Numbers 16:35 Then the Lord sent down fire. It burned up the 250 men who were offering the incense. 36 The Lord spoke to Moses. He said, 37 "Speak to the priest Eleazar. He is the son of Aaron. Remind him that the shallow cups are holy. He must take them out of the fire. He must scatter the burning coals away from there. 38 The men who sinned used those cups. And it cost them their lives. Hammer the cups into bronze sheets that will cover the altar. The cups were offered to the Lord. They have become holy. Let them serve as a warning to the people of Israel." (New International Reader's Version)
There's no doubt in my mind that something went terribly wrong here in this story. Wow! To God be the glory in everything that we do, see, and hear. Not only was this story dramatic enough, I didn't even mention the verses in between, where God had the earth open up and swallow lots of people. Something new that had never before been seen, God used the earth to carry out His righteous punishment on disobedient mankind. I was reminded by my preacher's call to worship just this past week with this very same story. What a wake-up call to me. A call that I'd better get my act together because I was in the Lord's presence -- I'd better get my life straight, and clear my thoughts and mind and focus on the purpose of worship. Praise and Glory be to God. He is truly awesome and Holy.
In talking with a close friend from my church, we were talking about how to get our youth interested in becoming an active participant in church services, and even further, in bearing fruit for Christ. This topic definitely got me thinking. What was my motivation for choosing a life dedicated to Christ? Not that I'm a perfect example. But what influenced my decision to give up self, and follow Christ? So again, the question is this: What motivates you?
Today, I believe whether right or wrong, most of our focus is sighted on God's love. Try these:
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
The study of God's character is definitely one study that interest me. If we could just make a list of all the qualities of God, and then study those qualities into their simplest forms, we would benefit greatly. But for today, lets just think a little if you will, on God's wrath, God's jealousy, and God's anger. What? Huh? Really? God gets mad you say? God is jealous too? God gets angry? Well, yes, yes, and uh yes. Re-read the scripture above if you've already forgotten.
Here's another story of God's wrath upon mankind:
Genesis 6:3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: 5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. 7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. 8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. 11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. 13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. 14 Make thee an ark of gopher wood;
So here's what Noah did:
Hebrews 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
Wake up people. Why do you think Noah built a silly, huge ark, out in the middle of nowhere? "Crazy Noah" they said as they mocked him. Was Noah motivated by what those people said? It did have an effect on him, but God's warning had an even greater effect on him. Noah obeyed God rather than bowing to the pressure of the people. God's character has not changed. I believe that God deals with mankind differently today, than he did in Bible times, but God definitely still gets angry.
Back to the story found in Numbers. God shows us his character and we can read and learn from other peoples mistakes. Disobedience will result in punishment if unforgiven and if unrepented. See 1 Peter 3:21-22
Do me and you a favor, and read for the next few minutes this other great story found in Matthew 25:31-46
Are you listening to what God is saying in His Word?