Spiritual Disorder Brings Physical Chaos

I started writing a book titled, Spiritual Orphans: A Generation in Crisis, shortly after the Manchester bombing in May of this year. The book is slowly coming together but after the events of this past weekend in Las Vegas, my heart is heavy once again for the spiritual order of our generation. 

If we could peel back the layers of the Bible and really see what was taking place from God's perspective, we would see at the core of every physical problem described in the Bible there was a problem with the spiritual condition of the people. As people moved farther away from God, chaos increased. If our generation continues to move farther away from God, chaos will also continue to increase. I don't know about you, but I'm tired of the chaos. I can't stop madmen who choose to shoot hundreds of people enjoying a weekend concert, but I can choose to use my voice to reach people with the hope of Jesus Christ. Many people who find themselves bound in the shackles of sin are not usually people you or I want to associate with on a regular basis. However, if we don't speak with them about Christ, who will? My sin, your sin, and their sin affect us all whether we like it or not.
 
The Holy Spirit has challenged me to see the lost not as bad people or even as my enemy, but as people who are in need of their Father. They are spiritual orphans wandering our streets aimlessly guided by the powers of evil. They need us...you and I...to come alongside them and be their spiritual mothers/fathers. He calls us to care for the orphans. Are you willing?

Excerpt from Spiritual Orphans: A Generation in Crisis:

Spiritual disorder contributes to physical chaos. We aren’t the first generation who has had to deal with this problem.
 
Sin separates us from a holy, heavenly Father. The Old Testament required a blood sacrifice to be made for the forgiveness of sin. Jesus ultimately paid the price for all with the shedding of His blood. Jesus' gruesome death exhibited God's immeasurable love and grace toward people. God's desire is that not one person should perish for eternity but that all would receive His free gift of salvation by believing in Jesus Christ as their Savior. This decision results in the new believer having access to the power of the Holy Spirit. This power source is critical for the believer to stay on the right path God has chosen for him or her. The unbeliever is someone who has never placed their trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior.

For the believer, the repetition of cherished sin—unconfessed sin, known or unknown breaks the relationship with the Father. It's hard to stand in the presence of a holy God and have His Spirit reside within you and be wracked with sin. Psalm 66:18 says, “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” When we sin (even after salvation), we drive a wedge between our Father and us. We can’t live lives of disobedience to God and expect the world to be okay.

For the nonbeliever, there is no roadmap to right living (believers get this information through the Bible). Some people believe that everyone has a moral compass, but if your compass is being filtered through the hands of the ruler of this world, your destination, desires, and actions are generally not going to line up with right living. The wide gate nonbelievers enter and the broad road they walk on lead to destruction (Matthew 7:13). Sadly, this happens to far too many people.

The question is, do you care only about your spiritual condition and the spiritual condition of your loved ones, friends, and fellow believers? Does your heart break for the souls of those who don't know their Father right now and therefore are not a part of your spiritual family? Do you believe that an encounter with the living Christ can change the worst person you can think of? God is in the business of miracles. We need a miracle in our generation, and a miracle will only come as we seek to shift the spiritual atmosphere in our hearts, our homes, our churches, and our communities.
 
When Adam and Eve sinned against God by eating of the forbidden fruit, their sin resulted in expulsion from the garden. They lost their fellowship with the Father. Fortunately for Adam and Eve, even though they lost the close fellowship they once enjoyed, God never left them completely. They still knew who their Lord was. God blessed them with two sons, Cain and Abel. Abel was the good son. Cain was not-so-good. Abel gave his best to God while Cain only gave some to God (Genesis 4:3–4). When God confronted Cain about his anger toward his brother, God warned Abel, “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it” (Genesis 4:7). The answer to be accepted by God was not to sin.
 
Cain, it turns out, could not rule over sin. His sin ruled him, and he ended up killing his brother, Abel. Abel's murder angered God. His response to Cain was, “You will be a restless wanderer on the earth” (Genesis 4:12b). Cain chose to follow in the footsteps of his parents and allow sin (going against God’s instructions) to rule over him. He left the Lord’s presence and moved east of Eden (Genesis 4:16). Anytime anyone moved east, it always meant moving away from the presence of God. Later when the Temple was constructed, the Beautiful Gate was located on the eastern side of the building while the Holy of Holies was located toward the back of the western wall. Even within the Temple, the farther a person moved east, the farther away one moved from the presence of God.
 
Cain’s family was wrought with sin and rebellion against God. Cain’s pride caused him to name a city he founded after his son, Enoch (Genesis 4:17). Cain’s great-great-great grandson, Lamech, married two women—something not originally designed by God. This was just another example of pride and rebellion against God. If that wasn’t enough, Lamech also murdered a man and announced what the punishment would be for someone who killed him (Genesis 4:23–24). Lamech had heard family stories about his great-great-great-great-grandparents who also believed they were on the same playing field as God thanks to that little, slippery snake. Sin and rebellion led Cain out of the presence of God, and his choices left his future generations wandering and outside of God’s presence. God gave Cain the antidote to sin—do what is right—but Cain chose his way over God’s way.
 
Do you ever wonder how bad it must have been for God to flood the earth? We’ve seen how Cain was making some bad choices, but come on, were they really that bad? If Cain existed in today’s culture, how would he rank? Cain’s family consisted of adulterers and murderers, and who knows what else. Eventually, the sons of God took many beautiful wives. Scholars disagree as to who exactly these sons of God and beautiful women were. Some say the sons of God were fallen angels, some say the sons of God were descendants of the righteous Seth, and some say the beautiful women were daughters of Cain’s descendants. Regardless of exactly who they were, the mere fact the sons of God took many as their wives thrust these descendants to a whole new level of polygamy.
 
Seth was Adam and Eve’s third son. He was born after Cain killed Abel. Eve was convinced God granted her another son in place of Abel (Genesis 4:25). It was as if just speaking these words of affirmation over baby Seth caused him to grow to be righteous just as Abel had been righteous. Ultimately, Seth had many children and had a large legacy. Seth’s great-great-great-grandson, Enoch, walked so closely in fellowship with God that one day, he disappeared because God took him (Genesis 5:24). Enoch didn’t experience death. Enoch’s great-grandson was Noah. Most everyone who knows anything about the Bible knows the account of Noah. According to Scripture, “Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God” (Genesis 6:9). Some translations say that Noah was the only blameless person living on earth at the time. Noah was righteous when everything around him was anything but righteous. God saw what the world had become—corrupt and violent.
 
God’s solution to this corruption and violence was to wipe out all the living creatures and the entire earth. He chose to spare only one family, and two of each animal (one male and one female).
 
In ten generations (one thousand six hundred and fifty years), people went from living in the garden of Eden in complete fellowship with God to being completely wiped from the face of the earth. Because of the sin of one couple in the Garden, all but Noah and his family were wiped from the face of the earth. God didn’t even offer up a second chance to repent. He was done with them.
 
Are we any different from the people in Noah’s day? How would our generation hold up to the scrutiny of God looking over the earth? What would He say about the things we think, imagine, and do? Oh, how our generation must grieve the Spirit and break God’s heart.
 
I wonder if any of Seth’s descendants tried to reach Cain’s descendants with the Truth? Or were they so hard-headed like Cain, their ears and hearts were closed and hardened? God himself had a conversation with Cain about how to rule over sin, and for Cain, that didn’t seem to make a difference. He voluntarily chose to leave the presence of God, and consequently, his offspring never returned to the presence of God. They wandered as homeless orphans wreaking havoc among people wherever they went. All of it was displeasing in the sight of the Lord.
 
On a day designated by God, God shut the door on that chapter of humanity when He closed the door of the Ark (Genesis 7:16).
 
However righteous Noah was, not one of us is righteous, no not one (Ecclesiastes 7:20). The closing of the Ark door represented the salvific gift Jesus would eventually offer to the world through His sacrifice. On the Cross, Jesus closed the door to our past and opened the door to our future.
 
Not too long after the flood, people found themselves struggling again to do what was right. Noah’s son, Ham, shamed the family after Noah drank too much wine and stumbled naked into his tent. Instead of helping his father (as was the custom), Ham went and got his brothers (Genesis 9:21–22). Ham’s brothers, Shem and Japheth, did what they were supposed to do and covered up their father’s nakedness. When Noah woke up, he heard what Ham had done and delivered a curse upon Canaan, the son of Ham:
 
Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers. (Genesis 9:25)
 
Not only did Noah curse Canaan, but he blessed Shem and Japheth.
 
Praise be to the LORD, the God of Shem! May Canaan be the slave of Shem. May God extend Japheth's territory; may Japheth live in the tents of Shem, and may Canaan be the slave of Japheth. (Genesis 9:26–27)
 
I’m sure that didn’t go over well at family gatherings!
 
Noah’s descendants kept moving east (Genesis 11:3)—hopefully, you are noticing a trend by now—the farther we move from God, the easier it is to sin. At one time, everyone in the world spoke the same language, and they eventually settled in the land of Babylonia (Genesis 11:1–2). However, bad habits die hard and the sin of pride and rebellion once again rose-up in the people. The people wanted to make themselves famous. Sounds very similar to the fame and power Lucifer wanted, too. The people began to build a tower that shot straight up into the sky toward heaven. This time, God went down from heaven with His angelic force, confused the people with different languages, and scattered them all over the world so they would not be able to continue in their self-reliance (Genesis 11:7–8). The people whom God had spared from complete destruction fell into a lifestyle of sin and estrangement from God just as all the others had before them.

But God….
 
God had another solution for these wayward people. He was about to call a spiritual father for these spiritual orphans. His name was Abram.
 
Abram was from the lineage of Noah’s son, Shem. He was the son of Tehar. Abram lived in the land full of people doing life far from God. But God was about to move Abram and set him on the path to his purpose. We don’t know much about Abram, but we know his family was into idol worship. As people moved farther from the presence of God, their need for new gods increased because if God wasn’t their priority, they were going to seek assistance from something other than God. God knew Abram would be distracted, and quite possibly discouraged, by the culture he lived in so God told Abram to move.
 
The LORD had said to Abram, "Go from your country, your people and your father's household to the land I will show you. " (Genesis 12:1)

God chose this man, Abram, to be the father of many nations. The spiritual tone Abram set would affect future generations of God’s chosen people. Would it be possible for one man, and one woman, to parent these ungodly people? Apart from God, no. With God, anything is possible. Abram wasn’t perfect, but God is a God of covenant. Just as with Noah, God kept His covenant despite the fact His people always returned to sin. God told Abram that nations would be born from him and that is exactly what happened. Were the nations perfect? Unfortunately, no. What could have possibly made the outcome different? Multiplication.
 
There is power in multiplication. One becomes two, two becomes eight, eight becomes sixteen…and so on. Father Abraham couldn’t do it all by himself. He needed others who would also make the decision to do what was right in the sight of the Lord. Their right living would become an example to others to live rightly. If sin can be duplicated so too can right living. We need more people today who will live right so that others may see right living modeled.
 
Do you ever have self-righteous conversations with your Bible when you are reading it? I hope I’m not the only one! Sometimes I find myself saying things like, “Good grief. What will it take to convince you people to do the right thing?” or “How could you miss it? You saw the glory of God on the mountain and yet, you were down below wrapped in sin. What is wrong with you people?” It’s in those moments when I think or utter these words that a spirit of conviction and grief well up in my heart. I was that person. We are that people. We live out our days under the shadow of the Cross and the rolled-away stone, and yet, we are no better than those who tossed their jewelry into the fire and worshiped the golden calf that emerged from the fire (Exodus 32).

I can only imagine how Moses must have felt when he threw down the stone tablets during his holy temper tantrum.
 
When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain. (Exodus 32:19) 
 
Why was Moses so angry? Because before Moses went down from the mountain, he pleaded with God on the people’s behalf (Exodus 32:11–14). He begged God not to destroy the people. We are sort of like that today. If we pray, we pray for people to change, but the minute we see that no change has taken place, we get angry and throw temper tantrums. We sometimes withhold our grace and instead replace it with judgment and anger. What right do we have to do this? Absolutely none. God gets to choose whom He wants to spare and forgive. He’s the only one righteous enough to fulfill this role. All God asks us to do is to tell the world about Jesus and allow the Holy Spirit to do the rest. Our sinfulness and need for a Savior should always be at the forefront of our mind. Otherwise, if we forget where we came from, we run into the quicksand of becoming self-righteous like the Pharisees and grace-less.
 
How can we care for the spiritual orphan who is without their Father if we look at them in disgust and disdain? Jesus, on the Cross, said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). The spiritual orphan knows nothing about grace, faith, and obedience because they don’t know their Father. It’s our job to show them who He is. We do this by extending love and grace to all. 
© Erin Olson 2017
Spiritual Orphans: A Generation in Crisis

Erin Olson

Founder and CEO of Sandalfeet Ministries

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