God Offenses

February 21, 2014

Genesis 4:2-6

Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. 4But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

6Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”


God Offenses


How many of us, if we are being totally honest, have had times and maybe still are, when we were angry or offended at God?  God didn’t answer in the way or time that we thought he should have.  Maybe someone we loved dearly was taken from us or someone we had been praying for to be healed died anyway.  Maybe that spouse never came back as we believed God to heal our marriage.  Somewhere along the way most all of us have had the opportunity to take up an offense with God, because He didn’t meet our expectations.  I know there has been times I have struggled with that and maybe we say, “We’ll God, what is the use of praying and believing if you’re not going to answer.”  The fact is, He did answer, it just wasn’t the answer we were looking for or that we wanted to hear.  One thing about God is that He is far too great and big to fit in the box of our finite thinking.  

When we come to these places in our life we find ourselves in the place where Cain was.  God didn’t reject Cain.  He simply told him to do what was right and he would be accepted, “But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” 

What was Cain doing wrong?  There is a principle in the Word of God that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin (Hebrews 9:22).  Cain was a man of the soil, which speaks to him being man that operated out of the works of his hands.  What he brought God was the product of the works of his hand.  Our works are not an acceptable sacrifice.  It is not that good works can’t result out of faith, but neither can they be the substitute for faith.   The fat portions of the lamb that Abel offered spoke of the blood that covers sin and the sacrifice of that offers up our flesh to Him as a living sacrifice (Roman 12:1).  

When we pray and believe God that is a good thing, but He doesn’t act according to our will unless it is in alignment with His will and purpose. 

Let’s take a New Testament example of offense.  This one that the Lord showed to Sharon, my wife, but a lot of us don’t really see it.  It deals with John the Baptist when he is imprisoned by Herod.  

Does he know who Jesus is?  

John 1:29-34 says, “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ 31I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”

32Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.”  So, yes, he knew that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God.  

Matthew 11:2-15 reveals John the Baptist’s offense with Jesus. “When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples 3to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”

We just read in John 1 where John the Baptist knew that Jesus was the Christ.  So if He is the Christ why hasn’t He done a miracle or something to rescue John the Baptist?  Do you suppose John the Baptist was praying to God to take him out of that prison?  If Jesus can work miracles and He is the Son of God, then surely He can get his servant, John the Baptist, this great man of God out of prison.  

John was in a test.  The enemy was no doubt bringing everything about God and his ministry into question as he remained there in that dark dingy cell.  He was even beginning to question if this Jesus really was the Son of God. Sin was crouching at the door and only an unrelenting faith would conquer it, but he sends his disciples to ask Jesus if He really is the Christ.  Have we ever been in a test like that?  

“4Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. 6Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”

7As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? 8If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. 9Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10This is the one about whom it is written:

“‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’

Jesus rehearses the greatness and the calling of God on the life of John the Baptist, that there was none greater and yet what does He say?  “yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”  Why?  Because John the Baptist had taken up an offense with God. 

11I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. 13For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. 14And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. 15He who has ears, let him hear.

What forcefully advances the kingdom of God is those who refuse to be offended when things don’t work out their way.  They will speak as Job did in Job 1:18-22, “While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, 19when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

20At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”

22In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.

Job didn’t take up an offense, even though God contradicted every principle he knew,  he would not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.  It was this kind of faith and faithfulness in Job that would eventually promote him into a priestly ministry  of intercession and bring a double portion increase of all that had been taken from him.

We may need to repent today if there has been a offense in our heart against God.  We aren’t always going to understand the ways of God and it is not necessary that we do.  What is necessary is that we maintain our faith and our faithfulness.   ‘He gives and He takes away, but blessed be the name of the Lord.’  ‘When we can’t trace His hand, trust His heart.’

 

Blessings,

kent

God’s Working

November 12, 2012

Psalms 95:6
Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker

God’s Working

Let us come, worship and bow down before the Lord, our God, our Maker.
In His presence is joy for evermore and the peace that passes all understanding. Come before Him with gladness, singing; making a joyful noise and melody in your hearts. The privilege of our eternity is to stand in the great hall of His presence, singing, “Holy, Holy , Holy to the Lord God Almighty, who was, who is and who is to come.”
Father paints the landscape of eternity with the beauty of His creation. Lavishly and wonderfully He creates from the mega to the miro and into universes we have yet to see or know. Only the mind of the Spirit in us can comprehend the height, depth and width of His love and the magnitude of His greatness. To the human mind, it is off the charts. How foolishly we so often try to fit God in the box of our understanding and limitations. Invariably He never fits the box or the formulas we try to equate Him too. Even His Word, we have pared and interpreted with the limitations of our insight and understanding. Father wants us to walk in the light of what we know and understand, but never be limited to that place, for to do so is to sentence one’s self to ignorance and dogma. God is the God of truth, but the light of that truth, burns so much brighter than our capacity to fully apprehend it. Even as God is bringing us from glory to glory in the light of understanding, revelation and transformation; God, Himself ever increases from glory to glory and we have the privilege of being His awesome children.
Let us never boast in ourselves or of ourselves, for any greatness in us is the reflection and outshining of our Father.
Oh, how we get our eyes upon the rudimentary elements of this world. Our fixed gaze is upon the temporal rather than the eternal. All that Christ is in us so transcends all that we covet and hold of value upon this earth.
The gold of God, are the souls of men. That gold He is always mining through us as we reach out and proclaim the good news of His reconciliation through Christ Jesus. As He mines from the earth, He begins in us the processing to refine our ore into pure fine gold. It is a lifelong process, of crushing, taking us through the fires of afflictions and removing the impurity that has been impregnated into our lives. He hammers us, shapes and molds and yet through all of this destructive-creative process He looks upon us with joy and longing. While the processing’s can be severe at times, He never allows our spirit to be crushed, but remains like the diamond in the center of us that withstands and shines more brightly through every level of processing. As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” Here is the principle of Eternal Perspective. The temporary is the place of preparation for the eternal. If we are only temporal or earthly minded then we will miss the greater picture of God’s plan and design for us. The earth is filled with the inhabitants that only know to live for the here and now, when they even know, in a moment is will all pass away. Such is not the case for we who have hope, for we see that is not the things of earth that matter, but again, like Paul in Philippians 3:12-14 says, ” Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
We are a heavenly citizenship, called and set apart for heavenly purpose. Therefore our purpose is not in expressing our will, our desire or ambitions; it is in the expression of Father’s and those things which He has placed within each one of us for His glory. Jesus tells us, ‘don’t worry about these earthly things. Your Father already knows what you a have need of. Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you.’ You see when earthly wealth and allure are not our focus, but only the Father, His purpose and will; then Father is able to release into our stewardship the things of this world, because they no longer possess us, but we possess them and know how to steward them for Father’s glory and honor.
Father is our Treasure! He is what we live and breath each breath for. Let us get so caught up in Him that nothing of this world matters except that which pertains to His purpose and direction. ‘We are the light of the world and a city set upon the hill can not be hid. So let your lights so shine among men. ‘

Blessings,
kent

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