The Shepherd of Hope blog is here to serve you, to help you know Jesus better and to find hope in Him. This blog relies on the Spirit of God using the word of God to build people of God. All material has been prayerfully submitted for your encouragement and spiritual edification. Your questions and comments are welcome.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Heart-Grieved God

“And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart” – Genesis 6:6


“as the days of Noah were” – Matthew 24:37


“Shall the throne of iniquity, which devises evil by law, have fellowship with You?” – Psalm 94:20


Jesus said the latter days leading up to His return would be “as the days of Noah were” (Matthew 24:37; Luke 17:26). God inspired Moses to write of the days of Noah: “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” (Genesis 6:5-7). 


“And He was grieved in His heart.” I recently read an April 3rd 2015 New York Times article written by Frank Bruni entitled Bigotry, the Bible and the Lessons of Indiana. In the article Bruni, who is homosexual, refers to the Bible and its teachings on homosexuality as fossilized. To him the Bible is out of date. To him society and its trends represent the human authority to guide life. Therefore he presents what he sees as a reasonable viable option and solution to relieving all the tension between the LGBT (Lesbian/Gay/Bi-sexual/Transsexual) movement and the church. His simple solution is to rewrite the Bible. According to him we should just edit out the parts of Bible that are counter to today’s trends about sexuality. Just remove those nasty prohibitions against immorality and homosexuality.  Just let men redact Holy-heaven-sent-Writ. To that obtuse notion we must respond, “Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” (1 Corinthians 1:20b). What a grieving notion.


“And He was grieved in His heart.” Then I heard of another new translation of the Bible. Added to the Queen James Bible and the gender neutral translations of late is a translation offered by rapper Kayne West. He calls his Bible version The Book of Yeezus. In his translation he removes all mention of God’s name and replaces it with his own name Kayne or Yeezus. I wonder what he gets when he prays (if he prays) in Kayne’s or Yeezus’ name? I wonder what would happen if he tried walking on water in Kayne’s name or moving a mountain by faith in Yeezus’ name? I’d pay for admission to see the water walking attempt. What another grieving notion.


When I read of such news it makes me shudder. It causes me to fear for the person who would dare try to adjust God’s word to their liking rather than bow their lives to God. Paul said we should work out our salvation “with fear and trembling” not, “dear just cut it out the troubling” (cf. Philippians 2:12). When I see the mishandling of God’s Holy Word and then read such inspired words as: “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophesy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Revelation 22:18-19). These words apply primarily to Revelation but in principle o God’s book as a whole. God’s word is filled with blessings. But there are also cursing consequences for sinful behavior. Redacting or editing God’s word to anything other than what He has revealed it to be is the grossest of sins.


Ever wonder why there is so much stupidity in the world today? It’s because people, even God’s people, have left the source of wisdom, God’s word. Long ago when God was preparing His people to enter the Promised Land and interact and influence pagan peoples, He inspired Moses to give them certain instructions. You can see these instructions in the book of Deuteronomy. Towards the beginning of that instruction and as a priority of those instructions God told Moses to tell His people - “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. . . . Therefore be careful to observe them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes, and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people” (Deuteronomy 4:2, 6). “For this is your wisdom and your understanding.”  If the church is indistinguishable from the world and impotent to change the world it is because she has left God’s word for the ways of the world.


Failure to apply God’s word in life leads to all kinds of stupidity and sin. And that grieves the Lord. A prominent television “pastor” promotes the idea that if 200,000 people donate $300 each to him he can purchase a 60 million dollar jet. I wonder is that grieves Jesus who said, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Luke 12:15). One day Jesus may say to such a “minister,” “Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:20, 21). What is wrong with the ministers of God today? Are they ministers of God? Have they consulted God’s word? It doesn’t appear they have. If they have glanced at the Bible they have apparently willfully disregarded segments of it in order to allow them to fulfill their carnal desires. It’s unholy hedonism! And it’s the stupid result of departing from God’s word.


Is there any doubt that our days are like the days of Noah? Certainly each day shows a news report that confirms, “the wickedness of man” is “great in the earth.” It certainly seems as though “every intent of the thoughts of his heart” is “only evil continually.” “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence” (Genesis 6:11). Successful sport involves bloodletting and blood gushing. With the rise of ISIS has come the broadcasting of decapitations. This world is a bloody mess! It sure looks like the earth is filled with violence to me. And so, can we ultimately expect anything less than, “So the LORD said, ‘I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth”? We can be sure that with what is going on today that when God looks down on us He says again, “I am sorry that I have made them.” God’s heart is grieved.


The apostle Paul laid down an example for us. He stated that he did not rely on “persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and power,  that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:4-5).  I can understand why unsaved debauched sinners reject God’s word and rely on human wisdom. The god of this world Satan has blinded them (2 Cor. 4:4). They are in darkness and under the powerful influence of the devil. They need to be set free by the gospel (Acts 26:18). But what excuse or explanation can be offered when the church neglects God’s word? What excuse do those in the traditional mainline denominations have for choosing the trendy worldly “wisdom” that promotes immorality and sin instead of upholding scriptural holiness? Such action is nothing more than betrayal and nothing less than treachery to God and His word. And the consequence is a dead as a doormat powerless shell of a church.


When God looks down on this world and parts of His “church” can there be any doubt that He again thinks, “I am sorry that I have made them”? Can there be any doubt that God in Christ is getting ready to upchuck over the lukewarm church (Revelation 3:16). It is certain He is grieved over the mess humanity has made of His world.


What are we to do? What are the faithful remnant of those who have decided to stay true to God’s Holy Word to do? I propose we go to the LORD with His word and plead for His intervention. We need to do is get back to God’s word. We have to get serious with the word of God. We have to get to work in the word and with the word (2 Timothy 2:15; 3:16-17). God’s word is His instrument of power (Hebrews 4:12). God’s word will cleanse the refuse of this world from us (Ephesians 5:26).


Think about it. If you sent a love letter to the object of your affection, a letter filled with your hopes, dreams and passions of love, and the one you sent it to uncaringly and negligently cast it aside, or simply left it unopened to collect dust, would it grieve you? Or if the one you loved opened the love letter but questioned your existence or your hopes or dreams or the genuineness of your love, would it grieve you? Do you think it grieves God when we do the same to Him, to His love letter the Bible? Get into God’s word and stop grieving the Lord.


We live in a nation today where most of its leaders are perfectly described with the words, “Shall the throne of iniquity, which devises evil by law, have fellowship with You? 21They gather together against the life of the righteous, And condemn innocent blood” (Psalm 94:20-21).  Legislating immorality and protecting sinful behavior with the law is nothing new. Even in the psalmist’s day rulers were enacting laws to promote and protect sinful behaviors. And all the while the legislators were doing this they were claiming to be right with God. They legislate evil in God’s name! Oh Lord!


We see the exact same thing in our day! Legislation and illegalizing the LORD and His word from the public square! Secularism is insipid; it allows for any and all kinds of sin. It has led to the legislation and legalizing of abortion and the murder of millions! And soon we will see the legislating and legalizing same-sex marriage and the destruction of marriage and family! To follow will be the legislation and legalization of polygamy. Soon to follow will be the legislation and legalized elimination of age of consent laws and prohibitions against incest. We are fast moving toward an anything goes society. Soon we will see the legislation and outlawing of scriptural proclamations of truth even in the church under the guise of “tolerance,” and “hate crime.” The world is tolerant of everything except God and His truth! The world devises evil and uses law to establish it. “Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness. . . . vile passions. . . . to a debasd mind” (Romans 1:24, 26, 28). What we see is God’s judgment. What corruption! Oh what a grieving state of affairs! Oh how this must grieve the LORD when He looks down from His throne.  


We have to turn to the Lord. None of this takes Him by surprise. Jesus said it would be like this; like the days of Noah. He has allowed this to happen. He has allowed humanity to exert their free will. Humanity is free to choose selfishness and sin or to choose to repent, be saved through faith in Christ and live in His true love. For those who choose the LORD we have the comfort of - “But the Lord has been my defense, and my God the rock of my refuge” (Psalm 94:22).


The answer for us is to turn to our God. He will bring clarity to address our concerns. He will provide solutions. The warning for the wayward and rebellious sinful world is to turn to God too. If the sinner refuses the prospect is not good: “He has brought on them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness; The Lord our God shall cut them off” (Psalm 94:23). Just like the days of Noah. It grieves the Lord when He sees His creation consumed with sin. When He looks at you will He have reason to grieve too? When God looks at you, will He have more reason to be a heart-grieved God?


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