Friday, March 25, 2011

Don’t Get Angry At God

Mark Loughridge, Pastor in Letterkenny County, Donegal, Ireland has a blog called three17. The blog was named after his favorite verse Zephaniah 3:17. 
The following is quoted from his blog of March 5, 2006 based on 2 Kings 6:24-33.

"Then we come to King Jehoram. We read something interesting about him in v 30:  "When the king heard the woman’s words, he tore his robes. As he went along the wall, the people looked, and there, underneath, he had sackcloth on his body."
"Surprising! Sackcloth was the sign of humbling yourself before God. And Jehoram seems to be going about it in a right way – he doesn’t display his sackcloth or all to see. Indeed no-one would have known about it except he is so distressed at the awfulness of the situation that he tears the royal robes which were covering the sackcloth."
"The Bible condemns outward show of religion, and the king certainly wasn’t putting on an outward show. But sadly his words in the next verses demonstrate that this wasn’t a humbling that led to repentance. We see him take an oath that his own life would be forfeit if Elisha wasn’t executed that day. And in v33 you can hear his impatience, “Why should I wait for the Lord an longer?”
"It would seem as if Elisha has already told him to wait on God, to humble himself and to turn back to God. And Jehoram has come along with that. But its only skin deep. Its not repentance, its bargaining with God. Its almost as if he’s saying, “You told me that if I put on this sackcloth stuff, that God would sort it all out in his time. Well I’ve done all that, and it hasn’t worked.”
"He’s like someone who says, “my wife was ill and I prayed and prayed, but God didn’t answer my prayers, so therefore he doesn’t exist. I’ve tried religion and it doesn’t work.”
"But God isn’t impressed with bargaining. If I do this, will you be happy with me. Look at what I’ve done. I’ll pray to you, but you give me what I want. Why should God give you what you want? You haven’t given him what he wants – he wants a broken and contrite heart, he wants you to repent and trust him."
And what is missing from it all is genuine biblical repentance. 
And amidst the judgment Jehoram gets angry at God. And we see a man more concerned about starving people, than about sinful people. And we see a man shake his fist at God and blame God. And things haven’t changed. In our world God has promised that if we ignore him he will pull back his hand, and then when he does exactly what he said he would do, and there is a disaster, an explosion, people start shouting and blaming God. When if they would humble themselves, and repent of their sin God would return. In Zec 1:3 we read:  "This is what the LORD Almighty says: `Return to me,’ declares the LORD Almighty, `and I will return to you,’ says the LORD Almighty."
Have you been angry at God over something? Anger at God is never right. You may need to humble yourself and repent, and seek God’s forgiveness. Perhaps some of you think you can bargain with God. God hates to be bargained with. Bargaining only works when you have something the other person needs. God does not need you. You on the other hand need God. And you must come on his terms."

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