Summary: Whether ancient Israel, a modern nation or a local church, God always responds harshly when those He has blessed rebel against Him.
1. God’s first response is He speaks His warning
2. God’s second response is He shows His witness
3. God’s third response is He sends His weapon
4. God’s fourth response is He separates His wheat
Anybody who has been married for more than five minutes knows that there are some things you can say and some things you can’t say to your spouse. You know that certain things you say will get certain responses. Sometimes it’s not even the words you say, it’s how you say them. But you know how to get certain responses. Well, if you haven’t gotten all that figured out yet, and are still getting the wrong responses from your spouse, I’m here to help. I’m going to give you a quick lesson in interpreting what your spouse really means by the words they say. That way when you hear the words, you can interpret them the right way and respond appropriately. The first lesson is for you husbands. When your wife says: “It’s your decision.” She really means, “I think I’ve made it perfectly clear what the correct decision is.” When she says, “Do whatever you want.” She really means, “You’ll pay for this later.” When she says, “I’ll be ready in a minute. She really means, “Kick off your shoes and find a good game on TV—it’ll be a while.” When she says, “You have to learn to communicate.” She really means, “Just agree with me and everything will be fine.” And when she says, “Nothing.” She really means, “Everything.” OK, do you have it down? Now it’s the ladies’ turn. Once you get these down, you’ll always be able to respond to your husband the right way. When he says, ‘I’m hungry.” He really means, "I’m hungry.” When he says, "I’m sleepy.” He really means, "I’m sleepy.” When he asks you, "What’s wrong?” He really means, "I don’t see why you’re making such a big deal about this.” And finally, when you finally convince him to go shopping with you and he says, "I like that one better.” He really means, “Would you just hurry up and pick one, so we can go home!” But seriously, how we respond to things is important. As certainly as Newton’s Law that every action has an equal and opposite reaction, certain actions bring on certain responses. Part of the reason for that is that we are created in the image of God. And that’s the way God is. Certain actions on our part always illicit certain responses from God. God is pleased when we make much of His Son. He is pleased when we worship Him with a sincere and obedient heart. He always blesses His Word. He is pleased when we show His love for us in the way we love one another. He is pleased when we offer ourselves as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable unto Him. Those are things that we do which bring on a favorable response from God. But there are also things we do which bring on an unfavorable response from God. Of course we know about the things we personally do that displease God. Any personal sin that we commit displeases Him. But what about corporately? Are there corporate sins that displease God? When we look at the spiritual state of our nation, I believe it displeases God greatly. Especially considering the tremendous way He has blessed us. When we look at the state of the American church as a whole, I don’t think that God can be pleased. Especially considering the way He’s blessed us. But what about our church? Are we as a body pleasing to God? What kind of a response will God bring on us? God has certainly blessed us. He has blessed us with wonderful facilities. He has blessed us with good people. He has blessed us with resources. He has blessed us with the support of other churches. And He has blessed us with work to do. Israel was certainly blessed by God as well. But what did Israel choose to do with all the blessings God had given them? They chose to rebel. And God responds to rebellion. Just as sure as God responds well to obedience, He responds harshly to rebellion. Whether we’re talking about ancient Israel, modern nations, or our local church, God always responds harshly when those He has blessed rebel against Him. This isn’t as much a message to each of us individually. Instead it is a message to us as a corporate body. I want our church as a whole to see the high cost of rebellion tonight. And when we do, as opposed to Israel, I want us to hear and heed God’s warning before it’s too late. In order to do that, we’re going to look at God’s four responses when those He has blessed rebel against Him. The first response is He speaks His warning. Look at 1-7: