A Sermon

Running from God in a Day of Derangement

Michael Beck Michael Beck

 

We are in a day of derangement. Many, not previously deemed mentally ill, are exploding in unfathomable acts of rage and violence.

The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. (Genesis 6:11)

But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (Matthew 24:37)

The unprecedented rage that is affecting individuals throughout the world is directly related to an unwillingness to have God rule their lives.

Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. (Psalm 2:1-6)

Man’s greatest insanity is running from the arms and control of his Creator. God would be His king, and help him from destroying himself and others, but he flees the face of God, even to his own destruction.

O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help.I will be thy king: where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities? and thy judges of whom thou saidst, Give me a king and princes? (Hosea 13:9,10)

Man stays in a mad state as long as He is not in God’s arms and under His care. He is a ticking time bomb, a latent volcano, a keg of dynamite, needing only a certain “spark” or stressful situation to set him off.

And these words of Esau her elder son were told to Rebekah: and she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said unto him, Behold, thy brother Esau, as touching thee, doth comfort himself, purposing to kill thee. (Genesis 27:42)

Man makes life a mess for himself and others when he avoids and evades the grip of his Maker.

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes. (Romans 3:10-18)

When man runs from the arms of God, (whether he realizes it or not,) he falls into the hands of the devil. While he seeks “freedom” from God’s rule, he finds himself a prisoner to dark powers that prey upon sheep who don’t have a Shepherd.

And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs. (Luke 8:27)

The scariest thing for one who is running from God is to come face to face with the One they want nothing to do with.

When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not. (Luke 8:28)

When Jesus delivers a person from the prison house of sin and Satan, they sit at His feet, in their “right mind,” ready to be instructed by Him from then on.

Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. (Luke 8:35)

Not every demonized person is out on the streets frightening others. Many are otherwise respectable people whose moodiness and anger terrorizes those who live with them.

…For the dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty. (Psalm 74:20)

Having a “form of godliness” helps no one. Many fugitives from God fashion themselves to be “spiritual” people. Many more think their religious observances will do with God. A reception of the gospel however never leaves us with an unchanged life.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

The whole counsel of God involves the message of repentance toward God as well as faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house,Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 20:20,21)

Running from God involves an unwillingness to fully surrender our lives to Him. We wish to retain control. Coming to repentance means we have finally and truly vacated the “throne” of our lives and are now willing for Christ to be our Lord and rule over us.

But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us. (Luke 19:14)

In this day of salvation, there are no “hostile takeovers” by God. We must decide we have come to the “end of the line” and voluntarily turn ourselves in. To help us “come to our senses,” God does let us eat the evil and bitter fruit of our own way.

Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. (Psalm 119:67)

It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. (Psalm 119:71)

I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me. (Psalm 119:75)

Reaping what we’ve sown does not necessarily mean one will stop running from God. We can mourn the consequences of our sin without coming to repentance.

Woe unto them! for they have fled from me: destruction unto them! because they have transgressed against me: though I have redeemed them, yet they have spoken lies against me.And they have not cried unto me with their heart, when they howled upon their beds (Hosea 7:13,14)

Men know how to “visit” God when they are in trouble; but they are not willing to live with Him and glorify Him as their Lord. Once the trouble leaves, they leave Him.

LORD, in trouble have they visited thee, they poured out a prayer when thy chastening was upon them. (Luke 26:16)

Instead of letting the consequences of their actions be a “wake-up call,” men look for a “bail out” so they can continue on their “merry way” without having to finally surrender to God.

And thou wentest to the king with ointment, and didst increase thy perfumes, and didst send thy messengers far off, and didst debase thyself even unto hell.Thou art wearied in the greatness of thy way; yet saidst thou not, There is no hope: thou hast found the life of thine hand; therefore thou wast not grieved. (Isaiah 57:9,10)

Only when we are finally willing to break and truly bow to God are we saved. We then enter a place of safety from our own self-destructive ways because we are ready to let God be our King and order our path. Many though bend but do not break. They refuse to receive a “course correction” even after getting a “whipping.”

For the people turneth not unto him that smiteth them, neither do they seek the LORD of hosts. (Isaiah 9:13)

O LORD, are not thine eyes upon the truth? thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved; thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return. (Jeremiah 5:3)

There is a limited window of opportunity to avert the ruin that will come upon us if we continue running from God’s claim on our life.

. . . Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye. (Ezekiel 18:30-32)

God give us a “space to repent.” But that space is not indefinite.

And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. (Revelation 2:21)

And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. (Genesis 6:3)

If we stubbornly continue to run from God and the conviction of His Spirit we head into certain self-destruction.

He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy. (Proverbs 29:1)

Every proud heart, which insists on living life without giving God His proper due, eventually has the “curtain close” on their fugitive days. Derangement, to one degree or another, is the darkness that descends upon proud “hold outs.”

Give glory to the LORD your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and, while ye look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness.But if ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret places for your pride; and mine eye shall weep sore, and run down with tears, because the LORD’S flock is carried away captive. (Jeremiah 13:16,17)

 


Michael Beck is a pastor in New York City and the main author on Signpost. You can find him on Facebook.