The Expository Files.

Ashamed to be Called Their God  

Hebrews 11:6

Hebrews 11:16 "...God is not ashamed to be called their God..." This was stated concerning Abraham and other great Old Testament worthies who served God faithfully amidst great difficulty.

Looking at the passage from another angle, it makes obvious the fact that man can act in such a way that God IS ASHAMED to be called their God.

As I look at the world today I can't help but believe that God is ashamed to be called its God! When we think of man's capacity for cruelty, we are shocked beyond words. When we read of atrocities, murder, rape, robbery, lying, cheating, etc. in our own community, we are shocked. When we realize what men have done to other men in history, and what we see them doing to each other in our own time, we are outraged. As Robert Burns, the famous Scottish poet said, "Man's inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn. " At this very minute there are multiple wars going on in the world. Many of them are based upon religious and/ or ethnic hate! Hate that has lingered for centuries, and is passed down from parents to children. God condemned Mt. Seir (the Edomites) for its "perpetual hatred" for Israel. Ezekiel 35:5 - Because thou hast had a perpetual hatred, and hast shed [the blood of] the children of Israel by the force of the sword in the time of their calamity, in the time [that their] iniquity [had] an end. " The Edomites were descendents of Esau, Jacob's twin brother. Jacob, with the help of his devious mother, fraudulently wrested from him his birthright. Their hate for the descendents of Jacob is well known. When Nebuchadnezzar came against Judah, many of the Jews fled to the south into the land of Edom. Instead of helping their brothers in time of need, they killed many and sold others into slavery. This treatment was the result of "perpetual hatred" for Jacob and his descendents. God was so displeased with this that He utterly destroyed the Edomites from the face of the earth. If there is one descendent of the Edomites living today nobody knows about it. What a price to pay for perpetual hatred!

We would think that by this point in the history of the world mankind would have learned how to live together in peace and harmony and be convinced of the absolute insanity of war. Having been involved in the military in World War II, and seeing its horrible results in Europe, and having married a wife whose teenage years were spent being kicked from pillar to post and witnessing the carnage of war, not knowing if each day would be her last, and having heard of the atrocious things done by the Nazi's as revealed in the Nurenberg trials of the Nazi leaders, and hearing world leaders say, "never again," I had some hope that, just perhaps, the world had learned its lesson. In those moments of emotional outbursts generated by the horrors of ethnic cleansing; the extermination of over six million people, I naively thought that we were being promised that the world would never again tolerate an Adolf Hitler, or a Joseph Stalin! Little did I know! We have seen many more, and we are witnessing the same thing with a vengeance in our own time in the republics of the former Soviet Union, Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia, etc. Today the world is full of Hitlers and Stalins! I am convinced it will ever be so.

Vivid in my mind is God's statement previous to the Noahic flood, Genesis 6:6 - "And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart." I also think of other pertinent passages like: Ecclesiastes 7:29 - "Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions." Jeremiah 17:9 - "The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it."

I think it is safe to say that if the atrocities men have visited and continue to visit upon each other have not taught mankind the need to live together in peace and love, there is little hope, I am sad to say, that it will ever be so. We older folks will soon shuffle off the stage of life and take our places in the silent halls of death, but what will our children and grandchildren live to see from the wicked hearts of evil men?

And while we contemplate these thoughts, let us ask ourselves as God's people, "Is God ashamed to be called our God?" Do our lives glorify Him? Is He happy to be called our God. How do you think God feels when people claim Him as their God, but live lives that scandalize His Holy name? How do you think He feels when we sing, "O, How I Love Jesus," when we are on the golf course, at the beach, or lying in bed when we ought to be at worship? How do you think He feels when his people proclaim long and loud their love for him, but disregard His authority and think of men above what He has written? (1 Cor. 4:7). How do you think He feels when people say they want to do His will when in reality they want to do their own will, even if it means dividing the church Christ bought with His own precious blood? Wouldn't you think He is ashamed to be called their God?

I know that God and Satan are in a life and death struggle for the hearts of men, and as it is portrayed in Revelation, it sometimes appears that Satan is winning the battle, but we can be sure that truth eventually will triumph. David, the sweet singer of Israel, said in Psalms 11:3 - "If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?" The answer to that is simple, LIVE FOR GOD, come what may and all will be well in the end regardless of what happens. Each individual should take a little inventory; look in the mirror and ask ourselves, "Is God ashamed to be called my God?"

{From THE PRECEPTOR, Feb. 1996}

 By James P. Needham 
 From Expository Files 3.6; June 1996