Monday, January 6, 2014

Whom Do You Follow?

In church yesterday our pastor read from the book of Malachi, telling us that God's blessings to us come not from simple grace but from our relationship with Him. People who do not have a relationship with God often prosper and do well in this life but they will not be recognized by the kingdom of heaven.

Malachi is the last book in the Old Testament. Malachi was a prophet who wrote the infamous text used by George Frederick Handel in his work "The Messiah." - "But who may abide the day of his coming? And who shall stand when he appeareth? For He is like a refiner's fire."

In Malachi 3:15 he says "So now we call the proud blessed, for those who do wickedness are raised up;
They even tempt God and go free."

If it was common in Malachi's day it's even worse today. In this modern day of celebrity worship and "anything goes to achieve money and fame", the proud ("arrogant" in another translation) and those who do wickedness are raised up (evildoers prosper) and often achieve fame and fortune. Some use their fame and fortune to attack Christianity and to mock God.

This verse reminds me of how many people in this country follow celebrities and their antics more than they follow the Bible and how many people listen to them as if they are worthy of our trust. There are also people who elevate our current President to Godlike status. Certain ignorant celebrities have made blatantly blasphemous statements in public forums concerning Obama - even comparing him to God Himself.

Interestingly, the President has encouraged that idolatry himself. In a speech in January, 2008, at Dartmouth College, the President told the students: “A light will shine through that window, a beam of light will come down upon you; you will experience an epiphany, and you will suddenly realize that you must go to the polls and vote” for Obama.

Not necessarily a celebrity, former Newsweek editor Evan Thomas said of Obama in 2009: "We stand for something – I mean in a way Obama’s standing above the country, above – above the world, he’s sort of God,”

Louis Farrakhan once said that when Obama talks "the Messiah is absolutely speaking." Interestingly, he later called Obama an assassin and a murderer for approving intervention in Libya which lead to the death of Muammar Gaddafi.

Comedian Jaime Foxx, during an awards ceremony in 2012, asked the audience to "give thanks to God, and our Lord and Savior, Barack Obama."

British musician Sting was quoted as saying “In many ways, he’s sent from God, because the world’s a mess.”

Just before Christmas in 2013, Barbara Walters was interviewed by Piers Morgan and asked why President Obama was having such a difficult time. Her response was difficult to believe. In part, she said "We thought that he was going to be -- I shouldn't say this at Christmastime -- but the next Messiah."

It's difficult to understand why people do and say the things they do unless you realize that the United States of America is quickly becoming a more Godless nation. Is it any wonder we are having so many problems when God is being systematically removed from our government and our schools and Christianity is being attacked not only by many in the general public but by a President who himself claims to be a Christian?

Malachi is pretty clear. Verses 16 through 18 of chapter 3 spell it out pretty well.

"16 Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name.
17 And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. 18 Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not."

So what's your relationship with God? Will you follow the arrogant and the evildoers or will the Lord find your name in the book of remembrance?

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