Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind

I heard about an art gallery owner who represented a certain artist. One day he called the artist and said: “I have good and bad news.”

“What’s the good news?” the artist asked.

“The good news is that some man just came to the gallery and asked if your art would be more appreciated if you died. I said yes and he bought all your paintings.”

“This is wonderful!” the artist said. “What’s the bad news?”

“Well,” the gallery owner said, “the bad news is that it was your doctor.”

We’ve all heard jokes about good news and bad news, and perhaps some of them bring tears to our eyes. But I think we need to cheer up a bit and try to be funny when we can. We all need good news because we live in a bad world.

The Old Testament speaks of a very dark time in the history of Israel. They were going through a time of extreme famine – so extreme that people lived on donkey heads and pigeon droppings. This is terrible food. Worse… people began to lean towards cannibalism. That’s how desperate they were.

The irony was that this famine was the result of their own disobedience. Israel again turned to other gods.

God will not share His glory with anyone or anything else. He wants to be number one in our lives. God said, “I am the Lord, this is my name, and I will not give my glory to another, and my praise to idols” (Isaiah 42:8).

Despite the fact that God blessed Israel, they again and again turned to idols.

The first two commandments specifically warned about this. In Exodus 20 God said:

“Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol or any image of what is in heaven above, and what is on the earth below, and what is in the water below the earth; do not worship them or serve them, for I am the Lord your God, a jealous God” (verses 3-5).

Maybe, you think, God is a little insecure about Himself? Why is He so jealous?

But let’s bring this into your reality for a moment. Husbands, let’s say your wife flirted with another guy. How would you feel? Would you like it?

I don’t think so.

Wives, what if your husband says: “You know, I’m going on a date with another woman this week.” Would you like to hear it?

Of course not.

How do you think God feels when we turn away from Him and follow false gods? It could be the god of our career, or the god of money, or the god of pleasure, or something else. But God says, “What are you doing? Are you leaving Me, the true and living God, for this?”

As far as Israel is concerned, God allowed the people to reap the consequences of their sin, and in that case it was a famine. The king, having heard about cannibalism, decided that he wanted to kill God’s messenger.

What’s the reaction? He should have said, “God, this is crazy. We cry out to You. We’ve had enough.”

But instead the king said, “May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if the head of Elisha son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today!”” (2 Kings 6:31). Yet Elisha had nothing to do with it.

We see the same thing today as people reap the consequences of their sin and sink into it. Instead of finally repenting and coming to their senses, they attack God and His representatives.

Some people say that the problems in our country today are the fault of the Christians. And we, as Christians, declare that the Bible, the Word of God, has the answers. However, they blame us.

The fact is that the most open to heaven people have always reaped the greatest earthly good. A classic example of this is William Wilberforce, whose life is depicted in the movie “Amazing Grace.”

Wilberforce was a British MP who believed slavery was wrong. What prompted him to come to this conclusion? It was his faith in the Bible and his conversion to Christianity that changed his outlook. As a result, Wilberforce spent most of his life fighting slavery and speaking out against the status quo at the time.

Many believe that governments and authorities have the answers, and that we need more government programs and more money for them. But I love President Ronald Reagan’s 1986 quote when he said, “I’ve always felt theat the nine most terrifying words in the English language are “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”

Since we see all these problems in our country today and look at politicians with the hope that they will change everything, we need to be realistic and aware of the limitations of government.

When we see the problems in our culture today, we must recognize that many of these things have come about as a result of our disobedience to God.

We have done everything to remove God from the courtroom, from the classroom and from the cultural environment. As Hosea said, “They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.” (Hosea 8:7).

If we are not careful, then what happened to Israel in the days of Elisha may happen to our country today. We need to cry out to God to help our people. We need to cry out to God and return to Him.

By Greg Laurie.

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