Is your God lopsided? Is your God a genie, rather than God Almighty that must be reverenced in awe? Do you rightfully divide the Word of God?
I see many Christians that are stuck in a lopsided God mode. With them it’s either about spiritual gifts, or prosperity, or faith, or grace, or love, or peace, or mercy, or long suffering, or any of the other comfortable attributes and blessings of God. Others are so caught up in dreams and visions and prophecies that they fail to hold God’s Word in supreme and that everything else is secondary and must match up to the Bible.
But then I came across two verses of scripture from the book of Jude that started me thinking:
And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment. In the same way, these people—who claim authority from their dreams—live immoral lives, defy authority, and scoff at supernatural beings (evil angels). (Jude 1:7-8 NLT)
This then brought me to Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:
But there was a certain man named Ananias who, with his wife, Sapphira, sold some property. He brought part of the money to the apostles, claiming it was the full amount. With his wife’s consent, he kept the rest. Then Peter said, “Ananias, …The property was yours to sell or not sell, as you wished. And after selling it, the money was also yours to give away. How could you do a thing like this? You weren’t lying to us but to God!” As soon as Ananias heard these words, he fell to the floor and died. Everyone who heard about it was terrified. About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, “Was this the price you and your husband received for your land?” “Yes,” she replied, “that was the price.” And Peter said, “How could the two of you even think of conspiring to test the Spirit of the Lord like this?” Instantly, she fell to the floor and died. Great fear gripped the entire church and everyone else who heard what had happened.
Notice that Sodom and Gomorrah first served as a warning in the Old Testament, while Ananias and Sapphira serve as a warning to us in the New Testament. God did both of these one time acts in each Testament as perpetual warnings for all of us through the ages. God has not changed who He is. The problem is with us when we want to forget or ignore all that He really is and His warnings. What is scary is that at first glance, any one of us can relate to Ananias and Sapphira when we have been seen doing similar things. Just because we are still alive, does not mean an offense was not committed.
Did you know that Jesus stated this twice in back to back chapters in Matthew?:
“If any household or town refuses to welcome you or listen to your message, shake its dust from your feet as you leave. I tell you the truth, the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah will be better off than such a town on the judgment day.” (Matthew 10:14-15 NLT)
“And you people of Capernaum, will you be honored in heaven? No, you will go down to the place of the dead. For if the miracles I did for you had been done in wicked Sodom, it would still be here today. I tell you, even Sodom will be better off on judgment day than you.” (Matthew 11:23-24 NLT)
Really makes you think -worse than Sodom and Gomorrah- yet still existing!
Don’t get me wrong. I am not trying to push the lopsidedness I first addressed into the opposite direction, which is just as bad. God is not all judgment and consuming fire either. That’s when Jesus reminds us:
Jesus sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?” But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” And they went to another village. (Luke 9:51-56 NKJV)
What we need to do is try our best to see God with all His attributes by rightly dividing the Word of God according to 2 Timothy 2:15. Of course, to totally fathom God is not possible. Job and his friends found that out the hard way. But we sure can glean a lot from the Bible. Let’s finish with a portion of God’s conversation with Job that puts things into perspective:
Then the Lord said to Job, “Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers?” Then Job replied to the Lord , “I am nothing—how could I ever find the answers? I will cover my mouth with my hand. I have said too much already. I have nothing more to say.” Then the lord answered Job from the whirlwind: “Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them. “Will you discredit my justice and condemn me just to prove you are right? Are you as strong as God? Can you thunder with a voice like his? All right, put on your glory and splendor, your honor and majesty. Give vent to your anger. Let it overflow against the proud. Humiliate the proud with a glance; walk on the wicked where they stand. Bury them in the dust. Imprison them in the world of the dead. Then even I would praise you, for your own strength would save you.
Then Job replied to the lord : “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you. You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me. You said, ‘Listen and I will speak! I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.’ I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.” (Job 40:1-14, 42:1-6 NLT)