God will never alter His principle of spiritual consequences because He cannot change Himself. The principle of sowing and reaping is absolute and eternal, whether we believe it or not. When we trust other things and turn our eyes from Him, it’s rebellion. If we sow rebellion and disobedience, we reap war and conflict. Rebellion steals our peace, but our God does not desire negative consequences. He logs to act on our behalf if we only make the right choice.
For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars. (2 Chronicles 16:9)
When we look at the history of humankind, there isn’t a single age that wasn’t plagued by war and conflict of some kind. The last part of this verse could have fitted in well in Genesis when man transgressed and opened the door to a spiritual battle that is still going on today. Jesus also told us that one of the signs of the end of the age was that there would be wars and rumours of wars. There are plenty of these across the globe from petty regional conflicts to global threats and posturing. The fact is that war is one of the spiritual consequences of the fall, and it’s echoed in today’s verse where it’s the result of deliberate disobedience against the will of God. All sin is rebellion against God and carries consequences. In context, it was putting trust in others instead of in God.
Spiritual consequences are absolute.
This truth is bound up with other spiritual truths, one of which is that we reap what we sow. We like to use this particular principle as our assurance of a good harvest, which it is. But it’s also true of the negative things we sow. If we sow evil, we reap it. Seeds of anger and hatred release a harvest of destruction. Rebellion against God in Eden released a harvest of separation and alienation from Him. The principle itself is very simple, but we often overlook the additional truth that it is absolute. The principles of God, including that of spiritual consequences, are an intrinsic part of God Himself. They are the outworking of a God who is holy and absolutely sovereign, a manifestation of His nature and therefore immutable. To expect God to change any of His spiritual laws is to expect Him to change.
In a world where human rights and free will and an obsession with democracy prevail, we’ve lost sight of the reality of a sovereign God. The kingdom of God is a kingdom, not a democracy. Our wants, desires, and expectations have no relevance at all. Whether we acknowledge His sovereignty or not, it cannot alter or affect it. His principle of spiritual consequences remains active, even if we don’t believe it. People can sometimes escape worldly consequences, but we will never escape their spiritual counterparts. Every natural action has both physical and supernatural consequences, and avoiding the natural does not automatically cancel the supernatural. David is a very good example. Though described as ‘a man after God’s own heart,’ he could not escape the spiritual consequences of murder and adultery. Also, though he worshiped with all his heart, the blood on his hands disqualified him from building the temple.
Rebellion and spiritual consequences.
If we look at the life of Abraham, we see spiritual consequences so wonderful and beyond imagination that they are still at work in the world today. Every believer is part of the wonderful harvest of restoration from the seeds of worship and obedience sowed by this servant of God. His attitude to God brought him eternal spiritual consequences that have blessed generations of believers from then until eternity. The reason for this immeasurable supernatural harvest was his faith which ushered in absolute obedience. What’s significant here, though, is that his faith was in God. That is the powerful message behind today’s verse – it is rebellion that ushers in a negative harvest. Rebellion is when we put our faith and trust in anything or anyone other than Him. It includes self and the world or the abilities and resources we have at our disposal.
The rebellion that resulted in the fall thrust mankind into a permanent state of war. God states this very plainly when He talks of crushing the head and striking the heel. From that moment, the spiritual consequences of turning their trust from God manifested in a battle that every believer still fights today. This provides very valuable insight into the reality of negative spiritual consequences. They will always bring conflict and destruction. War will always manifest in one form or another, even if only as internal struggle and conflict. Rebellion steals peace, and the result is always conflict. In today’s verse, it’s very clear that there is a choice. Had the king not taken the decision to find human allies, he would have enjoyed the power and protection of God. His foolish decision resulted in ongoing spiritual consequences of wars that plagued him all his life.
God does not desire negative spiritual consequences.
This is a beautiful truth that is validated by the entire history of mankind, culminating in the cross. Even now, as we wait for the second coming of Christ, we see God’s mercy in holding back so that all mankind has the opportunity to avoid the eternal spiritual consequences that await them. He reminds us of this in the first part of today’s verse. In fact, He goes even further to tell us that He searches the earth for opportunities to use His strength and power to help those who are faithful to Him. Little wonder, then, in the light of this awesome truth, that He tells King Asa that he has been foolish in turning away from the awesome might and power of God to human allies. Yet mankind persists in looking to ourselves, others, and the world for deliverance when nothing can compare with Him.
We must draw a distinction between wars which are spiritual consequences and those which are God-ordained. A good example here is the battles fought for the Promised Land. There is a significant difference between the two. God-directed wars are quick and decisive, because He Himself directs the battle and controls the outcome. They have a particular purpose in the will of God which is always to work to our good, however uncomfortable the battle may seem at the time. Consequences, however, drag out. Just as we seem to have the victory, we find ourselves battling on a different front. There seems to be no purpose to the war except to wear us down and erode our faith. The tragedy is that He does not desire this for us. It is our own foolishness and rebellion that ushers in the wars that plague us as an extended and bitter harvest.
How to avoid spiritual consequences.
The answer to this is very simple. Be obedient and trust only in God. We need to fix our minds firmly on the truth that He desires to act on our behalf. This means that even in our difficult moments, He is already looking to see how He can intervene to our benefit. When we put our trust in other things, we deny Him the opportunity to work on our behalf. We also deny ourselves, cutting ourselves off from the strength and power of God which is freely available to us. The antidote to rebellion is obedience. In this case, it’s in the area of faith and trust. When we remain faithful to God and look only to Him for our deliverance, we sow the seeds of good harvest. Our spiritual consequences are always the outworking of our choices. We receive either a harvest of war or peace.
Almighty God, thank You for reminding us of the times where we have looked to other things instead of fixing our trust on You. Forgive us for these times of weakness. Help us to remember that You desire to act on our behalf and wait only for our trust and faithfulness. Thank You that we can be assured that You will intervene in might and power, so that Your glory will always be revealed.