Why Doesn’t God Do Something?

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73 Responses

  1. CrucifiED says:

    Hey Michael, thanks for teaching me to love men like Packer. I can tell I have a treasure of inspiring, loving, comforting wisdom in store for me as I plan to begin reading his books. I don’t know if the points above were his exact words or your summary of what he said but either way it is beautiful to read and contemplate. This is awesome…

    “My faith in Christ is God’s own gift to me, given in virtue of Christ’s death for me: i.e. the cross procured it.”

    I heard Packer interviewed not long ago on the White Horse Inn and was so moved, not only by what he says, but the obvious loving spirit of Christ that emanates from him as he says it. I’m ready to let him start becoming a major new influence in my life.

  2. Michael says:

    CrucifiED,

    I love Dr. Packer…not because he’s a great theologian (though he is), but because of his love and humility.
    You could pick no one better to study with.

  3. AMEN (read this in size 84 font)!!! Thank you so much for posting this, Michael!

    I was super excited a few weeks ago when our CC pastor quoted Packer, then said that everyone needs to read Knowing God.

  4. Michael says:

    CK,

    Thank you!
    Sometimes I need to get my preach on… 🙂
    I will amen your pastor…everyone does need to read “Knowing God”.

  5. Steve Wright says:

    But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

    Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

    2 Peter ch. 3: 8-13 ESV

  6. Ricky Bobby says:

    God doesn’t “do something” because he doesn’t get directly involved with his creation. If the OT and NT accounts of supernatural direct intervention are true, then the Cessationists like MacArthur must be correct, b/c we don’t see supernatural real miracles today nor do we see direct intervention by God, absolutely zero correlation, empirically proven many times over. If the OT and NT stuff happend, great, but that sort of direct intervention simply doesn’t happen today in the same manner and the evidence overwhelmingly supports such a claim.

  7. Michael says:

    RB,

    I don’t believe that…not in the least.
    You limit the involvement of God to the miraculous, to those times when He supersedes nature and intervenes dramatically.
    I don’t.
    I believe in the providence of God as explained in this confession;

    Chapter V Of Providence I. God the great Creator of all things does uphold,[1] direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things,[2] from the greatest even to the least,[3] by His most wise and holy providence,[4] according to His infallible foreknowledge,[5] and the free and immutable counsel of His own will,[6] to the praise of the glory of His wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy.[7]

    II. Although, in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first Cause, all things come to pass immutably, and infallibly;[8] yet, by the same providence, He orders them to fall out, according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently.[9]

    III. God, in His ordinary providence, makes use of means,[10] yet is free to work without,[11] above,[12] and against them,[13] at His pleasure.

    IV. The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God so far manifest themselves in His providence, that it extends itself even to the first fall, and all other sins of angels and men;[14] and that not by a bare permission,[15] but such as has joined with it a most wise and powerful bounding,[16] and otherwise ordering, and governing of them, in a manifold dispensation, to His own holy ends;[17] yet so, as the sinfulness thereof proceeds only from the creature, and not from God, who, being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be the author or approver of sin.[18]

    V. The most wise, righteous, and gracious God does oftentimes leave, for a season, His own children to manifold temptations, and the corruption of their own hearts, to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled;[19] and, to raise them to a more close and constant dependence for their support upon Himself, and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for sundry other just and holy ends.[20]

    VI. As for those wicked and ungodly men whom God, as a righteous Judge, for former sins, does blind and harden,[21] from them He not only withholds His grace whereby they might have been enlightened in their understandings, and wrought upon in their hearts;[22] but sometimes also withdraws the gifts which they had,[23] and exposes them to such objects as their corruption makes occasion of sin;[24] and, withal, gives them over to their own lusts, the temptations of the world, and the power of Satan,[25] whereby it comes to pass that they harden themselves, even under those means which God uses for the softening of others.[26]

    VII. As the providence of God does, in general, reach to all creatures; so, after a most special manner, it takes care of His Church, and disposes all things to the good thereof.[27]

    The providence of God is always at work, in every place, and in all things.
    Your mileage may vary, but my faith in this doctrine is unshakable.

  8. Ricky Bobby says:

    “You limit the involvement of God to the miraculous, to those times when He supersedes nature and intervenes dramatically.”

    That is inaccurate. I think the “miraculous” is a big part of God’s intervention that is described in the OT and NT accounts, but I am not asserting it is exclusively how God intervenes.

    To be more specific, I would say that God does not Quid Pro Quo nor does he bring judgment on the enemies of Israel (or the Church if Replacement Theology is correct).

    God doesn’t tit for tat or nuke the enemy like in the OT and NT. Show me a correlation and example today.

    Tornado Alley is the Bible Belt, Estonia (Atheist) is the safest place on the planet in terms of least likelihood of natural disaster.

    China is overwhelming Godless, so is Japan, they are the #2 and #3 economies in the world. “Happiest” places on the planet and “Best Quality of Life” on the planet consistently? Norway, Switzerland, Finland, Sweden, etc. All very much “not” Christian.

  9. Lutheran says:

    God doesn’t “do something” because he doesn’t get directly involved with his creation.

    Seriously?

    Of course miracles happen. Though I believe they don’t happen in the manner they did in the OT and the NT.

    I always like to remember something I read by John Stott.. He said God’s words and actions always occur together. They’re twins. They’re given to us as and in Holy Scripture.

    But I think God works in many ways today. He often uses “means.” He utilizes the pastor’s words to deliver His words. He places the very body and blood of Jesus in our mouths via the pastor (at least in Lutheran churches and many others, too.).

    He provides for our needs through the work He gives us. He providentially provides us with food thanks to all the individuals that labor to put food in our stores. Etc.

    It also doesn’t mean God can’t work directly. If He chooses.

  10. Ricky Bobby says:

    Why are you afraid to post that further explanation of my position?

  11. Steve Wright says:

    My favorite example of the providence of God is when Abraham sent his servant out to find a wife for Isaac – and it just so “happens” that he finds Rebekah who “happens” to be part of the family and “happens” to be the one willing to provide water…

    No miracle there in the true definition. But certainly the providence of God at work. Most translations soften things too much, but the NKJV does a better job in the translation:

    And he said, “Blessed be the LORD God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken His mercy and His truth toward my master. As for me, being on the way, the LORD led me to the house of my master’s brethren.”

    The servant was on the way, he was looking for a wife, he was not expecting the wife to show up at his tent while he stayed home and hung out…yet the glory for the provision rightfully belongs to God.

    I think if we ponder long enough we will find our lives have been filled with such “accidents” that were life changing and show the providence of God.

  12. I was going to start reading a Packer book I picked up months ago this weekend, “Affirming the Apostle’s Creed.” This makes me want to read it even more.

  13. Michael says:

    RB,

    I’m not “afraid ” in the least…I went to get a haircut.

  14. Michael says:

    RB,

    There are no examples to give you as I completely reject your premise.
    The NT places a far greater emphasis on the redemptive value of suffering than on any concept of “happiness”.
    You completely ignore this emphasis, and thus construct a straw man to knock about.
    The Bible is the narrative “highlights” of God’s work in redemptive history and covers hundreds and hundreds of years.
    The “miraculous” was not normative then or now…though it did and does happen.
    Most of the works of God are done through means…and most frequently, the means of human agency.

  15. Michael says:

    Steve,

    My favorite is the story of Joseph…who endured slavery and prison only to say in the end;
    “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”
    (Genesis 50:20 ESV)

  16. Ricky Bobby says:

    “You completely ignore this emphasis, and thus construct a straw man to knock about.”

    No, you are misinterpreting as to which Group under the Christian Umbrella I am speaking to. You are in a Camp that says a similar thing, just in a different way. I am addressing the large Group in Evangelicalism that sees God as “active” in the sense of a Pat Robertson or Fundamentalist (even a Calvary Chapel) God as smiting their enemies, as nuking the heathen through natural disaster and “judging america” by tornado and nuking the gays etc. This Group also (unlike the Cessationists) believes that the Supernatural occurs today in the same/similar manner as the OT and NT (the Charismastic Fundies in spades) …and the reality and data prove otherwise.

  17. Michael says:

    RB,

    That is not what you said.
    This is what you said.
    “God doesn’t “do something” because he doesn’t get directly involved with his creation. If the OT and NT accounts of supernatural direct intervention are true, then the Cessationists like MacArthur must be correct, b/c we don’t see supernatural real miracles today nor do we see direct intervention by God, absolutely zero correlation, empirically proven many times over.”
    You made a blanket assertion that God does not get directly involved with His creation.
    Would you like to retract that statement?

  18. Steve Wright says:

    Yes, I should have been clearer. I use the Joseph example far more often than the other…especially in the context of God working all things together for good.

    My point with the other is just a simple example of the providence of God in sort of “regular” duties of life.

  19. Steve Wright says:

    The providence of God certainly involves the rise and fall of nations, as well as the weather.

    Because that truth on occasion is expressed by preachers in a poor manner, does not make it any less true.

  20. Michael says:

    Steve,

    Both are good examples of God’s providence.
    I believe so much in this doctrine that I wrote a little book about it… 😉
    I believe God’s hidden hand is revealed in the mundane things of life.

  21. Michael says:

    I also believe that God has miraculously preserved His word for us providentially, through the means of human agency.
    In other words, the Bible is God’s word to us and He has given it to us in exactly the form He desires.
    Sometimes, I just have to testify! 🙂

  22. Lutheran says:

    Jesus did something…He came Himself and became one of us…and paid for our sins.

    Or in the words of Dorothy Sayers, “The dogma is the drama.”

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/2005/issue88/5.45.html

  23. Ricky Bobby says:

    “Doesn’t get directly involved with his creation” today = no supernatural miracles (similar to claims by Cessationists), no nuking of enemies (like in the OT), no Quid Pro Quo Jesus (reaping and sowing, but no “I do this for you Jesus and you give me this!” and conversely no “If you don’t do this, God will nuke you!”, no “judgment on America for homosexuality!” through natural disaster etc.

    Your position seems to assert that God’s “Providence” is quietly pulling all the strings in a Deterministic fashion, but not as directly in a tit-for-tat manner as the Pat Robertson Fundamentalist. I still disagree with your position, but it isn’t as overtly “Active” as the Fundy God of the Pat Robertson type Evangelical.

    I would sum up my position as S**t Happens, while acknowledging that there is some Truth (and evidence) to Reaping and Sowing Principle which transcends all Groups.

  24. Michael says:

    RB,

    You must not have read my position clearly…it states that God is active in “all things”.
    “All” means “all”.
    “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
    (Colossians 1:15–17 ESV)

  25. Ricky Bobby says:

    Michael, I got that. “Active” as in manifestations I defined above. This is basic Communication 101 stuff. I defined my use of “Active” and my use of “Doesn’t get directly involved with his creation today”.

    You define “Active” as God behind everything that happens. I define Active as Supernatural Manifestations, Quid Pro Quo, Specific Judgments which have empirical markers etc.

    Do you believe God does verifiable Supernatural Miracles and Judgments on People Groups and Nations today?

  26. Crowned1 says:

    RB @ 16 “This Group also (unlike the Cessationists) believes that the Supernatural occurs today in the same/similar manner as the OT and NT (the Charismastic Fundies in spades) …and the reality and data prove otherwise.”

    I would counter that mankind sorta bottlenecked itself once it invented logic & the structured rule set that accompanies it.

    While true that you could say ‘no empirical evidence for miracles’. It is also impossible to say ‘miracles don’t happen simply because they aren’t observed’.

    ‘Logic dictates that X isn’t real’…okay…who dictated logic was an absolute? Another human? Seems subjective to me.

    Have I ever seen a miracle? Other than the gestation & birth of my daughter, no. I did see Pat Robertson pray $1,000,000 into someone’s bank account once on live TV though 🙂 I never saw the bank statement…but it might have happened.

  27. Michael says:

    RB,

    Your definition states that God is only active if these specific manifestations are evident and measurable.
    That is not biblical and not true, in my opinion.
    God’s “activities” go far beyond such artificial boundaries.
    I do believe God does “miracles”…we’ve experienced one in our family.
    We’ve also prayed that it would be duplicated within the family and so far, that has been denied.
    He is God in both circumstances.
    As to judgments…possibly, but unless He clearly stated in (necessarily) post biblical revelation that some incident was just that I wouldn’t ascribe that to a particular event.
    God disciplines His own children and it’s my opinion that judgment for the rest has been left to to the eschaton.
    I believe this age is for calling sinners to avoid that final judgment…a time when the message of the church is to be an offer of grace and forgiveness, not temporal or eternal judgment.

  28. Steve Wright says:

    I’m not a cessationist, but they sure are getting misrepresented here.

    I did go to a cessationist seminary, and those guys most certainly do believe in supernatural miracles today.

    Not believing a specific sign gift of the Holy Spirit is valid for today’s Church is far more narrow a definition than to simply say cessationists deny supernatural miracles today.

  29. Michael says:

    Steve,

    Good point.
    I still think they’re wrong, but we need to represent them in truth.

  30. Michael says:

    “It has been said by someone that “the proper study of mankind is man.” I will not oppose the idea, but I believe it is equally true that the proper study of God’s elect is God; the proper study of a Christian is the Godhead. The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can ever engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings, and the existence of the great God whom he calls his Father.

    There is something exceedingly improving to the mind in a contemplation of the Divinity. It is a subject so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity; so deep, that our pride is drowned in its infinity. Other subjects we can compass and grapple with; in them we feel a kind of self-content, and go our way with the thought, “Behold I am wise.” But when we come to this master science, finding that our plumbline cannot sound its depth, and that our eagle eye cannot see its height, we turn away with the thought that vain man would be wise, but he is like a wild ass’s colt; and with solemn exclamation, “I am but of yesterday, and know nothing.”

    No subject of contemplation will tend more to humble the mind, than thoughts of God…. But while the subject humbles the mind, it also expands it. He who often thinks of God, will have a larger mind than the man who simply plods around this narrow globe…. The most excellent study for expanding the soul, is the science of Christ, and Him crucified, and the knowledge of the Godhead in the glorious Trinity. Nothing will so enlarge the intellect, nothing so magnify the whale soul of man, as a devout, earnest, continued investigation of the great subject of the Deity. And, whilst humbling and expanding, this subject is eminently consolatory. Oh, there is, in contemplating Christ, a balm for every wound; in musing on the Father, there is a quietus for every grief; and in the influence of the Holy Ghost, there is a balsam for every sore. Would you lose your sorrow? Would you drown your cares? Then go, plunge yourself in the Godhead’s deepest sea; be lost in his immensity; and you shall come forth as from a couch of rest, refreshed and invigorated. know nothing which can so comfort the soul; so calm the swelling billows of sorrow and grief; so speak peace to the winds of trial, as a devout musing upon the subject of the Godhead. ”
    Charles Spurgeon quoted in;

    Packer, J. I. (2011-09-26). Knowing God (p. 15). Intervarsity Press. Kindle Edition.

  31. Ricky Bobby says:

    “God disciplines His own children”

    In what manner? Can you flesh that out for me? What would cause God to actively discipline his child? How do we see this in evidence? Can you provide an example of what you mean and how that works?

  32. Steve Wright says:

    Michael, this quote sort of goes with yours…

    For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance, he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”
    ― Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers

  33. Michael says:

    Steve,

    Amen!

  34. Crowned1 says:

    Steve @ 32

    Just like building a house on an unstable foundation. Professing to be wise, they have become fools.

    The highest level of intellectual learning is the realizing that you don’t know anything.

  35. Ricky Bobby says:

    Michael, do you believe God’s “discipline” in the life of his children is manifested in bad things happening to them that are different than Reaping and Sowing?

  36. Michael says:

    “It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
    (Hebrews 12:7–11 ESV)

    “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.”
    (Revelation 3:19 ESV)

    God does indeed discipline His children.
    In what manner?
    In such a way that will bring them to repentance and restoration.
    God’s discipline on His own is always rehabilitative, not retributive.
    Can I flesh that out?
    It seems pretty clear to me.
    What would cause God to bring discipline?
    That would be sin.
    I can’t provide an example because His discipline of me will be different than yours…I’ve raised a bunch of kids and never disciplined two of them the same way.

  37. Michael says:

    RB,

    God is sovereign even over that “principal”.
    Sometimes God’s discipline comes in the form of answered prayer…

  38. Ricky Bobby says:

    OK, so God is behind everything through Providence, “all” things, correct? That’s what you seem to assert further up the thread…

    God’s discipline is “not retributive” but rehabilitative.

    Is striking folks dead “rehabilitative” or retributive?

    5 Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2 With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.

    3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4 Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”

    5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. 6 Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.

    7 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?”

    “Yes,” she said, “that is the price.”

    9 Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”

    10 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.

  39. Steve Wright says:

    Discipline is one of those words that today seems to be only thought of as “punishment” That is an error if applied to the Bible’s usage.

    Its meaning speaks to instruct, correct, teach. The “disciples” were being instructed by the Lord, not punished.

    We still on occasion use the word when speaking of certain academic “disciplines”..we speak of military “discipline” and the idea is always to correct behavior. Not to simply be penal in nature.

    I try to make this point often in preaching, as the word does come up often.

  40. Ricky Bobby says:

    Michael said, “…is always rehabilitative”

    Does “always” mean “always”? 🙂 I’m guessing it should have an asterisk…

  41. mrtundraman says:

    “(6) My faith in Christ is God’s own gift to me, given in virtue of Christ’s death for me: i.e. the cross procured it.”

    Faith is not a gift in the sense this point portrays. This assumes limited atonement which is not Scriptural.

  42. Ricky Bobby says:

    I actually agree with Steve at a much more encompassing level. I think God’s “discipline” is not actively manifested today like nuking Ananias and Saphira. I think the “touch not God’s anointed” garbage is not applicable today and I don’t see any consistent correlation in evidence, other than an instance or two Chuck points to of guys who opposed him getting zapped. it was coincidence and his Camp claimed it was God. Such a dangerous and terrible example of Christianity*

  43. Michael says:

    RB,

    First, lets be clear about why God’s discipline for His own is always rehabilitative and not retributive.
    The punishment due for our sins has already been poured out on our Savior…the price has been paid.
    God’s wrath and justice have been satisfied.
    Now, on to Ananias and Sapphira.
    You are assuming that because God smote them dead that this act must fall under either the purpose of the retributive or rehabilitative category.
    I disagree.
    God did use them as an example to the whole church and I believe that was His purpose.
    If they belonged to Him they went to be with Him.
    If not…
    The other caution I would offer here is that singular acts of God are not usually meant to be normative.
    Pauls handkerchief could heal…and his was the last one that did.

  44. “Tornado Alley is the Bible Belt, Estonia (Atheist) is the safest place on the planet in terms of least likelihood of natural disaster”…. and the rest of what Ricky Bobby said

    Lutherans describe this as The Theology of Glory – where one thinks that they can (or should be able) to tell if God is pleased or displeased with them by their life or what is going on around them. This is not so – we cannot tell anything about God by our life … or earthquakes.

    God’s revelation to us is through Christ on the cross – that is how God chose to intervene.

    But no matter what – i would much rather live here in earthquake ridden SoCal than in Estonia.

  45. Ricky Bobby says:

    It’s a decent tap-dance Michael. Basically you assert “normative” when it is convenient and “not normative” if it is a “singular act”?

    So if something is mentioned only once in the bible, it isn’t necessarily normative?

    Pretty slippery.

  46. Ricky Bobby says:

    Again, this is why I call it Selective Fundamentalism…one can call “normative” what they like and agree with and dismiss contradiction and paradox as “not normative” and appeal to singularity in the bible.

  47. Michael says:

    RB,

    It may seem that way if you’re looking for reasons to doubt.
    If God regularly smote down people in church and stated His intention to do so, that would be normative.
    To our knowledge it only happened once.
    Not normative.

  48. Steve Wright says:

    I don’t see the Ananias story ever connected to the term discipline. So that’s my answer. The discipline we are discussing taught in Hebrews is not what happened to those two in early Acts.

    I see their deaths as an example of judgment, which God used to bring the fear of the Lord upon the Church. Sure it was a learning experience for those still in the Church. God’s judgment is a learning experience for those who remain – Egypt being a great example. God used His judgments in Egypt to proclaim His Name not just to the Jews but to all the surrounding nations as well.

    Some folks in Corinth died after the communion table too.

  49. Ricky Bobby says:

    “To our knowledge it only happened once.
    Not normative.”

    OK, is this judgment “rehabilitative” and is this normative or not normative?

    1 Cor. 11:29-30 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.

  50. Ricky Bobby says:

    It’s Death Therapy Bob! 🙂

    Death seems very rehabilitative 😆

    http://youtu.be/GPpJ37LsYtI

  51. Michael says:

    Good questions and ones I hadn’t thought about until Steve posted his comment.
    To be fair I would need to study the matter more in depth before having an answer.
    My first question would be if they were believers or not.
    The Scriptures are clear that Jesus took the retribution of God on sinners on Himself…so this passage obviously demands more study.
    As to whether it’s normative, again, I know of no such deaths through church history beyond this point…and that well may be because we attribute those deaths to other causes.

  52. Steve Wright says:

    Michael, I think it is hard to put all this into neat boxes. Death to a believer is the best thing there is (not so much those left behind). To me it goes back to God dealing with us as a loving Father.

    And this is just one piece of the discussion. How about spiritual warfare, angelic activity and so forth…

    I recall a verse too about God taking the righteous away to avoid what evil is coming.

    Ultimately, death is in God’s control.

  53. mrtundraman says:

    If anything the “Ananias story” serves to establish the authority of the Apostles against people doing their own thing. It was a time when a clear and early statement of authority was needed and a clear indication of who was in charge served that purpose.

    The parallel I see is to Moses and the rebellion in the wilderness lead by Korah (Num 16).

    To be a memorial unto the children of Israel, that no stranger, which is not of the seed of Aaron, come near to offer incense before the LORD; that he be not as Korah, and as his company: as the LORD said to him by the hand of Moses.

    Make your own application to the world we live in today where there are tens of thousands of voices going their own way.

  54. If we knew the extent of God’s activity, we would be amazed and frightened.
    In fact, we might just then fear the Lord and glorify Him because of this realization.
    Some just don’t want to see it.

  55. Dude says:

    I firmly believe that our wonderful and holy God reveals Himself to a sinful and failed humanity.
    Packer is always qood read,knowing God is my favorite.

  56. Neo says:

    Whenever Luke speaks of “a certain man” instead of “a believer” in Acts, it is his distinction between believers and non-believers. Needless to say, he refers to Anaias (and by association, Saphira) as a “certain man”. So they seem not to be believers, in my opinion.

  57. Ricky Bobby says:

    I was typing in the verses about those dying as a judgment from taking communion improperly then noticed Steve had cited the same thing. I’m glad he pointed it out so you would consider it 🙂

  58. Steve Wright says:

    Neo – That is an interesting insight.

    One you might also find interesting, if you haven’t heard it before, is the word used to describe both Ananias and Sapphira’s deaths ἐκψύχω is only used elsewhere in Acts ch 12 of Herod’s death. Not the best death to be connected to.

  59. London says:

    I do not like broccoli. If a loving God really existed, there would be no broccoli. Broccoli still grows from the earth. Therefore, a living God does not exist.

    Hey, I think I’m catching on to the logic some folks round here use!!

  60. brian says:

    I think each day of life is a miracle to be honest.

  61. anonymous says:

    Most likely you will recognize me. I was watching a movie where a family member had to inform an inmate about the death of a parent. I had to, it was awful. First of all you are made to feel like a piece of crap as a family member on an inmate, they are trash and you are trash and both of you should rot in hell. That is on a good day. It was one of the defining moments of my life, I have had to inform many people as to the death of a loved one, or had to be present when a parent grieved for a loss of a child. It is the “vocation” I have chosen. This scene in the movie really struck me hard, first of all I am ashamed of that. I try very hard not to be moved by things in any outward scenes especially death because it is what we all deserve because of the fall. It is how God shows us that we have failed Him, so much and in every single way. I want people to know I get that, every single second of every single day I get it. I failed God, in all ways and constantly and most likely will continue to do so.

    They did not even tell my family member they basically blew me off and tough blank. It broke my family members heart this family member never forgave themselves. I saw them pass on as well, and had to inform other family members of their loss. I remember one time a young person passed on and I offered my usual and I meant it, “if I can do anything for you please let me know.” the mother looked at me, “bring my daughter back”. If you want to hear something completely pathetic, and it is and I get that, I actually prayed to God, restore her daughter. I agree that was stupid on my part but it just hurt so much to see this mother in so much pain. I mean I still hear the weeping and the looks on her face. I know I should get over such nonsense, but I struggle with it.

    It is just so hard to watch so many pass in such horrible ways, and pray, at times until just plain empty. I agree most of this is emotionalism, thus disgusting at best. No traps, no apologetic gotchas no agendas, I just wish that kid, and so many more were healed. I will be honest I no longer pray to much for healing, even restoration. I do admit I pray for restoration, which I am coming to understand is another thing one should not pray for. What a strange religion, it really is.

  62. Ricky Bobby says:

    London, that’s Apples and Broccoli.

    The “loving God” commanded the stoning to death of women and children in the OT, something I thought would concern you, maybe it doesn’t?

  63. Ricky Bobby says:

    brian, agreed. The miracles are existence and the universe itself, largely.

  64. mrtundraman says:

    Luke uses the phrase “certain man” to describe Paul in Acts.

    Acts ch 25:14-15
    And when they had been there many days, Festus declared Paul’s cause unto the king, saying, There is a certain man left in bonds by Felix:
    About whom, when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed [me], desiring [to have] judgment against him.

    Acts ch 20 v 9 describes a certain young man who fell asleep and fell out a window…

  65. @ 60 – I agree with brian.

    When you think about how fragile we are, how volatile this existence is, it is miraculous that I am here. I don’t need any more evidence. I am grateful.

  66. Jim says:

    Ricky,

    You are a believer.

    I’m not accusing you of this, and I could be way off, but seems at times that you’re trying to become an unbeliever.

    I know many who have tried that, including myself. Long term, it doesn’t work.

    My brother, you are stuck with God, and He is stuck with you. You are also stuck with “us” and we are stuck with you.

  67. Muff Potter says:

    Why doesn’t God do something?

    Excellent question. But I think a better one would be, why don’t we do something? Earthquakes, tsunamis & category 5 tornadoes are beyond our pay grade to be sure. But the vast majority of the remaining evils? We are endowed by our creator with the power and ability to alleviate them and in many cases eradicate them.

    Kudos to the folks in your previous thread Michael. They are doing precisely that by making it possible for the least of these in Mexico to have clean water. It’s so much better when we can lay our theological differences behind us and unite on the things that bind us together as humans.

  68. victorious says:

    I am glad that Jesus is a savior and not a shaman who performs at our bidding or some mythological god who represents our raging tantrums.

    At the end of the day we will glory in the sufferings of our savior and therefore gladly let His Spirit sustain us in our share of those sufferings; or we will apostatize, choosing the outlooks that arise out of our darkened and foolish thinking over embracing the mind of Christ.
    Albeit there is wide room in the grace of God ( not a miracle but a sustained manifestation of His presence) to walk through the struggles in thought, word and deed . However, in due time the mock will fade away and the walk will emerge.

  69. Steve @#32,
    I’m using that quote tomorrow morning as I teach through Psalm 19. 🙂

  70. London says:

    Ricky Bobby
    What the hell are you taking about?
    I say I don’t like broccoli and you then infer I don’t care about the stoning of women?
    No wonder you’re all messed up. You make bizzare connections like that.

  71. London,
    Since I like broccoli, especially if it has melted butter or cheese on it, you can infer that I think all women should be tortured by having hot butter or cheese poured over them prior to stoning.

  72. London says:

    The only thing that I’d infer if you say you like broccoli is that your should go to the doctor cause there’s clearly something wrong with your taste buds

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