One of the remarkable things about the nature of God is an attribute that we call "immutability." That word basically means God never changes. What God says never becomes antiquated or out of date. He says what He means and He does what He says. Depending on where you stand with Him will determine whether or not this is an encouraging message or a frightening message for you.
“A HOUSE OF CARDS”
(II Kings 9 & 10)
This past week I was shown a very interesting book by one of our staff members. It’s a dictionary published in 1940 - that isn’t necessarily interesting, except in the back of the book there is an appendix called, Dictionary of American Slang. Then the subtitle, “A compilation of slang terms, colloquialisms, stereotyped phrases used by the American people.
What’s interesting ws to look through these pages and discover the well known truth, that many words which begin as slang become a part of our language.
There were many expressions that have since disappeared - or they no longer mean the same thing:
-alligator - a non musical fan of swing type music
-banana oil - insincere praise
-dead beat - one who buys things on credit (aren’t you glad that’s disappeared)
-biscuit shooter - a waitress
-a boiled shirt - a pompous man
-dope - used to refer to both sauce served on ice cream and Coca Cola
-embalming fluid - coffee
-from Missouri - “a person who is skeptical, not easily convinced”
-parlor pink - one who is liberal
-picture gallery - a man with tattoes
-to run a temperature - means to become emotionally upset
-old smokey - the electric chair
-a punch bowl - a boxing ring
-to know your onions - to be intelligent and efficient
Here are some words and expressions that have become a part of our language:
-back-seat driver - a person who persists in giving others unsolicited advice on driving - say no more!
-a bad egg - a dishonest person
-to bark up the wrong tree - to pursue a useless or incorrect course
-beef - a complaint
-belly-ache - to complain or whine
-fat chance - means, “no possibility
-hot - “stolen, wanted by the police”
-in the bag - certain, sure, as good as in one’s possession
-in the clear - safe, free from suspicion
-in the doghouse - in someone’s bad graces - especially your wife
-pain in the neck - “that’s the man who lives in the doghouse” I made that up - “an unpleasant person”
In the space of 50 years, the English language has changed dramatically.
One of the remarkable things about the nature of God is an attribute we call immutability - that’s a ten cent word that means, basically, God doesn’t change - He say’s what He means and He does what He says.
And even though generation and after generation passes across the stage of human history, what God says will come to pass - what He promises will indeed happen.
The house of Ahab is about to fall - on the outside, Ahab’s dynasty seemed solid rock - there would never lack a male descendant for his throne for Ahab has fathered 70 sons.
This morning we’re going to discover that judgment means judgment. We’re going to see the utter futility of opposing God. We’re going to study the truth that, just because the patience of God delays punishment from God, sin will ultimately be judged.
In II Kings chapters 9 & 10 we are given the gory details of Jezebel’s death, and the destruction of Ahab’s dynasty.
In the middle of chapters 9 & 10 lies the hinge verse - it is the critical, summary verse around which this gruesome story is told. Turn to chapter 10 and verse 10. Know then that there shall fall to the earth nothing of the word of the Lord, which the Lord spoke concerning the house of Ahab, for the Lord has done what He spoke through His servant Elijah.
If you remember our study in I Kings, Elijah had pronounced judgment on the house of Ahab and Jezebel becuase they murdered Naboth and stole his vineyard. It was a ruthless, cold-blooded murder -and on-top of the fact that they led Israel into idolatry, the judgment of God was going to come.
Now in chapter 9 we’re introduced to the instrument of God’s judgement - his name is Jehu. He is secretly anointed with oil by one of Elisha’s associates - some rabbinical traditions believed it was none other than Jonah, as a young prophet in training.
Look at verse 6b. And he poured the oil on his head and said to him, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, “I have anointed you king over the people of the Lord, even over Israel. 7. And you shall strike the house of Ahab your master, (now notice God’s purpose clause) that I may avenge the blood of My servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the Lord.”
Remember, Jezebel had gone on a killing rampage, slaughtering the prophets of Yahweh - the followers of God went underground for fear - it seemed God had lost and Baal had won.
Missiologists report that today, in our generation there are more Christians being martyred for their faith than in any other generation.
The Jezebel’s of the world think God’s silence means God is powerless.
Let me insert here three truths about the judgment of God.
1) Even when God seems slow to act, but His people are never forgotten.
2) Even when God’s children seem overwhelmed, God is at work preparing the instruments of judgement.
Jehu was nothing more than a common footsoldier when Ahab stole the vineyard - he was one of Ahab’s two body gaurds who heard Elijah pronounce judgment
How ironic that an ordinary body guard was being prepared during the height of Ahab’s power, to be the instrument that would bring Ahab’s house, like a house of cards, crashing to the earth.
3) Even though God’s warnings are seem distant and hypothetical, judgment will eventually come.
14 years had come and gone since God pronounced judgement on the house of - undoubtedly Jezebel thought she was off the hook.
I can remember as a kid my mother promising me that as soon as we got home from church I was going to get a spanking I’d not likely ever forget. She’d say, “I’m going to wear you out!” She had a way with words. Sunday afternoon wore on slowly - no spanking - I was the most polite kid on planet earth - as each hour passed, my hope grew - maybe she changed her mind - maybe she forgot. I knew if she forgot on Sunday, I’d probably not get that spanking - I can remember at least once, she did indeed forget.
Maybe Jezebel cleaned up her act - just a little 14 years earlier - maybe she called of her hit men for a week or two - let’s lie low - see if God’s threat of judgment has any substance!
The popular concept of God today strips Him of His judicial character; His holiness and righteousness - and robes Him with no other attribute but love; He is a God who, no matter what, is perpetually smiling; His most common utterance is, ‘That’s alright”.
Most people today don’t even have to deny the existence of God - you don’t even have to ignore Him - all you have to do is re-create Him into the image of whomever you like.
But the unfailing word of God says, “It is appointed unto man once to die, and then the judgment.”
There are two categories of people today - those who are in Christ, therefore in the one who has already taken the full force of God’s judgment - and those who are not in Christ - who stand alone - who will bear the judgment of God for all of eternity.
A Double Assasination (14-32)
key verse 26. Surely I have seen “yesterday” the blood of Naboth and the blood of his sons, says the Lord, and I will repay you in this property.
There is a principle that isn’t getting much press lately. It is the principle of reaping what you are sewing. . . I’d like to call it the principle of spiritual agriculture
Sin, while it is immediately cleansed upon confession, (I John 1:9) it produces consequences that may last a lifetime.
Just as the unbeliever doesn’t like the thought of judgment, the believer doesn’t like the thought of on-going consequences.
The Bible doesn’t say, “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all the consequences of sin - it says, “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin.”
Certainly, the eternal consequences of our guilt and sin have been paid by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ - but some of those sins will carry life-long consequences of heartache and pain.
In the book of Galatians, Paul wrote to Christians when he penned - “Be not deceived, God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man sews, that he also reaps...” Then Paul went on to plead with the new believers to sew seeds, not to the flesh but to the Spirit.
God’s law of sewing and reaping operates in the lives of His children.
I’ve read statistics recently that reveal, among college students, an alarming rise of HPV - a sexually transmitted virus that is virtually unpublicized because of HIV - but this virus is growing at an epidemic rate and it is causing cancer among women. God will forgive your fornication, but dear friend, but one day you may weep over the inability to bear children.
Today we could fill 4 super bowl football stadiums with teenagers who are involved in prostitution to support their drug habit - God can save a person from drug addiction - but the physical damage may last a lifetime.
A population 10 times the city of Cary lines up each year to abort a baby conceived out of wedlock - we are raising a generation that will struggle with what another generation legalized and promoted.
There is the principle of sewing and reaping! My father said to us, his four sons, a thousand times, “You can’t plant wild oats and then pray for a crop failure.”
J.Vernon McGee wrote about an evening he spent with Mel Trotter, the evangelist who had been a drunkard before his conversion to Christ. God cleansed Trotter and gave him an effective ministry to thousands of people.
One night after Mel Trotter had preached, a group of people, including McGee went out to a restaurant for dessert. Everyone ordered big banana splits, or milkshakes, or malts. All Mel Trotter ordered was a little glass of carbonated water. Everyone began to rib him about it, and asked him for the reason. McGee said, he never forgot Mel Trotters answer, “When the Lord gave me a new heart at my conversion, He did not give me a new stomach. I am paying for the years I spent drinking.”
The law of spiritual agriculture is a strong reminder that we are all in need of the grace and mercy of our Savior - but it is also a warning - if you are thinking of walking away from your marriage - beware - you will reap life-long consequences - if you are thinking about engaging in immorality or infidelity - beware the harvest of broken trust and guilt - if you are thinking about stealing or lying or anything else that sews seeds to the flesh - God is not deaf and dumb; He is not blind - dear Christian, you can ultimately lose what John referred to as your full reward; while you will not lose your salvation, John also wrote that you may be ashamed at His appearing.
John Wesley wrote as his life resolution - to never do anything that I would be afraid of doing were it the last hour of my life.
The death of Baal’s Princess and Priests (9:30-10:36)
When God’s word is rejected, the wickedness in a person’s life is unbelievable.
Israelites sacrificing their children to false gods; moral perversion, justified in the name of religion . . .
When God’s authority is denied, the wasting of a person’s life is inevitable.
Ernest Hemmingway, Oscar Wilde
Take a hard look at your life - are you building a house of cards - the mortar is mixed with pride and independence; the bricks are shadowed with sin; over the doorway is written the theme of our generation - “I built it my way.”
When God’s plans are obeyed, the difference in a person’s life is unmistakable.