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If your friend jumps off a bridge will you jump too?

Posted by Diversity in Faith on March 23, 2014 at 8:10 PM

If your friend jumps off a bridge will you jump too?

Everyone has a mother who has said that at least once to them right?

 

Exodus 23:2

Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd.

How many watch the news or read the paper and just shake your head at how much violence there is daily. How many think God can’t there be just one day with all good news? Instead we see more and more people being hurt and many because of their position in life get away with it. People who are supposed to uphold the laws by a higher standard are the worse sometimes.

Exodus 23:2 erv Don’t do something just because everyone else is doing it. If you see a group of people doing wrong, don’t join them. You must not let them persuade you to do wrong things—you must do what is right and fair.

It’s like people are following each other into crime.

One person uses a gun against someone because they don’t like how they dress, the music they are playing is louder than they like or they don’t like that they are texting during previews at the movies. The next thing you know someone else has now done the same thing. Then to make matters worse…. There is no justice for the victims.

Proverbs 4:14 niv Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men.

I want to tell you about two men. Both are respected men who people listen to when they speak. While one sees the violence all around the other experiences the violence first hand. During a time of despair both cry out to God and question him. Why have you abandon me? Why are you letting this happen? These two men turned that questioning into praise. Either one of these two men could be from this day and time in history.

The older gentleman spoke daily with God. The older man in his time watched as violence erupted all around him. Injustices were being made everywhere. He watched as corrupt people seemed to always win and those who followed God were persecuted as though they were ungodly.

The older man I’m about to talk about is Habakkuk. He looks at all the violence that is going on around him. Instead of peace, people are following each other into violence. He like many others with him are confused. What’s going on here? He tries to make sense of things but he just can’t. I’m sure we all can relate to how he feels. Then he questions God and his actions.

Habakkuk 1:1-4 from the msg bible. God, how long do I have to cry out for help before you listen? How many times do I have to yell ‘Help Murder Police!” before you come to the rescue? Why do you force me to look at evil, stare trouble in the face day after day? Anarchy and violence break out, quarrels and fights all over the place. Law and order fail to pieces. Justice is a joke. The wicked have the righteous hamstrung and stand justice on its head.

Habakkuk could be anyone of us asking God what’s going on with everyone. Why does it look like God is letting evil run rampart? Habakkuk wants to know why it looks like God isn’t paying attention to what is going on. Why has God has turned his eyes away?

Habakkuk 1:13b niv “Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves?”

Can you relate to what Habakkuk is saying? How many times have things looked so bleak and you feel that God has turned his eyes from you or everything going on around you?

Instead of jumping off the bridge with these people, we should pattern ourselves after the actions of Habakkuk and what he did next.

Habakkuk 2:1 niv I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts. I will look to see what he [God] will say to me and what to answer when I am rebuked.

He does exactly that. He waits. We aren’t told how long he waits but God does answer him. The prayer Habakkuk then gave was so brimming with faith that it was later used as a psalm in temple worship.

Ephesians 4: 17-19 msg. And so I insist—and God backs me up on this—that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd. They’ve refused for so long to deal with God that they’ve lost touch not only with God but with reality itself. They can’t think straight anymore.

An example of people going along with the crowd and jumping off the bridge is:

Mark 15:15 niv. “Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.

The younger of the two men was a humble man that came from a good family. He grew up speaking to God and shared his knowledge of God with anyone who wanted to know him. The younger man was hated for the truth he spoke. In back rooms and hidden places, plots to frame him were being discussed. Those who were put in charge to protect the people and uphold the law looked for legal ways to assassinate this man.

The cowards arrested him in the middle of the night. Guards stripped him naked then tied his hands to a post above his head; spit in his face, kick him with their boots, blindfolded him and beat him with their first. They beat his body stripping flesh with every blow.

Have you ever wondered how many lashes it is to be beaten to one inch of your life?

Its 39 lashes.

The whip was made of several pieces of leather with pieces of bone and lead embedded near the ends.

The following is a medical doctors’ description of the physical effects of flogging.

The heavy whip is brought down with full force again and again across the shoulders, back, and legs. At first the heavy thongs cut through the skin only. Then, as the blows continue, they cut deeper in the subcutaneous tissues. Finally the skin of the back is hanging in long ribbons and the entire area is an unrecognizable mass of torn, bleeding tissue.

The young man was made fun of, a crown made from a thorny plant shoved onto his head, a robe placed on his bloody body. They beat him upon the head driving the thorns farther into his scalp.

He was made to carry the beam on which he would give his life. This beam usually weighed 30 or 40 lbs. Imagine the pain caused by this rough heavy beam pressing into his bloody body. To be crucified was considered the most hideous punishment possible.

A heavy square wrought iron nail is driven into the depression at the front of the wrist deep into the wood. The actions are repeated with the second wrist, being careful not to pull the arms too tight. The cross is lifted into place. The left foot is pressed backward against the right foot and with both feet extended toes down a nail is driven through the arch of each.

Each breath is a labored breath filled with excruciating pain.

Jesus has borne our sins upon himself.

Mark 15:33, 34 amp. And when the sixth hour (about midday) had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour (about three o’ clock), and at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? This means, My God My God, why have you forsaken me deserting me and leaving me helpless and abandoned??

How many times have you spoken the words from Psalm 22:1 My God, My God why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?

Instead of following the crowd off that bridge, give it up to the Lord, wait on him. Trust that God will care for you.

In closing:

Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present you requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understand, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

 

Categories: Sermons, Devotionals, and Bible studies

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