Writer, teacher and Public Speaker

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Judgment and the House of the Lord

“Judgment begins in the house of the Lord.”

What I see and hear right now from church going folks is that judgment is coming to our nation because of the recent Supreme Court ruling. I see lots of prayer-less and careless fingers pointing to “those people” who have brought down our nation.

When Nehemiah prayed to God, he prayed, “We have sinned—“ he included himself in the corporate sins of his nation. When the prophet Isaiah prayed, he said, “I am a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips.” In the presence of a Holy God he saw not just the sins of his nation, but he saw his own sin.

When we point our graceless fingers at the unbelievers it smacks of self-righteousness, not authentic righteousness. With authentic righteousness we realize, “my righteousness is as filthy rags.” There is “none who is righteous. No not one.” – “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Pride and especially religious pride is an abomination before God.

Have you not read about the time that James and John offered to call down fire from heaven upon those who rejected Christ? In turn Christ responded, “You don’t know what spirit you are of!”

I’ve been part of the organized church now for more than twenty years and there is much I love, I’ve found grace and acceptance from many unlikely souls. But I’ve wrestled with much in the church that is ‘ungodly’. Fifteen years ago, I came very close to leaving the “organized church.” I saw behaviors, sins if you will, that ripped my heart out.

Furthermore, I’ve noticed that the service that draws the fewest churchgoers is the prayer meeting. How do Christians expect to keep the graces and disciplines of God if they fail to seek His face, privately and corporately?

It is only through prayer that His Spirit fills me to overflowing so I can live in His strength and not my own. Otherwise I risk having my prayers be as unpleasant as a clanging symbol. I challenge you, if you pray today, go in your kitchen and take a metal spoon and mixing bowl. Beat on it while you pray. That’s how it sounds when we come before God with a loveless heart. And who can change our loveless hearts? Him, only Him.

Will judgment come to our nation? Perhaps. But from what I read in scripture Judgment begins in the house of the Lord. First we must take inventory of our own hearts – if we consider ourselves to be God’s people, then we must turn our hearts towards him. What rudder will turn this nation around?

God himself told us through the prayers of King Solomon. “If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin and heal their land.” (emphasis mine.)

Our hearts should be more grieved than angry - we should seek God first so we can give prayerful and thoughtful responses. Perhaps all preaching should cease for a while and we should just call a solemn assembly. Perhaps every Sunday service should be a prayer service rather than a pep-rally. How can the unbelieving world know about the "kindness of God that leads to repentance" if the people who bear God's name are unkind? If I was an unbeliever I certainly wouldn't want to come to a church filled with those sorts of folks.