Monday: Those Who Devise Iniquity
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Read Micah 2:1-11 and Micah 3.

Image © Jeff Preston from GoodSalt.com

Image © Jeff Preston from GoodSalt.com

What are the sins that threaten to bring judgment upon these people?

“The accession of Ahaz to the throne brought Isaiah and his associates face to face with conditions more appalling than any that had hitherto existed in the realm of Judah. Many who had formerly withstood the seductive influence of idolatrous practices were now being persuaded to take part in the worship of heathen deities. Princes in Israel were proving untrue to their trust; false prophets were arising with messages to lead astray; even some of the priests were teaching for hire. Yet the leaders in apostasy still kept up the forms of divine worship and claimed to be numbered among the people of God. “The prophet Micah, who bore his testimony during those troublous times, declared that sinners in Zion, while claiming to ‘lean upon the Lord,’ and blasphemously boasting, ‘Is not the Lord among us? none evil can come upon us,’ continued to ‘build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity.’ Micah 3:10-11.”—Ellen G. White, Prophets and Kings, p. 322.

One of the constant problems that the Hebrew nation faced was the deception that their special status as God’s people—their knowledge of the true God, as opposed to the silliness of the pagan idolatry (see Ps. 115:4-9)—made them somehow immune to divine retribution. The terrible truth, however, was that it was precisely because they had special status before God that they would be deemed that much more guilty for their sins. Time and again, such as in the book of Deuteronomy, the Lord warned them that all the blessings, protection, and prosperity that would be theirs were conditioned upon obedience to His commands, such as seen in this caution: “Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons” (Deut. 4:9).

However much we might try to fool ourselves, in what ways are we, as Seventh-day Adventists, with so much light, in danger of making this same error?

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Monday: Those Who Devise Iniquity — 16 Comments

  1. We are called with prophetic duty. If fallen we are not just sinners like rest of men but we are traitors of our special calling. We think of comfort in Christ cleaning our sins, but we must recieve punishment like disobedient sons of God.

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  2. It has been a blessing to me to be able to study my Sabbath School lesson in this forum. Yesterday I taught the Earliteen SS class and unfortunately none of the children brought their lesson with then. However, I was able to have them use their cell phone and download the lesson. We had an exciting time in God's word. Keep up the good work. Maranatha!

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  3. We are already in the trap,we just want to be called sabbath keepers but the truth is not in us,when people see us,they think we know a lot and we read a lot but God help us we need to revive and be does of the Bible.

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  4. I'm so thank ful for this site I can read the Quarterly in the UAE where u can hardly find bretheren in Christ

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    • Dear Eugene,

      I am surprised to know that you are not aware of our many SDA churches around UAE ... please let me know if you want more information.

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  5. We keep the ten commandments, we have a good relationship with Christ, and let our light shine. We have the right to be called the chosen, and think good of ourselves. We will proudly say, lo this is our God, we have depended on Him, we are ready to let Him take us home. Isaiah 25:9
    Remember God Loves You!

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    • Salvation is free...Jesus' righteousness has been imputed to us.. BECAUSE we are save, God enables us to obey the 10 commandments...Love for God and love for our neighbors become a lifestyle through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Jesus is the Author and Finisher of our faith..No merit of our own...

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  6. We are doing the same thing the children of Israel were doing 2800years ago if not worse.We are guilty of five things: the ring, women ordination, divorce, music, ministers for hired, even so called professors are confused, scripture is best explained with scripture.

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    • Your comment would be better understood if you elaborated more on those reasons you said that we are like the Hebrews.
      Let us be careful not to let things not related to our salvation interfer with our salvation. As you said scripture is best explained with scripture, so please show us scriptures that go against ring, women ordination, music, hired ministers etc. that we may understand them for ourselves.
      May the Holy Spirit enlighten us as we study God's word.

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      • I'm a little confuse myself. Now, I do know time have change so has music. I have heard most gospel music are considered worldly music, but most of the artist we see and hear on the radio have give themselves to devil. Now there's a lot of explaining in this person remarks, I'm not certain if all is accurate. Visited churchpond.com (calvary sda(neeport news va) and join pastor sermon which might reference the above comment

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        • Hi Monique,

          Please re-read Tyler Cluthe's comment (below), because he makes some very important points. Jesus told us what is of real importance, but the scribes and Pharisees focused on minor details to such an extent that they broke the law of God in major ways.

          The same thing often happens today on subjects such as music, jewelry, church policies, etc.

          I advise against going to websites that tell you about the "satanic" content of modern worship music. They focus on the devil and thereby smear some music that was written to glorify God.

          Our focus should be on God. He is willing to answer our questions directly.

          If you want to know if the music you are listening to or singing glorifies God, you will know it without going to such websites or listening to such lectures. Just ask the Lord about it with a willing heart. Also note how it makes you feel: Does it make you think of God and worship Him? Does it make you want to serve Him more faithfully? Does it make you want to study His Word? If the answer to these questions is Yes, it doesn't matter what anyone says about it.

          You rightly noted that music changes, and music is also a very personal matter. Thus the music that can make one person think of heaven can make another think of the dance hall. No one can prescribe music for you any better than you can choose by the help of God. He will not lead you astray if you ask Him with a willing heart.

          By the way, you are wise to be skeptical about "a lot of explaining" that people do to justify their opinions about music they don't like. The best thing is to avoid such sites altogether.

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    • Jesus prioritized what was important when He said, "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone" (Matt. 23:23 NKJV).

      Micah said about the same thing. "He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?" (Mic. 6:8 NKJV). Jewelry, women's ordination and the like are not the important things, they are very minor by comparison. It is when we act more like the heathen in our dealings with people and despise the principles of God's law - that is when we get ourselves in trouble. As Jesus said, "What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man" (Mk. 7:20-23 NKJV).

      What the Old Testament prophets were constantly warning about was the cheating, the bribery, the injustice in the courts of law, the neglect of those in need, and the turning away from God to horrid pagan gods like Baal where all forms of cruelty and promiscuity existed. Those ancient people were scattering the sheep to the slaughter for the sake of self rather than gathering them under God's care and love and that is what finally brought God's wrath upon them.

      Or to put it in another way, look at the two attribute lists Paul gives in Galatians 5, one of the lost and one of the saved:
      Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. (Gal. 5:19-23 NKJV)

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    • I beg your pardon. We keep the ten commandments, we abide in Christ, Christ shines through us, we say lo this is our God take us home, unless He decides He has more for us to introduce to Him before He comes. Come on now, we are the chosen. Let's admit it. We are the fastest growing church in the world.

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  7. Thank you Mr Tyler for such a powerful comment, but I need clarification. Of late I have been seeing my brethren at church with cutex, makeup, long drads. May you explain 1 Tim 2:9. Paul is also reminding us that we are not to conform to the world in Romans 12:2.

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    • Nelly, thank you for being a good Berean and not like the Thessalonians who rejected what Paul preached without going to the scriptures to find out whether those things were true or not. The questions you ask and the scripture you bring to the table are important.

      First, please notice what Jesus said in Matthew 23, "For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone" (Matt. 23:23 NKJV). He was not criticizing their paying tithe in detail but that they were focusing on those minor matters while completely neglecting the more important ones. So it is not a matter of being an either/or proposition but rather an "and" one where both are appropriately cared for. To put a sharp point on things, I have met "good" Adventist people that made very sure that they tithed to the penny, read their Bible every day and did everything they were supposed to do even to the point of what foods they ate except for what was most important. They were not mindful of their relationship to other people. While they meticulously did all those mechanical things they were also rather judgmental and critical of others and thought that they were the models of proper Christianity and therefore condemned everyone else who they viewed as being less committed just like the parable of the Pharisee praying in the temple did (Lk 18:10-14). On the other hand I have met people decked out with jewelry from head to toe that were the nicest, gentlest, most forgiving people I ever met. If you feel that there is something wrong with this picture then I would have to agree with you.

      Can we then say that what Paul says in 1 Tim 2:9 is unimportant? Absolutely not, but the counsel he gives to his church in that text is minor compared to our attitude toward other people yet it involves much the same thing and needs some attention also. The whole problem with an inordinate amount of focusing on the do's and don'ts is that after a while our salvation becomes a matter of works where it needs to be solidly based on grace through faith. In this respect we need a healthy balance between the two. When we do concern ourselves with what we do we should spend far more time on "the weightier matters of the law" rather than majoring in the minors.

      Considering those minor things, the problem with jewelry is that if we are fanatically concerned with our appearance then we are neither focused on Christ nor uplifting the church but instead are concerned with how great we appear in the eyes of other people. It is a focus on self and that can become a big problem especially when we start comparing ourselves with other people. That doesn't mean that we are to neglect our appearance but only that we shouldn't be obsessed with it. Jewelry in and of itself is not the thing that will cause us to lose Heaven any more than having a lot of money will but forgetting the two major laws (Mat 22:36-39) most certainly will drive us down to hell. Besides that, there are a lot of reasons why people do things like wearing jewelry and sometimes it is because they are either hurting inside or are compensating for a perceived lack of something which should trigger us to be more like Jesus was - gently fanning a smoking flax (Mat 12:20; Jn 8:11).

      When it comes to what Paul says in Rom 12:2, I agree with him, but we need to be careful how we apply it. For instance, abiding by the laws of the land (the world) does not violate this verse unless it opposes God's law. What Paul is talking about here is the principles that worldly people often live by which usually is against the foundation of God's government of genuine love. Those are the things we are to separate ourselves from and not the people who commit them because that is how Jesus related to people. That is an emphatic point that needs to be made because we can't witness to people we have no contact with. While we do that we also need to realize that we have our own pet sins to deal with as well that condemns us to death which should humble us quite a bit and level the playing field. Like James said of the law it doesn't make any difference which link in the chain we break, if we break one the whole chain is broken (James 2:10)!

      So, in summing things up no one enjoys looking like a grungy bum so everyone tries to present themselves in an appealing way. Therefore, looking presentable is not what Paul is talking about. What he is saying is that we should shift our focus more to what comes out of our hearts rather than our outward appearance (remember the whitewashed tombs). It is our character that is the most important thing between the two both in witnessing of Christ and in what it means to our salvation. Certainly, it is far more important than what we wear so to me that is what we should be most concerned with without totally forgetting the other.

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