Are we walking around without even knowing that we're stupid?

The Character of God:  Intolerance of Sin

Genesis 6:1-7; Proverbs 6:16-19; 15:8-9, 21:27
Amos 2:1-16
Jeremiah 7:1-34
Amos 5:1-27
Jeremiah 44:1-30

Other Aspects of God's Character

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Genesis 6:1-7; Proverbs 6:16-19; 15:8-9, 21:27 (4/18/2011)

God hates sin. 

Amos 2:1-16 (4/19/2011)

I’m always happy to listen to a sermon about sins that someone else is committing.  I say, “Right on!  Preach it!  People should not rob banks!”  That’s because I’ve never been tempted to rob a bank.  I’m less happy with sermons about arrogance, unkindness, and inattention to the work of God’s kingdom.

The prophet Amos preached primarily to the northern kingdom of Israel.  In Ch. 1, he preached against Damascus and several Philistine cities.  And the people of the northern kingdom were no doubt saying, “Preach it, Amos!”  Then he preached against Moab, and they no doubt said, “Amen, brother!”  Then he preached against their fellow-Jews in Judah, and probably they thought, “That’s kind of sad, really, that Judah is so sinful.”  And then he started preaching against the kingdom of Israel!  And they said, “Go away, and don’t preach here any more” (Amos 7:10-13).

Unfortunately for me, God hates my sins just as much as he hates your sins.

Jeremiah 7:1-34 (4/20/2011)

There are some scary scriptures in the Bible, and we’re reading one of them today.  And the reason it’s scary is that God is not talking to Damascus.  He’s not talking to the Philistines.  He’s not talking to the various idolatrous religions of the past or present, or to our enemies.  He’s not even talking to the Christmas-and-Easter Christians or the kosher-for-Passover Jews. This scripture is aimed directly at you and me – the Christians and Jews who are convinced that because they read or write a Bible study every single day and attend worship every week, they are free to commit whatever sins they want to on their own time.

God hates the sins of his own people considerably more than he hates the sins of people who don’t know him.

Amos 5:1-27 (4/21/2011)

Amos continues to preach against the sins of Israel, reporting what God has said he’s going to do about them.  Jacob saw the ladder to heaven at Bethel, you’ve probably seen a “Bethel Church” once or twice, and for 30 years or so I taught the
“Bethel Series.”  So why is God upset about Bethel?  The first king of the northern kingdom, Jeroboam, set up shrines at Dan and Bethel shortly after the separation of the north from the south.  These shrines continued to be places of worship of idols throughout the history of the northern kingdom, and apparently that was also true at Gilgal and Beersheeba in the time of Amos and Hosea.  God hates idolatry.

In vs. 14, what does your translation say that the LORD is God of? God’s Word and Bible in Basic English calls the LORD the “God of Armies.”  I know you’ve heard of the “Lord of Hosts”; a host is an army.  Have you heard of LORD Sabaoth (as in, A mighty fortress is our God ... from age to age the same, LORD Sabaoth his name)?  “Sabaoth” means “of armies.”  I once read a commentary that said that the meaning of “Sabaoth” is unknown, so you can imagine my surprise when I took Hebrew and found out that it’s a perfectly ordinary word that’s used almost 500 times in the Old Testament.  I read commentaries on scripture, and I know you do, too, because you’re reading this one.  But think for yourself while you read. 

Jeremiah 44:1-30 (4/22/2011)

We have established that 1) God is a jealous god who will not tolerate rivals, 2) idolatry is a sin, and 3) God hates sin.  So how dumb did the people of Judah have to be to worship idols in the first place, keep on worshipping idols even when the prophet reminded them of all of the above, and then tell the prophet that they were going to continue to do that?  Did they think God wouldn’t notice?  Did they think that the prophet wouldn’t report back to God about what they did and said?  Fellow-reader Daryl L. has a saying:  “They’re walking around, and they don’t even know they’re stupid.” 

I think the problem is worse than that, because I’m not sure that we are much brighter or more faithful than the people of Judah.  We have more sophisticated idols, that’s all.  You know that I’m a long-time, fervent genealogist.  There’s now a TV program called “Who Do You Think You Are?” that picks some random celebrity each week and spends about a zillion dollars on professional genealogists to trace the celebrity’s ancestry.  I’ve never watched the program, because I think it ought to be called, “Why Do You Think I Care Who You Are?”  But my point is that many people watch the program solely because they idolize the celebrity.  (I have idols; celebrities don’t happen to be among them.)

When it comes to sin, the Bible suggests that we’re walking around, and we don’t even know we’re stupid. 

Other Aspects of God's Character
Glory, Old Testament, New Testament
Holiness, Old Testament, New Testament
Longsuffering, Old Testament, New Testament
Steadfast Love, Old Testament, which is Mercy in the New Testament
Graciousness, Old Testament, which is Grace in the New Testament
Jealousy, Old Testament
Intolerance of Sin, Old Testament, New Testament

Copyright 2011 by Regina L. Hunter. All rights reserved.

Opinions expressed on this page are solely those of the author, Regina Hunter, and may or may not be shared by the sponsors or the Bible-study participants.  Thanks to the Holy Spirit for any useful ideas presented here, and thanks to all the readers for their support and enthusiasm.  All errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.

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