March 28, 2012

Seek Good, Not Evil...That You May Live

I nearly never give way to what I often call "flights of fancy" but of late I cannot help but feel there is something afoot in the system of the world. Lately things feel "weightier" or "foreboding". My guess is that the powers and principalities are about to unload and it is going to be the equivalent of a spiritual "punctuated equilibrium" or detonation of wickedness. The reprobate and wicked nature of the culture has been steadily gaining ground for years now in a slow methodical manner in the form of rampant sexual immorality and industrialized murder (abortion) so to stay off radar (sort of) but my gut is telling me that is about to change. Couldn't tell you why or how I know or why but it has been hanging on me like a saddle on a horse.

I will say that I have never been affected like this before but I will also say that there is a first time for everything. Perhaps it is because I have been spending a lot of time around Pentecostals and the more exuberant of my brethren (love you brothers and sisters!), but the truth is I believe my theology has been affecting them more than theirs effecting mine. To add to this I would have to say I am, as Mark Driscoll says, "a charismatic with a seat belt".

What I can say for certain is when I have been profoundly affected by the Holy Spirit it comes on slow and is nearly oppressive when He is near. Its like standing in the room with a freight train barreling down on me.

It is brooding...darker, like a tornado touching down in the distance.

My guess is it isn't just going to affect me or I wouldn't feel so convicted to write this publicly. I've chosen to write it here because if I did it on Facebook it would only draw the mockery or ire of non-believers in my profile but believers that read this will know what I mean. It is portentous.

We are not only a divided nation we are a divided world and this division, disunity and subversion of truth accelerates around us daily. I do not subscribe to the nonsense of politics anymore as I do not believe I can effect a positive change through politics. I do believe I can cause a positive change through the preaching of the word. One word and one person at a time. What I do see even by "conservative" politicians more often than not astounds me and strikes me as horribly unbiblical at times. Come to think of it, much of what is coming out of pulpits is horribly unbiblical at times. I do not need to do social commentary on the state of affairs in the United States and abroad. We need only read the absurdity of the news and the actions and reactions of so-called "leaders" who do not deserve the title.  I have said it before and I say it again. We have the person or persons in charge whether they be local, state or federal government because God has chosen to put these people where they are as He sees fit. What we have at all levels of this once great country is subject to question at this point. Our system should work but it looks like the constituent parts are flawed. The system cannot run properly or run at all with flawed parts. It’s like running an engine with broken gears. Sooner or later things are going to fly apart at high speeds and cause catastrophic damage which will probably be irreparable.

We have a horribly skewed, twisted and biased news media that only reports what is suitable to their agendas and ideologies. Getting accurate news without digging for it yourself is next to impossible nowadays. People subscribe to the lies and buy them in surplus as long as the lies/news matches their ideologies. The strange thing is that many of these people know they are being lied to and don't care. I suspect they have been given over to a reprobate mind. I see politics spouted from pulpits...places once reserved solely for the word of God. I do not like when TV preachers invite politicians or world leaders on their stages and into their pulpits to promote their agendas.

We are in a real bad way spiritually in this country and we are twisting deeper into the abyss. I sense we are on the verge of something rather large and it does not look like it is going to be a happy affair. We can put a smiley face on an hammer but a hammer can either be used as a tool to put things together or it can be used as a tool of destruction. When a country takes a language and rhetoric and uses it to agitate and instigate rather than to heal and is the work of evil. When we use pulpits to spew politically charged ideological hatred...God will not be mocked. A nation cannot continue to digress and apostatize from God so far without being judged. People can ignore Him all they like He will not ignore their wicked deeds. They can mock and defame Him all they like... they must realize they are storing-up wrath for themselves unwittingly. We are way past judgment in the States. I believe we are already seeing the winds ahead of the storm in the form of depraved leadership, social chaos and people's complete inability to discern truth even when it is placed right before them.

The morality of the majority is broken. The minds of the majority are broken. Judgment is already upon us in these forms. 

Amos 5:6-15 ~ “Seek the Lord and live, lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and it devour, with none to quench it for Bethel, O you who turn justice to wormwood and cast down righteousness to the earth! He who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into the morning and darkens the day into night,who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the surface of the earth, the Lord is his name; who makes destruction flash forth against the strong, so that destruction comes upon the fortress. They hate him who reproves in the gate, And they abhor him who speaks with integrity. Therefore because you impose heavy rent on the poor and exact a tribute of grain from them, though you have built houses of well-hewn stone, yet you will not live in them; you have planted pleasant vineyards, yet you will not drink their wine. For I know your transgressions are many and your sins are great, you who distress the righteous and accept bribes and turn aside the poor in the gate. Therefore at such a time the prudent person keeps silent, for it is an evil time. Seek good, and not evil, that you may live; and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you, as you have said. Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.

Before judgment, God always offers mercy and grace by staying His hand and before issuing judgment. Here in Amos, the Lord through Amos invites a nation (the Israelites) to seek the Lord by doing good and refraining from evil so they might live. The alternative is God’s crushing gavel of justice. Once it breaks over the point of no return it must exhaust itself before ending.

The reason God’s judgment comes on a nation (Israel or America) is/was that those who lead or were in charge were turning justice into something bitter and were throwing righteousness to the ground with disrespect and contempt. Instead of the systems within the nation (specifically the judicial) functioning properly they had been shanghaied and turned it into poison and were used against the righteous people of the nation and of God…exactly what they were designed to prevent.

So we then see mention of the Pleiades and Orion. If the Lord God has made the Pleiades and Orion which are constellations of stars, He could most certainly bring His will to pass on earth too. If God could bring the light out of darkness in the morning and bring darkness to the day at night, He could most certainly change the fate of a nation from prosperity to adversity. This is what we see in Amos’ time with Israel and you can bet your last dollar that we are seeing it now in America and many nations worldwide in the form of injustice, financial disarray and general all-round chaos an inability to discern truth.

Amos then goes on to show other reasons for impending judgment. So went Israel, so goes any nation that does the same as she. Please tell me you cannot see the striking parallels I am about to point out and I will tell you that you need your eyes checked (and your heart).

·         People in Israel began to hate judges who reproved evildoers in the city gate, where the court convened, and any witnesses who spoke the truth.
o   When influential people or leaders in a society despise the truth, there is little hope that it will remain stable and secure.
·         Those in control or leadership imposed high rents and taxes on grain (necessary goods like food)  on the poor to keep them tenants on the land or as we call it today: Wage Slaves (Exod. 23:2, 6).
·         The small farmer no longer owns his own land; he is a tenant of an urban class to whom he must pay a rental for the use of the land, a rental that was often a lion's share of the grain which the land had produced."
o   Compare this to government subsidization and agricultural conglomerates
·         The oppressors used this illegally obtained income to build themselves luxurious homes. The Lord promised that He would make it impossible for these evil people to live in their fancy houses and enjoy the fruits of their vineyards.
o   Compare this to the absolutely atrocious real estate market that is now worse than it was during the Great Depression. Foreclosure rates are now astronomically high.
·       So-called leaders had/have so distressed and oppressed the righteous by their unrighteous conduct that they had made it impossible for the poor to get fair treatment in the courts.

Life had become so corrupt in the nation that keeping quiet about these abuses of power had become the only prudent thing to do. If a person spoke out against them, he could count on feeling the wrath of the powerful of those that had a twist mind that went along with the existing culture.

In the end God called for individual repentance before unleashing His wrath against the unrighteous. It was to no avail. I suspect the same is true for us. I believe we have seen our best days and they are behind us. Unless there is repentance…there is no room for hope in a bright future. Without God coming to us and a revival sparking up, we’re in trouble.

Sorry folks, I can't shake this feeling.

When God’s judgment comes, it comes swiftly. Jeremiah tells us this…the judgment of God would come on the wicked like a whirlwind. He would carry out His purposes fully and not draw back in mercy. When His judgment fell, the wicked would understand it as His judgment. The gavel of God's justice will crush the unrighteous.

Jeremiah 23:19 ~“Behold, the storm of the LORD! Wrath has gone forth, a whirling tempest; it will burst upon the head of the wicked.”

Pray. A storm is coming and I think it may already be upon us. When it hits full on, all Hell is going to break loose... 

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