TAKING GOD FOR GRANTED
Adam and Eve, both the first man and woman to live on the surface of the earth, took God, their Creator, for granted. They thought that they could disobey Him at will (Gen. 3:6-13). God had earlier created them in His own image and built a garden where all their physical needs could be met (Gen. 2:7-15). Before long, however, the first and the only law given by God was presumptuously broken (Gen. 2:16,17). It was like a Shakespearean tragedy as the duo were brought down from grace to grass. (Gen. 3:16-24).
The Israelites, a peculiar treasure unto God above all other people, were in the habit of doing that which would always displease their God (Exo. 19:4-6). God's longsuffering, as far as they were concerned, was slackness (Jdgs. 2:14-18; 3:8). They would not give special attention to His injunctions but would quickly cry unto Him for deliverance whenever they were being punished for their misdeeds (Jdgs. 3:9-15).
King Saul was disobedient to the injunctions given to him by God until he learnt his lesson in a hard way. God rejected him from being king over Israel and Samuel told him categorically that "to obey is better than sacrifice and to hearken than the fat of rams" (1 Sam. 15:1-23,26). Taking God for granted can be dangerous! (This is certainly indicated by how our nation was hurriedly going about enjoying the luxuries of life, given by God, and more and more removing God from one's everday life, even making laws where His name could not be printed or uttered and His word removed from all public places, until the tragedies of 9/11/01. Then, all of a sudden the majority begin to remember Him again. Let us not take God for granted. JWS[I will add my amen here also. cws]).
In the days of Noah, the people were mocking him as he was busy making the ark that eventually saved him and others by water (1 Pet. 3:21). They were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark. Their thought was probably that the longsuffering of God would know no bounds but the flood came when they least expected and took all away (Gen. 6-7:23; Matt. 24: 37-39).
The people of Sodom and Gomorrah never believed that God could bring such a great destruction upon their beloved and sodomy infested cities. When their cup of unrighteousness was full, however, God's longsuffering was removed and He "rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven" (Gen. 19:1-28) Disobedience does not pay at all. It brings everlasting discomfort to whoever yields himself to wrong doing (Deut. 28:15-63).
Christians are warned not to be ignorant of what the fathers did in the wilderness and what their repercussions were. Some were idolaters, some fornicated, some tempted God, some murmured and were destroyed of the destroyer (1 Cor. 10:5-11). The church is the house of the living God and Christians are now a "peculiar people of God, a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation" (1 Pet. 2:9; 1 Tim. 3:15) Still many members are not alive to their responsibilities. They forsake the assembling of the saints at will (Heb. 10:25). Some still fornicate, while some wittingly indulge in idol worship (1 Cor. 6:18-20; 2 Cor. 6:16,17).
The other areas where Christians are taking the longsuffering of God for granted, are slackness or uncleanness, lasciviousness, witchcraft, hatred, strife, wrath, heresies, envyings and drunkenness (Gal. 5:19-21). Yet, "the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God..." (1 Pet. 4:17,18).
A lot of people in the world today continue to take God for granted. They do not appreciate His love, mercy and kindness to mankind (Jno. 3:16). The preaching of the cross of Christ to these people is foolishness while the Sonship of Christ remains a mystery to them (1 Cor. 1:18; 2 Cor. 4:3,4). They cannot confess Christ because of fear and intimidation. However man is lost without Christ! Obey the gospel of Christ today. Repent of your sins, confess His name and be baptized, so that your sins will be forgiven and the Lord will add you to His church (Mk. 16:15,16; Acts 2:38, 41,47).
To be forewarned is to be forearmed. The Scriptures say that what happened to the fathers in the wilderness were "for ensamples and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the end of the ages have come" (1 Cor. 10:6,11). "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise...but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Pet. 3:9). If those before us took God for granted and they were not spared, how can we then escape, "if we neglect so great a salvation..." (Heb. 2:1-3). If you take God for granted, you will be grounded!
By 'Gbenga Lawrence Fabunmi in Words of Life, Vol. 8, No. 2, April - June, 2000.
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