Friday, June 1, 2012

Speaking For God is a Dangerous Thing

Today I want to talk about the grievous error of misrepresenting God.  We should take great care when we talk of God being angry at a nation or a person.  We need to be sure that what we are speaking is of the Lord and not of our own feelings.  I also want to say that when I write I am not writing about God being angry at any particular person or group.  I share what God has allowed to happen to a particular group or people and the kinds of things that anger God as that is all found in Scripture, but I am not so arrogant as to cast God's judgement upon anyone.  Let's look at an example of someone speaking presumptuously and misrepresenting God.
So Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly to the door of the tabernacle of meeting, and they fell on their faces. And the glory of the LORD appeared to them. Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "Take the rod; you and your brother Aaron gather the congregation together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for them out of the rock, and give drink to the congregation and their animals." So Moses took the rod from before the LORD as He commanded him. And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock; and he said to them, "Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?" Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank.  Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, "Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them."   Numbers 20:6-12 NKJV
Moses and Aaron started out good. They inquired of the Lord on how to solve a problem of the Israelites needing water.  God told Moses to speak to the rock to bring forth water.  Note there was no anger mentioned anywhere.  They people needed water and God told Moses the means by which He would miraculously provide it.  Moses, though, was angry.  Note what he does.  He calls the Israelites rebels and angrily speaks and strikes the rock.  Moses was the liaison between God and the people of Israel.  Moses speaking and acting like that as God was miraculously providing water implied to the people that God was angry at them.  The truth was that Moses was angry, not God, but Moses made the people believe that God was angry.  God then was angry, but not at the people of Israel, but at Moses.  The consequence of his sin was that he would never realize his life-long dream.  Moses was never to enter the Promised Land.  A harsh consequence, but a terrible sin. 

There are many churches today guilty of the same thing.  This churches are very cult-like in that there is a central figure or small group that is in charge to telling the people what God expects of them.  They lure people into subjection holding the eternal disposition of their very souls over them.  They impose morality codes that no one can live up to.  They refuse to allow their followers to do such things as seek medical care.  They break apart families though a system of forced excommunication for anyone who does not toe the line or who walks away from that particular church.  Some are known as cults, some still pass as churches, they are all teaching a different gospel. 

Then there are other churches who take that message to the rest of the world.  They hold up signs telling us who God hates.  They seem to enjoy the fact that sinners will burn in Hell.  They judge nations and people and rarely, if ever, do they talk about grace. They almost (well closer than almost in many instances) teach that salvation is impossible for these people.  They speak on God's behalf as though they are teaching God's message.  Their message, however, is not supported by Scripture.  We should never relish in the eternal damnation of another.  Jesus came and died so that no one (unless they chose to reject Him) would have to suffer that fate and Jesus came because God loved the world.  Even more, God desires that all should come to repentance. 

The point I am making today is that we need to be careful in how we represent God.  How we talk about God should be based in Scripture and include a complete picture of who He is and not overemphasizing one aspect while de-emphasizing another.  More importantly, unless you are a prophet under the direction of the Holy Spirit, you should never ever speak for God.  Unless God tells you specifically what to say to someone on His behalf, never be so presumptuous and arrogant to speak for Him.  God is not someone who can be guessed or assumed.  As for those churches, the Bible shares an interesting lesson that the examples of the Old Testament are given as a warning to us.  I urge you to heed that warning.
Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.  1 Corinthians 10:11 NKJV

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