Summary: The idea of insulting the Holy Spirit means that you will accept the benefits of God's love; and do not reciprocate with your love and allegiance; but with contempt.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Sins against the Holy Spirit: Insulting
Hebrews 10: 22 – 31
Many of you may remember the original version of Lorraine Hansberry’s play, “A Raisin in the Sun”, later it would become a movie, and recently it was shown on Broadway with an updated cast.
“A Raisin in the Sun,” dealt with themes relevant today: housing values, affordability, racial integration, the role of a male in a household, the role of a woman in a household, the African American experience from an international African perspective, a college education as an instrument of advancement, there were many themes and issues the original version dealt with; but the one that stands out in my mind is the one where the mother played by Claudia McNeil confronted her college student daughter, played by Diana Sands when she would dare to suggest based on her college learning there was no God.
Big Mamma would permit discussion on a lot of things, but when her daughter crossed the line, she slapped her face and insisted that could not insult her, nor could you insult her God and made her repeat that in my mother’s house, there is God.
Many of you may not know the name Cem Tokac.
However, I think you may know his story: He was the Turkish hauler who was standing in a train yard behind a truck; when that truck was hit by a moving train, and caused the truck to run him over.
He lay on the ground, and his friends thought he was dead. They rush to his side only to find him wake up later with only a few bruises and scratches on his body.
In a later interview, the man began to proclaim all the good things he would do with his life. He even made February 25th his new birthday because God had given him a new lease on life. Whatever he said, and I believe whatever he will do in life; he will never insult God, who had given him a second chance.
So powerful is this idea that you cannot insult the Spirit of God, that Jesus tells the story of the man who built a bigger barn to contain all the things he had accumulated, this man had forgotten that every good and perfect gift comes from God.
He thought he had done it by himself, and God says to him, “you fool this day your soul is required of thee in paradise.” The man actions insulted God.
We can never forget that our covenant with God is that he will be our God, and we will be his people.
Furthermore, we cannot forget that God is a jealous God, and His Name cannot be taken in vain.
A critical reading of Scripture would inform us that when Moses encountered God on the mountain. He asked God to reveal himself to him by asking, “What is your name.” God responses by saying, “I am.” I am is written in Hebrew as YHWH. In the mind of the ancients, it was written but never spoken, so that one does not violate the command of taking God’s name in vain. For this reason, I am very careful on how I use God’s name. Like a prominent preacher of our time, I would never use the name of God in combination with any other word. Particularly, a word combination that would cause God’s name to be a subject of ridicule or dispersion.
When translators transcribed that Bible would encounter this word YHWH, they would see written above it the word Elohim. This word was spoken and sung by the Cantor. It was used as a substitute in spoken language because the read word of God YHWH, was never to be spoken. Translators not fully aware of this religious cultural concern combined Elohim and YHWH because they saw them together in their translations to read Jehovah.
My Orthodox Hebrew brothers continue to separate the words and will only use Elohim, and never speak Jehovah or YHWH, because they never wished to incite the rage of a God, who clearly commands not to use his name in vain.
Never forget that God is sovereign. God demands obedience – that’s why scripture will say that obedience is better than sacrifice.
“Trust and Obey for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus than to trust and obey.”
We find many instances where people, powers, and principalities have insulted God.
America for all of its might identifies itself as being founded by God. In God, we trust. However, the truth of the matter is that American really means that it trusts in its economic power, in its military power, in its classism power.
God is shaking the very foundations of man made systems all around the world. Once America believed in a Darwinist premise – that only the strong survived; a kind of survival of the fitness.