We admitted to it, if we meant the words we said during our confession and absolution. Or did you not really mean it when you said you deserve His temporal and eternal punishment?  We do.  You do, I do. The world does.

What if God, as the psalmist describes, spread out your sins before him, like a card dealer spreads out a deck of cards? Or a thousand decks of cards… or 100,000 decks of cards.

How would you react, if every sin you committed, with all the documentation, was laid out before God?

How would this time that we have been used?  Would it be well spent, or would we be in fear for our eternal lives?

That is the question the psalmist is asking,

And the very reason we have to be able to know how brief a time our journey is…..

The Verse of the Day      

I am not sure if it is because of time constraints, or why those who choose the length of readings shorten some of the psalms and the readings.  I mean I understand Psalm 119 being broken up.  But here, as in other places, the breaks don’t quite work.

We ended our reading today, with a prayer that God would teach us to realize that the is short, that life is very brief, so that we can gain wisdom, wisdom to spend our time well, and in a God pleasing way.  But how? When we deserve His wrath?

I put part of the psalm in the Alleluia and Verse today, it is a continuance of the prayer to realize how brief the time is…

13  O LORD, come back to us! How long will you delay? Take pity on your servants! 14  Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives.

It is a prayer, that was fulfilled at the cross, a prayer where God did come back, and lived among us., he didn’t delay any longer, but He heard the prayer of His people, and responded, and came to us, and died for us.

A prayer answered as He took pity on us, paying the debt for our sin, and even more, He satisfies us with His unfailing love.

A love that will cause us to sing His praises far into eternity, a prayer that is the result of our realizing the time is short, and spending this journey with God.  The psalm goes on, describing the reality of wisdom in prayer,

15  Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery! Replace the evil years with good. 16  Let us, your servants, see you work again; let our children see your glory. 17  And may the Lord our God show us his approval and make our efforts successful.

This is what Moses meant by understanding the brevity of time when he wrote this Psalm, about the joy and good that God provides for us in our lives.  That is what redeeming the time as Paul the apostle calls it. It is about seeing God at work in us, walking with us, and leading us to do work bringing the message of His love, and reconciliation. This is how we fulfill His desire…as we share our lives with Him, trusting Him,

It is then, knowing the value of our time spent with Him, trusting in Him, that we know His peace, and may that peace of God, which passes all understanding, guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  AMEN?  AMEN!

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