The Lord Giveth, and The Lord Taketh Away

Man likes to think he is in charge when in reality he is in charge of nothing. The bible tells us we cannot so much as change one hair on our head from black to gray or gray to black. Neither can we alter the weather, the seasons, the aging process, or our day of death, but yet man likes to think he is in charge of his life. We can think whatever we like, but that doesn’t change the outcome that was never under our control. The bible also teaches that God made vessels of honor and vessels of dishonor. He made all of them to serve a specific purpose, and no matter how brightly we make a spittoon glisten, it is still a spittoon, a vessel of dishonor; and no matter how dirty a golden spoon may get, it is still a golden spoon and a thing of honor. We cannot change anything God has ordained. We can try, but we are what God made us and only He can change the purpose for which we were made. As a human being made in the image of God we have been given certain rights; we can petition Him to change us from a sinner (a vessel of dishonor) to a saint (a vessel of honor) and He tells us, He will. He also tells us how to please Him, but we can go against His wishes and do what is wrong, He is okay with that; but we will pay the consequences for making ourselves a vessel of dishonor. Man was created to be vessels of honor, but if we do not honor the One who created us, we become a vessel of dishonor and will be treated as such.

The following is from Zechariah 7:8-14 and is a story of God’s people who were highly honored and blessed but chose to be dishonorable men until their enemy was knocking on their door. The message Zechariah tells us wasn’t a new message, the Israelites had heard the same words numerous times from the mouths of God’s former prophets. That’s what happens when we decide to be something other than what we were created to be. We become captives and fall into the hands of our enemies who then abuse us and use us for their pleasure. God said to them “Thus says the Lord of Hosts: Execute true justice, show mercy and compassion everyone to his brother. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. Let none of you plan evil in his heart against his brother.” Doesn’t this sound like the beatitudes Jesus taught His New Testament disciples. But instead of listening to sage advice, God said, “They refused to heed, shrugged their shoulders, and stopped their ears so that they could not hear. Yes, they made their hearts like flint, refusing to hear the law and the words which the Lord of Hosts had sent them by His Spirit through the former prophets. Thus great wrath came from the Lord of Hosts. Therefore it happened, that just as He proclaimed and they would not hear, so they called out and I would not listen, “Says the Lord of Hosts.” But I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations which they had not known. Thus the land became desolate after them, so that no one passed through or returned; for they made the pleasant land desolate.”

As I sit and read these words in Zechariah they reminds me of the people in modern-day America. We have been blessed more than any nation on the earth either past or present, and yet we refuse to listen to the One who has blessed us and gave us this great land. If a person gets nothing else out of the bible when they read God’s Word – it should be that God rewards the faithful, and chastises the ungrateful. In the above story, Israel had been tremendously blessed for hundreds of years. They had moved into houses they didn’t build, harvested crops they didn’t plant, drew water from wells they hadn’t dug, worked mines they didn’t dig, and took possession of cities they hadn’t constructed, but despite all this, they disobeyed God’s commands and abused their brothers and brought hardship upon them treating them like slaves rather than freemen. And when God spoke to them about this situation they hardened their hearts because they loved their sin and temporary power more than they loved the one who had blessed them. And when things started going south for them, God said to them, “You wouldn’t listen to me, and I did not listen to your cry for help. Instead, I sent the whirlwind to spread you among the nations which you did not know.”

In Zechariah seven, God is speaking to the two remaining tribes of Israelites who lived in Judah, the southern portion of Israel. The other ten tribes that had made up northern Israel had already been taken captive by Assyria and spread around the world because of their unfaithfulness; and as of today, we still do not know where these people are; yet Judah did exactly the same thing the other ten tribes had done and they had reaped the same reward. How smart does a person have to be to understand sin carries with it consequences, and when the consequences come it always means we are going to give up the things God has blessed us with. Job said, “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.” The Lord doesn’t mind blessing the faithful, but when the faithful become ungrateful and start misusing what He has let them use, He removes the blessings He gave them and the curse attached to His Law goes into effect, and all that He gave out of His great love is taken away. Psalm twenty-four one tells us, “Everything belongs to the Lord.” (My paraphrase) What that scripture is telling us is that God allows us the use of His possessions until we start abusing them; then He takes them back. That is the prerogative of the owner isn’t it? If we borrow a tool from our neighbor and break it, the owner of the tool expects us to replace it. If we don’t replace it – it is highly unlikely our neighbor will loan us anymore of his tools.

Nebuchadnezzer was the warmonger God used to bring the Israelites to their knee’s, take them as captives into his land, and make slaves of them as they had their brethren. Before Nebuchadnezzer came there were thousands upon thousands of Israelites living in Judah, but only a few thousand were taken to Babylon. What do you think happened to the rest of the people who lived in the land before Nebuchadnezzer came? They died during the two-year seige or at the hand of the warmonger. Maybe you don’t understand the purpose of a seige; but a seige is designed to very slowly squeeze the life out of a city until all of its inhabitants are either dead from starvation or they give up. During the seige every entrance, every exit, and every supply route is cut off. There is no way into the city and no way out. A seige removes any hope the inhabitants might have of help arriving to rescue them. Why is this lesson from Zechariah important to us in America today? Because our leaders are making the same mistakes the Israelites made back then. Mistakes God cannot and will not overlook. We are thumbing our nose at the One who made us great. And instead of being grateful for what He has done for us, our hearts have turned to flint, we have stopped up our ears from hearing what the Word of the Lord is saying to us, and we are doing our own thing, and we are trying to stop God’s Word from ruling our land by passing man-made laws that aren’t worth the paper they are written on. God’s Word is law, it reigns supreme, and it will execute judgment on the rebellious for their sins. Sin removes the blessing of life from a person, a city, or a nation; and one day rebels in America will come to realize just how true God’s Word is – just as the Israelites of Judah did back then.

God raised up Nebuchadnezzer and his empire to choke the life out of rebellious Judah, and there are millions upon millions of Muslims standing by today garnering world opinion in their corner to help them choke the life out of Israel and the United States so we can be destroyed. As far as Israel is concerned, they will not be removed from their land ever again. We have God’s Word on it. But there is nothing in the bible about America or the future of it. If we do not repent of our attitude toward God; who knows what the future of America holds. By this time next year we very well could be cut up into sections under the guidance of powers such as China or Russia. China more so than Russia because China has a great stake in our economy; and the Chinese are greater in number and more powerful than the Muslims. What do you think the future of America holds? I don’t know, but this I do know, if God’s people in Judah had repented of their sins and turned back to God, He would have crushed Nebuchadnezzer and his horde of murdering followers, and He will crush the Muslims, the Chinese, the Russians, or anyone else that tries to overthrow our nation if we will turn back to Him. If we do not, any and all of these nations are ready to carry away God’s blessings. God had Nebuchadnezzer prepared and in place for such a time as that in the history of Judah, and He has any number of nations ready for such a time as this in our history. I certainly hope I am wrong in my thinking about the way the world we live in is shaping up, but I really don’t think I am. DThrash

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