|Vol. 13 No. 9 September 2011||
Donald R. Fox
After twelve years on active duty Regular Army and twenty-four years full-time National Guard, I retired. I was fifty-five years old. Too young to retire and I needed a job. A position was open for a counselor at the Region Three Alcohol/Chemical Treatment Program in Tupelo, Mississippi. Since I had training and experience as a counselor/instructor with the Army, I applied for the position, was interviewed and hired for the job. For the next five years, I experienced an unusual and a rewarding employment.
I remember one young man in his very early twenties. He had no problems with the law. He had a high school education, was well built and a very intelligent man. He was, however, homeless with no family support system. And yes, “he had burned all his bridges.” In a counseling session as I observed this young man with seemly no family ties, I knew he was “on his own.” He needed stabilization in his life. With no experience or skills in the employment fields, I asked him, “Have you ever considered joining the Army or one of the Armed Forces?” He was caught off guard; yet, he immediately gave a straightforward answer, “Are you kidding?” This young man had no desire for such. He would rather stumble along as a homeless man. Isn’t that something? Give up a chance to change, stabilize and advance himself. I don’t understand such reasoning, yet that was his choice.
What is our attitude toward God Almighty? Do we approach God and His commands in a flippant manner? Do we figuratively say, “Are you kidding?” To make light of our responsibility toward Almighty God is a common sin. Our God has given to mankind His plan for man. Shall we respond in a positive, obedient manner or in a glib way? It’s all up to us, is it not?
Our God Is Not Kidding
God’s Plan for Man: 1. Hear God’s Word (Hebrews 11:6; Romans 10:17) 2. Believe in Jesus (John 8:24) 3. Repent of Sins (Luke 13:3; 2 Corinthians7:10) 4. Confess Jesus’ Name (Matthew 10:32-33; Romans 10:9-10; Matthew 16:15-16) 5. Be Baptized (Mark 16:15-16; Matthew 28:18-19; Acts 2:38, 41; Acts 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4) 6. Live Faithfully Until Death (Matthew 10:22; Revelation 2:10).
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. (Matthew 7:21-29 KJV)
In conclusion, let’s be gravely serious now! If you read the above concerning God’s plan for mankind and Matthew 7:21-29, can we honestly believe that God is just kidding?
D. Gene West
It is often true that the ethics of God and man clash. Man, being the arrogant kind of being he is, has the temerity to reflect on the ethics of God. God is righteous. He has never made a mistake, nor will He ever. When Abraham was bargaining with God to spare the evil cities of Sodom, Gomorrah, and the others cities of the plain, he asked, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”(Genesis 18:25b). Before we reflect on God, we need to understand as much as we can about His nature. If we learn all we can about the nature of God from the Bible, we may reconsider our charges.
Down through the ages, God has had one abiding principle by which He has guided Himself, when it comes to bringing punishment on men. The principle is that men are judged according to their deeds. If the deeds have been evil, sinful, in the sight of God, then the punishment will be evil. If the deeds have been good and righteous, God rewards with blessings. Again and again, this principle of judgment was expressed by such prophets as Jeremiah and Ezekiel, and it is even expressed in the New Testament in 2 Corinthians 5:10. Nevertheless, men have accused God of being harsh and unethical in His judgments.
One of the cases to which they point is found in 1 Samuel 15:2-3, in which we find the following commands that God gave to King Saul of Israel concerning the nation of Amalek. God said, “Thus says the LORD of hosts: I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he ambushed him on the way when he came up from Egypt. Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.”It has been insisted that only a murderous God of blood and gore would have issued such an order. It has been said that the Amalekite ambush of Israel could not have been so terrible that a just and loving God would have issued such an order. Perhaps before we make that kind of judgment we should go back and study the ambush.
Israel was making her way to the Promised Land after having grown into a powerful, yet divided and contentious nation in Egypt. When this nation was weak and vulnerable, they were attacked by the Amalekites. Had it not been for the miraculous intervention of God, the people of Amalek would surely have destroyed the Israelites before they entered Canaan. The Amalekites attacked the old, the weak, the sick, and the women and children, and it was at this time that God promised Israel He would take revenge on this heartless people because of their treachery. All during the period of the Judges, this nation of people would wait until the children of Israel would prepare the ground, plant their crops and care for them, and then at harvest time they would come up and steal Israel’s harvest, their flock, herds and even the donkeys needed to till the ground next season. They left the people impoverished and starving. They nearly starved the people of God to death.
Finally, it came time for God to take vengeance on the Amalekites for all the evil they had done to Israel for hundreds of years. Hence, God gave Saul the commission to utterly destroy this nation. God was not acting capriciously and for no reason. He had every right to preserve His people through whom the Messiah was to come. He also had every right to take vengeance on this barbaric nation of people, who were actually related to the Israelites, having descended from Eliphaz, the son of Esau, twin brother to Jacob, father of the twelve sons whose offspring made up the nation of Israel. Due to the fact that this nation of people had tried for generations to wipe Israel from the face of the earth through all kinds of genocide, God commissioned Saul to take vengeance. There was nothing unethical about what God commanded, for He only commanded that the Amalekites should receive what they had given. What could be more just than this?