Today, we are going to look at the difference between living in God’s
heavenly will, as opposed to living in the ways of the world.
This past Thursday evening, National Geographic had a program that exposed some of the hidden ways of the world, including an hour long session about the horrible ways animals are treated in commercial establishments.
They also had industry spokespeople who kept denying the truth, even in the face of the horrors depicted, which we considered to be very similar to the way the world and most of the churches are today, particularly when it comes to the wellbeing of animals, and those who care about them.
It also seemed to be a good way to begin today’s Bible message.
Note what we are told in Psalm 107:1-9.
1. Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
This is all very true, but the world is still filled with evil and violence.
Then we must ask: if the Lord is good and His lovingkindness is everlasting, then why does He allow so many humans and animals to suffer, particularly the animals who are innocent and cannot speak for themselves?
2. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary,
We who truly believe and are born again, and who have been plucked from the
hand of the devil, still live in a violent and corrupt world.
It is not enough to say the Lord is good and He has saved me.
We need to speak out and take a positive stand against the evil ways of the world, for this is part of the way we say thank you to the Lord for saving us; we have to help save other humans and animals from the corrupt ways of the devil and the people who follow him that cause millions of humans and billions of animals to suffer and die every year.
3. And gathered from the lands,
From the east and from the west,
From the north and from the south.
4. They wandered in the wilderness in a desert region;
They did not find a way to an inhabited city.
5. They were hungry and thirsty;
Their soul fainted within them.
6. Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble;
He delivered them out of their distresses.
Just as the Lord led the Israelites through the wilderness, so are we to
help lead the oppressed humans and animals from this corrupted land into the
freedom that God created for them.
And we are to do this legally and peacefully.
7. He led them also by a straight way,
To go to an inhabited city.
8. Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness,
And for His wonders to the sons of men!
9. For He has satisfied the thirsty soul,
And the hungry soul He has filled with what is good.
God has done this for some of us so that we would help end our warring
madness that has oppressed so many people around the world, and imprisoned
billions of captive animals in concentration camp-like factory farms and
laboratories, where they never have any peace.
The events depicted in the book of Hosea took place thousands of years ago, but we can still apply these truths to situations in the world, today, as we can see in Hosea 11:1-12.
1. When Israel was a youth I loved him,
And out of Egypt I called My son.
2. The more they called them,
The more they went from them;
They kept sacrificing to the Baals
And burning incense to idols.
Just as the Israelites turned away from the Lord their God, so are the
people today going after the bloodthirsty ways of the devil, and flaunting
it on their bodies and on their plates.
They have made idols of fur, leather, flesh, and other animal products, and they never seem to be satisfied.
3. Yet it is I who taught Ephraim to walk,
I took them in My arms;
But they did not know that I healed them.
4. I led them with cords of a man, with bonds of love,
And I became to them as one who lifts the yoke from their jaws;
And I bent down and fed them.
He fed them with the vegan bread of life, the bread from heaven, manna, just
as he supplied all the plant foods in Eden, which are still with us today,
so that we are without an excuse.
Humans choose to live in the cruel ways of the world.
5. They will not return to the land of Egypt;
But Assyria — he will be their king,
Because they refused to return to Me.
6. And the sword will whirl against their cities,
And will demolish their gate bars
And consume them because of their counsels.
7. So My people are bent on turning from Me.
Though they call them to the One on high,
None at all exalts Him.
Because of the evil ways of the Israelites, they will be led away into
captivity. Unfortunately, instead of the people learning from the horrors of
captivity, they turned around and did the same things to the animals who did
nothing against God or them.
This is living in the ways of the world.
And because of this, God is angry; but in His lovingkindness, He still seeks our repentance.
8. How can I give you up, O Ephraim?
How can I surrender you, O Israel?
How can I make you like Admah?
How can I treat you like Zeboiim?
My heart is turned over within Me,
All My compassions are kindled.
9. I will not execute My fierce anger;
I will not destroy Ephraim again.
For I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst,
And I will not come in wrath.
10. They will walk after the LORD,
He will roar like a lion;
Indeed He will roar,
And His sons will come trembling from the west.
11. They will come trembling like birds from Egypt,
And like doves from the land of Assyria;
And I will settle them in their houses, declares the LORD.
12. Ephraim surrounds Me with lies,
And the house of Israel with deceit;
Judah is also unruly against God,
Even against the Holy One who is faithful.
Just as God hoped for the return of the Israelites, so He is hoping for the
people of today to end their warring madness and violence, and return to Him
As Isaiah prophesied in 11:9, we shall no longer hurt or destroy in all the world, for we will have returned to the peaceful plant food diet He created for them and us in Eden, which like the heavenly will of God, contains no suffering or death.
This is similar to what Jesus was trying to teach the people in Luke 12:1-12.
1. Under these circumstances, after so many thousands of the multitude had gathered together that they were stepping on one another, He began saying to His disciples first of all, "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
Because Jesus was teaching the truth about the kingdom of God, the people
flocked to be with Him and to hear what He would teach them.
In saying “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees”, He is also telling us today to beware of the evil teaching of the clergy who continue to teach that God wants us to live in the violent blood-shedding ways of this world with all its suffering and death.
If they are not teaching us to live in the heavenly will of God, where there is no suffering or death, they are not following the will of God, but the worldly ways of the devil.
2. "But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.
In other words, we should see the difference and shine the light of the Lord upon the darkness of evil, and thus expose it to the world around us.
3. "Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the
light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms shall be proclaimed
upon the housetops.
4. "And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.
5. "But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who after He has killed has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!
The world lives as though the devil is their friend, and no longer fears or respects the Lord their God; this is opposite to the way we are to live.
6. "Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? And yet not one of them is forgotten before God.
The world puts practically no value upon sparrows, or most other animals, but God considers them to have worth.
7. "Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are of more value than many sparrows.
When God called upon humans to rule over the world and protect it, He considered us to be of more value than the sparrows or other animals; but in this we have failed miserably.
8. "And I say to you, everyone who confesses Me before men, the Son of Man
shall confess him also before the angels of God;
9. but he who denies Me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.
This is the state that most people are in, for by denying the value of God’s creation, by continuing to harm and destroy it, they are actually denying God.
10. "And everyone who will speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him.
For the Holy Spirit tells us the truth.
11. "And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the
authorities, do not become anxious about how or what you should speak in
your defense, or what you should say;
12. for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say."
And this applies to the loving, compassionate, and peacemaking children of
God, when they are ostracized by the church, because the love God’s other
creatures and don’t eat them.
It’s just as Paul wrote to the Colossians in 3:1-11.
1. If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things
above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
2. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.
3. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
4. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
We are no longer to follow the violent ways of the world.
We are to be living in the peaceful realm of heaven where there is no suffering or death.
5. Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.
To take the life of another living being for sport, or to wear their skins, or eat their flesh is an evil greedy desire, which is no different than idolatry.
6. For it is on account of these things that the wrath of God will come,
7. and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them.
8. But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.
9. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices,
10. and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him
11. — a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.
We are all to get along together in loving peace, just as it was in Eden
before the Fall, and as it is in heaven now and forever more.
This is the direction the Bible is teaching us.
This is the way God wants us to be.
This is living in God’s heavenly will.