BURNING BRIDGES Andy Hollifield 1-21-18
Exodus 32:26 Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the Lord’s side? Let him come to me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.
Numbers 16:30-33 But if the Lord make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the Lord. (31) And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them: (32) And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. (33) They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation.
2 Samuel 11:3-5 And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite? (4) And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned to her house. (5) And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child.
Luke 12:20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided.
2 Peter 2:7-9 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (8) (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) (9) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.
Vexed—(1) irritated; annoyed: (2) much discussed or disputed: (3) tossed about as waves.
I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine that I have known for years. We talked about some people we knew that had passed on and how some things can never be like they once were. That got me to thinking about burning bridges. There are a lot of things we can’t control. Death is one of those things and it is coming to all of us if the rapture don’t take those of us that are born again first. I am not talking about death and other uncontrollable things. I am talking about the things that we do and decisions we make knowing that there are or may be consequences. I also talked to another friend and the subject of Lot came up. Lot, David, and Korah were the ones that came to mind first. I thought of the rich man with the barns as I was writing. One that I didn’t list was in Luke 16. It is the story of the rich man and Lazarus. The rich man had a daily opportunity to hear about the Lord but he wouldn’t bring himself down so low as to befriend a beggar. Don’t give up on this article just yet. I promise that it will be encouraging by the time you finish reading.
I know we have all made decisions and have done or said things that we have wished a million times we could take back or do over. Unfortunately, sometimes those words or decisions or actions may be over in a second but may cost us for a lifetime. The Cathedral Quartet used to sin a song entitled “Sin Will Take You Farther” than you want to go. Slowly but wholly taking control. Sin will leave you longer than you want to stay, sin will cost you far more than you want to pay.” There has never been a truer song than that. In the scriptures above; each of those men paid a great price along with their families because of their actions.
In Exodus 32:26 we find the scene after Moses had come off of the mountain of God with the 10 commandments. It all started with the impatience of the people of Israel not wanting to wait for Moses to return with a word from God. It started with a few people sewing discord among the brethren and, like an infection, it soon spread throughout a large portion of the people. If Aaron had of made a stand when it first started, he might have been able to stop it and I know God would have stopped it but no one ever asked him to. Once Moses made his plea in verse 26 and the sons of Levi joined him, they were told to go through the camp and slay people. This was after Moses had ground the calf to powder, strewed it on the watered, and made the people drink it. He had also questioned Aaron about his part in it and he lied and said that when he cast the people’s gold into the fire, there came out a calf. That’s almost as good as an explosion supposedly creating all of the beauty that we see. The sons of Levi went through the crowd and slew about three thousand that day. Families were devastated with the loss of family members or maybe even whole families. Whether they worshipped the calf or not, they still had to pay the price.
Korah and the men that withstood Moses and Aaron in Numbers 16, did so for their own personal gain. They had ideas, I am sure, of power and prestige. Rather than offer to help Moses in any way they could, they chose rather to follow their blind ambition and were willing to trample God’s men to make their way to the top. I know that none of us have ever worked with or for that person or known anyone that was that way. That is sarcasm by the way. I am actually sure that all of us have. The sad thing is that there is always a lot of collateral damage meaning people who weren’t even involved or aware that have to pay the price for what someone else has done. Such was the case with Korah in Numbers 16:1. It seems like there is always that one person that gets the ball rolling and puts thoughts in other people’s heads and before you know it, a simple temptation for one man has become the imminent downfall of several.
It is a well documented fact that David, by shirking his duties and staying home when he should have been in battle, went up on the roof and when he saw Bathsheba and lusted, he began burning the bridges to the blessed life he could have had from the Lord. He had slew animals with his bare hands, killed a giant, had great military victories, was anointed as a young man by Samuel to be king over Israel, and in one evening he began burning the bridges God had for him. Never again would he be “not guilty” and his family would always be plagued with death, scandal, separation, and ruin all because of one evening on the roof.
The rich man who God had blessed with abundance of crops got caught up in his own greed rather than being thankful for the blessings of God in his life. We might not all be able to relate to Korah, or David or anyone else listed above but I imagine we can all relate to this rich man. How many times have we and our families suffered the loss of time together because of our greed and ambition. It don’t have to be a big sinful act that burns bridges. It can be just a neglect of our duty that costs not only us, but our families as well. I know that I look back at my son’s life and see all that I missed working in the freight business to provide him a better life. If the truth be known, I could have done with less and most likely provided him a better life with the really important things in life; my presence and my time. Those bridges are burnt and I can’t change that. I can only go on from here.
Lot wasn’t an evil man when he moved to Sodom. Peter said that he had a righteous soul when he went. But he also went on to say that in seeing and hearing the filth and sin around him, he vexed his soul. He troubled his soul and created strife in his own family. He lost his influence as a God-fearing man to the point that he was willing to give his daughters over to the lifestyle around him. He was also mocked by his married daughters when he tried to warn them of God’s coming wrath. Even his wife loved the lifestyle and had to be drug out by angels just as the whole family of four did. His daughters, after having been raised in that environment and likely never having any kind of godly upbringing, committed incest with their father and thereby created problems in their family which we still have to deal with today. When Lot looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, he began burning the bridges not only for him but his entire future family.
Now for the good news. It is found in 2 Peter 2:9. I am thankful that the Lord still knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations. David was questioned by one person around him about his enquiry about Bathsheba. God tried to turn him but as it says in the book of James 1:14 “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. (15) Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” A lot of good people have needlessly been finished by sin. I said needlessly because of 1 Corinthians 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” God also told Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9 “…, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness…” See, I told you that it would be encouraging! God has it all fixed for us if we will just accept his grace and take the way he made for us out of temptation. I hope this is a help to someone who is struggling. This may be God trying to turn you as he did David. Don’t neglect his guidance for your life and start “Burning Bridges.” Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!