God’s Provocation

God is love.  He is also holy.  God is a consuming fire and full of wrath and indignation.  The Scriptures teach us about those things that provoke our holy, loving, wrathful God.  There is a particular passage that deals with this in very specific ways that can be used for our instruction so we don’t unintentionally provoke our God to wrath against us.  It also loudly warns those who are involved in intentional rebellion that God’s wrath is coming.

1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, 2 “Stand in the gate of the Lord’s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, all you of Judah who enter in at these gates to worship the Lord!’”  3 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel:  “Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place.  4 Do not trust in these lying words, saying, ‘The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are these.’”  5 “For if you thoroughly amend your ways and your doings, if you thoroughly execute judgement between a man and his neighbor, 6 if you do not oppress the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, or walk after other gods to your hurt, 7 then I will cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever.  8 Behold, you trust in lying words that cannot profit.  9 Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal, and walk after other gods whom you do not know, 10 and then come and stand before Me in this house which is called by My name, and say, ‘We are delivered to do all these abominations’?”  11 “Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of thieves in your eyes?  Behold, I, even I, have seen it, says the Lord.  12 But go now to My place which was in Shiloh, where I set My name at the first, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of My people Israel.  13 “And now, because you have done all these works,” says the Lord, “and I spoke to you, rising up early and speaking, but you did not hear, and I called you, but you did not answer, 14 therefore I will do to the house which is called by My name, in which you trust, and to this place which I gave to you and your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh.  15 And I will cast you out of My sight, as I have cast out all your brethren—the whole posterity of Ephraim.  16 Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them, nor make intercession to Me; for I will not hear you.  17 Do you not see what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?  18 The children gather wood, the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods, that they may provoke Me to anger.  19 “Do they provoke Me to anger?”  says the Lord, “Do they not provoke themselves, to the shame of their own faces?”  20 Therefore thus says the Lord God:  “Behold, My anger and My fury will be poured out on this place—on man and on beast, on the trees of the field and on the fruit of the ground.  And it will burn and not be quenched.”  21 thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Add your burnt offerings to your sacrifices and eat meat.  22 For I did not speak to your fathers, or command them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices.  23 But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people.  And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’”  24 “Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but followed the counsels and the dictates of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward.  25 Since the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt until this day, I have even sent to you all My servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them.  26 Yet they did not obey Me or incline their ear, but stiffened their neck.  They did worse than their fathers.  27 Therefore you shall speak all these words to them, but they will not obey you.  You shall also call to them, but they will not answer you.  28 So you shall say to them, ’This is a nation that does not obey the voice of the Lord their God nor receive correction.  Truth has perished and has been cut off from their mouth.’”  Jeremiah 7:1-28

God is provoked to wrath by those who trade in sin and wicked lies, all the while proclaiming loudly their special privileged position with Him and His house.  God is provoked to wrath by those who worship false gods while “worshiping” the Lord.  God is provoked to wrath by those who are continuously warned by Him to repent, to forsake their ways and turn to His ways, but who instead stubbornly continue in their sin and rejection of God.  God is provoked to wrath by those who oppress the helpless and needy, who murder, lie, commit adultery and worship false gods.  God is provoked to wrath by those who reject the truth and believe in lying words.

When God is provoked to wrath He becomes the enemy of His people.  When God is provoked to wrath He will not hear nor answer prayers said on the behalf of those who strayWhen God is provoked to wrath He destroys sinners and demolishes their land.  Much of what is taking place within the visible church is a provocation against our holy God!  Do we think that we can provoke our Great God to wrath and not suffer His just judgment?

Unregenerate men and women populate the visible church doing as they please without the fear of God in their hearts or love for the Bible, His truth, in their minds.  Perversion prevails, falsehood flounces, sin surges, and deception delights all spiritually dead congregants.  The name of Jesus is flung around, and crooned over, but humble, meek, obedient, holy love for the risen, reigning Savior is considered foreign and strange.  The Scriptures are given lip-service, but the hearts are laden down with the fabulous tales and devilish doctrines of fallen man.  Can the visible church expect to escape the wrath of God?  Could it be that the avalanche into apostasy crushing the visible church is an expression of God’s wrath against a rebellious and unholy people?

Beloved, we can be a part of those who are under God’s wrath, and not know it if we ignorantly give our support or approval to sinners who lie against God our Father, His Son Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, or God’s good Word the Bible.  We are not excused, because Jesus Christ Himself warned us to not let anyone deceive us, and God’s Word continuously exposes false teachers, false teaching, and false doctrine so we can avoid provoking our God with wicked works.  Adhering to any form of false teaching is the same as idolatry as stated by God through His apostle John at the end of his first epistle.  May we always be led by our Good God, hold fast to our Glorious Savior, and know and believe God’s Faithful and True Word the Bible, by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Amen!

5 And Jesus, answering them, began to say:  “Take heed that no one deceives you.  6 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and will deceive many.”  Mark 13:5-6

19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.  20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ.  This is the true God and eternal life.  21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.  1 John 5:19-21

Lord Jesus Christ, keep us Your precious sheep, from the wicked deceits of those who follow their father the devil.  May our hearts rejoice in You and Your salvation.  May Your truth lead and guide us.  May we faithfully obey and follow You.  Amen!

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