Tuesday, September 15, 2020

We Must Pray for Mercy

By now most everyone has heard of the terrible destruction and loss of life and property due to the fires going on mainly in the Pacific Coast states. Add to that the realities and unrealities of Covid, the extreme weather events, the rioting and fear-mongering in big cities and small cities alike, and the laughable "news media" and we have ourselves a lot to pray about.

I wonder if we're really praying the right prayers though?

It seems like a given that we'd pray God would defeat the enemy, restore order, bring peace, thwart the plans of the devil, etc. Surely a loving God doesn't want us to face all this crazy. Surely He's on His way to save us. Surely He's just letting the devil have his way for a time but all will be well before long. 

Or maybe not?

What if this is judgement? (Pick your chin up off the floor---yes, I really said that.)

In Amos 4, God recounts corrections He gave to the children of Israel, trying to turn their hearts back to Him. Over and over again He says, "Yet you have not returned". Read this:

“Also I gave you cleanness of teeth (hunger) in all your cities,

And lack of bread in all your places;

Yet you have not returned to Me,”

Says the Lord.

 

“I also withheld rain from you,

When there were still three months to the harvest.

I made it rain on one city,

I withheld rain from another city.

One part was rained upon,

And where it did not rain the part withered.

 

So two or three cities wandered to another city to drink water,

But they were not satisfied;

Yet you have not returned to Me,”

Says the Lord.

 

“I blasted you with blight and mildew.

When your gardens increased,

Your vineyards,

Your fig trees,

And your olive trees,

The locust devoured them;

Yet you have not returned to Me,”

Says the Lord.

 

“I sent among you a plague after the manner of Egypt;

Your young men I killed with a sword,

Along with your captive horses;

I made the stench of your camps come up into your nostrils;

Yet you have not returned to Me,”

Says the Lord.

 

“I overthrew some of you,

As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah,

And you were like a firebrand plucked from the burning;

Yet you have not returned to Me,”

Says the Lord.

 

“Therefore thus will I do to you, O Israel;

Because I will do this to you,

Prepare to meet your God, O Israel!”


Listen, God isn't messing around. I was accused of being heartless this morning on Facebook when I used an example of a burnt out Oregon town to call the lukewarm to preparedness. Theories abound about the source of the west coast fires, but what is so evident to me is that God is giving us up to our own destruction. He's allowing us to feel pain that He may have even sent Himself so we will return to Him---yet, we have not returned.


If that last line of the Amos passage sounds sorta kitschy bad guy to you, be assured---God is no comic book character. Prepare to meet your God. Are you ready?


Many Christians have been caught off guard by the persecution that has gone on in recent months. Many, many more are still deluded that it couldn't happen to their church, their town. I mean, it's California... No, friends, it's Christians. Are you ready?


Maybe our prayers need to be for mercy. I was out in Oregon last week for several days and the smoke was bad. The fear was bad. I posted a "Pray for Oregon" meme and began writing a big thing about praying for the state and yadda yadda... I had to delete what I'd written because I couldn't bring myself to ask God to "vanquish all the fiery darts of the enemy." Because I knew. I knew it wasn't the enemy who allowed this. It was God. Instead, I asked for mercy for just a little longer. That He'd delay His judgement for the sake of the remnant and in the hope that even just a few more souls would turn to Him when pushed to the extreme.


With all the lawlessness and apathy Christians have bred in this nation, we have no right to be praying against judgement with some kind of haughty name it and claim it sort of attitude, casting out evil and declaring and decreeing all over the place. For crying out loud... If we are actually going to be so bold as to approach God on this matter, we'd better be humbly and fervently pleading for mercy. Amos 5 repeatedly states, "Seek Me and live; Seek the Lord and live; Seek good and not evil, that you may live". Everything is different now. Western Christianity as we know it is gasping its last breath. There's no time for denominational disputes and petty picking apart of Scripture. Seek the Lord while He may be found. Come to Him in humble repentance and make your requests known to Him. Plead with Him for mercy. Plead with Him to be set on a straight path. Don't be caught up in the "feel good Jesus movement". Our God is a Lamb---He's also a Lion. He's a jealous God and He will have no other idols before Him. We must pray for mercy.

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