"And Er, Judah's firstborn, was wicked in
the sight of the LORD; and the LORD slew him."
OK, maybe this isn't so
bad. After all, the guy was wicked. I wonder just how wicked he
was. It doesn't say what he did.
looked up the word wicked in my concordance. Some of the definitions
are bad, evil, displeasing.
Do you think wicked meant he stole things? lusted
after something or someone? was mean to people? The Bible
"And the thing which he [Onan] did displeased the
LORD: wherefore he slew him also."
Er's brother refused to
try to make Er's wife pregnant. That's it, that's what he did.
"And when the people complained, it
displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled; and
the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the
uttermost parts of the camp."
The Israelites were
complaining again. They complained when they were hungry and they
complained when they were thirsty. They kept complaining about their
situation and insinuated that they were better off when they were back in
Egypt as slaves. So, God started burning them up. They didn't
just fall dead, they were burned. That had to hurt!!
"And while the flesh was yet between
their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the LORD was kindled against
the people, and the LORD smote the people with a very great plague."
The Israelites were
complaining again, shortly after a bunch burned up for complaining.
They wanted meat. They were tired of Manna. God didn't just slay
them, He gave them what they cried after and, before they had a chance to
finish enjoying it they died.
Lusting after meat is a major crime. Well, maybe it wasn't the lusting
but it was the complaining. I've done worse than that. Oh dear,
"And the anger of the LORD was hot against
Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them,
and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they
could not any longer stand before their enemies. "
The people of Israel
worshipped other gods like Baal and Ashtaroth. Those "gods" were
pretend. They didn't exist. So, if they didn't exist why was God
When the people were worshipping
those fake gods they were ignoring God. They were focusing all their
attention on the fake gods. They were spending time looking to the
fake gods for help, prosperity, fertility, etc.
I wonder if that is different than us focusing our
attention on other things other than God. We spend time finding ways
to make more money. We believe that we are more important than anyone
else or anything else, including God.
Where we spend our time and attention shows our
priorities. Those things can possibly be considered other gods by God.
That's a scary thought when held up in the light of what happened to Israel!
"And a certain man of the sons of the
prophets said unto his neighbour in the word of the LORD, Smite me, I pray
thee. And the man refused to smite him. Then said he unto him, Because thou hast not obeyed the voice of the
LORD, behold, as soon as thou art departed from me, a lion shall slay thee.
And as soon as he was departed from him, a lion found him, and slew him."
So, this prophet told
someone to kill him. Gosh, if someone told me to kill them I sure
wouldn't do it. However, it appears that it was clear that God was the
one ordering the murder. I'm guessing that the man who refused to
murder the prophet was a caring and compassionate person who didn't want to
murder anyone. Yet, just because he didn't do it he was killed by a
lion. He didn't drop dead, he was attacked by a lion.
Think about it. He was warned that a lion would kill
him. Then it said a lion found him. Maybe he ran and hid in
terror hoping that he wouldn't be killed by a lion. Imagine how he
felt when he realized the lion had found him! I wonder how long it
took for him to die.
"And Elijah answered and said to the
captain of fifty, If I be a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven,
and consume thee and thy fifty. And there came down fire from heaven, and
consumed him and his fifty. Again also he sent unto him another captain of fifty with his fifty. And
he answered and said unto him, O man of God, thus hath the king said, Come
"And Elijah answered and said unto them, If I be a man of God, let fire
come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And the fire of God
came down from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty."
2Ki 1:10, 12
We all know that Elijah
was special. He was a prophet who was doing God's work.
King Ahaziah had sent his men to fetch Elijah. Why
did they have to die? They were just following orders. The Bible
doesn't indicate that they did anything wrong. Actually, God
encourages us to obey our leaders, so it seems they were doing everything
"And he turned back, and looked on them,
and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears
out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them."
Some children were
teasing Elijah. Again, Elijah was a prophet who was doing God's work.
If the children knew that then they probably shouldn't have teased him.
Actually, children shouldn't tease anyone. However, children tease
people. It happens all the time.
God responded to Elijah's curse by sending a bear to tear up the children.
Yikes! Teasing is a crime punishable by being torn up by a bear!
"And also I have withholden the rain from
you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to
rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city: one piece
was rained upon, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered.
"So two or three cities wandered unto one city, to drink water; but they
were not satisfied: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.
"I have smitten you with blasting and mildew: when your gardens and your
vineyards and your fig trees and your olive trees increased, the palmerworm
devoured them: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.
"I have sent among you the pestilence after the manner of Egypt: your
young men have I slain with the sword, and have taken away your horses; and
I have made the stink of your camps to come up unto your nostrils: yet have
ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.
"I have overthrown some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and
ye were as a firebrand plucked out of the burning: yet have ye not returned
unto me, saith the LORD.
"Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this
unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.
"For, lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and
declareth unto man what is his thought, that maketh the morning darkness,
and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, The LORD, The God of hosts,
is his name.
All this because they
worshipped fake gods? non-existent beings?
Is God jealous of our time and attention? So, if
we ignore Him and focus on other things that we think are more important is
that the same as worshipping pretend gods??
Wow, God wasn't all
goodness and giving in the Old Testament, was He? He doled out some
pretty severe punishments for things that might not seem so bad to us.
He doesn't do that kind of stuff today, does He?
Maybe we should examine
some things about God. He said He doesn't change (Mal 3:6). He
is jealous (Ex 20:5, Deut 4:24). People provoke Him with their
vanities (Deut 32:16). He called people rebellious children (and woe
to them!) that got counsel from someone other than Him (Isa 30:1).
Well, if He doesn't change
then He still feels that way. I, for one, am going to fear Him and
focus on being in His good graces. I would be foolish if I choose to believe
that He is not going to care if I do the wrong things.