Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
All week this scripture has been ringing in my head. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
To mock someone is to disrespect, dishonor, or ignore them. The most easily recognized form of mockery is disrespect shown by verbal insults, ridicule, contempt and other acts showing disdain. It’s easy for us as believers to point the finger at those who do such things, and speak to their mocking God.
But there is a more-subtle mockery of God, and maybe the most dangerous mockery of God that comes from those of us who are believers, and that is, to ignore God. We are guilty of mockery when we ignore God.
What if, you were to stand up in front of a group of people and have none of them pay you any attention—to talk and have no one listen, to give instructions and have them ignore you. You will feel disrespected and hurt. When you have a conversation with a friend, and your friend is not listening or paying you any attention, you feel ignored, disrespected and hurt. None of us enjoys being ignored.
Imagine, then, how it must grieve God when we ignore Him. Think of how His heart of love must break when, despite the fact that He dwells within us through the Holy Spirit, we act as if He’s not there. Or consider how He must feel when He speaks and gives us guidance through His Word and we ignore Him.
No one likes to be ignored, especially God. When we ignore someone we communicate disrespect.
2 Chronicles 33:10 “The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention.”
No one likes to be ignored, especially God. When we ignore someone who is trying to communicate with us, we are communicating disrespect to that person.
And, disrespecting God does and will bring consequences.
Verse 11So the Lord brought against them the army commanders of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh prisoner, put a hook in his nose, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon.
Many of us find ourselves constantly in the same place as Manasseh, in trouble, in the shackles of our problems, because we disrespect the Lord by ignoring Him when He speaks to us, giving us direction, reproof or correction; yet, we ignore Him, and continue to do what we do paying the Lord no attention.
Come on now, am I the only one?
In Jeremiah Chapter 22, Jeremiah, was told by the Lord to deliver a message to God’s people warning them of coming destruction by a foreign force that would come upon them. A destruction they had brought on themselves by ignoring God. Verse 22:21 the Lord said to the people:
I spake unto thee in thy prosperity; but thou saidst, I will not hear. This hath been thy manner from thy youth, that thou obeyedst not my voice.
What if, the CEO of Amazon, the richest man in the world, Jeff Bezzo, came to your home just to give you instructions, a full-proof plan on how to become a millionaire. He even offers to fund your campaign, and tells you that he’s available to you whenever you need any help executing that plan. But, you don’t pay him any attention; you don’t listen to him. You basically ignore him and tell yourself you will figure it out on your own. Then months later, you find yourself facing the worse financial distress in your life. All of which could have been avoided, if you would have just listened and not ignored Jeff Bezzo.
What do you think happens when you ignore God, in exchange for figuring it out on your own?
In Isaiah chapter 30 God tells the Israelites, “One thousand of you shall flee at the rebuke of one…” (Isaiah 30:17) And the Lord gives them the reason for this in Isa. 30 verse 1, He says, “Woe to the rebellious children who take counsel, but not of Me, and who devise plans, but not of My Spirit…”
You see, the nation of Israel was in a jam. The Assyrians were about to invade Israel. So, instead of seeking the Lord, Israel schemed, and plotted, and planned. And they came up with their own solution, they formed an alliance with Egypt. In doing so, they completely ignored God. Although, Israel proclaimed to believe in the Lord God Almighty, they didn’t include Him in the process of their planning, plotting and scheming to somehow overcome the Assyrians. They didn’t include God in their process at all. They took no counsel of the Lord. They ignored and disrespected Him.
See, outwardly they appeared to be godly, but the whole problem was with the hearts, minds, and souls of the Israelites, that’s were God was being ignored. And, it was for this reason within them, they were wracked by guilt and fear, the reason one thousand fled at the rebuke of one, because they didn’t seek God’s counsel, and God is not mocked by our ignoring the One waiting to connect with us in our time of need.
And that’s how it is for you and for me. When the Assyrians in our life come against us, I want to know what to do and I want to know right now. I want to Google it. Or I want to pick up the phone and call someone experienced in warfare against the Assyrians. Or I want to do an analysis. And while there’s nothing wrong with using our brains to seek information, we’ll have problems if we don’t include God.
When we seek God’s counsel, in His word, in prayer with Him, and then do what He says to do, we can live with an assurance, a comfort, with enthusiasm of having received the instructions, the corrections, the help we need in our present time of need. When we don’t seek His counsel, when we ignore Him and plot our own path, our spirit isn’t right. We’re influenced by guilt and fear. Even if we don’t express it on the surface, even if it’s at the unconscious level, deep in our hearts, we’re not whole, we’re not right in our spirit.
So read His scriptures. And go to His house and listen to Him there. And bring your problems, your Assyrians, to Him in prayer. Then do what He says to do, so you can live life bold as a lion.
Sometimes, when we know that we have been ignoring and disrespecting God, the better thing to do than seeking His counsel is to humble ourselves and seek His face.
Let’s go back to Manasseh, 2 Chronicles 33:12-13
12In his distress he sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his ancestors. 13And when he prayed to him, the Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God.
Manasseh recognized his disrespect by ignoring God, had brought him to the state he was in; so, Manasseh humbled himself and sought God’s face, not just His counsel. And, it tells us, that God was “moved”… by Manasseh’s repentance and He restored Manasseh.
Many of us need to humble ourselves and entreat the Lord, seeking His forgiveness for our disrespect of ignoring Him in our lives and seek to be restored. I KNOW I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE!
Many of us, after our initial start with Christ we have ignored His constant invitation to “get to know me”. Maybe it’s because we’ve been too busy providing for your family, pursing our career or helping people, as noble as that might be, where is God in the process?
As a believer, I’ve ignored God a number of times because I had my mind on other things, even things I thought were noble. And, in so doing, I have inadvertently ignored the Lord. But, what God was showing me by playing this bad song in my head all week, “God is not mocked” is that Love does not ignore.
Most of us dislike being ignored. We feel frustrated and overlooked when our concerns are disregarded, especially by loved ones. Yet this is often how we treat the One who loves us the most—the Lord. He is always attentive to every detail of our life, but we’re often too distracted by our own interests to listen to Him.
We are often distracted in our daily lives, which come in many forms. Usually it’s the pleasures and cares of this world that cause us to ignore God. We’re so busy pursuing our own desires and agendas that we ignore God speaking to our hearts, giving us directions, instructions, reproof and correction. We fail to include Him in our process; thereby, ignoring Him.
The psalmist was right when he said, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.” Psalm 37:4-5
Love pays attention: it engages. It does not ignore. That’s a form of mockery, disrespect. If I love you, I want time with you. I want to listen to you. I return your calls; I want to be in your presence.
As we said at the beginning of this sermon, there is a more-subtle mockery of God, and maybe the most dangerous mockery of God that comes from those of us who are believers, and that is, to pretend to love and serve him when we do not; to act in a false manner, to be insincere and hypocritical in our professions, pretending to listen to him, but just ignoring Him to serve self.
For those of us who are believers, there are repercussions for ignoring God, which is but a form of disrespect. God is not deceived. Jesus’ repeatedly says to every church in Revelation, “I know your works.“
God knows the heart of every man and woman and He knows whose ignoring Him or not. We would do well to examine our own hearts.
Scripture warns us not to be deceived (1 Cor. 6:9; 15:33). We can be deceived in many ways, but one of the major sources of deception is self. Sadly, those who do try to deceive themselves think that God is somehow likewise deceived. But, God is not or mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.”
God sees our heart and whatever abides inside it, is always visible to Him.
Sadly, a majority of the world ignores God, but for those of us who have received His divine mercy, forgiveness and grace, we should not mock God with the disrespect of ignoring Him.