God Sends a Warning

by Dr. Ken Matto

(Mat 23:31 KJV) Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.

One of the greatest indictments leveled against the Scribes and Pharisees was that they were doing the same thing that their ancestors did hundreds of years before. Whenever God sent a prophet to the people of Judah or Israel, they were killed for bringing the message from God. When we look back at the history of Israel and Judah, we find that when they began to go apostate, God had sent a prophet to warn them and to bring them back to Him. However, because the hearts of the people were rebellious against God, they would not listen to the prophets and that decision resulted in God having to take action against these rebellious people.

We could look at the nation of Israel and claim that if we were there, we would not have done what they did. Let us not look at the nation of Israel but let us bring this situation down to a personal level. Just because we are saved, does that mean we could never be rebellious against the Lord Jesus Christ? The apostle Paul was a very strong Christian but he himself stated that the flesh would get in the way with his walk. (Rom 7:22-23 KJV) For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: {23} But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.  Paul knew that he was saved yet he also knew that there was a law of sin which was present in his body. The fact that sin is always present in us, not just around us, presents a problem to the Christian. We are told to let the flesh be ruled by the Spirit. However, that does not always happen because it takes very little to ignite the passions of the flesh within us and that ignition, unless checked, can propel us into a rebellion against God.

One great principle which we read in Scripture is the principle of the Prophet, that is, whenever Israel or Judah were about to enter into a sinful rebellion against God, He would dispatch a prophet to bring them to their senses. Most of the time they would not listen, instead, they would do what they could to bring about the prophets destruction.

(Isa 30:9-11 KJV) That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD: {10} Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: {11} Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.

They believed that if they could do away with the prophets that God sent, then they would be able to continue in their sin without any repercussions. Here is a nation where God had performed such miracles but they had become so rebellious that they really wanted God out of their lives. Yet, they thought that they could do anything they wanted because they believed that they already had such a great relationship with God that they did not need any of the words of the prophets. The essence of deception is that you do not know you are being deceived. This is what happened to Israel.

They were not rebellious only as a corporate nation but we read that individuals who were of the Family of God had rebelled against Him. Look at 1 Chronicles 21 when David had ordered Joab to number Israel. Joab had tried to convince David that what he was planning to do would cause Israel to trespass. Nevertheless, here was Joab trying to persuade David not to go ahead with this plan but did David listen? No he did not! This resulted in God smiting Israel. (1 Chr 21:7 KJV) And God was displeased with this thing; therefore he smote Israel. David had caused Israel to suffer because he had chosen not to listen to Joab. Satan had stood up against Israel and provoked David to number Israel as we read in 1 Chronicles 21:1. If David was walking in the Spirit and was not sure if this census was of the Lord or not, he could have taken this to the Lord and received an answer which would have been to his advantage. Here was a man after God’s own heart intentionally being disobedient. God knows the power which sin can have in a person’s life so He allowed Joab to give David the warning that he should not number Israel or it would incur the chastisement of the Lord. Sometimes a Christian can be so deceived that they believe they are walking in concert with God when in essence they have drifted.

Another king of Israel who paid no attention to the statutes of God was Ahab. Of course, he was married to Jezebel who was the daughter of Ethbaal II who was King of the Sidonians. Ahab did not concern himself with the word of God until Elijah showed up at his door and told him that he was troubling Israel. (1 Ki 18:17-18 KJV) And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel? {18} And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father's house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim. What happened following this initial meeting was the great showdown on Mt. Carmel where God struck the 450 prophets of Baal through the people who saw that it was God who was God and that Baal could not do anything for his false prophets. Here God sends Elijah to Ahab before He wipes out all the prophets of Baal. This scenario is played out many times in Scripture as we see God sending a number of prophets to the kings of Israel and Judah before He pronounced judgment against them. He was giving them an opportunity to come back in obedience to the word of God. Only a few kings would understand this situation and would attempt to make amends. Josiah was one of those kings who saw that Judah had drifted away from the Lord and was living in rebellion, so Josiah attempted to bring Judah back to the Lord. However, these reforms only lasted until the next king was chosen and if they were evil, then the reforms would quickly come to an end. If there is one thing evil rulers fear and hate, it is people and advisors with a conscience toward God.

I wanted to give these two examples which present us with a great principle found also in the New Testament. Every one of us, by reason of us being human, can drift from the Lord without us knowing it. Drifting is not something which happens overnight but is a slow process which can take years. All one has to do is ask one simple question. When you were a new Christian, did you have a great zeal for the Lord? The answer is normally, yes! Well, do you still have that great zeal or have you lapsed into a comfortable lifestyle? Do you have the same boldness today that you did when you were a new Christian? If the answer is no, then guess what, you have drifted! Oh it doesn’t always mean you have drifted into sin but if you have gone from a bold Christian life to a complacent Christian life, then you have drifted. At one time we would go to the streets and pass out tracts but now the only tract passing we do is in our bills or business reply envelopes.

The great principle which we saw in the two examples is the fact that God sent prophets to the nations before He pronounced judgment on them. He used Joab to advise David not to number Israel. It does not matter that the prophets were not heeded, the principle is there and that is, before we will drift into a sin or a wrong lifestyle, God will send someone across our path to warn us. You may have a Ph.D. and think that you possess enough smarts to prevent yourself from drifting. The opposite is true, the more education one has, even in Christianity, the easier it is to drift from the core teachings of the Bible. God gives a Scriptural mandate for believers to keep a check on one another. (Gal 6:1 KJV) Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. If we see a person who is “overtaken” in a sin then we must try and help them. Now the Greek word for “overtaken” carries with it the idea that if a person is caught in a fault and is surprised at what has transpired or unexpected consequences has hindered the person from offering any resistance.

The problem is that some Christians, because of their pride, will refuse to be helped or even believe they have a spiritual problem. Now if we go to someone in the proper attitude and offer to help them, and if they refuse, then the chastising hand of God must come upon them. God’s children must never voluntarily walk in concert with the world because then the world mocks the name of God. Christians are supposed to be different by not walking in the ways of the world. When one does, God will send someone across their path to warn them but if they refuse, they will face the consequences. Therefore, we should never despise anyone coming to us in a proper spirit who sees us going down a wrong path. After all, it is not them that will face the consequences for your rebellion, it will be you. God is protecting you by sending another Christian across your path but if you refuse, then the protection will turn to chastisement. Sometimes he might send an unbeliever who may say something which will get your attention.

I am going to conclude with a personal situation that happened to me many years ago. I have written about this before but it bears repeating. When I was a young Christian, (I got saved at 27, so I was already in the work place) I had a pretty good job as a Production Control Supervisor with four departments under me. I had gotten pretty frustrated at the job and was going to quit, without having another job. So one day I had my resignation on my front seat which I was going to hand in that very day. Well as I drove down Interstate 287 to get to my job, Dr. Robert A. Cook on the King’s Hour was on the radio. He was speaking and he said the following statement, “Somebody wants to quit their job today but don’t do it because it is always to soon to quit.” (He is not one of those charismatic false prophet types with the lay your hand on the screen mindset.) I did not take that warning and handed in my resignation which led to 12 months of unemployment and when I finally landed another job, it was farther from home and less money plus much more frustrating.

Now God sent Dr. Cook, via radio, across my path to stop me from doing something stupid. Guess what, the company I left was sold to a bigger company and I would have had a better job with a four figure bonus which was part of the negotiation on behalf of the company being sold. So when God sends someone across your path, never think that what is being told to you is for someone else, it could be, but never look beyond yourself initially. (Prov 27:6 KJV) Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. Your true friend in this life is someone willing to tell you the truth for your own good. The one who doesn’t care what happens to you is not your friend. You may have 100 acquaintances but those who are your true friends, you could probably count on your hands and those are the ones who will care.  (2/11/05)