Ruled Or Ruined ???
What happens when a people refuse to hear God's Word or walk in His ways...when they cast aside His Laws or keep not His commandments?
There are certain results that we can expect whenever a people forsake God's Law to become a law unto themselves.
What are they?
As a nation, have we forsaken the Lord? As an individual, are you on the road to destruction and don't even know it?
How would you describe a wicked people who have God's laws but choose to walk contrary?
Isaiah 30:9 and Psalm 78:10 give us an idea -
"That this a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD."
"They kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in His law."
Here is a description of the wicked and profane Jews who were unfaithful to Jehovah. They entered into a covenant with Him, promising that they would be His people and would not "lie"(Isaiah 63:8), yet they never fulfilled their vows nor kept their promises. They proved to be deceitful. Instead of hearing or heeding the "law of the LORD," they rebelled against divine authority - having a mind to do as they pleased.
They were stubborn and rebellious - abandoning His worship and forsaking their allegiance to Him for various idols. At one time, they pledged to keep His law but then willfully disobeyed it - breaking covenant with Him. These people - who were separated from others as a people prepared for the Lord - "refused to walk in His law." What treachery we see displayed here!
What happens to a people who deliberately choose to disobey God's Law...who knowing the ways of the Lord walk contrary to them?
There are six basic outcomes. Let's look into the Scriptures to see what they are. May we "hear and fear" lest we be reckoned as a people who have broken covenant with God.
1. Exchange The Truth For A Lie
Amos 2:4 says - "Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Judah, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have despised the law of the LORD, and have not kept His commandments, and their lies caused them to err, after the which their fathers have walked."
Judah willingly and contemptuously walked contrary to the light and knowledge that they had. They were said to "despise the law of the LORD." In other words, they didn't keep it - considering it as something not worth their attention and notice. In turn, God despised and rejected them - leaving them to be deceived by their own "lies" or idols. The very ideas that they at one time knew to be false - they now believed to be true.
They no longer worshipped God but Self. This gross idolatry gave the devil place in their lives to deceive them and lead them into all kinds of erroneous beliefs and practices.
This is what happens to any people who walk away from the slightest Truth.
When they no longer receive correction or "buck against" a certain requirement or standard as outlined in God's Holy Word, they immediately open themselves up to "strong delusion" and error of every sort.
2. Divine Retaliation
Hosea 4:6 says - "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to Me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of Thy God, I will also forget thy children."
"...because thou hast...I will..."
Hosea was not talking about the heathen nations here. He was referring to "My people" - God's people.
What was their situation? They were being "destroyed for lack of knowledge."
What did this knowledge entail? It included the knowledge that God is the Creator of heaven and earth...the knowledge of His ways...His demands for holiness of living and hatred for all sin...His blessings for obedience...and His chastening and judgments on all who are disobedient.
Whose fault was it that the people were ignorant and being "destroyed"? The leaders - the priests - were the ones who were "rejecting knowledge." Willfully, consciously, and deliberately, they kept back the "whole counsel of God" from the people.
Hosea implies that it was the priests who "rejected knowledge" but the people who "forgot the law" of their God. What is the difference?
"Rejection" implies a deliberate act of the will against something; whereas, "forgetting" implies an act of negligence or inattention. The priests knew God's law yet despised it by withholding it from the people. On the other hand, the people - through being absorbed with other things - neglected to give it their utmost attention.
How did God respond to this total contempt for His law on the part of the priests?
"...because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to Me..."
He took away their office.
How did He respond to the people's lackadaisical attitude toward His statutes?
"...seeing thou hast forgotten the law of Thy God, I will also forget thy children."
Because they "forgot" His law which was precious to Him, He "forgot" what was precious to them - "thy children." In other words, their offspring would no longer be the recipients of His providence and love. They were set aside.
If you are a spiritual leader and you choose to "despise" God's law by holding back the Truth from the people, then God will have no other option than to "reject" you by removing His anointing, hand of blessing and favor, or your position entirely.
If you choose to become absorbed with the things of this world rather than His will and ways and "forget His law," then He will, in turn, "forget" or lift His hand of blessing off of that which is dear to you - whatever that may be!
3. Contempt For God's Authority
Jeremiah 9:13 says - "And the LORD saith, Because they have forsaken My law which I set before them, and have not obeyed My voice, neither walked therein."
God's people did not respond to the Word of the Lord. They did not hear it - they did not "obey" His voice speaking through the prophets. They did as they pleased, acting according to the dictates of their own sinful hearts and flesh.
Their apostasy began when they omitted their duties to God - prayer and obedience to His Law. What followed was a total contempt for His authority.
Oh, Christian! Do not get too busy that you cannot find time to pray or read the Bible daily. Make no more excuses. Take heed to what happened here to the people of God. Because they got too busy for God - pursuing after their idols - they then began to "forsake His law," "disobey His voice," and "walk" after their own stubborn and hardened ways. Then when they needed help, He was no where to be found.
4. All Defenses Fall To The Enemy
2 Chronicles 12:1 says - "And it came to pass, when Rehoboam had established the kingdom, and had strengthened himself, he forsook the law of the LORD, and all Israel with him."
During the first three years of his reign, Rehoboam influenced Judah and Benjamin - "all Israel" - to seek after the Most High God. But it was in the fourth year - when things began to grow secure and prosperous - when he and the people grew remiss in their worship of God and, resultantly, "forsook" His law.
During his fifth year, God brought great troubles and calamities in order to spiritually awaken them and bring them back to Himself. Shishak, the king of Egypt, invaded the land and took all the fenced cities.
When a people choose to forsake the "law of the LORD" - the Ten Commandments - then their defenses - hedge or wall of protection - come down and enemy forces are given free reign to invade and steal, kill, and destroy.
5. Open Door For Evil
Jeremiah 6:19 says - "Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their own thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto My words, nor to My law, but rejected it."
In his Commentary on this particular verse, Matthew Henry had this to say - "They would never have been ruined thus by the judgments of God's hand if they had not refused to be ruled by the judgments of His mouth..."
These people - who were highly favored of the Lord - suffered just punishment for their rebellion and disobedience. They thought that by relying on a foreign alliance, they would be safe from all trouble. God brought desolation or "evil" - the "fruit of their own thoughts" - upon them. That which they thought would be a source of strength and aid proved to be the very source of their weakness, betrayal, exposure, and downfall.
God has a way of "turning the tables." If we choose to reject His authority to set up another one in our lives, then that - which we placed before Him - will become the cause of our own downfall.
6. Economy Affected
Isaiah 5:24 says - "Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel."
What happens when a people "cast away the law" or "despise the word of the Holy One"?
Because they refuse to obey God's Word, they face one calamity or judgment after another until their source of strength and prosperity is destroyed.
This is depicted very well by the Prophet Isaiah, using two very picturesque images.
"...as the fire devoureth the stubble , and the flame consumeth the chaff..."
"...their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust..."
Like tongues of fire passing through a field of dried grass, consuming the stalks near the ground and causing the upper portion to fall down into the flames - even so would the prosperity and economic security of the people be made to fall and be destroyed.
The "root" - oftentimes used to denote the source of national prosperity - would furnish no moisture or juices in order to sustain the plant and keep it alive. The "blossom" or flower - displaying great beauty and well-being - would become dry as fine dust and be easily blown away.
Once a society of people refuses to walk in the statutes of the Lord God, they can expect their economy or sustaining wealth to no longer be able to support the people. Or they can count upon various sources of income to dry up as dust and be no more - be easily "blown to the wind" - causing adversities, troubles, difficulties, and hardships.
Reader, are you - in any way - despising, rejecting, forsaking, casting aside, or conveniently forgetting God's law? If so, then you can expect to face "Strong Delusion," "Divine Retaliation," God's "Busy Signal" when you call on Him in the time of trouble, A Lapse in the Security and Defense of your Freedoms or Protection of your Belongings, Disillusionment and Betrayal from your Idols, as well as an Economic Collapse.
These outcomes apply for the individual as well as for any nation which chooses to walk contrary to God's Holy Commandments.
Once again, let's consider the words of Pastor Henry - "They would never have been ruined thus by the judgments of God's hand if they had not refused to be ruled by the judgments of His mouth..."
It's your choice!
No one can make it for you.
You either choose to be "ruled by the judgments of God's mouth" or be "ruined...by the judgments of His hand."
What will it be?
May God Bless His Word.