When Jesus spoke truth to the rich young ruler, he turned and walked away. And Jesus didn’t stop him! If we as individuals, or even as a nation, are determined to continue turning our backs on God and refusing to live His way, He will let us! But the results could be disastrous.
2 Corinthians 11.16-33
The Cost of Turning Our Backs on God
Do Not Prophesy to Us Right Things
Over and over throughout these passages God is warning His people to not rely on themselves or their own wisdom and not to turn to false prophets who merely tell them what they want to hear. He also warned them not to turn to outsiders, other nations, no matter how strong they look. The message is “I am sovereign—I am in control.”
He warns them that all the false prophets, all the strong nations, all the wisdom of man will ultimately be brought to nothing. With all the problems in our country today many cling to the idea that some leader, some program, some philosophy, some scientific discovery will solve our problems nationally and individually. We are so much like the people in Isaiah’s time (30.9-13):
Children who will not hear the law of the LORD;
10 Who say to the seers, “Do not see,”
And to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us right things;
Speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits.
11 Get out of the way,
Turn aside from the path,
Cause the Holy One of Israel
To cease from before us.”
12 Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel.
“ Because you despise this word,
And trust in oppression and perversity,
And rely on them,
13 Therefore this iniquity shall be to you
Like a breach ready to fall,
A bulge in a high wall,
Whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant.
- That rebellion and disrespect is wrong (1 Sam. 15.23). Consequently, we disrespect police officers and other authority figures. Our children, in turn, disrespect us, their teachers, and anyone else who tries to tell them what to do.
- That marriage is to be between one man and one woman for a lifetime (Matt. 19.4-6). Consequently, the rate of divorce and of couples living together without marriage happens across all levels of society in huge numbers and without any shame. And now so-called gay marriage has become the law of the land.
- That sex is holy and reserved for the marriage bed (Heb. 13.4; Rom. 1.24-32). Consequently, sex outside of marriage in all of its forms is rampant: adultery, fornication, rape, incest, molestation, homosexuality, pornography and more.
- That life is precious and God is the giver and taker (Acts 17.24-25; Ps. 139.13-16). Consequently, abortion is now called a woman’s right, euthanasia has been openly debated and practiced, murder is rampant in many of our cities, and mass shootings because of anger, hate, or political ideology happen all too often.
- That work is God-ordained and the way God provides for His people on a day-to-day basis (2 Thess. 3.10; 1 Tim. 5.8). Consequently, we have husbands and fathers who find every excuse possible not to work and provide for their families, people who know how to “work the system” going from agency to agency, organization to organization, even church to church getting every handout they can, and others who live much of their lives dependent on the government. (Bear in mind, that other passages commanded God’s people to care for the genuinely needy and unable to work.)
And if we continue going our way and turning our backs on God, things will get worse, but the answer is the same today as it was thousands of years ago: to return to God, not to become independent, but God dependent:
“In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength …” (30.15).
And 2 Chronicles 7.13-14:
13 When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, 14 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 heal their land.
And then choosing to live obediently before Him, knowing that He is God (Eccl. 12.13; Jn. 14.15; Ps. 100.1-5).
Today’s Other Readings:
The Help of Man Is Useless!
Verses 12-13 echo Isaiah’s warning:
“Give us help from trouble, for the help of man is useless. Through God we will do valiantly, for it is He who shall tread down our enemies.”
A Contentious Woman
Verse 24, “It is better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious woman.”
Ladies, our husbands didn’t say it; God did!
2 Corinthians 11.16-33:
Faithful Are the Wounds of a Friend
Paul uses some very strong language, even sarcasm, in this letter to the church at Corinth because what was at stake was so important—that is the spiritual well-being of the people and the church!
In the next few days, we’ll talk people who claim to have gone to heaven, the test of genuine faith, what it means to be a legalist and more.
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