Friday, November 11, 2016

NOVEMBER 11 "NEVER GOT AWAY WITH NOTHING"

     MY guess is that many people reading this blog will have, perhaps 2 things in common.  #1. They often wondered "there's got to be more to life than this" and # 2.  They wondered, "why do I never get away with anything, but my friends and others always seem to get away with stuff??".  I do not have a perfectly vivid memory about my childhood, but I do remember this, "I never got away with anything".  I remember this one incident in elementary school, 6th grade, we were running up the stairs, trying to be first as always (everything was a race) and this one kid is pushing me, pulling on me and driving me nuts.  I was always one to keep my cool (unlike other kids in my grade) and I did not fight or cause trouble often, but the one time I decide "I'm not going to hold back".  I just stopped, grabbed the kid and pushed him off of me, he went backwards, hit his head up against a brick wall, cracked it and his head started bleeding pretty bad.  It was a big ordeal, as you can imagine.  All I did was push a kid, which was common with boys in elementary school. Kids would fight in the school yard, pounce on each other and then get in line after recess and nothing happened.  I pushed a kid, and he cracks his skull, principal's office, threats of being sued, accused of assault, kids parent's at school....it was drama!  Being bad, sinning, rebelling has always been drama for me, how about you?
     In our text, in Ezekiel in the last sentence, verse 49, we read "You will suffer the penalty....and bear the consequences of your sins .....then you will know that I am the Sovereign Lord".  Most of my friends (whom I envied) who seemed to always get away "with stuff" are still getting away with stuff and you know what....they also "do not know" God.  In our text God reveals something to us, that the purpose of us not getting away with stuff is for the very purpose of knowing God.  Perhaps God's leadings, his guiding us into his arm is set up from his sovereign workings in our lives, making sure we do suffer the penalty and consequences of our sins.  In God's eyes, nothing could be worse than for us to be able to get away with our sins, dishonesty, rebelliousness and wayward ways.  Had the "Prodigal Son" succeeded in his quest to venture out (and some do) he would not have returned to the Father (symbolic of God). It was him suffering the penalty and bearing the consequences of his decisions that opened him up to salvation.
     I used to think my friends were lucky and I was not.  I thought I had "bad luck" because things did not pan out for me as well as my friends.  When my friends stole, they got away with it and I saw what a great benefit it was to "steal", you get what you want and for free, "how great is that". However when I stole, a badge was flashed in my face, I was chased down, caught and suffered the consequences. My parents were called,  a record was made of me in that store, it was a mess and quite embarrassing!  "Why me?", I thought.  Why can I not get away with nothing?  In hindsight, I can see these were the sovereign workings of God, making sure I did not get away with my sin, slowly but surely bringing me to a place, one day, that according to our text "Then you will know that I am the Sovereign Lord".   Today, I don't consider myself "unlucky" in the least, I consider myself blessed.  The unsaved, the ungodly now continually look to me and call me "lucky".  How many times have I heard, " You are so lucky, things always seem to work out for you".  Interestingly, they don't realize they are quoting Romans 8:28 and they don't even know it.  Interestingly enough, they don't realize that there was a day when my friends considered me "unlucky".  I didn't get away with nothing, if things could go wrong, they did. I always felt like I was going against some unseen, supernatural force.....and you know what, I was!  And that unseen, supernatural force was God himself, driving me, directing me, into a place of repentance.  This is only brought out more and further clarified when God knocks Saul of Tarsus of his horse and says to him, "why do you kick against the goad"?  In other words, "why are you fighting against this force that you feel apposing you?".  Paul also felt this force that seemed to be fighting against him, but he, just like I, and just like you never realized it was God's workings in his life and he too came to repentance and came to the place in our text "Then you will know that I am the Sovereign Lord". Thank God today that these two elements were at work in you, #1. That you wondered if there was more to life and # 2. Why you never got away with stuff, these were the wonder working, providential dealings of God, in your life, bringing you to a place, one day, where you would turn from your sins and turn to him, to come to know that he is The Sovereign Lord and that this was his masterful plan, from before you were even born.  In Jeremiah we read, "for I knew you before you were formed in your mother's womb, before you were born, I had "called" you and "appointed" you."  It takes us a while to get it. It takes us a while to come around, but thank God for his persistent and getting us to realize, that unlike many others, God has not called us to prosper in this world and get a way with our sin, but he has called us to a better life, not having to get away with our sin, but rather to be set free from our sin, forgiven of our sin (can't be forgiven if you are getting away with it) free to serve him and prosper in his Kingdom.  Those that are getting away with their sin and seem to be prospering, those that, at times, if we will be honest, we can envy, they will one day be left in this world and we will be taken away and who will be glad on that day, that they "got away with their sin"  or we "who got caught, suffered the consequences and repented, were able to be forgiven, have our conscience cleared and be set free!?".  I think the answer is clear, dont' you!