I. FOR SOME THIS IS A BEAUTIFUL THOUGHT. THIS IS WHAT IS OFTEN CALLED THE LORD'S DAY, AND WHEN YOU GOT UP THIS MORNING, YOUR THOUGHTS WERE TOWARD THE LORD, AND YOU WERE PREPARING WITH YOUR FAMILY TO COME AND MEET YOUR GOD.
A. Perhaps you were listening to KWVE on your way to church.
1. As you drove into the parking lot, you rejoiced to see all the other cars, and the anticipation began to grow, to be in the house of the Lord.
2. So here we sit, opening our hearts to the word of God, as we seek to learn more of His wonderful ways.
3. To some the gathering together here with God's people is very special. Many have seemed to take for granted what God is doing here, and the excitement you once had has sort of waned.
a. We had a girl visiting from Austria a few summers ago, and she would sit on the floor down here at the front, and weep through the entire service. She would have a big smile on her face, but tears would be running down her cheeks.
b. It is a sad day when the beautiful things of God are taken for granted.
B. This kind of preparation to meet God is not at all what our text is about today.
II. THE CONDITIONS OF THE NATION ISRAEL.
A. They were a nation that were brought into existence by God.
1. God by great miracles delivered them out of Egypt.
2. God visibly led them through the wilderness, and daily provided the manna for their sustenance.
3. God gave them the laws for a long, happy, successful life.
4. God drove out their enemies from before them and gave to them the land he had promised Abraham.
5. There was a general excitement about God.
6. As success and prosperity came, they gradually began to lose interest in God as their interest grew in other things, their houses, their crops, their pleasures. These began to supersede their interest in God.
B. God sent his messengers to plead with the people to not lose their first love, to come back to that closeness they once knew.
1. As the people continued to drift away from God, the prophets began to deliver a stronger message, they told the dire consequences of forsaking God.
a. You may think that you can get by quite well without God, but sin has its own consequences.
b. The path of sin leads to sorrow, suffering and pain.
2. As they began to experience some of the suffering that sin always brings, the prophets pointed out to them that these things were the result of worshipping other gods.
3. God then began to allow national catastrophes to get their attention, and to cause them to turn to Him for help.
C. This is basically what our text is about today.
1. God had allowed food shortages. (cleanness of teeth and want of bread) The purpose was to cause them to return to God.
2. When that didn't work then He withheld the rain from them allowed them a period of drought, in some sections of the country there would be floods while in other, little rain at all. Still they did not seek God or return to Him.
3. He then allowed crop failures, plagues of locust. Even that did not wake them up, and cause the to return to God.
4. He then brought pestilence's such as were brought upon the Egyptians. Who knows, maybe even the HIV virus. Surely this will arouse them from their deadly stupor, but it didn't.
5. He then allowed their young men to be slain in war, their armies began to taste defeat in battle, still they would not turn.
6. Some of the cities were exposed to damage from volcanic eruptions, there were even earthquakes. Still the people persisted in their evil.
D. All of the invitations of God were met with rejection, they even began to act with violence against the messengers of God.
1. All of the warnings of God were ignored, they were passed off as natural phenomena.
2. The love of God has been spurned, the grace of God has been rejected.
3. The patience and longsuffering of God has been exhausted, they are now to see another side of the nature of God as the wrath of God is to be revealed.
PREPARE TO MEET YOUR GOD
E. In the book of Hebrews it declares that it is a fearful thing to fall in the hands of a living God.
F. Paul writing to the Roman believers declared
III. PREPARE TO MEET THY GOD, IT IS SHEER FOLLY TO MEET GOD AS AN ADVERSARY.
A. The scripture declares, "Woe to Him who strives with His maker." Isa. 45:9
1. How could you possibly ever hope to win.
2. Some of you are striving with God today, the Spirit has been convicting you of some of the things that you have been doing, and you are fighting against the Spirit.
3. Striving with God is a no win situation, for if you do win by refusing to bow to His demands, then you will be eternally lost.
4. Don't strive with God, surrender to God.
B. Someday all of us will have to stand before our creator, we are going to give an account of ourselves. He knows every thought and motive of your heart. How can I ever stand before Him.
1. God has provided an advocate for me.
2. Satan my prosecutor who has been accusing me night and day is leering at me, he knows that he has the evidence to convict me and he is pressing for the death penalty. For the law says that soul that sinneth shall surely die.
3. My advocate advises me to plead guilty. The evidence against me is overwhelming. He says, let Me plead your case before the judge.
4. As He approaches the bench, He says, "Father, the defendant has entered a plea guilty as charged. But this is one whoseg guilt I took, and I died in their place, I paid the price for their redemption." The gavel will come down, and the Judge will declare, "Justified" Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God who has justified. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ who has died, ye has risen again, and is even at the right hand of the Father making intercession for us.
5. Others of you will be saying to the advocate, tell the Judge how hard I tried to be good. Tell Him how I went to church on occasion. I even sang the songs out of the Hymnal, and dropped something in the bag every time it came around. The advocate will look at you and declare, "I don't know you." You will say but Lord, Lord, I did wonderful things in your name, I gave to charity, and was a community leader." He will answer, "Why do you call Me Lord, when you never did the things I commanded you?"
6. It is appointed unto man once to die, and after that the judgment.
7. Jesus said, "If you will confess Me before men, I will confess you before My Father which is in heaven. But if you deny Me before men, I will deny you before My Father in the presence of the holy angels.
8. This is serious business, you need to prepare to meet God. For someday you are going to be standing before Him, and your standing will be in the righteousness of Christ, or in your own righteousness.