"And Er, Judah's firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD slew him."
Gen 38:7

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.

I 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 doesn't say.

"And the thing which he [Onan] did displeased the LORD: wherefore he slew him also."
Gen 38:10

Er's brother refused to try to make Er's wife pregnant.  That's it, that's what he did.  Poof!  Dead!!

"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."
Num 11:1

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."
Num 11:33

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.

Oh dear.  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, 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. "
Judges 2:14

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 so upset?

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."
1Ki 20:35-36

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 down quickly.

"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 right.

"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."
2Ki 2:24

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.

So, 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.
Amos 4:7-13

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.

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