Monday devotions will be CLARIFICATION on details in our Sunday sermon. This will hopefully be a good forum for those with qustions to post below so that we can answer it!
There are many stories in the Bible that seem cut and dry… until you see God’s response. It seems like He doesn’t respond the way we do, and it is because God uniquely addresses every circumstance. He doesn’t consistently act the same (in our eyes), because every situation is different and He knows the whole story! We only see the surface details from our personal perspective and assume the rest. His character is the same and His moral law is the same and He will respond to circumstances based on the collective reality which may look illogical to humans who don’t see it all.
He decimates a whole land of people, including babies (Canaan)- what about do not murder? -there’s more to the story.
He tells Samuel to annihilate the Amalekites, children, women, cattle, everything and then punishes him for not doing it! Again, what about murder? – there’s more to the story.
The entire nation of Israel divorced their foreign wives and sent away both the women, and their children-what about the Scriptures in regards to divorce? -there’s more to the story.
Jesus whipped and turned tables in the Temple yet tells us to turn the other cheek – there’s more to the story.
If we blanket decisions like they are just black and white, or that we even truly understand what’s happening, we are doing things just like Abram, just like Saul… If we assume God would always react in the same way based upon only what we are seeing we end up telling every woman who is in an oppressive relationship to go back… because God told Hagar to do that, He told Jesus to do that, He told Israel to do that. Applying black and white logic based upon our perceptions would mean Saul was in the right when he sparred King Agag and the sheep, instead of killing him along with all the women and children God directed him to kill. If you think your human logic is consistent and that we can consistently make decisions based upon only a sentence we’ve read you are perfectly qualified to be a Pharisee, Sadducee, or one of the many leaders of mass murder within the Crusades… all under Christ’s name. We lack the ability to see the big picture, therefore our logic is often flawed.
Scripture says human wisdom is foolish:
- 1 Corinthians 1:20
- Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
- 1 Corinthians 1:25
- For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength
- 1 Corinthians 3:19
- For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”;
Scripture solves that problem by saying to keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5) who will remind us of the Scripture and SHOW US how it actually works with life, and allows us to see God’s purpose and heart in situations. There was a second piece to the tool that the Old Testament saints didn’t have and that the Pharisees didn’t have: The Spirit.
Yet we still have Christians who think they can reason through situations based on their perceptions. We still have Christians who think they can evaluate a circumstance in relation to a few rules they’ve heard and the details they have gleaned, then apply the same solution at the end. Mainly because they are afraid of the danger of preaching that the Bible alone is not sufficient for a vibrant Christian walk. BTW- it’s not. Reading a book alone does not provide a relationship or basis of faith. Many people have read the book and walked away in disagreement with everything. You need the Spirit otherwise you won’t understand the Word.
1 Corinthians 2 says:
9 However, as it is written:
“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”—
the things God has prepared for those who love him—
10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for,“Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
Applying black and white human logic to every circumstantial decision is how we end up being Pharisees and Sadducees who knew the law to the letter but had no living relationship with God and were effectually useless for the Kingdom aside from murdering God. They look at the limited details which leave out all evaluations of a humans heart and then we apply a law. We have a church filled with people doing it. We have a church filled with people who know the Word but not the heart behind the Lord, not the whole details, totally limited understanding. They are decimating their ministries because they think their reading of the Law is sufficient and all inclusive.
As a GIANT caveat: For those of you hearing me say: Prayer is more important than reading… I am not saying we are to discount the WORD for our feelings. I am saying it takes 4 pillars to properly be walking with the Lord: Reading the Word, Responding in Prayer, Relating with others, and Rejoicing in worship. This has been the pulse of my ministry.
Reading assures what we are Responding (praying) about and hearing from the Lord is accurate. Rejoicing shifts our emotions to match our reading and response. Relating means applying it and sharing that with others.
As a church in America we have looked at the “Do’s and Dont’s” of Scripture and assumed that indicates our responses in every situation.
- I.e. Abortion=murder=don’t vote for Democrats.
- Homosexuality=wrong=can’t be saved.
- Divorce=wrong=stay put.
SO what do you do when God has told someone explicitly in Scripture to go against what you have determined is always true? That’s the need here. The need to realize that our logic isn’t working. Just like the issue with NOT seeking God’s guidance on everything leads to great disaster, seeking God’s guidance alone without the other pillars can lead to it’s own misinterpretations.
Life with Christ is supposed to look like a living relationship. Trusting Him for our decisions. One that requires constant communication (literally as close to constant as possible) coupled with the Word, rejoicing, and relating.
A perfect modern day example of this is voting. We all know the politicians lie constantly and our media is just giving us what we want to hear. Yet, when a politician, party, or system says something we want to hear (we are pro choice) we trust them… We are lambs being led to the slaughter and we are championing behind certain political banners *which are ALMOST CERTAINLY lies* and use that to define our decisions and points of view. THE ONLY WAY TO KNOW TRUTH IS TO BE IN GOD’S WORD AND IN PRAYER.
So, you have Christians who are doing things based upon their wisdom and logic which is easily manipulated. I mean… this is literally what the Anti-Christ is going to do… Yet again, somehow Christians think their votes should be based on some black and white statement by the politicians. We are all looking at the world and assuming it’s their fault we are where we are. However, it will likely be the masses of Christians voting for the unifying goals of the Anti-Christ without seeking God’s guidance that puts him into power. They will see the surface details and jump to conclusions based on logic.
Human logic leads many well intended pastors to tell their congregants to stay in an abusive relationship due to the rules against divorce and lack of other details. Human logic leads many well intended pastors to tell homosexuals they cannot be both gay and saved because of the Scriptures against homosexuality and lack of other details. They themselves daily give in to lust and don’t think about other people struggling the same way.
We have two choices:
- walk in step with the Spirit and seek God’s constant involvement so He can give us glimpses of the whole picture ORRR
- walk in step with the flesh and trust our constant judgement which will only see limited details
My point here: Many people do “right things” without God’s involvement and it is often just as destructive as someone doing the wrong thing without God’s involvement.
If you haven’t read Galatians 5, or Roman 7, these are Scriptures I talk about OFTEN in reference to our flesh lying and misleading us. I think, in relation to these passages, the purpose of all of these details in the Hagar story, and many up until now, was to show that we should not do anything and just assume God’s purpose, ASSUME we can just apply human logic to it, or that we know the whole story. There are many stories in Scripture in which an AMERICAN CHRISTIAN OF 2020 would respond differently than how God did. Yet we still think that applying our limited human logic is somehow the right choice.
Follow Up on domestic abuse:
Posted by Grass Lake Family Worship Center on Sunday, August 30, 2020