Posts Tagged ‘consequences’


Once Jeremiah has spoken at length about the sin of his people in their hearing, he grieves.  Jeremiah grieves extensively over the darkness, evil, and absolute refusal to hear or repent at his true words by his own people; his own friends; his own neighbors; his own colleagues.

“My joy is gone; grief is upon me ; my heart is sick within me.” Jeremiah 8:18

His joy is gone.  Grief lay like a heavy blanket over his soul.  His heart is sick.  Many of us can relate to Jeremiah’s devastation.  We’ve somewhere, at some time, experienced some kind of tragedy where our hearts were just desperately broken without cure.  Jeremiah’s pain is knowing that the people he loved the very most were going to suffer immensely because they had refused and rebelled against God to the uttermost.

He asked the question we all tend to ask when placed in this position: “Why?”  Why have they provoked God to anger?  He rhetorically asks, “Is there no balm in Gilead?  Is there no physician there?”  He is asking, Is there no help for them here that they have gone this far astray?

Surely there was!  God was right there, willing and able to help, to heal, to cure, to forgive, and to restore.  But they would not come.

So Jeremiah asks, “Why?”  Why have they not been restored?  He carries on and on over his desperate pain over their stubborn refusal to repent.  For their wound, he was wounded to the heart.  He reasons that if he could just cry enough, perhaps they would listen.  But he knows better.  He wants to run away because they just won’t stop; they will not turn around; they will not listen.  They don’t know God.  They refuse to know God.  They are idolaters, adulterers, and liars all day long every single day – even now, after he has repeatedly warned and pleaded with them at his own expense.

God, in his righteous anger and justice, asks, “Shall I not punish them?” and then answers his own question saying, “I will punish them.”  The reasons given were: they had forsaken God’s law, they had not obeyed God’s voice, they had not walked in accord with God, they had stubbornly followed their own hearts, and they had gone after false gods just like their fathers.

Therefore, God is going to punish them.  He tells them to mourn.  Their end will not be pleasant.

In closing, Jeremiah makes it clear that knowing God is most important in all of life.  Circumcision of the flesh is the equivalent to external religion and literally means nothing if the heart is uncircumcised.  Jesus said as much when he called the Pharisees sons of the Devil and Paul said the same in Romans 2:25-29. The heart must be changed.  There is no true knowledge of God apart from repentance.

Knowing God is most important in all of life.  Hold on to that.  You’re going to need it.


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In Exodus 21:12-32, we have more laws concerning slaves, and, more generally, laws given to authorities in regards to those called to submit under them.

In verses 12-14 and 18-28 we find the Lord elaborating on the sixth commandment that he had just given: You shall not murder.  It is not enough that we might not kill others, but the manner in which death or injury occurs – if it is by our hands – is also a matter of great consideration.  We know this is true even in our court system today.  Trials are set to determine how, why, and in what manner injury or death occurred and punishment is then aptly dealt to the offender.

In verses 12-14 and 20-21 we have a distinction made between getting into a fight and causing death vs. premeditated murder.  Because the first action is considered accidental, that offender was to be given a place of refuge – exile, but refuge.  Because the second action is purposeful and premeditated, that offender was to be executed.  If, however, there is a fight and a man injures another without causing his death, the offender is obligated to take care of the man he injured until he is well by paying all his lost wages.  If the injured party is a slave, in the first case the master is not to be avenged because the loss of his slave is financial punishment enough for the master who injured him.  If, in the second case it was a slave, the master shall be avenged for the murder of his slave.

Verses 26-27 instruct that if a slave loses an eye or a tooth, he shall go free.  God cares about those under authority and he makes provision for them in their distress.

Verses 15-17 make clear that anyone who abused or cursed his own parents was to be put to death.  Death!  God is extremely serious about the respectfulness and obedience  – or lack thereof – of children.  We parents ought to spend time considering this portion of the law as it pertains to us and to the fifth commandment.  Our children’s lives depend greatly upon our instruction and discipline to them as children.

In verse 16, God forbids kidnapping or person stealing of any sort.  Both the kidnapper and the one who buys or receives the stolen person was to be put to death.

Verses 22-25 give instruction on the murder and injury of unborn babies.  Even if the death is accidental, the penalty for killing an unborn child was death.  Or, whatever injury that unborn child sustained was to be done to the offender.  God is serious about injury and death caused to unborn babies and he always has been!  This should make us think very carefully about how precious and special unborn lives are in the eyes of God.  He punishes anyone who would injure unborn children – even accidentally – and whatever a person does to that baby ought to be done to the offender.

This is a law we still see practiced in our day.  Have you ever wondered why it is considered murder to kill an unborn child when a pregnant woman is attacked or injured, but it is considered a choice when she injures or kills that baby herself?  God makes no distinction.  Those who injure and murder unborn babies will be held accountable either in this life or the next.

Finally, in verses 28-32 God gave laws concerning attacks by animals over which men had ownership.  As it is today, the owner is responsible for their own animal and if it attacks a person, that owner will be held responsible.  The first time your animal kills, the animal is to be put to death.  If you fail to put your animal to death and it kills a second time, you and the animal are to be put to death or pay a heavy ransom for your life.

In these details of his overarching law, God imparted wisdom to the very real issues men were sure to face.  By these laws, we are able to recognize the character to f our God, both his justice and his mercy.  God is not partial to the master over the slave.  He is not partial to the man over the unborn baby.  He is not partial to the animal over the human.  God is not partial, period.  God is just in every situation where human beings of any social status, age, or condition are injured or killed.  He is always merciful to the one who is injured and calls always their abuses to account and make restitution.  We would all do well to consider these things.  For in so doing, we learn Our God’s heart, his concern, his compassion, and his wrath when human beings are injured – whether purposefully or accidentally.



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My one year-old has begun to learn how to test her limits.  As she turns quickly into a full-fledged, card-carrying toddler, she has decided she wants to see just how much she can get away with and just how far she can go without suffering punishment or unfavorable consequences.

All babies do this.  All toddlers, children, and teenagers do this.  Young adults do this.  Even elderly people do this and many do it for the duration of their lives in relation to God.  It is not usually a good sign, but it can be a good indication of where a person is in maturity.

“Sonny, no, no!” I say firmly as she pulls my earring.

We’ve had this interaction before, many times.  I have taken out my earrings and showed her.  I have given language lessons on how to pronounce the word, “ear-ring.”  I have emphatically told her with as much clarity as humanly possible the word, “NO” on many occasions when her little fingers have purposely found these friends who take up residence in my ears.  Still, there is just something irresistible about giving a good yank and feeling the success and satisfaction of holding the shiny piece of metal in her tiny hand once she’s pulled it completely out of my ear.

Yesterday was no different.  All was well in the world of baby blanket peek-a-boo and near naptime nummies until Sonny saw the silver booty sparkling like a new stairwell to climb.  The promise of victory was simply too tempting.  How could she be expected to obey?

She pulled down and I, once again, calmly, but sternly, corrected.

“No, no, Sonny!  That is ouchy.”

She waited.  She played more blanket-boo.  Then, she decided she would see if anything bad really would happen if she deliberately disobeyed again.

This time she pulled much harder and it really was ouchy.  After my yelp of pain, I smacked her fingers and said, “No, no, Sonny!  That is bad!”

At that, she buried her face in the pillow.  She did not cry.  She hid.  She knew what she had done.  She knew better.  She was either ashamed or she was upset that she’d not gotten away with it this time.  She was embarrassed that she’d been harshly corrected because harsh correction, though sometimes very necessary, is never pleasant.  Nevertheless, when injury to another or potential injury to another or self is imminent and one has been repeatedly told and corrected calmly, there is no choice but to correct in a more severe way.  The goal is caution.  The purpose is to arrest repeated bad behavior lest it cause more severe injury and more severe punishment.

No one particularly likes to discipline their children.  It is not pleasant because the love we have for them causes us pain when they are hurt or upset, too.  Yet, we must be faithful to correct disobedience in order to protect and save them from future harm.

It is one thing when we correct our children.  It is quite another when someone else corrects them.

If I do not do my job in properly training, correcting, and disciplining my children – sometimes even if I do – others will find it necessary – other parents, other teachers, other law enforcement agents eventually.  If it is not pleasant for me to do so, consider how unpleasant it will be for me when someone else does it.  Now, not only is my child suffering for disobedience, I am as well, and both of us at the correction of a stranger.

We have all seen it.  A mother or a father pays no mind to the poor behavior of his or her child and then someone comes along and corrects that child for causing injury or chaos on the playground.  This is an unusually awkward situation.  Little Susie (AKA Captain Destructo) is under parental jurisdiction but the parent is AWOL.  It leaves no choice for the more mature and attentive parents in the vicinity of Captain Destructo Susie to step up and intervene before (or after!) their children become hurt or victimized by her bad behavior.

Often, this results in Susie’s parent becoming angry.  The reason Suzie’s parent is mad is the issue of pride.  They did not do their job so someone else had to.  They either thought Susie more valuable and important than all the other children she was hurting or they thought themselves more important than even their own child.  It is likely a little – or a lot – of both.  These things were proven true by their choosing to ignore her bad behavior and selfishly avoid conflict with the child and also failing to take personal responsibility for the correction and discipline of their own family member.

A humble parent, on the other hand, will be thankful and appreciative when their child is corrected by another concerned authority.  The reason is because we know that obedience to authority is protection for our beloved children and a training ground for God’s authority in their lives.  This is doubtless the reason the Word of God instructs us – His children – to exhort one another daily.  Daily!  Every.  Single.  Day.

Consider that next time someone exhorts you or a member of your family for pulling down and pain-making in someone else’s life.  It is not just children who need corrected.  It is not just children who repeatedly test limits, hurt others, and fail to listen to repeated warnings.  There is a time for alarm, caution, and increasing corrective severity when important warnings are not heeded.

Pride is angry when corrected.  Humility is thankful.

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God has just sent his people into a brand new wilderness.  He has told them two very important instructions: to remember his extreme grace and mercy toward them, and to obey Him.  He has promised that if they would but listen to Him, that he is ready and waiting to make them a kingdom of priests; a holy nation; his very own treasured possession.  Talk about making a deal they can’t refuse!  Of course, they agreed.

The next step in this “process of becoming” as we will call it, it for the prophet to instruct the people on how to prepare themselves for the coming of God Himself.

 And the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I am coming to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe you forever.”

When Moses told the words of the people to the Lord, 10 the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments 11 and be ready for the third day. For on the third day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. 12 And you shall set limits for the people all around, saying, ‘Take care not to go up into the mountain or touch the edge of it. Whoever touches the mountain shall be put to death. 13 No hand shall touch him, but he shall be stoned or shot;[a] whether beast or man, he shall not live.’ When the trumpet sounds a long blast, they shall come up to the mountain.” 14 So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and consecrated the people; and they washed their garments. 15 And he said to the people, “Be ready for the third day; do not go near a woman.” ~Exodus 19:9-15

God said that these people were to be consecrated.  The way in which God instructs this to be accomplished is that they:

1. Wash their garments.  Matthew Henry notes, “When we are to attend upon God in solemn ordinances it concerns us to sanctify ourselves, and to get ready beforehand.  Wandering thoughts must be gathered in, impure affections abandoned, disquieting passions suppressed, nay, and all cares about secular business, for the present, dismissed and laid by, that our hearts may be engaged to approach unto God…It becomes us to appear in clean clothes when we wait upon great men; so clean hearts are required in our attendance on the great God, who sees them as plainly as men see our clothes.  This is absolutely necessary to our acceptably worshiping God.”

2. Have established limits set.  They must be told with an extreme amount of clarity that these are the lines we do not cross lest we receive the severest of consequences.  No compromises will be made past these lines.  No blind eyes will be turned when any person – even any animal!!!- crosses.  No grace whatsoever will be given if there is injustice done to these unbreakable rules.  The message God was conveying here through the work of his prophet’s line drawing?  YOU DO NOT PRESUME UPON GOD’S MERCY – EVER. You want stoned?  Shot?  If you cross these lines that’s exactly what is going to happen.  Try me.

3.  Do not go near a woman.  This was a matter of purity of mind and heart.  Henry says, “In token of their devoting themselves entirely to religious exercises, upon this occasion, they must abstain even from lawful enjoyments during these three days, and not come at their wives.”

This was how they were to prepare for the coming of God.  These were the things necessary to truly “be ready” to meet him.  Here, before the law was given, God came down on the third day.  In the future, before grace was given, God was raised on the third day.  In the former, God came down to tell us what he expects of us – absolute perfection.  In the latter, God is raised up to tell us what we can expect from Him – unmitigated grace.

You simply cannot get the magnitude of that without falling down to worship Him.  WOW!!!  There are no words to aptly describe what a beautiful God we serve!

Hey world!!!  Look at HIM!!!  How awesome!  How amazing!  How merciful!  How good and great and strong and wise!  That’s MY Dad!!!

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Jonah, a godly man, has turned away from God.  In disobedience, he rebels against the will of God for his life and he finds himself doing just the opposite of what he knows he’s been called to do.  God isn’t about to overlook Jonah’s sin, though.  Here’s what God does:

But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship threatened to break up. Then the mariners were afraid, and each cried out to his god. And they hurled the cargo that was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone down into the inner part of the ship and had lain down and was fast asleep. So the captain came and said to him, “What do you mean, you sleeper? Arise, call out to your god! Perhaps the god will give a thought to us, that we may not perish.” ~Jonah 1:4-6

While all the men around Jonah are in panic mode, he lies sleeping.  Sleeping!  Sin lulls us into a stupor and keeps us from fearing what has the power to destroy us.  Not only that, sin brings fierce storms.  Into our lives and the lives of those around us, sin yields unwelcome consequences.  Some of which we see here are fear, desperation, chaos, loss, and reproof.

It’s one thing not to know God and to sin.  It’s another to know him well and to blatantly disobey the voice of our own Father.  Both will bring consequences, but the latter is far more severe.  Thankfully, God doesn’t abandon his children when we abandon him.  He may squeeze us with a storm and wake us with strong words of correction, but he will never forsake us.

if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself. ~2 Timothy 2:13


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ImageFor a moment, there is peace between David and Saul.  Saul has been humbled by David’s goodness towards him and gone weeping to his own house.  Just when it seems that David might get a short reprieve from his troubles, another hardship comes upon him unexpectedly.

 Now Samuel died. And all Israel assembled and mourned for him, and they buried him in his house at Ramah.

Then David rose and went down to the wilderness of Paran.~1 Samuel 25:1

Samuel dies.  Samuel, the one who had instructed Israel so well.  This was the good and godly prophet whom they had wholly rejected.  Now, because of their own disobedience to God and selfish ambition, they were left with the choice to either follow the wicked Saul whom they had chosen, or become vagrants with David.  Surely they know what they’ve done by now.  Therefore, they mourn.  The consequences of sin often involve tremendous grief and guilt. (more…)

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