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God Will Punish the Wicked

(Habakkuk 1:5-13; 2:1-4)

Lesson 7 -- third quarter 2007
July 15, 2007

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2007

The peril of another

Elijah's confrontation with the prophets of Baal could have ended differently. The devil could have intervened and caused fire to consume the sacrifice to Baal. And instead of the prophets of Baal dying by the brook Kishon, Elijah would have died the death of a false prophet. Centuries later, the violent death of another valiant defender of the faith (Stephen) proved that such things happen to God's messengers. Didn't Elijah know the risk?

Elijah was God's messenger among His people. When God needed to get a message through to His people, He used Elijah. For Elijah, the risk issue had been settled when he accepted God's call on his life. Elijah would run any risk to be faithful to his calling. In other words, the element of risk was overshadowed by the element of responsibility.

Elijah loved God's people with the love of God. (That is what happens when people take to heart their messenger-for-God duties.) Elijah saw the danger and need of the Israelites...and acted to alert them. In other words, the risk to his own neck paled when compared to the risk to the souls of the people.

What about you?

God has placed you on Planet Earth as His messenger to His people. Yes, you are here to call the lost to reconciliation with God. But you are also here to call the redeemed away from the enticements of end-time idolatry. What risks are you prepared to take for the King and His people? The Church needs more Elijahs in whose hearts the message and love of God burn fervently!

Elijah's message was clear to the people: "How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him." God will not put up with those who ride the fence. God will not put up with anyone who tries to have it both ways. God will not tolerate those who deceive themselves into thinking they have found the "happy middle ground" between His ways and the ways of the flesh and the world. How can I be so sure? Because God said so in Elijah's time and He said so in Jesus' time: "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon" (Matthew 6:24). And He said it in John's time: "So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth" (Revelation 3:16). Do you believe this?

Then sound the warning! Clearly! Sound it with your life, making sure you never live for anyone other than God. Sound it with your lips so that on Judgement Day you do not have blood on your hand. Let me expose you again to a couple of verses that have become very compelling to me in my relationship to Jesus and to the Church of Jesus.

"So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand" (Ezekiel 33:7,8).

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