February 14, 2022
wants to say something to us - His
covenant people, born-again Christians,
Spirit-baptized churchgoers, professing
Jesus followers, ministers and
congregants. But what He is saying isn't
taking us to court. He's indicting us!
The charge the Father has brought
against us before heaven's jurists is:
God abuse! We, of all
generations, should understand this.
experts on abuse - or the misuse, or
shameful or injurious mistreatment, of a
person or thing. We know all about
substance abuse, spousal abuse, child
abuse, employee abuse, sexual abuse,
psychological abuse, patient abuse,
pastoral abuse, animal abuse, and a
thousand other kinds of hurtful
mistreatment of individuals, substances,
or creatures. Every time we hear of an
abuser being convicted and jailed, or
better, repenting and being saved, we
rejoice and feel the world is a better
But despite our abundant attention to
matters of abuse, there's one form of
abuse to which we are totally blind,
deaf, and dumb: God abuse!
Nevertheless, God abuse is very real. It
occurs when we attempt to misuse God. We
twist our relationship with Him to serve
our pleasure only. We crave our
Benefactor's benefits endlessly and
shamelessly while ignoring His desires
constantly and impenitently. We consider
our needs, wants, dreams, and goals
only, without even a passing thought of
His. Our "relationship" is no real
relationship at all. Like a loveless
marriage, it is void of passion,
delight, and significant intimate time
together. Thus, we have wronged, and
grievously wounded, our heavenly
And the time of reckoning has come.
Heaven's court is now in session, and we
are on trial. Let's quietly step inside
and listen to the proceedings. Shhh . .
Heaven's prosecutor, or district
attorney, is the Davidic worship leader,
Asaph. His indictment is recorded in
Psalm 81. In it, he makes a case law
argument by reminding the court of one
of its famous precedents: the time when
the God of the Exodus filed a similar
complaint against the people of the
Exodus for God abuse.
The DA explains God's successful earlier
prosecution of Israel. Long ago the
people of the Exodus made it clear that,
once delivered, they wanted to be
delivered from the God who delivered
them. Shockingly, the people of the
Exodus wanted the God of the Exodus to
make an exodus from their lives! And to
ensure He would no longer be worshiped
by their Hebrew peers, they made a
golden calf to take His place,
attributing His gracious deliverance to
its golden image!
God lovingly pleaded with them to repent
and return to Him. He challenged them to
"open thy mouth wide," and then
promised, "and I will fill it" (v. 10).
But, to His profound grief, and their
eternal shame, they responded by telling
God to get lost! "But my people . . .
would have none of me" (v. 11).
abundantly clear: they wanted Him
publicly, but not personally. They
wanted Him to show up - and on time! But
they didn't want to show up in His
presence daily and spend a large
quantity of quality time communing with
Him and worshiping Him.
This text has two meanings, one
superficial and the other fundamental.
On the surface, God was saying, "You
don't need to seek help from idols, like
the unenlightened pagans do. Just ask me
for what you need, and I'll gladly and
abundantly supply you." But on a deeper
level, He was calling them to profound
love for Him, unbroken devotion to Him,
unswerving loyalty toward Him, and rich,
sustaining fellowship with Him.
Succinctly, He wanted their love;
but, estranged, they wanted only to
The ultimate heavenly Lover was pleading
with His wayward earthly lover to
return. "Open your mouth wide,"
indicating strong hunger and thirst, or
earnest, even urgent desire. And when
you do, "I [Myself] will fill
it," or "All that I am will fully
satiate your deep soul hunger and
thirst, or fill to the full your
innermost human appetites." "Not my
provisions and blessings merely, but 'I'
will fill you. That is, all of Me in My
divine fullness, will 'fill' you so full
you will never again hunger, or yearn,
after other things or gods. Finally, it
will dawn on you that their love is
inferior. It simply cannot compare with
Again, note God's intense grief and
brokenness over His people's callous
response to His passionate plea. They
wanted "none of me" (v. 11); or, "Israel
did not want me around" (NLT). So, they
wanted His power, but not His presence;
His assistance, but not His company; His
gifts, but not Himself, the greatest
Gift and Giver.
In human terms, God's feelings were
deeply hurt by those He felt the most
love for - not the idol-worshiping
pagans from whom He expected no
affection, but His own blood-bought,
covenant people! The people with whom He
hoped to spend eternity! The people
whose love He hoped would heal the
gaping wound in His heart caused by His
loss of first Lucifer's, and then
Adam's, loving fellowship!
With this sad precedent fresh on the
court's mind, heaven's District
Attorney, Asaph, now turns to apply its
lesson to the present day. With a heavy
heart, he faces the jury of our peers,
the elders and saints who have gone
before us. He tells them that we, this
generation of born-again Christians, and
our last-days, Laodicean congregations,
have blindly repeated Israel's crime.
And now, we must come to terms with our
own God abuse.
All of us, my fellow Christians, are
sitting at the defendant's table. The
evidence presented should not anger us,
but quiet us. It should leave us
brokenhearted, grieved, still,
thoughtful. It is a crucial moment in
time, a destiny determining moment. Our
response will take us one way or the
other. We will either justify ourselves
or justify God. We will either proudly
explain why we have not had a chance to
respond to God's call and let His sweet
fellowship fill our desires, or we will
humbly acknowledge we have had plenty of
opportunities to do so, but just haven't
responded. Or, we have responded in a
very limited way. Why?
Like Israel, we've had our own agenda.
We have been in charge of our lives and
God has been on our staff - not as
sovereign daily Lord but as a part-time
Adviser. We have needed and wanted God's
help in this treacherous world often, so
we have opened our prayer-mouths wide
often, yearning to have our worldly
needs met and pressing troubles solved.
And this was understandable, right, and
in no way offensive or abusive to God.
He expects us to present our needs and
delights to meet them.
But our crime, or abuse, has been our
willful, ongoing avoidance of the One
who is so constantly and affectionately
looking after us. Like Israel of old,
after every "exodus" from trouble, we've
promptly made an exodus from our
Deliverer and, by our indifference, made
it clear to Him we want Him to make an
exodus from our lives. Until the next
time we need Him.
In all of this, we have been blind,
deaf, and quite dumb, ignoring this huge
fact: we do not truly live, and cannot
thrive, without our Benefactor's
presence, love, and fellowship! "In thy
presence is fullness of joy" (Psalm
16:11) and out of His presence is
fullness of discontent and depression.
And all the material, human, worldly
blessings on earth cannot make us one
bit less wretched.
Only time in God's presence daily
shields us from being intimidated by
anyone else's presence. Only God's sweet
love makes our bitterest circumstances
palatable and keeps our hearts sweet.
Only thoughtful study of God's Word
feeds our inner man with thought-food
from heaven. Only plenty of time
privately praising and worshiping God
saves us from praising political leaders
or celebrities too highly. Only God's
presence infuses us with life so
irrepressible that all the pressure in
this world can't squeeze it out of us.
Only God's power strengthens our inner
man with supernatural endurance to run
and not be weary and walk and not faint
while others are weary and faint all
around us. Only God's hand holding our
hand enables us to walk calmly and
steadily through raging rivers and
intense infernos without the slightest
bit of discontent or panic.
And all of this is ours today. Right
now. While you read this piece. That is,
if we will only immediately begin
seeking our Benefactor hungrily,
habitually, urgently, and daily with the
same zeal with which we have sought His
benefits or our heart idols. Open your
heart's "mouth" today, and He will "fill
it" - with Himself, with more of Him,
with all of Him, with as much of Him as
a redeemed human being can have and hold
in mortal bodies in this fallen world.
Until He comes for you!
Time will tell your true response to
Psalm 81's crucial call. If you spend
the same amount of time, or less,
intimately seeking your Benefactor, you
have rejected it. If you spend more time
alone with Him daily, and more time
thanking Him and talking to Him through
the day, you have received it.
And all your legal problems will
abruptly end. Your attorney, the Holy
Spirit, will plead the court's leniency.
Heaven's District Attorney will move
that your charges be dropped. The Judge,
your heavenly Father, will nod His
sovereign consent. The jury of your
peers, the elders and saints who have
learned this vital lesson before you,
will cheer your acquittal. And you'll
walk out of court, a free man, a free
woman, ready to "fill" your spiritual
"mouth" with God Himself, more of Him,
all of God, all the rest of your days.
then go help deliver other God abusers.
Letting Him fill my mouth,