Raise The Standard

1 Kings 15:25 – 16:20

In this passage, there is a succession of four kings; Nadab, Baasha, Elah, and Zimri. We see a sequence unfold of God using one man to judge another. First, Nadab inherited  the throne of Israel from his father Jeroboam. He was as evil as his father and his reign lasted a grand total of two years before God used Baasha to judge him. As God had already promised (14:14), Jeroboam’s heir and his entire household were destroyed (15:29). God’s promises never fail, whether He promises blessing for obedience or, as in the case here, judgement for disobedience. Whether you’ve been blessed or cursed by the Just Judge of all, His words will come to pass. Once God has spoken on a matter, it is final. It will happen.

Despite God having used Baasha to punish evil, it did not make Baasha good (15:33-34). The man God used to purge an evil did not recognize that God would hold him accountable to the same standard (16:1-7). Baasha committed the same sin and thus suffered the same fate. God does not change. You only remain a favored one if you remain in obedience.

After the death of Baasha, his son Elah reigned in his place and, like Nadab, only lasted two years (16:8). Then his servant Zimri killed him and destroyed all of Baasha’s household just as God had said would happen (16:9-13).

Zimri was no better and his reign lasted a mere seven days (16:15). Then, Zimri is judged as well (16:18-19). Once again, a man God used to judge another man is then judged by the same standard.

This is Matthew 7:1-3 played out over and over again. It is not that God never expects us to judge anyone by His standard. It is that we must recognize that we are accountable to that same standard. Refusing to judge others by a higher standard than you judge yourself does not mean that you just lower the standard and refuse to judge at all. It means you must raise the standard for yourself. You must hold yourself accountable so you can more ably help your brother to do the same.

You can be used by God to judge another and simultaneously condemn yourself. But, the judgement will not be withheld, so learn from others mistakes and raise the standard.

So how do we actually apply this today? It really isn’t that hard to come up with examples of lowering the standards in our country today. We live in a very sick society. But judgement begins in the house of God, so lets start there. Are we really as opposed to abortion as we think we are? You would never encourage a woman to abort her child. Or would you? You just responded in your head “Absolutely not!”, didn’t you?

But, if you’re looking at porn, you’re a complete and utter hypocrite.

Here’s why:

All those images you are looking at are real people performing real sex acts and no birth control is 100% effective. (Maybe you forgot that because the adult entertainment industry objectifies and dehumanizes people – especially women.) It’s inevitable that many women in this “line of work” will have multiple unplanned pregnancies. A showing pregnancy and all the symptoms go with it… well that just doesn’t fly on a porn set. So, to make sure the product (her body) isn’t “damaged” and to give you the experience you are looking for, the baby is sacrificed. It was her choice, yes. But, whether you realized it before or not, it was the choice you asked her to make. A demand for porn is also a demand for the death of unborn children. Porn is rampant in our culture and it has plagued many Christian brothers that I know. You have blood on your hands.

You can’t oppose abortion and, by your actions, ask for it at the same time. This is, I believe, a major reason Christians are so passive in their stance on abortion. You can’t stand stronger on abortion because your standard has fallen. You have set the bar firmly on the floor. And until you pick it up and raise it for yourself, you become paralyzed in your attempt to set the bar for someone else. So, pick it up!

REALLY. RAISE. THE. STANDARD.