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"Autocorrecting God"| June 9, 2024

Updated: 4 days ago

Autocorrecting God

 

Scripture: Genesis 3:1-6; Genesis 5:1-3; Proverbs 14:12    

 

Good morning, Strangers Rest! The title of my message this morning is “Autocorrecting God.” Two weeks ago, I told you that of all of God’s creation we are what He values most. On last Sunday, I told you that we demonstrate to God that we value Him by understanding our role as sheep and allowing Him to be our shepherd. When we “stay in our lane” and not attempt to take on the role of shepherd in our own lives we demonstrate to God that we value the fellowship we have with Him. This morning, I will shift a little, and discuss how we give God (and each other) lip service about valuing Him (and one another) when we do not.

 

Before I go any further, I want to lay out what you are going to hear in this message by putting myself on blast. I have learned through many years of interacting with people that we show one another how we value them by attentively hearing them when they are talking with us. I do not know about you, but I feel honored and valued when I am talking to someone, and they quietly listen to what I am saying as if what I am saying is especially important to them. But like I said, I will put myself on blast this morning. Now, although I feel special and valued when someone is giving me their undivided attention when I am speaking, there are many times when I “devalue” someone else when they are the ones doing the talking. How do I do that? By interrupting them while they are talking because I have a thought that I want to share. You see, in those moments I sometimes believe that I know what they are going to say so I attempt to get them to their end so I can share the thought that’s come to me based on what I know they are saying. Do you understand what I am saying? When I have those moments I tell the person through my interruption that what they are saying is not as important as what I want to say. And to make matters worse, I attempt to ease the impact of the interruption by telling them I already know what they were going to say before they said it. And if that doesn’t work I can quickly apologize and tell them to continue all the while impatiently waiting for them to finish so I can get back to my point. Have you ever done that? Have you ever interrupted someone because the thought you had just could not wait any longer. I will confess that when I interrupt someone and then attempt to explain it away by saying I knew what they were going to say, I not only devalue their statements as not being important enough to hear out, but I fill in the blanks with what I think they are going to say which is often wrong. I want to be clear that I am talking about me as I am sure most of you do not do this. But if any of you have done this occasionally as I have then I want you to understand that when we do this, we are “autocorrecting” the other person because we are filling in blanks that we create with what we think the person is about to tell us.

 

This morning you are going to hear about how we not only autocorrect one another, but we often autocorrect God, which in and of itself devalues Him in our lives and leads to an outcome that we do not expect. To illustrate this message, I will use the accepted terms of “smart phone” and “stupid phones” as it relates to their text messaging capabilities. As you listen to this message on how we autocorrect God, I want you to keep this Scripture in the forefront of your mind and it is found in Proverbs 14:12. I will read this from the Amplified Bible. It says, “There is a way which seems right to a man and appears straight before him, but its end is the way of death.” I will come back to this later.

 

The first mobile phones were those that had to be carried in a case and were huge. As technology advanced, mobile phones became smaller and smaller. I purchased my first mobile phone in 1997 when I was traveling a lot out of state for my job. My phone was small compared to some, but it had a large battery that attached to the back. The longer I talked on the phone the hotter the battery would get. That phone today would be called a stupid phone – or a caveman phone, not having higher intelligence. All it could do was make phone calls if I were in an area where I could get a signal. The phone could not access the internet or send a text message so by today’s standards it was a stupid phone – lacking the capabilities of today’s smart phones. Text messaging was introduced in 1996 but not all phones had that ability at that time. As text messaging began to grow and become more common, consumers wanted to be able to use all the current and developing technology and thus the smart phone was developed. The smart phone could not only make phone calls, but it could send text messages, take pictures, play videos, and, dare I say it, search the ever-expanding internet. This little device can do what the biggest computer in 1970 could not do.

 

When I was working, I had two mobile phones. My personal phone was a smart phone, and my company issued phone was a stupid phone as it could only make calls and send text messages. At the time I preferred texting on my stupid phone because it was “stupid!” My stupid phone did exactly what I wanted it to do, and it did not try to correct me when I sent text messages. Some of you know where I am going with this. Like most of you, I currently own a smart phone and one of the most irritating things about my smart phone is that it thinks it is smarter than me – hence the “auto-correction” function on the phone. The stupid phone that I had did not have this function, so it allowed me to say things in a text message exactly the way I wanted to say them. It interpreted my typing correctly and did not try to tell me what I meant to type. However, my smart phone, which thinks it is smarter than me, starts making corrections (interrupting me) before I even finish typing the message.

 

Now here is the problem: if I make the unfortunate mistake of not catching the words that it replaced with the “corrected language,” then the person I am texting will receive a message that they cannot understand. Then that person will have to send me a response asking for clarification which causes me to think they are not too bright as they cannot understand a straightforward text message, that is until I read what was actually sent. So, I read the message that “I sent” that I do not understand myself and then I am forced to send a second text message apologizing for “my error” and explaining what the first message was supposed to say – all because my smart phone decided that it knew what I meant to say versus just letting me say it. I hate the auto-correction function even though it is meant to save me time and speed up my texting. I know I can turn it off, but sometimes it does catch a misspelled word or two and correct that which is helpful.

 

This morning, I want you to think about the development of smart phones and how those phones interact with us versus the stupid phones that we had previously. And as you are thinking along those lines, think about how the early Old Testament followers of God interacted with Him versus how we do today? And if you make it that far, go ahead and think about how the early Christians interacted with God versus how we interact with Him today. There are similarities between how we have developed as humans and how we interact with God. For illustration purposes only, the remainder of this message, I will use the term “stupid phone people” and “smart phone people” based on how we are interacting with God. Remember, this is about how we show God that we value Him and our relationship with Him.

 

When God made Adam and Eve, He made them male and female. He told them to rule the earth and to populate it. God chose to make Adam a help meet, or a partner, someone who would be like him and help him fulfill what God had told him to do. After God placed them in the Garden of Eden, He told them not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil for if they did, they would surely die. When Adam and Eve were created, they were naked and were not ashamed. They were not ashamed because they were innocent, or for this message, they were like the stupid phones. By the time we get to the third chapter of Genesis, Satan had decided to turn God’s “stupid phone” people into “smart phone” people complete with the autocorrect function. Look at Genesis 3:1-6. “(1) Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, ‘Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?’ (2) And the woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; (3) but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ (4) Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. (5) For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ (6) So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.”

 

God creates man – man the stupid phone person. Man, who did what God wanted him to do. Man, who obeyed. Then enters “smart phone” Satan who did not like “stupid phone” man. He wanted man to be smart like him; smart enough to question God; smart enough to autocorrect God. If you read the story carefully, Satan did not lie entirely to Eve. What he told Eve was true from the standpoint of her gaining knowledge if she ate of the tree but, true to his nature to steal, kill and destroy, he lied about her not immediately dying. What died the moment she ate the fruit was the spiritual life that God had given to her. And because her spirit was now dead her physical body eventually followed suit and died. But look at how he convinced her? He told her that God was wrong – autocorrection. He was correcting something that God had told her. He was helping her to become like God and be smart. Do you see this? Well, we know the rest of the story. Both Eve and Adam ate of the tree and transitioned from being stupid phone people to smart phone people – from doing exactly what God told them to do to doing what “they” thought was best. Every time my smart phone corrects me it tells me that I am wrong, and it knows what I should be saying.

 

Now I want to read one additional Scriptural reference because it is important that you see this. We talked about this briefly in Bible study a couple of weeks ago. Adam and Eve were made in the image of God, but their kids were not because Adam and Eve’s image had changed – their nature had changed. Their natures no longer contained life but death. Genesis 5:1-3 records the following: “(1) This is the book of the genealogy of Adam. In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. (2) He created them male and female, and blessed them and called them Mankind in the day they were created. (3) And Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and begot a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.” When God created Adam, He created him in His image. When Adam began having children, they were made in his image so therefore his kids were born as smart phone people, not stupid phone people. His kids were born with the immediate desire to autocorrect, not only their father and mother, but also God. I want to share a few examples of how people in the Bible tried to auto-correct God while at the same time professing to value and love Him.

 

Twelve Spies: Numbers chapter thirteen records the story of God telling Moses to send twelve spies into the land of Canaan to see the land which He was going to give them. When the twelve returned they said that the land was everything that God had promised them. But ten of the men autocorrected God because they were smart phone people. These ten spies reported back to Moses as recorded in Numbers 13:27-28, 31: “(27) Then they told him, and said: ‘We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. (28) Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there..…(31) But the men who had gone up with him said, ‘We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.’” They told Moses that the land was everything God said that it was, however, there were issues. Because of those “issues” they auto-corrected God and reported that they could not go up and take the land. Joshua and Caleb were the only ones who said they should go up immediately and possess the land. They were still stupid phones and believed they could do exactly what God had told them they could do. You know the rest of the story – the people believed the ten spies which led to them being in the wilderness going from place to place for forty years until all those smart phone people died off. We often autocorrect God when we are fearful or He is telling us to do something that we really do not want to do.

 

King Saul: Remember King Saul? He started out as a stupid phone person and became a smart phone person. He auto-corrected God several times but most notably in how he dealt with the Amalekites. God told him to destroy them because of how they had treated the Children of Israel when they departed Egypt. Saul went and fought against them, but he did not do exactly what God had commanded. Now I want you to see something. When God sent Samuel to Saul to address his disobedience the following is recorded in First Samuel 15:13. “Then Samuel went to Saul, and Saul said to him, ‘Blessed are you of the LORD! I have performed the commandment of the LORD.’” When Saul saw Samuel, he confessed proudly that he had done what God had commanded him. Why did he believe this? Because he had auto-corrected God and believed that his way was the better way. We see this later when Saul says, “(20)....But I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and gone on the mission on which the LORD sent me, and brought back Agag king of Amalek; I have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. (21) But the people took of the plunder, sheep and oxen, the best of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice to the LORD your God in Gilgal.” (First Samuel 15:20-21) In Saul’s mind he had done what God had told him to do even though he had done it his way (thus auto-correcting God.) Like Saul, when we autocorrect God we sometimes do so believing that our actions are still pleasing to God – however, they are not!  

 

Paul: Paul was the first to start off as a smart phone person autocorrecting anyone who believed in Jesus and thus autocorrecting God. In Galatians 1:13-14, this is what Paul said about himself when he was autocorrecting God, “(13) For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it. (14) And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers.” After meeting Jesus on the Damascus Road, he lost his smartness and became stupid. He said in Galatians 1:15-16, “(15) But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb and called me through His grace, (16) to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles….” He remained a stupid phone person for the rest of his life.

 

Today we have a lot of smart phone Christians who will argue with you about what God’s word “should have meant.” In these situations, they are not arguing with you as they may think, they are arguing with God and their real problem is with Him. Let me give you just a few examples and then I will close.

 

Hell: There is a smart phone “Christian” movement where people are being taught that hell does not exist and that what we have been taught from the Bible about hell is wrong. This movement is autocorrecting God on hell and the lake of fire. When Jesus talked about hell and the lake of fire He said, “(8) If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. (9) And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.” (Matthew 18:8-9) 

 

Sin:  There is still another group of smart phone Christians who are saying that no one needs to repent from sin because we live under grace and that requirement in the Bible is no longer applicable for today. Well, that is fine if you are a smart phone person and autocorrecting God, but I choose to be stupid. Jesus said in Luke 15:7, “I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.”

 

Jesus Christ is not the only way:  Then there are the smart phone people who say that Jesus Christ is not the only way into heaven and that what He did on the cross does not matter today. I love being a stupid phone. Jesus said, “….I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)

 

Freewill: Finally, there are those who believe because God gave us a freewill that we have the right to autocorrect Him because there are times when I should be able to do whatever I want. There are some smart phone people who really believe that they are smarter than God or that they do not need Him because they have everything under control. Is that you? But I leave with you with the verses I opened with from Proverbs 14:12,  “There is a way which seems right to a man and appears straight before him, but its end is the way of death.” Having freewill might seem freedom to do as I please, but that is not the case after I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior.

 

Are you living your life as a smart phone person or as a stupid phone person as it relates to your interactions with God? If you are not sure, let me help you out:

·         If you believe anything that goes against what God says because in “your understanding” it just does not make sense, you are a smart phone person.

·         If you know that God has told you to do something and you are still “praying” about it, you are a smart phone person. Think about it, why do you need to pray about something God has already told you to do? To whom are you praying?

·         If you know to do right and you are telling God that you want to do wrong because what He says is just too hard, you are a smart phone person.

·         If you choose to read every book about religion and trusts what man says about God and His commandments versus what God says, you are a smart phone person.

·         If you believe that God has missed the boat in some of the things He has said, you are a smart phone person.

·         If you are still refusing to let go of offenses after everything you have heard over the last two months and in revival, then you are definitely a smart phone person, autocorrecting God about what He said about forgiveness.

 

Proverbs 14:12 told us that our ways may seem right to us, but in the end, our ways lead to death. We may think we know what is best, but in reality, we do not. I have been a smart phone person before and believe me when I tell you that it was not fun. Some of the decisions I made while being a smart phone person carried an impact that I could not foresee and lasted for years. And what is so important that you understand, during that same time that I was a smart phone person I consistently confessed my undying love for God! Today, I am proud to be a stupid phone person! I take and accept God’s word as He said it. What about you – are you smart or stupid phone person this morning? If you are a smart phone person today, I hope and pray that you will choose right here, right now to become a STUPID one! While autocorrecting the Creator of everything is stupid in and of itself, when we are doing it, we are not thinking of it in this manner. We are thinking that what we are doing and the decisions we are making are better and God will understand and approve once He sees the results. If this is you, memorize Proverbs 14:12. Do you value God like you say you do? If so, stop autocorrecting Him and take Him at His word! May God forever bless and keep you (and me) in our stupidity!

 

Until next time, “The Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up His countenance on you and give you peace.”  (Numbers 6:24-26)

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“Til all the ransomed church of God is saved to sin no more"

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