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The Thread of Life – Part 16 (Don’t ignore the warning signs)
September 12, 2021

The Thread of Life – Part 16 (Don’t ignore the warning signs)

September 12, 2021

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The Thread of Life – 31 Stories that point to Jesus

Part 16

Welcome to Jesus Church: Here and Online

Week 16 of our journey through the Bible

  • Last week we looked at the story of David
    • A boy who’s only responsibility was to watch sheep
    • Had 7 other brothers more qualified to find greatness
    • But David had a quality that trumped height/age/experience
      • He had a heart that loved God
  • And while everyone around him had put what God in a box
    • Meaning they had limited what/how God can work
    • David never put God in a box
    • And because of that… God did amazing things thru David
  • It is so easy to put God in a box – All of Israel did over and over
    • Even after God was faithful to everything he promised them
    • And when we allow God to be God – Can’t fit in a box
    • He will slay any giant, level any mountain, destroy any enemy

1 Sam 17:47 (NLT)

And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the Lord’s battle, and he will give you to us.

Whatever you do… don’t discount God

  • All u are doing is selling yourself short on what he can do in ur life
    • Be one who expects great things from God – watch him move

Story: Warning signs

Ever notices how silly some warning signs are… other day I saw posted

1. Someone got batman costume 4 kid (already time)

  • It say – (PIC 1) Caution cape does not enable user to fly… superman

2. (PIC 2) Stroller – Remove infant before folding for storage

3. (PIC 3) Another good one – Do not sit on fence… (what happened)

4. (PIC 4) Don’t dry your pets in the microwave… maybe cats are ok

5. (PIC 5) Touching wire will cause death… also you get a $200 fine

6. (PIC 6) Warnings about football teams you shouldn’t root for

  • And ignoring those warnings can lead to terrible consequences
    • Book – Over the edge – Death and the Grand Canyons
    • Over 700 people have died in that area from 1870’s
      • Many of those were from people getting to close to edge
      • And ignoring the sign telling them to stop
  • And its not to our advantage to ignore them… but easy to overlook
    • Tendency is to miss some signs we need to pay attention to
    • And when it comes to scripture I think we miss warning signs
      • Last week – Warning against putting God in a box
      • Week before – Living in fearing… not trusting God
  • Tendency is missing signs God posts we need to pay attention to

We are entering into the Prophets of the Bible

Prophets were messengers who warned of danger coming if no change

2 Cron. 36:15-16 (NKJV)

And the LORD God of their fathers sent warnings to them by His messengers, rising up early and sending them He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place.

  • That doesn’t mean God set an alarm clock to get up before dawn
    • It means before tragedy… before things fell apart
    • Before sin took root and consequences played out…
    • God would speak to warn them because he loved them
  • So God would send his messengers: Prophets/watchmen/seers
    • They would hear from God… speak on His behalf
    • Warn the people to stop at the warning sign b/c a cliff is coming
      • And your family is in danger…
      • Or your nation is in danger…
      • Or your life is in danger

Turn to 1 Kings 16… Israel has now been split into two kingdoms

  • After David dies and then his son becomes King and dies…
    • There are two men who both claim to be king
    • There is Solomon’s son Jeroboam… who Solomon wants as King
    • Problem is that Jeroboam isnt who God anoints as the next king
  • Doesn’t go well: Kingdom is split… North is Israel & South is Judah
    • 1st king of Northern kingdom – Jeroboam
    • The problem: Temple in Jerusalem was in Southern Kingdom
    • Jeroboam doesn’t want his people in the Southern Kingdom
  • So he makes idols & false gods so people wouldn’t need Jerusalem
    • Told them… I’m gonna make it easy on you
    • You don’t need to go to Jerusalem to worship God
    • Just stay here and I found some gods you can worship
  • So this idea of Idolatry is reintroduced to Israel very strongly
    • And this starts the process that always happens w/ idolatry
    • It gets worse and worse… compromise becomes easy
  • Evil becomes good & good becomes evil (much like today)
    • And the children raised become a product of parents choices
    • So naturally the kings will become worse and worse

1 Kings 16:29-30 (NKJV)

In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, Ahab son of Omri became king of Israel, and he reigned in Samaria over Israel twenty-two years. Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him.

So Ahab (product of environment) is evil and all he knows is idolatry

  • Not only that – his wife was a huge problem as well a…
    • Her name is Jezebel – Princess of the Sudonians
    • First thing she does is build a temple to Ba’al (god of weather)
    • And then kills all the prophets of the true God
  • But God’s not gonna have that… He sends Elijah with a message…

1 Kings 17:1 (NKJV)

“As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.”

Not only no rain… not even dew on the grass in the mornings

  • So everyone will know God is God… God targets the weather
    • Which is the same thing God did in Egypt w/ plagues
    • God will always show u why He is only God worthy of worship
  • If you put ur hope in Ba’al for weather… weather will be an issue
    • Why… Ba’al isnt for you – its a demonic force to destroy
    • But Ironically where does the blame go… God
  • THE Main theme we see in what we’ve read: Fight against idolatry
    • First 2 commandments – against idolatry
    • Over 1000 verses – against idolatry
    • 1 of 4 laws that brings death penalty – idolatry

So why is this a big deal: Story is about glory of God (revealing that 2 us)

  • Idolatry means that glory is being robbed from God
    • And we skip over it because it doesn’t seem relevant
    • We don’t bow to golden images
    • But is it possible hearts still the same as they’ve always been
      • Its just the items that are different

VIDEO

  • Looking at pictures of a missions trip
    • Chairs positioned around golden idol 4 worship (so primitive)
    • Can’t believe there are still cultures that do that type of thing
    • Then I look up… sitting on a couch positioned around my TV
      • Entertainment not bad – Recording Seahawks right now
  • But where is your hope… what holds the seat of glory in ur life
    • Problem is so many look to something to fill that position
    • Are we putting our hope in money… possessions… spouse… self
  • Saying I need these things in order to be secure & content in life
    • Or I need to be known by success… wealth… power
    • Other words: Want this 2 do for me what God wants 2 do
    • Its all the same as Ba’al just with a different mask
      • And we rob God of His glory

Spend a few minutes identifying Idols in our lives

Remember: These are warning signs saying “Danger ahead”

  • David Clarkson – 1600’s puritan pastor posed questions on idols
    • Some I modernized for today… but they translate very well
    • Answers point to what could have primary competition 2 God
  1. What are you most disappointed with… carrier/finances/dating
    • Whatever disappointed in points to something u put hope in
    • And when that thing doesn’t work out – consumed w/ despair
      • Some disappointment is natural… not talking about that
      • But it runs your emotions – motivation – steals ur joy
        • I.E. What do you complain about the most
        • Reveals something u have replaced God with
  2. What do you sacrifice your time and money for?
    • Quote: Time is the greatest form of currency
    • Whatever that is… holds the most value to you
      • Bible says: Where treasure is, there your heart is also
  3. What do you worry about?
    • That you say if I lost this… life wouldn’t be worth living
    • That has a way of pointing you to something is out of order
  4. Where do you go when you get hurt?
    • Food… we even call it comfort food
    • Come home and get in fight w/ spouse… feel rejected
      • Enter temple of sexual website b/c u look there 4 comfort
    • After a hard day… just want to zone out and numb yourself
      • Get drunk… get high… but that’s where you find comfort

Point: Where we go for comfort reveals where we put our hope

  • Are we going to God with our pain… frustrations… insecurities
    • Or do we turn to the idols the enemy puts before us

Story of parent with a Kindergartener

  • Your kid comes home every day talking about his teacher
    • Teacher is having a huge impact on your kids life
    • Everything is “Well my teacher said this… my teacher said that”
    • And to a parent who hasn’t experienced that… hurts a bit
  • One day u are picking up your child and start talking to the teacher
    • Kids are all playing on the playground
    • And your child falls and scrapes their knee
  • They naturally look to see if your watching and then start crying
    • And when they run over towards you and the teacher
    • Of course they run straight to you to console them
    • Its honest moment b/c where they turn shows where heart lies
      • When we go 2 someone other than God w/ hurt & pain
      • It shows where our heart is at
  1. What makes you mad…
    • Team looses and it ruins your whole week
  2. What brings us the most joy… makes you laugh
    • And this is tricky because often those things are gifts from God
    • Instead of gifts drawing us closer to God… competition w/ God
      • We can’t worship the gift instead of the giver
  3. Whose applause do you long for – Approval (boss/spouse/friend)

Idol: Anything taking passion/value/hope from God

So an Idol is a cheap substitute for God

  • Where we look for it to do for us what God wants to do for us

Story: 2 weeks ago we were up at Men’s Camp – Food was amazing

  • On the tables in the morning was cereal incase u didn’t want bacon
    • And I’m fine admitting that I still love my kids sugar cereal
    • Don’t think anything beats Cinnamon toast crunch (show box)
  • So on the table there was something that looked like my cereal…
    • It was something like this blasphemous product (show bag)
    • Looks like cinnamon toast crunch… didn’t not taste like it
  • And you can get use to dogfood bag cereal – Ignorantly happy w/ it
    • But its not the same… it’s a cheap substitute
    • When you taste what’s real – No comparison

Here’s what happens: We are surrounded by substitutes for God

  • Don’t think much of it… because we’re just use to it
    • We are comfortable finding hope and identity in these things
    • My security and joy in these things
  • But then we have a moment where we know there must be more
    • Its because deep in our hearts we know this isn’t best
    • And the spirit inside us is longing for authenticity

So God gives the warning from Elijah: Drought coming

God is withholding blessings in the area they had elevated a false god to

  • Shouldn’t be surprised if drought comes where we trust false god
    • Why – God won’t bless his competition
    • God gets their attention why… because he loves them
  • And when we put God in His rightful place – The rain will fall
    • When God becomes all u need… desires of ur heart will happen
    • I’ve seen this with relationships: Marriage
    • I’ve seen this with finances: Tithing
      • When God is all you need – The rain will come

So Elijah says there’s gonna be a drought… then sets up a cage match

  • Between all these prophets of Ba’al and God

1 Kings 18:19-21

Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.” So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him. But the people said nothing”

  • That’s odd – Why did they say nothing… they wanted both
    • If they wanted God/Ba’al they would have said God / Ba’al
  • They said nothing because they wanted both
    • That’s so true for many today… not that we don’t want God
      • We just want God and our the other stuff as well
      • But God doesn’t share… you have to choose who is first

1 Kings 18:25-28

Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire.”  So they took the bull given them and prepared it. Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. “Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made. At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed.

  • They do everything they can… hoping it will satisfy their false gods
    • We think that’s just so foolish… primitive
    • But honestly…are we that different
  • Often times we have bleed for our gods
    • Some have almost bled out on altar of alcohol… porn… money
    • Sacrificed everything for that god (marriage… family… church)
      • We bleed for our gods… different but still bleed

1 Kings 18:36-37 (Elijah gets his turn… drenches it with water)

At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”

  • Elijah says do this not so I can be right… or victorious
    • He is saying… do this for Your glory
    • To draw the people back to you

1 Kings 18:38-39

Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!”

  • And once again the story is brought back to where it should be
    • Pointing to God and giving him the glory

We have to understand: Idolatry doesn’t just offend God… it hurts him

  • Because the Bible says that God loves us
    • And he is jealous for our love
    • Ezekiel: When we give our hearts ways… like cheating on God
    • That’s how it feels to him
  • Hosea – Told by God to marry prostitute named Gomer
    • Gomer leaves to go back to old life… Hosea see’s her
    • Hosea is devastated… what do I do now

Hosea 3:1

The Lord said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods…

Message of prophets is God still wants you back

  • No matter the fact you hurt him… betrayed him… walked away
    • There is nothing/no one to sit on throne of heart but God
    • And if there is something/someone you asked God to share
      • You need to repent of that sin
      • Put God back in his rightful place
      • And ur story needs to start being about the glory of God
  • The message of the prophets…
    • If you haven’t been doing that – You can start today
    • Today is the warning sign
    • It’s time to change course and put God back on the throne

[PRAY]

 

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