Thursday, September 13, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 165

Prayers of the Old Testament
The Prayer of Joshua continued...

Suffering defeat is a consequence of disobedience. Whether individually or as a nation, when we are in obedience toward God we are under His protection. When we choose the way of disobedience however, God’s hand is removed and our enemies encamp around us unhindered.

God made both paths clear to His people. He told them what would become of them if they chose rebellion and disobedience, but He also told them what their lot would be if they chose to obey.

Deuteronomy 28:2, “All these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God:”

Deuteronomy 28:7, “The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.”

Because you obey the voice of the Lord, He will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face. This is the promise of God, contingent on whether or not obedience was a reality in the lives of the people.

The people knew both the goodness and the severity of God, and though they knew His warnings as well as His promises, one among them chose to disregard God’s command, and take for himself the unclean and accursed thing.

Sin metastasizes. If allowed to thrive unchecked, sin will invariably develop secondary malignant growths, spreading out from the primary site, and destroying everything in its path.

We, as children of God, are not doing anyone any favors by treating sin with kid gloves, or by doing our utmost not to challenge those openly living in sin to repentance.

Some just can’t be bothered to get out of their comfort zones, others are inhibited by cowardice, and others still don’t think sin is such a big issue that it has to be confronted in the church. Because these mentalities are prevalent within the household of faith, sin is running rampant and where there was one in rebellion, there are now four, and where there are four there will soon be eight.

Sin is not content with being static. Sin grows, it multiplies, it infects, because its sole purpose is the destruction of the house of God, and it does not rest until it has reached its objective.

The sin of one man had spread, and it now affected the entire nation.

It takes some doing to wrap our minds around the fact that one singular solitary sin, caused an entire nation to grow discouraged, and fearful of its enemies, to spurn the wrath of God, and see themselves defeated in a most complete and undeniable way.

The sin may be singular, but the consequences of that singular sin are multiple. One sin caused defeat, discouragement, fear, the wrath of God, the absence of God’s presence, and God’s rejection of Joshua’s prayer.

After Joshua’s heartfelt plea, after he tore his clothes and put dust on his head, God’s answer was, ‘get up! Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed.’

Before God could answer Joshua’s prayer, the sin had to be removed from among the people, and the people had to be sanctified.

Sin keeps prayer from being answered. No, Joshua had not committed trespass, Joshua had not sinned, but one who was under his authority had, and God held the entire nation responsible. Until that one individual was dealt with, until the accursed was destroyed from among the people, God vowed not to be with His people anymore.

How serious is sin in the sight of God? Serious enough to reject the prayer of His faithful servant Joshua until the sin was dealt with.

If God rejected the prayer of Joshua for a sin someone else committed, what makes us think He will not reject our prayers when we ourselves willfully persist in our sins without repentance or contrition?

This is one of the reasons why the doctrines which insist that you need not stop sinning, you need not repent, you need not amend your ways, but simply raise a limp wristed hand in a church service are so dangerous.

Because individuals are never told they must repent, they never do, and because they continue in their sin their prayers are never answered. Because the individuals in question never receive an answer to their prayers, because they never know true intimacy with God due to the sin that stands as a wall between Him and them, they grow disenchanted with the faith, bored even, and leave God in their rear view looking for more exciting and stimulating experiences.

Repentance must be preached within the household of faith, for only when we have put away the accursed things from among us, will God answer our prayers, and give us victory.

In order to put away the accursed thing from among us, we must first identify it, isolate it, and then remove it from within the congregation.

If an individual refuses repentance, then that individual has no desire to live for God, or be obedient to God, but rather they want the assurance of salvation while living whichever way they please.

As tempting as this path might be for many, beware, God is not mocked and what a man sows a man will surely reap. We cannot sow rebellion, disobedience, habitual sin and indifference toward the word of God, and reap eternity with Him in paradise.

It matters not how many individuals tell you otherwise, first you have the Scriptures to contend with, then reason itself invalidates such a ludicrous premise.

You belong to the one you serve, the one you’ve given your heart to, and the one you spend your time with. Since no man can serve two masters, each one of us is either committed wholeheartedly to God, living in obedience of Him, and worshipping Him alone, or to Satan, living in rebellion towards righteousness and following after the desires of the flesh.

It is that simple; that black and white; that cut-and-dried.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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