Sunday, May 29, 2022

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Enslaved by Sin

Over the past couple of months, I have heard individuals advocating for sinful behaviors and telling the world that it is absolutely fine to do things that many find immoral. It seems that society has gone out of its way to push beyond the limits that were once sacred and accepted as immutable. Those who push this new set of standards tell others that it is acceptable to do this or that. They further tell us that there shouldn’t be limits to what people can do and that true freedom comes from going beyond the boundaries of established norms and social convention.

I have seen those arguments used so many times in society and societies of the past. If you are a student of history like myself, then you understand. Societies that desire to go beyond standard practices and moral constructs sooner or later reap what they have sown. There is always a backlash that occurs. I am not just talking about social backlash, but, rather, God’s wrath unleashed upon society as a whole.

In chapter twelve of the Book of Proverbs, King Solomon, considered to be the wisest of all the kings of Israel, wrote, “Those who bring trouble on their families inherit the wind. The fool will be a servant to the wise.”

As people continue to push certain ideas and try to make them the norm for all, trouble and strife soon become the result of their activities. In recent months, we have seen protest marches and mob violence fill our communities. Instead of coming together as a group to debate and discuss these “new norms”, the mobs push their ideas on others with threats of violence. This is not how we should act as a nation. 

A civilized society comes together to debate and discuss the merits of a point of view and determines if that point of view can be held by the majority. But, all too often, the minority seeks to push a point of view that cannot stand on its own merits. Some of those viewpoints go too far. As a nation blessed by God, we cannot and should not stand idly by as we watch our nation turn away from God.

You don’t have to be a biblical scholar to understand what happened to the Israelites when they themselves turned away from God to do their “own thing”. When they lost their way, God removed His hand of protection and His blessings from them. He gave them over to their enemies who enslaved them. God’s wrath didn’t happen overnight and without warning. He sent prophets to warn them to turn away from their sinful ways and repent. When they failed to return to God, they reaped what they had sown. God withheld His blessings and protection and allowed their enemies to exploit and enslave them.

Can you see the parallel between the Israelites of old and our own nation? God has warned us repeatedly through scripture that we need to return to our faith and to the path of righteousness. If we don’t, then we will inherit the wind. Trouble and calamity are ours to experience as our nation is brought to its knees. Our enemies are waiting for the right moment to exploit our sinful behaviors and ensnare us. Our once great nation will become a footnote in the history of the world. Our nation, once great and that espoused the simple principles of being God-fearing and loving our neighbors, will end up on the ash heap of history as a noble ideal that lost its way.

But, it is not too late. We can turn away from our sinful ways and repent. We can return back to the simple principles of loving God with all of our heart, mind and spirit. We can love our neighbors and feed those who are hungry and give drink to those who are thirsty. 

In chapter seven of the second book of Chronicles, the Lord appeared to Solomon and said, “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this Temple as the place for making sacrifices. At times I might shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or command grasshoppers to devour your crops, or send plagues among you. Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to every prayer made in this place. For I have chosen this Temple and set it apart to be holy—a place where my name will be honored forever. I will always watch over it, for it is dear to my heart.

God has given us the directions on how to return to greatness. We must turn away from our evil ways, repent and seek God. When we, as a nation, do those things, God will pour out His blessings once again upon our nation and hold us near His heart. He will lift this nation up as an example for all to see. When a nation and its people return to God, He will unleash a downpour of blessings. If we, however, decide to follow our own earthly desires and fail to turn away from our sinfulness, then God will pronounce His judgment.

In chapter one of his epistle to the Romans, Paul writes, “So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires.

When we turn away from God, He will simply allow us to do as we want and trade the truth and our relationship with God for the things of this world. He will allow us to go hungry and experience plagues. His hand of protection will be removed from us and we will be humbled by our enemies.

Paul, later writes, “Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done.

When we fail to acknowledge God in our lives, our nation is doomed to a fate that the Israelites have experienced. We are the only ones who can do something about this. We must repent of our sins, seek His face once again and return to the path of righteousness. When we do all those things, God will shower our nation once again with blessings and we, as His children, will stand firm in His grace. 

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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