Empty threats

threatenEver made an empty threat? Now be honest… you know you have. We’ve told our kids they will be grounded for the the rest of their lives. And did we follow through? No, we didn’t. Some of you have made some bigger empty threats than that. You’ve written verbal checks with insufficient funds. You knew it when you said it;  you weren’t really going to do it. But to the person threatened, it feels much more real. That’s why we do it, right? We hope our kids take us seriously. It’s an unrealistic motivational tool. Nevertheless, it is used every day.

Being threatened isn’t fun. In fact, it can be downright scary. In the book of Nehemiah, the Jews who were rebuilding the wall faced these kinds of threats. Mean threats, scary threats, death threats.  Oh, and it’s important to mention… empty threats.

Nehemiah 4:11-14 11 Also our enemies said, “Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work.” 12 Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, “Wherever you turn, they will attack us.” 13 Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows. 14 After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”

These threats were meant to intimidate and discourage. They were meant to keep the work of God from stopping. Yet all throughout history, threats have never stopped the work of God. Never have they caused God to tremble and wonder if He could pull it off. Not once has God second guessed Himself  because someone took Him to task.

Yet so many of God’s people listen to the voice of the enemy. They listen to his empty threats and it causes them to be paralyzed in fear. “I’ll destroy your family. You’ll never succeed, I’ll make sure of it. You won’t ever amount to anything. God couldn’t possibly use a failure like you. You will fail again just like you always do.” Threats. EMPTY THREATS. 

To those threats of the enemy on your life, I repeat the words of Nehemiah today. “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” Call out the empty threats of the enemy today. Fight for what God has promised you and put your faith in Him!

When right things don’t fix wrong things

Genesis 28:8-9 Esau then realized how displeasing the Canaanite women were to his father Isaac; so he went to Ishmael and married Mahalath, the sister of Nebaioth and daughter of Ishmael son of Abraham, in addition to the wives he already had.

backspaceEveryone messes up.  Sometimes we mess up on accident and sometimes on purpose.  There are those times when we didn’t know any better, but we were still wrong. For example, getting caught going 50mph in a 35 when you never saw the speed limit sign would be a mess up that was on accident.  If you are going 100mph, you are going to have a hard time convincing the officer it was a mistake.  You blew it, just admit it.

Sometimes we think can do something right to fix what was wrong.  And we can fix some of the damage. Other times, however, no amount of fixing will do the job.  You’ve heard the expression that 3 wrongs don’t make a right (which is odd because 3 lefts certainly do).  I would say that in the same way, 3 rights don’t fix a wrong.  A week’s worth of being a good person doesn’t repair a lifetime of poor choices.

Esau had a startling realization: he had married the wrong women.  The word on the street was that his dad didn’t approve of Canaanite women, which apparently he had married.  So in order to remedy the situation, he went out and found an additional wife.  She was a good wife, a good choice, the right kind apparently.  This will make dad proud.  Now I have the right kind of wife.  Just one question, Esau… what about your other wives?  How does marrying one right wife change the fact that you are married to a handful of wrong ones?  Short answer – it doesn’t.

Placing a drop of clean water in contaminated water doesn’t make it drinkable.  Doing one right thing doesn’t negate the 3 previous wrong things.  But many people approach God in this way.  They try to clean up their act before going to Him.  They make a point to be good the day before church.  Maybe He won’t notice all the other days.  We try to so hard, but we need to realize that all these right things don’t fix the wrong things.  There’s just one solution: Jesus. Jesus fixed all the wrong things.  He did for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves.   He made right what we had made wrong. He is our saviour, our fixer; He is all that is right.

*Are you trying to fix all your wrong things on your own?  Turn it over to Jesus and let Him make it right.