Tag: sin and death

Ready to meet God?

Scripture reading for April 9th: Luke 13:1-22

“Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices.  Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way?  I tell you, no!  But unless you repent, you too will all perish.  Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them–do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem?  I tell you, no!  But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” (Luke 13:1-5)

We sometimes have a tendency to make judgments about violent events or deadly natural disasters.  It is easy to speculate that God punished the ones who died because of some hidden vile sin and they deserved it.  Some came to Jesus with a report of some Galileans who had been slaughtered by Pilate as they were offering sacrifices.  They were probably Jewish Zealots who had gone to Jerusalem to the temple and Pilate had them brutally slaughtered to eliminate the possibility of sedition.  The common theology would have said that they suffered in this way because of God’s judgment!  Jesus said this was not necessarily the case.  The real need was for those now hearing Him to repent themselves!

Jesus then brought up another report of a collapsed tower that had fallen on workers and killed them.  If these were Jewish workers, they were working for the Romans and the common judgment was that God punished them for their compromise with the pagan Roman government.  Jesus said that this was also not the case.  The people’s greatest concern should be for their own readiness to meet God.

Dying without repentance is the worst possible thing that can happen to anyone!  God must judge them for their sins when they could have found forgiveness and eternal life.  Jesus went on to warn them that they also must produce fruit in their lives.  Like the story of the fig tree that had only taken up valuable space but produced no fruit, God is looking for fruit from each person and His people.  His patience will run out and the tree without fruit will be cut down!  It’s time to focus on our own hearts and quit judging others!  Facing the Lord could happen at any time!  I want to be ready!

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Ancient snake-bite remedy!

Scripture Reading for February 17th: Numbers 21-15

I hate snakes!  When I was little, Mom often asked me to take lunch and a drink to my Dad who was working out in the field.  This particular day in late June, he was cultivating corn about a half-mile from the house.  I was walking along the path, minding my own business, when I almost stepped on a large bull snake!  In my fear, I threw the water jar and Dad’s lunch at the snake and took off running for the house.  Mom consoled me and then sent me back to retrieve the bottle and lunch.  I complained and grumbled. Thankfully, the snake was long gone!

In our reading today, the Israelites were doing what they did best–grumbling!  As they grumbled against Moses and God, God sent poisonous snakes which bit the complainers.   (Numbers 21:5) The Israelites then asked Moses to pray for them and confessed their sin. (Numbers 21:7)  God answered Moses with some strange instructions. He was to make a bronze serpent and place it on a pole in the camp.  Anyone bitten who looked at the bronze snake on the pole would be healed!  (Numbers 21:8-9)

What can we learn from this ancient story?  The first lesson is that sin causes death!  God has repeated this over and over but His people seem to forget!  Another lesson is that grumbling against leadership isn’t pleasing to God.   A third lesson is that when sin’s consequences come, we run to our leaders for help and prayer–and God does answer.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus used this story right before the most famous verse in all of Scripture.  The snake that was lifted on the pole is a picture of Jesus Christ crucified.  He was made sin so that we might be healed from the serpent’s poisonous bite.  If we will look with faith to His finished work on the cross, we will be saved and healed!  God loves His people and wants to save them from the poison of sin’s bite and the consequence of sin–death! (John 3:14-18)  If we refuse the remedy provided by God, then we will die!  This ancient snake-bite remedy turns out to be the current remedy for all mankind!  I am sure grateful that I have looked at Jesus Christ with faith and received the healing from my own sin of grumbling, complaining and rebellion! Have you done the same? (Romans 10:9-10)

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Forbidden fruit!

Scripture reading for January 2nd: Genesis 3-5

I love fruit!  There’s nothing like a crisp, tart apple to make me smack my lips!  When I see a tree with ripe apricots, I have sweet thoughts of one of my favorite fruits!  Fresh cherries, juicy and sweet or tart pie cherries draw my attention quickly!  We always had fruit trees on the farm where we lived and have planted them everywhere we lived. The times of ripe fruit are always anticipated with joy and delight!

Adam and Eve were placed in a beautiful garden planted for them by God.  They were given responsibilities to tend and keep the garden.  They could eat any of the fruit that they wanted, except the fruit of one tree–the tree of the knowledge of good and evil!  (Genesis 2:15-17)  They enjoyed their work and freely ate the delicious fruit.

One day, the serpent came and tempted Eve with the forbidden fruit.  He drew her attention to it.  It looked good for food and was pleasing to her eyes. (Genesis 3:6)  He implied that God was withholding something that would be good for her and that God had not spoken the truth.  The woman was deceived and took the fruit and ate it, hoping to become wise and satisfied!  She gave some to Adam who also ate in spite of knowing God’s command!  And so the deception brought death as God had spoken.  Man was plunged into darkness with the knowledge of sin and evicted from the Garden of Eden.  (Genesis 3:22-23)

Forbidden fruit still temps all of mankind.  We have in us a desire to rebel against the word of God and to experience what is forbidden.  We think it looks good and pleasant and will satisfy us.  The very fact that God has said “no” drives us to desire and partake.  We find that what is forbidden actually may initially taste and feel good.  Afterward, it leads to slavery, bondage, and ultimately to death.

But God provided a remedy for those who ate the forbidden fruit and for us today as well.  He took an animal and clothed Adam and Eve with the bloody skins.   He covered their shame and nakedness so they could stand before Him.  (Genesis 3:21)  For us He provided something better!  The “seed of woman” that God spoke of is none other than Jesus Christ! (Genesis 3:15)  He provides our covering and makes it possible for us to stand before God as forgiven children!  Praise His Name forever!

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