Living In Denial

Living In Denial
Robert Wurtz II

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah. (Psalms 32:1-4) 

It is interesting to read Psalm 32 and Psalm 51, because both Psalms contain confessions of a great series of sins that David once tried to cover up. In fact, his first attempt was so awful, that it vexes the mind that a human being could be capable of such things. Knowing the wife of Uriah the Hitite was carrying his baby, he ordered Uriah down to his home to lie with his wife. David’s intention was that Bathsheba lead her husband to believe the baby was his. One of the primary reasons for “thou shalt not commit adultery” was made a commandment was to prevent husbands from having to deal with the hellishness of spurious offspring. David figuerd, what Uriah didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him. However, Uriah refused to obey. Even after Davil got him drunk he would not do it. Uriah was a man of great integrity; so David ordered his death.  

The Rev. D.L. Burch often said that some people are apt to read the story of David and Bathseeba and get so angry that they backslide. This is just a way of saying that the sin was bad enough to stumble the people on the receiving end of it. There are few things more vexing than trying to live a lie. We all have sinned and come short of the glory of God; so that is not the issue. The question surrounds covering our sin. It is an ancient practice. Millions upon millions have done it. 

When we come to Christ we are told to acknowledge our sins (1 John 1:9),
but what happens when we continue to live in denial of some serious sin that happened in our past? In a word, “fear.” Fear of discovery that turns into a general fear of almost everything and everyone. Fear leads to anger and hate. This is important to consider. Living a lie has the power to turn us on everyone and everything, including God. Why? People begin to hate the one they fear will discover their secret. Criminals often live in fear that the police will finally find that missing piece of evidence that links them to their crime. So they hate police. This is an oversimplification, but there is truth here. People grow to hate the one they live in fear of discovering and confronting them. Soon, fullblown paranoia sets in. Solomon said that the wicked flee when no one is chasing them. Why? Their conscience won’t let them rest. 




What will people think of me?

“The lip of truth shall be established for ever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment.” (Proverbs 12:19)

David tried to cover up his sin with Bathsheba. This is what Psalm 32:1-4 is all about. He could not cover it forever. His life became a perpetual misery. He was vexed out day and night. He went so far as to try and get the husband Uriah to have relations with her to blame the sin on the husband. When that did not work he devised a plan to have the man killed. Why would he do it? Because he didn’t want anyone to discover what he had done. He had written many psalms (songs) and was in reputation for being a man of God. Pride rose up and told him he had to save face. He was dying within. The old fellowship with God was not what it was. Him and God had fallen out over this sin and rather than confess he did as the old writer wrote, “he told it like it used to be.” He referred to, and lived in, his past experience in God. Why? He had no fellowship. He also knew that he could not live this lie forever. A lying tongue is but for a moment. He knew that he would have to come clean.

Lies come of age

Lies are born and grow up to be monsters that we cannot control. When a lie is conceived it brings forth as surely as a woman with child. The world would say, “It comes home to roost.” It can take 1, 2, 5, 10 or even 20 years to develop. The longer it is allowed to grow, the harder it will be to deal with in the end. So it is best to deal with the thing by prevention. Don‘t commit a sin that you will have to later try and cover up. Fear of disappointing family and friends will drive you to do unconscionable things if you allow it. Denial is a first human and carnal response. David obviously did not want to disappoint the people, so he covered his sin as long as he possibly could. He was the great king and didn’t want people to think bad of him. It was pride. He tried to shift the blame here and there, all the while Bathsheba was the evidence that he had sinned. He could not deny it in the end; he could only postpone the inevitable.

Tired of running and hiding

It is sad that a good man had to die because of David’s sin. Indeed he was probably better off dead, than to live with knowing that his wife had become pregnant by another man. Understand that Uriah was a casualty of David’s sin. Sin always has consequences. In time the prophet Nathan appeared at his door and confronted him. “Thou art the man…” are the resounding words that echo down through the ages. This is God’s estimate of all of us. “Thou art the man… thou art the woman.” It was time to stop running. 

If we acknowledge… 

Over 20 years ago I was subpoenaed to testify in a federal civil lawsuit related to a former employer. As evidence in the case began to mount, so did the resistance. In time I asked why the parties would not just come clean and admit what they had done. One of the lawyers aids simply looked at me and said, “Robert, it is an age old problem known as denial.” 

I must say that denial is the enemy of forgiveness and restoration. The first step is to humble ourselves and acknowledge the sin. It can seem like the hardest thing we have ever done, but if we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 ) David discovered this when he looked at Nathan and stated, “I have sinned against the Lord.” God’s response? And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.” (2 Samuel 12:13b) No waiting. No delay. As soon as he acknowledged what he had done, the lie was over with. What a powerful truth. He had to live with many consequences, but he could go forward now on the right path. If he had continued in denial the lie would have become a monster that totally destroyed him. The same is true of us. It doesn’t have to be that way. We can acknowledge our sins and move forward in God. 
 
 

  

 

Passing Through Death

Passing Through Death
Robert Wurtz II

 And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel. And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim: And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger. (Judges 2:10-12)


Our passage in verse 10 is a summary of the pattern of behavior that the children of Israel followed, more or less, going forward until the Babylonian captivity. It is quite pronounced during the early time of the Judges, but gets less predictable as time goes on. The trajectory of their expression of religion was steadily away from God. There were seasons when God’s glory was manifest, and then came along another generation that did not know the Lord or the works He had done in Israel. This was usually expressed in the personality of the king that was over the people. In other words, the king was a microcosm of the heart of the people. It could generally be thought true that if you knew who the king was you knew who the people were (godly or ungodly).


 Chomping at the bit


It seemed as though this generation in Judges 2 waited for the former generation to pass away so they could finally cast off the duties of the covenant that their fathers had made with the Lord. It should have come as no surprise, but God had already warned Joshua and the people earlier in Judges 2 that their sinful compromise would result in the gods of the land becoming a snare unto them. Specifically, they broke the commandment to enter into no alliance with the inhabitants of that land, viz., the Canaanites (see Exodus 23:32-33; Exodus 34:12-13, Exodus 34:15-16; Deut. 7:2.; Joshua 23:12). In Judges 2:2 the LORD reminded them that they did not  “destroy their altars:” taken verbatim from the command in Exodus 34:13 and Deut. 7:5. The words “and ye have not hearkened to my voice” in the same verse calls to mind Exodus 19:5. “Why have you done this” (מָה־זֹּאת, literally “what is this that ye have done” see K.D.) is a question pointing to the sparing of the Canaanites and the tolerating of their altars. For this reason God said he would not drive their enemies out from before them. The people wept, but it was too late to weep. (Judges 2:4) This is a great picture for us to consider and it is written for our admonition and learning upon whom the end of the age has come (1 Corinthians 10:1-11).


Missing steps


The new generation that “knew not the Lord nor the works that He had done in Israel” had obviously missed out on a few vital steps that the previous generation had experienced. First, Joshua’s generation witnessed the plagues of Egypt and the destruction of Pharaoh and his army by the Red Rea. None but Joshua and Caleb survived to cross over forty years later. The children of that generation watched God bring judgment on their parents in the Wilderness until every one of them had died. It took forty years to lay to rest this generation, hundreds of thousands if not millions of people. If we do the math it would mean that for 1 million people there would have been over sixty eight funerals a day, seven days a week. This generation saw the manna from heaven and the water from the rock. They were familiar with the fire and the cloud that led the children around in the wilderness of Zin. This generation witnessed the giving of the covenant and knew what the commandments were. They waited for their opportunity to pass over to the promised land. But for all their experiences, they lacked two vital things.


Two important steps


It may come as a surprise, but the generation that came up in the wilderness had not been circumcised on the eighth day according to the command of God in Lev. 12:3. In fact, they had not been circumcised at all. Joshua had to take on the project of circumcising all the people before they could cross over into the land (Joshua 5:5). To understand the severity of this sin, one only need look at the incident in Exodus 4:24-26 where God would have slain Moses over not circumcising his youngest son. This helps give a flavor of the level of rebellion the people that died in the wilderness were moving in. They didn’t obey God. they passed through the Red Sea and were baptized unto Moses, but they were content to allow him to do all the religious exercise. God only intended for Moses to the the leader of the people, not a representation of the people themselves. They needed to serve God in their own personal lives and in the lives of their families. They refused, insomuch that they didn’t even circumcise their sons on the eighth day as commanded. They passed through the Red sea, but they never passed through their own personal death. It is common sense to know that you can’t resurrect the living, you can only resurrect the dead. They were alive to themselves and dead towards God for forty years. They died, but they never died to all that they needed to. No death= no resurrection.




This side of Jordon


 You will notice the phrase in the Old Testament It is impossible to overstate the importance of passing through death. We might call it a “Jordon experience”. When God got ready to preach the Gospel it began with repentance and baptism in the Jordan. This is an expressive picture of death to our own life and will; to be quickened to God and His will. Death in scripture often denotes separation, not annihilation. They had to come to an end in death to themselves to be resurrected new in Christ. Some want to stay on “this side of Jordon”, but God tells us that those who do such things their sins will find them out. (Numbers 32) The results? God is not pleased and overthrows those who take such an approach. 


Cause the people to remember


Why did another generation that “knew not the Lord” come about in Israel? Certainly it is because that generation had never passed through the river in the same sense that their parents and ancestors had. They had never had a real experience in God where they could say “the old passed away and all became new”. They kept on being who they always were and tried to add a little religion to the bit. It will never do. We all must pass through death. God even gave instruction on how to make sure this was always performed and never forgotten. 



And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of Jordan, and take ye up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel: That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever. (Joshua 4:6-7)

When a generation comes along that has not been through this process they become no different than the people that God cast out of the land to begin with. It is important to know that it takes more than a heritage to save us. We have to have the real experience for ourselves. 



The anger of God towards sinners

It is cliche today to say that God is “not mad at you”. Songs declare it and preachers preach it. But is it true? Nay verily, if you are in rebellion against God. Our passage reminds us and later Paul warns us that we can provoke God to anger by our refusal to repent and turn our lives over to Him. Consider what John, that great apostle of love, taught us:

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. (John 3:36 ESV)


Here the ESV corrects the KJV that renders the text “believes not”. “That obeyeth not” (ho apeithōn) could be translated, “He that is disobedient to the Son.” Jesus is the test of human life as Simeon said he would be (Luke 2:34.). This verb does not occur again in John’s Gospel. (A.T. Robertson) Disbelief is regarded in its active manifestation, disobedience. The verb πείθω means to persuade, to cause belief, to induce one to do something by persuading, and so runs into the meaning of to obey, properly as the result of persuasion (compare 1Peter 4:17; Romans 2:8; Romans 11:30, Romans 11:31). Obedience, however, includes faith. Compare Romans 1:5, “the obedience of faith”. (Vincent) Notice that they will not see life, but the wrath of God abides or remains on him. 


 The wrath of God (ὀργὴ τοῦ Θεοῦ). Both ὀργὴ and θυμός are used in the New Testament for wrath or anger, and without any commonly observed distinction. Ὁργη denotes a deeper and more permanent sentiment; a settled habit of mind; while θυμός is a more turbulent, more of a temporary agitation. Both words are used in the phrase wrath of God, which commonly denotes a distinct manifestation of God’s judgment (Romans 1:18; Romans 3:5; Romans 9:22; Romans 12:19). Ὁργὴ (not θυμός) also appears in the phrase the wrath to come (Matthew 3:7; Luke 3:7; 1Thess. 2:16, etc.). Compare wrath of the Lamb (Revelation 6:16). This wrath “abideth” or “remains” (μένει). The Greek verb is in the present tense. As the believer “hath” life, so the unbeliever “hath wrath” abiding on him/her. He/she lives continually in an economy which is alienated from God, and which, in itself, must be habitually the subject of God’s displeasure and indignation. (Vincent) We have this teaching in Romans 2:

 God will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality. (Romans 2:6-11)

Summary


The children of Israel are an example to the churches of God and to Christians around the world. The stories of their lives are written for our example and learning. Some generations served the Lord and others rose up that knew not the Lord and served the gods of the land. It is no different today. People try to come to Christ and without the cross being applied to them and they end up living under the wrath of God. Faith implies obedience. It suggests persuasion that what is said is true. Jesus gave a lot of warnings and the people had to decide. “Almost persuadest thou me” is not enough. We have to be persuaded into obedience. This is the test as to whether or not our faith is genuine. If we pass it we presently have eternal life, if we do not we presently have eternal wrath. 



     

Flirting with the Devil

Flirting with the Devil
Robert Wurtz II

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)


Our passage is a reference back to the Old Testament where God commanded Israel to enter the Promised Land and commence throwing down all the altars and idols, even driving out the Cananites from the land. We read this sobering passage, “And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants.” (Leviticus 18:25) Is this God saying that these people were as vomit? That’s right. They were as that thing that would enter your belly to kill you, but as a natural God-given response you system heaves out the deadly contents before it has a chance to do the job. The land had vomited the people out for their evil, but according to Judges 2:1-20 the people of God refused to utterly throw down the alters and drive out this people. Instead they began to fellowship with them.

Unequally yoked  

Samson used a phrase in Judges 14:18 that comes front and center; … “If ye had not plowed with my heifer, ye had not found out my riddle.” (Judges 14:18) The story is common so we will not visit it in detail, but Samson had given a riddle to the Philistines and his wife was privy to it. She told the Philistines the secret and Samson expressed this betrayal as the Philistines “plowing with his heifer”. The trouble with that is that Samson should not have been plowing with her himself. Why? Because God warned the people of God over and over not to become romantically involved with the Philistines because they will draw the people of God to their false idols and gods. He had been “unequally yoked” with this woman and it was he in fact that was “plowing with the wrong heifer”. But Samson loved to yoke up with such figures as her and he will eventually give in to Delilah that will ultimately divulge not the secret of his riddle, but the secret of his power. 

Drunk on compromise

The people that were to be driven out of the land, that the Israelites were keeping around were some of the most evil people that ever drew breath. This area of the world was notorious for wickedness. Sodom and Gomorrah was once in this area, appropriately situated near the very lowest spot on earth, the Dead sea. This sea of death is rightly so called because that’s what it is, “dead”. It is over 8X saltier than the ocean. Lot pitched his tent towards this area and soon was living in Sodom. Figuratively and quite literally this place was on the very edge of Hell. These people were deliberately situated as far from God as they could get. If serving God can be viewed as a mountain-top experience, what are we to make of a city built at the exact opposite end of the topographical map? They wanted to be as far from God as they could possibly get. Lot, apparently under the delirium of compromise, marched his family right in to this devil infested, sin intoxicated, high-handed and rebellious assembly. 

An invitation to Satan

Satan does not pass up invitations. If you flirt with him, he will take the bait every single time.He doesn’t discriminate, he wants to plow with every soul he possibly can. I recall as a child that homes would be set up a “safe houses” so that on our walk home from school, if we were being harassed or were hurt, we could walk up to the door and get help. These homes were identified by a sign in the lower window of the house. All the signs looked alike. He said to us children, “you are welcome to come here and you are safe here.” The sign identified the home as a safe house. Likewise, we identify ourselves with the thing we want to be friendly with. If we want to be friendly with the world we will identify ourselves with the world. We communicate our intentions by what we identify ourselves with. Nobody has any trouble identifying Amish folks. They are identifying themselves a certain way to communicate their intentions. For some, they will feel a camaraderie and will be drawn to the identity; others will be repelled and have nothing to do with them. Why? Because they telegraph their intentions by the way they carry themselves. Common sense really.    

Symptoms of destruction

The question most people ask about these type things is, “what’s wrong with it?” What’s wrong with Samson marrying a Philistine? What’s wrong with dressing like a Goth or tattooing skulls and demonic symbols on my body? Noting at all if you want to identify with darkness. But what did Paul say? What communion hath light with darkness? Some people seem to almost get a high off of flirting with the demonic. They bring all manor of devilish things into their lives and then have the nerve to blame God when their lives are destroyed and their family is demon possessed. God told Israel to throw down and ruthlessly destroy the altars and idols. Understand that a pagan idol is not a decoration for your home. Dream catchers, pentagrams, occult symbols, etc. ad infinitum, have no place in the Christian’s life. It is no different than the sign I used to see in the windows walking home from school shouting, “You are welcome here!” The devil knows where he is welcome; all he has to do is look at you and see what you are identifying yourself with. It’s too late to play dumb once your life is ruined. 

Fashionable evil

We live in a time like unto Sodom and Gomorrah. People will fragrantly identify themselves with Satan and darkness and then wipe their mouth as if they have done nothing wrong. They are only fooling themselves. The devil knows when he is welcome some place. For example, we woke up a few years ago and it was suddenly “OK” to watch people suck blood and engage in all manor of occult activity as long as we could attach the behavior to a seductive and romantic story line. What are you saying? “Come here Devil and bind thy neck with me; be my heifer that we might plow together.” What madness. What invitation to total destruction. I recall as a young child a woman being on the late night television that dressed herself as a seductive witch. Black hair, black dress, black eye-liner, black fingernails, black everything. When I think of that woman I think of Jezebel that was thrown down before the man of God and trampled to death for her evil. It was bad enough in the home of a sinner on late night TV, but what happens when all this is done in the name of fashion and expression? Why would a Christian want to identify with God’s sworn enemies. Do you like to flirt with darkness? You are opening yourself up to devils. You are begging to be demonized. If they who practice such things could see the demons swarming around them when they entertain evil and identify themselves as his bride they would not sleep at night. Demons are pictured even as scorpions in the book of Revelation (Revelation 9:3). Would you walk into a room with life sized scorpions for a night of entertainment? This is mere picture language meant to arrest our attention that these creatures mean business and their sting will devastate. God told Israel in Judges 2 that he would not drive their enemies out from before them because they refused to stop the compromise, but that the enemy would become a thorn in their side. How much closer can a messenger from Satan get than “in your side” (2 Corinthians 12:7)? Not because you were being persecuted for the purposes of God, but because you opened the door to the Devil and he walked right in. 

Run for your soul

Many people today are simply in denial. The enemy has them duped into thinking that there is nothing to all of these things. Symbols don’t mean anything, how I dress don’t mean anything, etc. Really? Then why is the Bible loaded with symbolism? From numbers to objects the Bible is loaded with symbols. From the brazen serpent in the wilderness to the golden lamp stands in the Revelation, we have symbols. We are warned not to touch evil things. Why? Because we are telegraphing our desires and intentions by what we identify with and what we entertain. The devil can take a hint. His song is as the old tune goes, “Just give me some kind of sign girl (boy)…” and he’ll come a running. It’s too late once the enemy gets a foothold in your mind and he wins you over to his cause. By the time you start justifying all these things you are already under his delusion. If you are involved in these things, flee even now! Run for your soul! Not as Lot’s wife who turned back to see one last time, but turn and run while there is still hope and you are still reachable.     

 

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