Interestingly, I had a meeting recently, followed by a chat with a small group afterwards. Then I saw something when I came home that has inspired me to share the following, which is based on the conversation and my subsequent observation.
One of the things I love to receive from the Lord is a warning because it can help to avert disaster. I prefer to correct something now than to pay the price later. But even a warning from the Lord is not always clearly communicated. In Numbers 12:6-8, the Lord said sometimes He communicates more clearly than others. You may have had experiences where you later discovered what the Lord was warning you about, and even though it was very serious, the warning was vague, even though you knew it was a warning. Well, I am here to tell you that clarity costs.
The Lord had very important messages to communicate to the pharaoh of Egypt (Genesis 41) and the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 2). However, those two dreams required someone to interpret them. Conversely, when Laban was trying to cheat Jacob of his wages, the Lord tipped the scales of justice in Jacob’s favor by clearly revealing which animals would reproduce (Genesis 31). Similarly, the Lord clearly communicated to king Abimelech (Genesis 20) and Joseph (Matthew 2) in dreams.
I won’t go into details, but the absolutely worst experience of my life was not without warnings from the Lord, but the warnings were not very clear to me at the time. It was like putting together a puzzle while wearing foggy glasses. But in retrospect, I can see the various ways the Lord was warning me, and also why I could not perceive things clearly at the time. I got in serious trouble, a hot mess, but the Lord graciously rescued me from that hell on earth. One of the reasons was because the warnings were not very clear (to me then) so my actions could be counted as out of ignorance rather than willful disobedience to the Lord. Again, clarity costs, especially when it results in willful disobedience (see 1 Kings 13). Quite frankly, at the time I thought the Lord was putting me through the most difficult test of my life, like when He told Abraham to sacrifice his only beloved son (Genesis 22). It was so difficult that I actually asked the Lord to kill me and send me to hell instead. Oh, another reason why the Lord was so gracious to me was because the devil wanted me dead; it was serious!
Prior to and even after my horrific experiences, which even though the Lord delivered me from still came with serious enduring consequences, the Lord has had me deliver warnings to people. But those warnings were given clearly, which means a person’s failure to comply means disobeying the Lord. Yet, I may give a person a strong warning at the time but the person still has the right to choose, and reap the consequences for his or her decisions. When Micaiah warned king Ahab that if he went to battle he was going to die, the king chose to ignore the prophet’s warning. In fact, he put the prophet in prison. But Micaiah simply let him clearly know that if he returned from battle then the Lord had not spoken through him (1 Kings 22:28). When you deliver a true message from the Lord, you never have to try to convince someone it was from the Lord. The message will either bear witness to the person’s spirit, or, the recipient will find out in the fullness of time. Sadly, sometimes a person forgets about the warning and then cries out to the Lord and asks, “Why me?” You don’t have to believe me, but the Lord does not give idle warnings.
Another type of warning is when a blessing from the Lord has conditions attached but He really wants to stress the conditions so the recipient does not mismanage or lose the blessing. An example of this is when the Lord clearly spoke to the newly appointed king Solomon about how He would bless the king, but he had to keep the Lord’s statues and commandments, like his father David (1 Kings 3:14). Sadly, we later see that even though he was blessed, Solomon violated the Lord’s commandment with respect to marriage. As a result, his foreign wives and concubines turned the king’s heart away from the Lord and into idolatry (1 Kings 11). I recall giving a similar message to someone. The Lord seemingly had me spend three times longer on the warnings regarding stewardship than the blessing itself. The recipient of that message may not have understood the underlying message behind the delivery, but I was painfully aware of the reason. Oftentimes, when the Lord gives you such a message, it means He knows you are on track to mess something up and He is trying to warn you in an effort to avert it. When Cain was angry with Abel, the Lord told him that sin was crouching at his door but he must rule over it. The rest of Genesis 4 tells the story of murder and the ensuing consequences. Cain complained about the punishment but he could not complain that the Lord had not warned him. If the Lord does not warn you of something, consider it as judgment against you. For example, Rebekah and her son Jacob conspired to deceive Isaac into giving Esau’s blessing to Jacob (Genesis 27). The deception worked, but there was a price to pay, beside Jacob having to flee. When Laban subsequently tried to deceive Jacob into marrying Leah, a woman he hated, the Lord was silent. Jacob was clueless about whom he had married until he woke up the following morning. Consequently, if you can honestly say that the Lord did not specifically warn you about something, you may want to find out why. In addition, lest not forget some of the enduring general warnings that are in the following Scriptures: Deuteronomy 32:35, Galatians 6:7-8, Obadiah 1:15, Psalm 7:14-16, Proverbs 6:27-31, etc.
The Lord is full of mercy and grace, but when He gives a clear warning, it means choosing to ignore it, and consequently Him, is an act of willful disobedience instead of ignorance. There have been times when I warned individuals about things and they persisted and I either kept quiet or interceded. But oftentimes, there is no intercession because the Lord gives us the free will to make choices, to include contrary to His will, and He allows us to reap the consequences of those decisions. I am passionate about delivering warnings from the Lord. One reason is because I have committed many sins in my life but I never knew how severe the consequences would be, even for seemingly minor infractions. The devil is constantly seeking to get or retain legal access into our lives and sin provides that gateway. There are times when people are reaping the consequences of certain actions from many years ago. Yet, they cannot make the correlation between current challenges and past sins. Engaging in sin is basically making a covenant with the devil. One of the numerous hypocrisies about the devil is that he will help you break a covenant with the Lord but he does not give up easily when you try breaking a covenant with him. The devil will try to hold you to every letter of the covenant you either knowingly or unknowingly made with him. Thank God that there is power in the name of Jesus, the only begotten Son who was sent to free us from the bondage of sin and death. ‘If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.’ ~ John 8:36 (KJV)
Thank the Lord for His love, which includes His mercy and grace. I close with the following reminder (instead of a warning) about God’s mercy and grace: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” ~ Romans 8:1-2 (KJV)
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