Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Wouldn’t sin be much easier to avoid if its consequences were immediate? Not that I’m telling God how to run his world, or anything – but I guess I am. If Eve had dropped dead the moment she ate the fruit, wouldn’t Adam have had greater incentive not to eat it? If only my face would bloat the moment I ate that third piece of chocolate cake. If only an eye would fall out, when I willfully watched pornographic material that the world deemed appropriate for those over seventeen years of age (I’m talking “R” rated movies, not “Honey Goes to Vegas”). If only the consequences of sin immediately followed my sin – I would be far less likely to sin. Think about it. When a two-year-old touches Grandma’s antique crystal vase, don’t we immediately smack his chubby little hand (or put his hand in time-out)? THAT’s immediate consequence for sin. But guess what? We’re not two-year-olds, are we? God expects us to obey without an immediate hand smack. He expects us to trust, when He says the consequences are real and imminent and eternal. We can only sin so long before God eventually intervenes to stop it; however, the full consequences of that sin may not be fully realized for years to come…

Gen. 6:1-3 – “When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. Then the LORD said, ‘My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years’” (emphasis added).
  • “Sons of God” is believed to indicate angels who came to earth and procreated with mortal women. I used to fume over these verses because God judged the mortals, who appeared to be the victims in this whole mess. However, consider the broader picture. Angels “marrying” mortals will have mortal children, who will consequently die in God’s judgment of 120 years. Immortal angels will watch their offspring die – now, that’s judgment. And what is 120 years to an immortal angel? A blink of an eye. Now, who do you think received the more severe judgment – mortals or immortals?

Gen. 6:4 – “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days--and also afterward--when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.”

  • This verse shows the level of depravity; it’s the litmus test of a society’s sin. The Nephilim, the shameful offspring of angels and women, prompted men’s pride rather than their repentance. Granted, the Nephilim were awesome specimens. Sometimes sin births an outwardly beautiful result – instant gratification – while inwardly and eventually, it delivers judgment, destruction and death. Humankind celebrated and esteemed the very sin that caused their judgment.

Gen. 6:5-8 – “The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the LORD said, ‘I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth--men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air--for I am grieved that I have made them.’ But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD” (emphasis added).

  • I always thought God destroyed the earth with a flood because He was angry. Nope. Wrong emotion. God was grieved, His heart filled with pain. Why was I so quick to accuse God of being angry, when Scripture plainly tells me that His response to sin was grief and pain? Granted, Scripture has many other instances in which God’s anger is stirred by people’s sin. But doesn’t anger often spring from grief? As a parent, I often try not to discipline in the heat of anger, in the midst of my hurt. Consider this – is that why the consequences of my sin don’t immediately follow the offense? Now, I realize God is perfect and can never sin. He does not have the human failings of a fallen parent. But perhaps, just perhaps, forestalling the consequences of our sin keeps Him from judging in wrath or in the midst of deep hurt. Something to ponder – that will at the very least make us better parents, teachers, leaders.

Lord, somehow knowing that my sin grieves You makes me want to be more obedient. There’s a little bit of ornery in me that seeks to challenge an angry God, but I don’t ever want to cause my Heavenly Father pain. Disappointing You seems unbearable. Hurting You feels miserable. Betraying You is unthinkable. Let the conviction be real and unquenchable.

1 comment:

Bonnie Leon said...

Mesu, good message.

And are the one set of pics from the Inside Passage?