Did anyone have a mom who would only put up with your foolishness for so long? She would speak to you, place you on time-out, scold you, or even spank you about something you kept doing. Then your stubbornness to continue in your folly finally caused her to look at you and say, “Okay, you just keep on, I’m done.” Somehow you knew you had taken her across the line for her to have given up. You also knew that you were hanging out there on your own and you were on your way to a worse consequence than Mom could ever dole out. Once Mom gives up on you, watch out.
God is even more patient with us than Mom, but He comes to times when He gives up. As with Mom, God gives up when we push Him to do so. We can’t blame Him for the negative consequences that follow because He gives us chance after chance, and warning after warning that something bad is about to happen.
In the Old Testament, God gave up when the wickedness of mankind got ridiculously out of control. Genesis 6:5-7 tells us, “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the Lord said, ‘I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them’” (NKJ). After this, God flooded out the earth.
God gave up again in Numbers 14:22-23. He had brought the children of Israel out of the cruel Egyptian bondage and was taking them to a wonderful land, but most of the people kept disobeying and disrespecting Him. Finally He said, “Because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice, they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it” (NKJ).
One would think we’d learn to simply do things God’s way, but no. We get to the New Testament, and Paul tells us that despite the things about God that are “clearly seen,” we have still pushed and pushed for our own way. Some of us have pushed God to give up yet again. And the consequences are dire. Those who have “suppress[ed] the truth in unrighteousness… God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator… God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting” Romans 1:8, 24-28 (NKJ).
So what happens when God gives up? In Genesis, it was a worldwide flood. In Numbers, it was exclusion from reaching the Promised Land. In Romans—the current dispensation, which means today—the consequences are the shameful exchange of the natural use of one’s body, an earned penalty related to one’s health, and a debased mind. Ultimately, God says, “those who practice such things are deserving of death” Romans 1:32 (NKJ).
Here’s the good news. It is not necessary for any of us to suffer these consequences because we’ve pushed God to give up. Experience His amazing mercy today by trusting His word rather than your feelings. We glorify God by honoring our bodies, using them in the way He intended. Restoration is available in repentance. He will not give up on us when we line up with His word.
©2015 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.
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