Monday, May 23, 2016

Do we provoke God?

Elijah confronts Ahab - Artist unknown
TODAY'S SPECIAL: 1 Kings 16:29-17:7

TO CHEW ON: "Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him. " 1 Kings 16:33

Provoking God? It sounds serious!

A brief survey of Bible passages that speak of provocation tell us some of the things that provoke God.

God is provoked by:

  • Unbelief and refusal to act in faith—what the Israelites did when they balked at entering the Promised Land despite all the miracles along the way - Numbers 14:11.
  • Rejecting His appointed leaders—the way Korah, Dathan and Abiram challenged the leadership of Moses and Aaron - Numbers 16:30.
  • Rebellion—the way the Israelites often acted during their wilderness trek - Deuteronomy 9:7,8,22; Psalm 106:7.
  • Idol worship - Deuteronomy 31:20,29; 1 Kings 14:9; 16:26,33 (our focus verse); Jeremiah 7:18.
  • Scoffing at God's work—what Sanballat and Tobiah did over Nehemiah's wall - Nehemiah 4:6.
  • Breaking covenant with Him and refusing to keep His law ("testimonies") - Deuteronomy 31:29; Psalm 78:56.
  • Words against Him - Isaiah 3:8.
  • Sacrilegious things in a holy place - Ezekiel 8:3.

The results of provoking God throughout Israel's history were serious:

  • The Israelites were doomed to wander for 38 more years in the wilderness - Number 14:23
  • Korah, Dathan, and Abiram and their families were destroyed for challenging God's appointed leaders - Numbers 16:31,32.
  • Ahab's provocative ways led to three years of drought- 1 Kings 17:1.
  • Nehemiah seemed concerned that the scorn of his detractors would lead to discouragement of the workers - Nehemiah 4:5.
  • Israel's idol worship led to the temple's destruction by a foreign power - Ezra 5:12.
  • Provoking God also led to Israel's exile - Jeremiah 8:19.

Though it's easy for us to look down our noses at the fearful and rebellious Israelites or idolatrous Ahab, another read-through of the list of things that provoke God in relation to our setting may demolish some of that smugness.

- Are we ever guilty of unbelief and refusing to act in faith?

- Have we ever rebelled against the leaders God has placed over us?

- Do we have idols? Not silver and gold images, perhaps, but other things like work, people's praise, money, etc. that compete with God for first place in our hearts?

- Have we ever scoffed at what others report as God's work?

- Have we ever been disdainful of sacred things—by what we've said?  By what we've done?

Yes, God is long-suffering and merciful. Jesus has paid for these sins with His death. But still our provocations may have consequences.  What a shame to miss out on His best, to assign ourselves, by our attitudes, words, and actions, to seasons of wilderness wanderings, drought, and exile.

PRAYER: Dear Father, help me to be sensitive to what pleases and what provokes You. I have been guilty of unbelief, rebellion, idolatry and more. Help me to see these things that provoke, grieve and displease you—as sin. Amen.

 *********
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...