Provoking the Lord

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By Paula Marolewski, July 11, 2010 4:16 pm

I was reading in Judges, and was struck by these verses (2:11-13):

“Then the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD and served the Baals, and they forsook the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed themselves down to them; thus they provoked the LORD to anger. So they forsook the LORD and served Baal and the Ashtaroth.”

It can be horrifying to really consider God’s wrath as it was frequently revealed in the Old Testament (and, incidentally, as it will be revealed again at the end of time). But let’s not lose sight of why God poured out his wrath and judgment: he was provoked.

Consider some of the many synonyms for “provoke”: aggravate, anger, chafe, enrage, exasperate, incite, inflame, infuriate, madden, offend, rile, vex.

My point is this: Israel wasn’t generally well-meaning but committing an occasional “oops.” God didn’t have a short fuse that they managed in all innocence to set off. They were deliberately, consistently, flagrantly engaging in sins that were evil to the “nth” degree. They were provoking the Lord to anger. Over and over and over and over and over and over again. Until finally, they got what was coming to them.

Here’s the takeaway: God is still God, and people are still people.

Are you provoking the Lord to anger with deliberate, consistent, flagrant sin?

If you are, then don’t be surprised when he responds accordingly.


© 2010 Paula Marolewski,

Seedling: Good News about the Good News

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By Paula Marolewski, July 11, 2010 4:14 pm

“For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.” – I Thessalonians 1:5

I have good news for you today about the Good News! Here it is: the success of evangelism doesn’t depend on you. You don’t have to have a silver tongue, a doctorate in theology, or deep insight into the human heart.

God only requires two things from you: a conviction of the truth and the willingness to speak that truth to the best of your ability. Then he adds two things of his own: divine power to trample the forces of hell and the Holy Spirit to restore and renew broken hearts.

Never worry about your human limitations. Don’t beat yourself up because you “botched” an opportunity. Don’t fall into despair because your sin got in the way of the message (repent, yes – but don’t despair!). God is so much bigger than your limitations, your failings, and your sins. After all, that’s what the Good News is all about!

  • Has anything ever kept you from sharing the Good News with others? If so, what?
  • Where have you seen God’s perfect grace work through your imperfections to accomplish his will?
  • Ask God for an opportunity to share the Good News!


Copyright © 2010, Paula J. Marolewski. All rights reserved.

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