Summary: How Does God Warn the Disobedient? (Rom. 11:1-10)
How Does God Warn the Disobedient? (Rom. 11:1-10)
People often insist that they should be given adequate warning before they are expected to behave in a certain way.
Illustration: When I was a child I would protest vigorously if I was not given fair warning before receiving punishment. For this reason it was particularly distressing when I was not given warning when attacked on a lonely stretch of road outside of Ilorin, Nigeria. One day while I was traveling to a church planting conference we were attacked, without warning, by a gang of armed robbers. They forced all of us to lay face down on the pavement as they robbed everything we had. One of the thieves even took my shoes which caused great discomfort. As we lay on the hot ashphalt that afternoon in December of 1989 we watched as the armed robbers brazenly took advantage of the situation. The bandits took 45 minutes to use our car as a road block so they could surprise passers-by and rob the passengers of twelve more cars.
Evil delights to take people unaware by stealing, slaughtering, killing and destroying. God is just the opposite. He gives everyone plenty of warning before He meets out just punishments. The following are some of the ways that God provides warning signs to keep us safe and blessed.
1. Paul explains that God has always given Israel plenty of warning before meeting out His just treatment on a disobedient people. God’s only gives out the just punishment that is deserved to those who are guilty of the sins of commission, the sins of omission, the sins of wrong disposition (faulty attitudes) or the sins of wrong assumptions (about His character or their responsibilities). Take for example the prophet Elijah who had a habit of exaggerating his difficulties. Elijah said to God, "Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me." God answered him by saying, "I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal. So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace." (Rom. 11:3,4)
We should take that as a reminder that God does not approve of those who exaggerate the good or the bad to prove their point.
Be assured that God will always correct those who are not totally honest or aware of how He remains in sovereign control of all things. Do not think that we can manipulate God through emotional exaggerations that we think might impress Him or others.
We should remember that God can do all things even when the worst seems to be happening to us.
2. God warns all of us to not fall into the trap of self-pity as Elijah did. The great prophet thought that God would provide special mercy to him if he inflated the horrible situation he seemed to be facing. Do not think that you can impress God by becoming hysterical, emotional or imaginative in your explanations of a trial.
Allow the Lord to help rescue you in His own time without thinking that special invocations have to be made to get Him to act on your behalf.
3. God warns those who think they can depreciate others. Elijah was subtly casting dispersions on the rest of his people who he thought were not measuring up to his level of spirituality. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked when we arrogantly think too highly of ourselves. Have a sane estimate of your own ability and thank God that he allows you to be one part of the body of Christ.
4. God warns people for their pride when they think that their doctrine, knowledge or understanding is superior to that of others. God hates a haughty spirit because he knows that it opposes a spirit-filled mind. Accept the Lord’s warnings to be humble about the level of maturity you may have reached without becoming smug, over-bearing or arrogant.
5. God warns people, like the the seven thousand that they too should be more vocal in their witness. No wonder Elijah felt discouraged and alone, the seven thousand could have been more visible with their witness and vocal with their faith. Do not think that the silent majority will be left without having to give an account of their failure to bear witness to the truth.
6. God warns careless people who are indifferent to the ministries that they are called to. Many are called, but few are chosen. It is evident that the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Why is it that there are always a shortage of godly workers for the ministries of God. People should be aware that Jesus Christ warned the church of Laodicea for their indifference by saying, "Because you are lukewarm I will spit you out of my mouth." (Rev. 3)