THE ROCK OF OFFENSE (THE BURRIED SIN)
Questions mostly arising from disappointment bring offense at God and this is brought by high expectations in many Christians and after they have been disappointed they feel offended and this becomes a buried sin and not solved, the disappointed often blame God for not fulfilling their expectations and Jesus Christ becomes a Rock of Offense and the stumbling block to the disappointed Christians. Many churches have not solved this buried sin from congregation so this has seen many churches to the drainage systems without repair but we have a very wonderful formulae to understand how offense at God comes about, and how or what it produces after.
There is an equation that we have to understand before we look at SIN OF offense in details;
High expectation=Disappointment=Offense= Produces doubt and grumbling = Unbelief= Prevents us from hearing the Voice of God and receiving what God has promised =Shuts the power of the Holy Spirit
The buried sin or the rock of offense sin, arises from high expectation and after expecting highly from Jesus Christ and if someone does not get according to the high expectation then it produces disappointment and disappointment will produce offense and offense will produce doubt and grumbling and then doubt will produce unbelief and this unbelief will shut the power of the Holy Spirit and this hinders us from hearing the voice of God and prevents us from receiving what God has promised us, this means we become faithless which leads to apathy.
We shall look at the above formulae and how it has affected the life of Christians and the elders of the church in details but first we can define what offense means.
The meaning of offense;
1. Annoyance or resentment brought about by a perceived insult to or disregard for oneself or one’s standards or principles.
2. The feeling of resentment caused: to give offense.
3. The state of being insulted or morally outraged <takes offense at the slightest criticism.
4. wounded feelings out of displeasure
Now we shall look at how Christians today often bring offense at God after disappointment,
The answer is that we bring offense at God by raising wrong questions after the disappointment of too much expectation that we had either through prayers that we make to God Almighty and the expectation is high then NO answer in the time you expected it, you get disappointment and from that disappointment you start raising wrongs questions because you are offended.
Most Christians bring their experiences or bad situations that they are going through and start questioning about God’s character and his power, and most instances the questions asked during the disappointment bring God to TEST and this is very wrong and dangerous for Christians to do and this has been happening for a long time but Christians do it a lot and they don’t realize it at all and with time this has become a long time curse upon them and upon their families and Yet there has never been a solution for it. Christians often get offended because of the bad situations that they are going through and then start shifting blame to God in offensive way but raising bad and wrong questions.
Each time we are offended we have a bad attitude towards God, and this will lead to unbelief that will cause lack of faith which will shut down the power of the Holy Spirit to work.
Before I bring forth the wrong questions asked by Christians during disappointment, let me justify the difference between Faith and Expectation because that’s where the problem comes to bring offense at God in most cases.
Meaning of Faith in Christ so that people may differentiate between having Faith and having expectation to avoid disappointments. Most Christians today have baseless Faith and this has hindered their change in Christ and understanding the working of God and their walk in salvation , of course someone may think has faith yet in reality it’s not the case. I will explain Having Faith in details according to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Therefore Faith is not a desire or an expectation according to the Holy Scriptures
Faith is the substance of the things that we hope for that cannot be seen with our physical eyes. In other words Faith is the evidence or proof of things that we cannot see. Hebrews11; 1-3. Most Christians normally mistake the desire inside them and mistake it to be faith after a long period of time of waiting the desire gets out and these Christians give up hoping from God because of the desire that was in them and they will be disappointed. In most cases the most Christians who are seeking for miracles that are fast have desire not Faith in Christ, a person who has faith has evidence in his or her heart that God will work for her or him any period or appointed time knowing that God is Faithful.
The bible tells us like in this the scriptures;
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2corrinthians4; 16-18.
Now we are advised to fix the eyes on things that are not seen because they are permanent, why do you think we should fix our eyes on things that are unseen it’s because we see them by Faith, this is being connected to the spiritual dimension of the Holy Spirit, if we live by Faith then we shall not mind about what happens to our mortal bodies knowing that we are renewed day by day and that is the evidence we have in the heart so call that Faith because things that are not seen with physical can be viewed only having Faith, we believe in our hearts that there is another heavenly place that we shall live after our earthly life and this can be taken by having Faith so. In this we do not care what happens to us to our daily lives whether we sleep hungry or not because we have Faith that we shall reach a safe place where we will have peace for eternity. What then? Shall we say we shall only sit and wait because we have faith? Of course not, Faith is seen in two parts.
Faith has two part folds, that is
It begins with a belief in the heart and then
An action will follow and that is what we call Faith, in this case Faith is certainty deep in our being that God will fulfill what he has promised. So we don’t mind about the troubles and obstacles we face before our faces and our lives in existence.
Therefore Faith is certainty in the heart but it will require some actions to make it real, in other words it will need a work to make to reveal its certainty. For example Having Faith is believing in the heart and confession or a good work or an action will be justify the Faith you have in Jesus Christ.
Taking example of our patriarchs in the bible we shall learn Faith more so that we live with that True Faith that God wants not our mis-guided Faith.
By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. Hebrews11; 3. Now the confidence we have in the heart is Faith that God made this visible world out of invisible world that is the Spiritual world and that means to access the invisible world you must believe in God and then action you will make is accept his son Jesus Christ as Lord and savior so that you will be connected to the invisible world. In most cases many Christians want to deceive they have Faith in God but their actions deny them that they do not have Faith.
By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead. Hebrews11;4, By Faith we see Abel being approved by God, this was justified by his action or the deed that he did before God, Abel understood that if I offer a better sacrifice I would appreciate the blessing of God that was upon me, and in that he believed that even if he offered the best sacrifice God would increase him the more and therefore Abel was sure God was a rewarder of all things and he would not offer in vain before God, that action or the sacrifice he offered before justified his Faith in the heart, in other words what he did justified that he had in the heart towards God. By the sacrifice of Abel we learn that to have Faith is giving your whole heart towards God that he will protect the heart without disappointment and this will be accompanied by our godly action that will prove we have trusted in God’s instructions and his teachings and commandments. Sacrifice was a godly action made by Abel towards God and this justified his Faith towards God.
By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith. Hebrews11; 7. When you look at Noah he was also approved by God for his Faith towards God , Noah when warned about things not yet seen and that was the destroying the first world, Noah believed God and made an ark, now that was total obedience from Noah towards God, because it showed he believed God’s promise and it demonstrated that God is Not a liar when says something he is able to do it and that pleased God, what was the Faith of Noah?
The Faith of Noah was the obedience he took to build an ark that he would survive the first world demolition and so Noah did not doubt God. The action of making an ark and the sacrifice of time Noah took to make an ark justified his Faith towards God even though he did not wait to first demolition to believe God. The other people who saw Noah building an ark were Faithless and they did not believe and eventually they were wiped out with great rain. So what does this mean, that Faith is obedience towards doing what God has commanded us to do and if we do it with Love then our actions of obedience towards God will justify our Faith in Jesus Christ.
By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the Promised Land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. Hebrews11; 8-10,
By Faith Abraham obeyed God and left his home country to another place he did not know about, and this made him the Father of all believers because, he believed if God has called me then he will take care of me and his action was obedience and he went to a foreign land even though he had no house there but he moved around the foreign country in his tents knowing that there is an eternal inheritance therefore Abraham did not mind about what he was going through and what troubled him but obeyed the command of the Lord and later the Israelites came and settled in the promised Land. This action of Abraham justified his Faith towards God and it was credited to him as righteousness before God, because was patient enough and never complained about the promised land but he was not selfish, therefore Faith towards God is being Patient, the action is being patient and know that God will do what he has promised. Abraham never got tired waiting upon God’s promises but by Faith he went to Egypt to work as a slave that he knew he would come back to Canaan, and by Faith he sent his servant to his Relatives house to get his son a wife knowing that he would inherit the land God has promised by Faith he prepared for his son and all those deeds he made were justifying his Faith towards God that his word works.
So then what should I say, Faith is certainty in the heart and the action that one does justifies his Faith towards God through Christ Jesus,
Expectation means a belief that someone will or should achieve something. You can see how wrongly Christians mistake the word Faith and Expectation, Having high expectation doesn’t mean that you have Faith. Many Christians today have come to Jesus Christ out of feelings not in Faith and this has disappointed many Christians because after some time the feelings are worn out, many people do not take time to think about salvation because many get saved out of situations reversed state in their lives which has hindered their Faith. And others get saved out of situational
Faith is based on spiritual level that you cannot see but Expectation is something you expect to receive that’s why when Christians get high expectations they end up being disappointed and Faith doesn’t bring disappointment rather it brings elevation.
If Christians understand these two words they will always avoid being offended by bringing questions that put God to Test and avoid future curses that they bring upon themselves.
TIMES OF BRINGING OFFENSE AT GOD.
Many Christians have sought healing for a long time without success. In some churches these disappointed people have been prayed for over and over again, but nothing has happened. Most have a deep sense of disappointment and have given up all hope of being healed. Some have been hurt by accusations of lack of faith. This enormous backlog of hurt and disappointment with God has never been sorted. The sad thing is that when disappointment is frequent and unresolved, the disappointed people get offended by God.
Prayer, misguided Prayer normally brings much disappointment to the praying Christians especially when his or her prayers goes un answered before God, this is because many Christians pray out of their desires that at times don’t match the will of God, they tend to pray outside the will of God and then the prayer of that Christian becomes misguided and remain un answered before God, if this happens frequently they get disappointed for not being answered and this creates frustration and the praying Christians will get offended to being let down by God for not answering them, after a while the disappointed people will have a buried sin called the rock of offense and now they will have bad attitude towards the promises of God, and they would blame God so much with a series of questions
Is God sleeping? Has God forgotten Me? Such questions comes out of a disappointed person and they bring God to Test. Their reason for disappointment is not God but it’s either they were expecting after prayers they would be answered, many Christians even fast for over 90 days so that God could do something but in much of their efforts after they don’t see change so those Christians get offended by God and he becomes a rock of offense to them which is a sin that many Christians have buried inside them and they feel that God has disappointed them and that is not true about God because he is a Faithful God but we are always disappointed by our own feelings, we always want God to match our demands yet he has his demands too, so we fail to know what God expects us to do and get disappointed afterwards which produces offense and becomes a buried sin in us.
Challenges/Tests /Trials and times of distress.
Normally Christians get offended by God through the challenges we encounter and this is especially salvation journey being not a straight road, many people or Christians along the way they find difficulties and challenges especially persecution, suffering with Christ Jesus and yet in this kind of situations Jesus Christ is perfecting us and preparing us in the wilderness to be strong in him. But many Christians are ignorant of what God is doing in our lives they get offended, and to them they feel they should not suffer, a child of God to suffer? Those kind of questions and statements during times of difficult and yet God would want us to move and endure those challenges because his GRACE is sufficient to make us endure but instead Christians draw bad attitude towards God telling him not to be in such situations, there is a bad situation brought by Satan and this should go after frequent prayers and fasting but there are situations and challenges God brings to Christians in order to prepare them for their ministries in order to be perfected, minus understanding this fact the Christians get offended and start grumbling and this questions God’s power and PUT God to TEST.
Hebrews2; 10. In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.
It was fitting to God that Jesus Christ should go through sufferings in order to perfect salvation and that means suffering perfected so in order to be perfected in salvation then you must go through sufferings and help others also to come to salvation; This Jesus Christ is not ashamed to call us his brothers or sisters but if we are offended of him then it means that we are ashamed of Jesus Christ to be our brother.
OFFENSE PRODUCES DOUBT. (EXAMPLE OF JOHN THE BAPTIST)
One time John the Baptist was preaching but he went publically against the King by that time it was Herod and Herod though he was his friend John the baptism called him publically for sinning because he had taken a wife who belonged to Philip. And that was exposing sin publically but it was not right because he could have called him privately and speak with him concerning that sin, and besides he went against authority and that saw his ministry go down into the drainage system.
For Herod himself had given orders to have John arrested, and he had him bound and put in prison. He did this because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, whom he had married. For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” So Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she was not able to, because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled; yet he liked to listen to him. Mark6; 17-20. It was an error for John the Baptist to call that sin publically, John could have talked with Herod in private about the matter since he was king it did not please him, it was arrogance that put John in prison not that he had not spoken the truth but he spoke in a wrong place and at a wrong time and he was arrested which led him into the prison.
John the Baptist Disappointment
When John the Baptist was in prison, he sent messengers asking Jesus if he was the messiah (Mat 11:2-3).
After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee. When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”
But remember John had seen the Holy Spirit come down and heard God speak when Jesus was baptized, so John knew who Jesus Christ and also John was a cousin to Jesus Christ was as we all know God and Jesus Christ in this generation.
Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, “the Man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God. Mathew3; 16-17″
It is the same John who spoke to his disciples showing Jesus Christ and his disciples followed him and went with Jesus Christ because they had been testified to by John the Baptist.
John Testifies About Jesus
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”
Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”f
John’s Disciples Follow Jesus
The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”
When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”
They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”
“Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”
So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon. John1; 29-39
John had given this amazing testimony about Jesus Christ before he was put into the prison, but now he was asking if Jesus Christ really was the messiah.
The reason for his doubt was disappointment. Jesus had promised at the beginning of his ministry that he would “proclaim freedom for the prisoners” (The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives(prisoners), and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised Luke 4:18), So John had expected to be released, but now he was stuck in prison and would likely die. No wonder he was disappointed; Now John fell into Judging Jesus Christ by his own experience or the situation he was going through.
In this case John got offended because he was preaching about the Salvation Jesus Christ would bring, but he expected that since Jesus Christ was the messiah he would set him free from the prison and this did not happen, so he got disappointed at the high expectation he had in the messiah that’s why he sent his disciples to ask him, Are you the Messiah or we should expect another one?
Now that question was wrongly asked because John was disappointed at his expectation, this also brings out that John had misinterpreted the scripture in flesh, for Jesus Christ was not meaning the real prisoners but he was meaning people with heavy burdens and problems who needed spiritual deliverance although Jesus Christ does all that but this time it was not what he meant. So John’s experience and offense was very dangerous and he felt offended because he had been imprisoned because of Preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Now let’s see the response Jesus Christ gave to john after sending his disciples to ask him whether he was the messiah Jesus response to John the Baptist is interesting.
Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of me (Matt 11:4-6).
Jesus gave John a solution to his disappointment. He told him to look at what he was doing. We get disappointed when we focus on what we think God is not doing. The best way to deal with disappointment is to look at what God is doing. Seeing what he has done and is doing should dispel disappointment.
Jesus also gave a warning: “Blessed is he who is not offended because of me”. To be offended at someone means that we have a bad attitude to them. Jesus message seems quite a harsh, but John’s disappointment was dangerous, because it could have given him a bad attitude towards Jesus. John did the right thing. When he felt disappointed, he went to Jesus and sorted things out. If we are feeling disappointed in God, we need to go him and resolve our issues. This is the best way to avoid taking offense.
As Christians today each time you get disappointment you need to look at what God is doing , what he has done for you before rather than what he is not doing or he has not according your expectation this will always solve the problem of taking offense. Each time we are offended we raise wrong questions towards God and question his ministry and his character and sin against him.
Lessons we can learn from John the Baptist experience;
High expectation leads to disappointment, John the Baptist had expected highly from Jesus Christ to release him from the prison and it did not happen so he was disappointed in Christ Jesus and this created Doubt about his works. Are you the one coming or we should expect another one? Yet John knew Jesus. Mathew11; 2-3.
Disappointment leads to offense the buried sin and it produces doubt and unbelief so it will shut the power of the Holy Spirit and this kills our faith and loose hope, John had been hurt so much and it had tainted his feelings during his time of challenge in the prison but Jesus was not the problem. The fact was John had errored which got him in the prison so at his expectation of being released as God’s servant it never happened and he felt offended for going such a difficult time without help from God. He slept in Faith. Mathew11; 2-3.
Raising wrong questions make us fall into Judging God through Christ Jesus and therefore we PUT to TEST Gods power and ministry. Johns questions Tested Jesus Ministry which is a sin and that was very dangerous thing to do by John the Baptist, he could have asked in a humble way that honors God. Mathew11; 3.
We should focus on what God is doing and what he has done even what he has promised in order to avoid offense than giving a greater weight to our situations and experiences than God being exalted. Jesus solution to John was telling him to focus on what God is doing, lepers being healed, the dead being raised from the dead and that should have given John more confidence to increase his Faith. Mathew11;6
We should consider what we go through to be a blessing like suffering with Christ is a blessing to us instead of feeling offended in Jesus for what are going through. It shows we are being ashamed to suffer with him and this grieves the Holy Spirit which makes his work very difficult.
Offense creates bad attitude after tainting our feelings towards God and this kills the hearts which will eat our Faith away and John had developed bad attitude towards Jesus when he was in prison, John could have prayed to God or Repented but upon rebuke of Jesus he did not come back which justified his repentance and it dispelled out Johns bad attitude.
Always to be honest with God by confession of our weakness during times of troubles than taking offense. John the Baptist was right to find out a solution from Jesus Christ but his question was a doubting question not a question of Faith which Tested Jesus Christ ministry. But still Jesus understands our weakness so he able to give John the Baptist a solution to dispel out his disappointment but his was a sharp rebuke to the disciples of John the Baptist. Mathew11;4-5
God’s work is more important than the situation or our experience, John the Baptist exalted himself above God’s work Jesus Christ was doing and that showed John was taking himself to be more important and his situation, John was telling Jesus that he could have first removed john from the prison which was wrong. God’s work is more important than situations we are passing through. Mathew11;5. Jesus Christ was showing John the Baptist to focus on what he was doing in other people than exalting his situation.
OFFENSE PRODUCES UNBELIEF
Let’s look at another example of taking offense when Jesus Christ came to his own area When Jesus came to his own village the people were amazed at him, but their amazement soon changed to questions of doubt.
Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” So they were offended at Him (Mark 6:3).
The people of Nazareth did not get carried away by what has happened, but tried to assess Jesus. This is a sensible thing to do when a new Messiah turns up. Their problem was that they judged Jesus by their experience of him. The boy next door could not be the king of Israel. David had slain a lion and killed a Philistine giant while he was still young. Jesus had nothing to show but a few cupboards and benches. He could not be the Messiah. The people of Nazareth did not know God’s will and that’s why they raised questions of doubt and judgment according his experience.
Their statements about Jesus were true. He was a carpenter. He was the brother of James and the others. However, these true statements were limited to their knowledge of Jesus, so they gained a distorted view of him. They did not ask about what had happened in other towns. They gave greater weight to their own experience than all that Jesus Christ had said and done.
Their mistake was testing Jesus against their expectation of the Messiah. Their expectations were wrong, so they were disappointed in him. Their disappointment led to their being offended by him. Offense led to unbelief, which shut down the power of God. From the scriptures they expected the Messiah to come in the much Glory in appearance and when they saw Jesus Christ as he was they were disappointed at the messiah expectations. And this led to offense they became offended of Jesus Christ which raised wrong questions,
Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” So they were offended at Him (Mark 6:3).
Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief (Mark 6:5, 6). The reason here was they had shut the power of the Holy Spirit because of unbelief.
Meanwhile as Christians if we have too much expectation against our experience and we don’t get it we get disappointed and this will lead to offense and we started asking wrong questions. Was God with me? Why would God allow me to go through this suffering? So we often sin against with questions of doubt and this leaves us in dangerous situations and God will keep quiet on us and other good things he would do, pass us.
The people of Nazareth did nothing more than ask the wrong type of questions about Jesus, but the scriptures say they were offended by him.
Nazareth experience illustrates a dangerous downward spiral that can affect Christians. These are points to take out of that illustration of Nazareth • Amazement Judging God’s work against our expectations and experience • Disappointment • Offense • Unbelief • Holy Spirit shut down and No miracles happened Offense at God produces unbelief, which limits the Holy Spirit’s power. Let’s look at another example of Jesus Christ in Capernaum where Christians can learn to avoid offense at God .
Capernaum The people of Capernaum demonstrate the correct way to respond. When Jesus came they were also amazed. They asked some questions, but theirs were questions of faith, not questions of doubt. Then they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.” And immediately His fame spread throughout all the region around Galilee. At evening, when the sun had set, they brought to Him all who were sick and those who were demon-possessed. And the whole city was gathered together at the door. Then He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He did not allow the demons to speak, because they knew Him.(Mark 1:27,28,33,34).
Points taken out from Capernaum experience. • Amazement • Questions of faith • Focus on what God is doing • Acceptance • Faith • Healing and Deliverance.
There was no offense at Jesus in Capernaum, so the power of healing came through because there was much faith not expectation and experience of a messiah
Lessons for Christians to learn
This contrast between Nazareth and Capernaum has several important lessons for us. 1. Many Churches and Christian have prayed earnestly for sick people, but they have still died. This has produced huge disappointment. If disappointment comes too frequently, people can get offended by God. The problem is that offense produces unbelief, which shuts out the power of the Spirit.
I believe that one of the greatest obstacles to healing in the church is unbelief that comes through offense at God for not doing what we expected. We have used our disappointment in the person not being healed to justify our offense.
2. Offense is a silent insidious sin that is mostly buried and hidden. When we are offended by someone, we often say nothing. The other person may not even know that we are offended. However, the offense still infects our relationship by eating away in our hearts and tainting everything we say and do.
Most Christians who are offended at God over sickness or other things he has not done and some have never said what they feel out loud. They just have this feeling of being let down by God. The wrong attitude is often buried so deep in our hearts that we do not know it is there. However, it taints our thoughts and words and spoils our relationship with God. Buried offense makes faith difficult and shuts down the power of the Holy Spirit down.
Christians can get offended at God over many issues. Sickness and lack of healing is the main cause of offense against God in churches that have been touched by the move of the Holy Spirit. Some get offended when God doesn’t heal them after they had come with much expectation for the healing. Then wrong questions start, God cannot healing everyone. Can God heal Aids? All these questions put God to Test and question God’s Character, we often shift blame to God because of our un belief which offends God and sin against him, yet we all know that God has immense Power and Jesus Christ heals kind of diseases , Mathew10;1.
Turning a statement about the facts of a situation, into a statement about the nature and the character of God is dangerous. Sometimes when a respected Christian dies of an illness, Christians deal with it by saying, “God does not heal everyone”. That is true as a statement of fact, because this Christian was not healed. However “God does not heal everyone” is dangerous when it becomes a theological statement, because it suggests that God is capricious or fickle. The question insinuates offense at God. They do not say it out loud, but they are questioning the extent of his love, his goodness or his power. The following unspoken questions make this clear. Why would a good God allow this to happen? Why could a powerful God not prevent this from happening? Why would a loving God allow someone to suffer in this way? When we are offended by God, we tend to blame him for things that are evil.
When things go wrong, it is good to ask God why. That John the Baptist’s response. Likewise, the disciples asked Jesus why they were unable to heal the boy with the evil spirit (Mark 9:28). However, although it is good to ask why, we must be very careful about how we frame or phrase our questions to ask God because we know he is Almighty with full of great glory therefore we can’t just ask offensive questions that put God to test because of the situations that we are going through . John’s question was dangerous, because it tested Jesus Christ’s character and ministry on the basis of John’s experience. Are you the one or we should expect another one? (Matt 11:3). The disciples question was better, because it tested their experience, against the standards of Jesus. Why couldn’t we? (Mark 9:28)
We should be careful to ask these questions without going into condemnation. We are human, so we will often get things wrong. All that God expects is that we learn from our mistakes and grow in faith.
6. We must never ask our questions in a way that puts God on trial. We can confess our lack of faith, but we must never cast doubt on his love, or his goodness or his power. We must never ask a question that blames God. We must never accuse him of not meeting our expectations. The Bible defines these questions as being offended by God, and offense leads to unbelief which lead to lack of Faith. Our questions are often similar to those of the people of Nazareth. When our worship is a bit flat we say, Was the Holy Spirit here? The answer is that The Holy Spirit is always there, so we should really be asking that? That question arises when you expected something and nothing happened may be expected the Holy Spirit to do it but he kept quiet on it. Have we grieved the Spirit”? We should always ask our questions in a way that honours the Holy Spirit. The Bible defines any question that blames or accuses him as being offended by him. He wants us to talk to him about things that happen so we can learn, but we must never ask questions that put him on trial. God is love. God is good. Love and goodness are at the heart of his character. Questioning his love, or his goodness, or his power is an insult to his character. We must never shift the blame for our weakness to God. The following questions are dangerous because the reflect disappointment and could lead to offense at God. Why did God allow this to happen? Why did God not answer our prayers? He was a good man. Why did God not heal him? Why has God left this lovely family without a father? We could ask why the forces of evil would do these things, but the answer is so obvious that the question is hardly worth asking. Here are some humble questions that will enable us to learn.
Why is my grief so painful? (Because you loved them of course.) Why was the church not able to heal the sick person? What is the reason for our lack of faith? Was there a root cause for this sickness that we missed? Why is our church powerless against sickness? Why are our elders unable to get victory over sickness
7. This does not mean that we cannot be totally honest with God about what is happening to us. We can say; This pain is tearing me apart My heart is so heavy that I feel it will break. I know how I should be responding, but I just cannot do it. We do not need to pretend. We can tell the Father about our feelings and our struggles. He can cope with honesty; but we must not tell God what he should be feeling or doing. Job is a good example. He let it all hang out, but one important thing that he did not do. He refused to accuse God. In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing (Job 1:22). For was not offended by God in the suffering he was going through but he was honest with himself. When dealing with pain and death we can be honest with God about what is going on in our lives. He is glad when we are open with him and ask for help. However, we must guard our hearts lest our pain turn into disappointment or offense with him.
8. Disappointment can also lead to apathy, especially for those who are young. While disappointment causes some people get stirred up and offended at God, others slip into apathy. They respond by saying,
I don’t care. I never expected anything to happen anyway. Apathy also kills faith, because apathetic people just give up expecting anything from God. In some ways this is worse. God can cope, if we are upset with him, but there is not much that he can do for those who do not care. Apathy also quenches the Holy Spirit.
Jesus has earned healing for his body, so he expects the Church to put this victory to work. The main responsibility rests with elders and pastors. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders (James 5:14). This is a challenging word for elders and pastors of churches with sickness. God has given them responsibility for healing his people. He does not mind them admitting their faith is weak, but they should be careful blaming him for their failure. If pastors and leaders allow their people to get offended at God over sickness, they are letting them blame God for something, which they should be doing. This is a dangerous game, because if Christians stop blaming God, they might start blaming their pastors and elders. Allowing people to blame God seems to be easier than taking responsibility for dealing with their sickness. Let’s look at more examples from the scriptures regarding offense, unbelief and disappointment
OFFENSE PREVENTS US FROM HEARING THE VOICE OF GOD
Zechariah the Father of John the Baptist and Mary the mother of Jesus Christ.
Disappointment and offense prevent us from hearing the voice of God.Zechariah and Elizabeth were childless and “they were both well along in years (Luke 1:7).
No doubt they had prayed for a son, but their prayers were disappointed. While Zechariah was serving in the temple the angel of the Lord appeared to him beside the altar of incense and promised that he and Elizabeth would have a son and the Spirit of God would be upon him. Zechariah had Gabriel standing beside him in the Holy of Holies, but he still responded with a doubting question. How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years (Luke 1:18). Zechariah tested the word of God against his own situation he was going through with his wife Elizabeth. His disappointment and offense at unanswered prayer had produced unbelief that prevented him from hearing God’s voice. When his prayer was finally answered, he was unable to accept it because he had prayed for a long time and he wanted the child in his own timing which did not happen. Gabriel rebuked his unbelief and silenced him to confirm his word. But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time (Luke 1:20).
Disappointment that is not dealt with leads to offense that produces unbelief. Offense prevents us from receiving the next thing that God has for us.
Gabriel also visited Mary after 5 months when Elizabeth was pregnant but she responded with a humble question. How can this be, since I do not know a man (Luke 1:34)? When Gabriel said that nothing is impossible for God, Mary declared her faith. I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said (Luke 1:38). Mary’s heart was not wounded by disappointment or offense, so she was able to receive God’s word to her. The power of the Holy Spirit was able to come upon her overshadow with a miracle in her womb. The contrast between Zechariah and Mary is challenging. Mary was young and immature, yet she responded in faith. Zechariah was upright before God and kept all the commandments, yet he responded in unbelief. This shows the danger of disappointment with God that is not quickly resolved.
MOSES AND THE ROCK “NUMBERS 20:1-13”
In the first month the whole Israelite community arrived at the Desert of Zin, and they stayed at Kadesh. There Miriam died and was buried.
Now there was no water for the community, and the people gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron. They quarreled with Moses and said, “If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the Lord! Why did you bring the Lord’s community into this wilderness, that we and our livestock should die here? Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink!”
Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the tent of meeting and fell facedown, and the glory of the Lord appeared to them. The Lord said to Moses, “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.”
So Moses took the staff from the Lord’s presence, just as he commanded him. He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.
But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”
These were the waters of Meribah,a where the Israelites quarreled with the Lord and where he was proved holy among them.
Lessons for Leaders and Christians to learn from experience of Moses and the Rock.
The sad thing about the incident at Meribah is that Moses got things wrong after starting well by going to the tabernacle and seeking God. The glory of God appeared. The Lord told him to speak to the rock and water would flow forth; but instead of speaking to the rock, Moses spoke harshly to the people and struck the rock. Moses failure here prevented him from entering the promised land (Num 20:12). There are some big lessons here for pastors and elders as they confront sickness and illness among their people
1. Dumping on Hurting People
When a body of people takes offence at God, their leaders can sometimes pick up a similar attitude. A leader in this situation will sometimes “dump’ on the people he leads. This is what happened to Moses, when he said,
Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock? (Num 20:11).
He accused the Israelites of being rebels. This accusation was not quite true. They were grumbling and complaining, but this time they were not actually rebelling. Ironically, Moses was the one who disobeyed God. His harsh tone did little to change their attitude and produce trust and thankfulness to God. Moses got offended at the people, because he took on the attitude of those who were offended by God.
The same thing has happened with sickness. In churches that are permeated by disappointment and offence at God, the pastors and elders can pick up the some spirit. This manifests in harshness or an accusing tone that gives their flock the impression that they sick because the do not have enough faith. While it is often true that they do not have enough faith, this is not the root of their problem. They actually need pastors and teachers who can release faith and healing in their church.
Moses was speaking as God’s servant standing in the presence of his glory. His question did not honour God
Must we bring you water out of this rock?
By grumbling about the request for water, Moses was making God appear stingy and mean. The truth is that God has promised to supply his people with water (Deut 8 3,4) so they were entitled to as for water. God is gracious and loves to bless his people, even when they are not thankful. By speaking stingy, Moses was misrepresenting God. But Moses also wanted to show his power yet God had promised people water but Moses took the honor of God and his glory and God was annoyed with them. Must we bring you water out of this rock you rebels? According to his statement he nullified God’s promises and claimed to be the one providing rather God.
3. Jesus is the True Rock
Pastors and elders should be warning their people of the dangers of taking offence, just as Jesus warned John. They should be encourage them to look to Jesus, who is the true rock. He has done all that is need his people to have fullness of life.
4. Blaming God for Evil
God did not create the disaster. The dessert was the result of sin and the devil’s handiwork. God did not intend his people to be in the dessert for forty years. They were still in the dessert because of their sin. Blaming God for the dessert was unfair.
We must not blame God for sickness. There is no sickness in heaven. There was no sickness before the fall. God is holy, so he could not create sickness. He is faithful so he keeps his promises. He is good, so he does not do evil. We must never blame God, for something evil, especially if the problem is caused by our lack of faith.
A whole generation of Christian elders is uncomfortable with James 5:14. It is a hard verse for elders living in an age when the church has very low levels of faith, but that is not an excuse to shift the blame to God. When speaking about sickness, pastors and elders must be careful never to compromise God’s character. If faith levels are low, that is an issue or elders to resolve.
he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,. so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith (Eph 4:11-13).
If the church lacks faith, God is not to blame. The leaders of the church are responsible.
5. Speak to the Rock
God told Moses to speak to the rock. He said nothing about speaking to the people. He expected Moses to deal with the problem that was causing his people to get offended with him. Moses’ error was dealing to the people, when he should have been dealing with the rock.
The same principle applies to sickness and healing. Although many Christians have taken offence, God expects pastors and elders to deal to the problem. He expects them to speak to the stumbling block of sickness and crack it open, so that fullness of life might flow through God’s people. Pastors and elders must take up this challenge.
Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord (James 5:14).
Ezekiel gave a stern warning to those who do not take up this responsibility.
Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? ..You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. . You have ruled them harshly and brutally. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd (Es 34:2,4,5).
Some pastors and elders sound like Moses when speaking about sickness.
Must we heal the sick?
God’s answer is that pastors and elders are expected to heal the sick. By speaking in a way that questions God willingness or ability to heal, they were not honouring his grace and mercy.
6. Striking the Rock was Wrong
Moses struck the rock instead of speaking to it. Moses had been to this place before, so he would have recognised the rock (Ex 17:1-7). He knew that there was water close to the surface and that if he struck the rock, then water would come out. It took to hard blows, but the water flowed forth. Human wisdom and human action produced the water. Speaking to the rock required more faith, but it would have produced a miracle. Instead, he put his faith in human wisdom and human action.
Some Christian pastors and elders have more faith in the wisdom of human doctors than they have in God. Some Christian leaders give better testimonies about the wonderful things done by there surgeon than about the healing power of God. They will often suggest people see a particular doctor, before offering to pray for them. They are striking the rock, when they should be speaking life.
Strangely enough, doctors do not get a great press in the scriptures. One had treated the woman who had touched the hem of Jesus garment.
She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse (Mark 5:26).
Doctors have improved since then, but they are still not as effective as Jesus at dealing with sickness. At least, that should be our testimony.
Asa was afflicted with a disease in his feet. Though his disease was severe, even in his illness he did not seek help from the LORD, but only from the physicians (2 Chronicles 16:12).
Asa’s problem was that he sought help from the doctors, but did not seek help from the Lord. We tend to have the same approach. We only seek the Lord about things that are too hard for the doctors. Seeking God first would be a better approach. Why strike at a rock, when Jesus is your rock.
Moses picked up the offence of his people and got offended with them. This failure as a leader prevented him from getting into the promised land. His offence at the people shut him out from God’s blessing.
This raises a hard question, but it needs to be asked. Why are so many pastors and elders sick? Many are at the forefront of battle and have come under attack. I could see how the enemy would use sickness to cripple them. However, many others just seem have they been shut out from the promise of healing. It might be that they have taken offence at their people who are continually sick, or they have become offended with God at h’is apparent failure to answer their prayers for healing.
8. God Honours Faithful Leaders
The reason that God led Israel into a dry place was to honour Moses before the people by allowing him to perform a mighty miracle. He would simply speak to the rock and water would flow forth. By striking the rock, he put the miracle under question. Maybe there was an artesian stream under the rock that burst open when he cracked the rock? If Moses had just spoken to the rock, that miracle could not be questioned. Failure to speak to the rock turned honour into dishonour.
God said to Moses,
You will bring water out of the rock for the community, so they and their livestock can drink (Num 20:8)
He says to elders and pastors,
Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons (Matt 10:8).
Your prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well (James 5:15).
God wants to honour his pastors and elders by allowing them to bring healing into the body of Christ. By failing to take up this calling, the body is weakened and they lose the respect that God is offering to them.
Offense in the days of Moses when children of Israel put God to Test. Water from the Rock When the Israelites came to a place called Rephidim, there was no water for them to drink, so they quarreled with Moses. God told Moses to strike the rock and water flowed out for all the people and their animals. And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the LORD saying, “Is the LORD among us or not” (Exodus 17:7)? Moses called the place Massah (testing) because the Israelites got offended with God and put him on trial. This was strange, because God had stayed with them day and night and provided them with food and drink. He had always gone ahead of them to find a good place to camp.
The LORD went ahead of you on your journey, in fire by night and in a cloud by day, to search out places for you to camp (Deut 1:32, 33). They could only arrive at an unsuitable camping, if they had not followed God. Their question was a good example of a bad question. Is the Lord among us or not? This is a dangerous question, because it blames God for the situation. God was not accountable to them for his whereabouts.
They should have been asking questions about themselves. • Are we in the wrong place? • Did we stop following God at some point? • Did we go all the way to where he was leading us? • What does God want us to learn in this place? These questions search their hearts. They do not blame God. The Psalmist reports some of the other questions they asked as “they wilfully put God to the test”. Can God spread a table in the desert? Can he also give us food? Can he supply meat for his people (Psalm 78:19, 20)?
These questions all put God on trial. He had not provided for them in the way that they expected. He had failed to comply with their standards, so they were offended by him. Their offense at God cut the Israelites off from his blessings. In the wasteland they put God to the test. So he gave them what they asked for, but sent a wasting disease upon them (Psalm 106:14, 15). Disappointment leads to offense. Offense destroys faith and invites sickness.
The Next Generation When the next generation of Israelites arrived at the same place they also put God on trial. Now there was no water for the community, and the people gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron. They quarreled with Moses and said, “Why you brought the Lord’s community into this desert, that we and our livestock should die here? Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink!” Num 10:2-5). The Israelites focused on what they thought God had not done (no figs, no grapes and no pomegranates, no water) when they should have been thinking about what he had done for them during their wanderings in the desert. Focusing on what God has not done produces disappointment that leads to a bad attitude towards him.
Their complaint was made worse by exaggeration of the risk. It was very unlikely that they would die in the wilderness. By talking about death in the wilderness, they were confessing a lie. They should have been declaring God’s promises to keep them safe and provide them with food and water. When we are attacked by sickness, we must be careful not to confess the lies that of the enemy. He loves to suggest. You will die of this sickness. He likes it even better, if he can get us to agree with him and say, I might die of this illness. We should nullify his lies by confessing the promises of God. In conclusion the questions that put God on Test or trial are always suggestions from Satan and in fact this can be seen in the scriptures as below when Satan was tempting Jesus Christ in the wilderness. Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. 7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Mathew4; 5-7. We can see that Jesus Christ was tempted by Satan but Satan always brings statements that are half true, he asked if you are the son of God, jump from this mountain and the Angel will carry you. But Jesus Christ of course was the Son of God, However realized he was going to commit an offense by putting God on trial or to test and refused that submission and suggestions made by Satan by declaring the word of truth to Satan; He said it is written that Never put The Lord God on test, so Many Christians have been making this mistake of offense at God that brings God to Test, which is not sorted. When make offense towards God we miss so many things and loose out what God would have done for us instead of blessings that we would get we find ourselves reaping curses because we see that the children of Israel had put God on Test, meaning questioned his power and brought bad Character of God and this was Bad therefore he stroke them with sickness and other died therefore no body entered the promised Land.
Advice to the Christians today is that, you should avoid offense arising in disappointment and you should have faith other than expectation because Faith is not the same as expectation, high expectation brings big disappointment and in times of disappointments that’s where we make many mistakes by offending God in the phrase of our questions we ask God.
When are in disappointment we should not focus on what God is not doing, Rather we should focus on what God has done and what he is doing, for this will reduce disappointment we shall always have questions of Faith Rather than question of doubt that Put God to test. An example was Jesus Christ how he replied John the Baptist when he had sent his disciples to ask Jesus Christ if he was the Messiah or he should expect another one, so Jesus Christ told the disciples of John that;
Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of me (Matt 11:4-6). The reason here was to tell John to focus on what Jesus Christ was doing and he should look at his own experience, and indeed when the disciples took the message to John understood it.
This is how God expects you to respond in times of trouble and situations by focusing on what God has done, what he is doing, that will give us much Faith and continue to grow in Faith. Christians today have not solved this problem of offense which has brought many disasters upon themselves because of curse risen from the questions of offense that put God to test. The Christians should learn how to phrase questions when asking God about their situations especially when what they had hoped did not come through.
Christians should understand God’s standards other than wanting their standards to match God’s Standards and they should understand God’s will and God’s Plan then they shall avoid offense and of course this will avoid unbelief.
The Christians should repent over this issue because it has tied many with big laden of curse into their families which has brought unbelief in their families hence no power of God, healing is not manifested and other things unsolved.
When Christians today begin to understand the offense at God they will be delivered from there situational problems and they will receive blessings from God for being patient. All in all the Christians should understand God’s will to avoid Disappointments in their lives. This will enable them/ you to walk in accordance with the Will of God with the Help of the Holy-Spirit guidance, without the Holy-Spirit guidance we go astray, so we need to be attentive to the voice of the Holy-Spirit.
I should have written more and this subject has more though i have not included them here because of space. For more information Go to www.truth-truth.com
I remain Asher Namanya the bond servant of Almighty God and the Lord Jesus Christ.