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The Content of Complacency…

April 30, 2012

The conception of complacency:

Genesis 3:1-15  Adam and Eve resided in the comfort provided by God and their sole responsibility to was to carry out the commands of God in creation.  In their comfortable state, they were deceived to think that God was not to be trusted, and that their fate lay in their hands.  Rather than being content in what God has provided, they became complacent.  They displayed a disregard for God and His commands in the face of His manifold provision and protection.

Constant complacency:

-Genesis 6-9  The earth and mankind was afflicted by sin (Gen 6).  God provided deliverance through the judgement of the flood (Gen 7-8); Noah experienced the comfort of deliverance(Gen 9:1-19); Noah was lax in obedience and he got drunk off of his own wine and was exposed naked (Gen 9:20-29).

-Genesis 15-18 Abram was promised a seed that would multiply and bless the world.  Instead of waiting on the Lord, he relied on his own ingenuity, and disregarded God in the face of His provision, sleeping with Hagar and fathering Ishmael.

-Exodus 32  God had delivered His people from the affliction of slavery and provided for them protecting them in the wilderness, comforting them.  They got restless waiting for Moses to return from the Mountain of God, and they rebelled, constructing a golden calf, placing their trust and hope in a God of their own creation.  They disobeyed the command of God that there be no other Gods than Yahweh, they displayed disregard for God and His commands in the face of His manifold protection.

-Judges  Judges tells the story of the people of Israel inhabiting the promised land.  God had provided the land for them, and delivered them into it through the leadership of Joshua.  And yet, they continually disregarded God’s provision.  So God gave them judges to lead them.  But in the end, they occupied the land that he had given them and each ended up doing “what was right in their own eyes.” (Judges 21:25)  This created an environment of horrendous acts, rape, murder, and idolatry.

-2 Samuel 11-12: David was complacent during the period in which he sinned with Bathsheba.  During a time “when the kings go out to battle” david remained in the comfort and security of the palace.  Rather than fulfilling his duties as king and fighting alongside his men, David remained in the comfort of the palace.  Rather than obeying the law he loved, to not commit adultery, David was complacent and gave in to his sin.  He showed callous disregard for God in the face of His provision, in that David had wives, and concubines, yet he still lusted after Bathsheba.

The conclusion of complacency

-The people of Israel in the prophets: Complacency is both rooted in disobedience and manifests itself in disobedience and ends, like all disobedience, in judgement.  God had commanded that his people worship only Him, that they wait on Him for there are no gods or rulers like Him. (Isa 40)  And yet Israel was complacent in their worship.  He commanded that hey love Him with all of their heart soul and mind (Deut 6:5) and yet their hearts slowly drifted from Him; that drift was complacency.  By the time of the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah before the exile, and the prophets like Malachi after the exile; the people of Israel were merely going through the motions with no true love for God.  The people came near to Him with their lips, but their hearts were far from Him. (Isa 29:13)  They felt like they could get by with mere lip-service without really believing in who God is and in what He had commanded them to do.  The result was affliction and judgment in the form of exile and conquest.  Malachi bears witness to this complacency, the priests were going through the motions, offering sacrifices, but they cared little about obeying God fully.  God commanded that the sacrifices to be brought to the altar be whole, without blindness or blemish,(Leviticus 22:22) but the priest were content to continue with substandard sacrifices.  The result was distance from God and the judgment of His silence for 400 years.

In the NT:  Throughout the NT, Christians are called to guard themselves agains complacency.  They are to love the Lord; pray without ceasing (1 Thess 5:17); Guard against errant doctrine to stand firm (Gal 5:1); and to guard against idols (1 John 5:21).  Failure to do these things results in grieving the Spirit, and exclusion from the body of Christ. (Eph 4:30 and 1 Cor 16:22)

The conclusion of complacency gone unchecked and unchallenged is envisioned in Rev  3 where the church in Sardis is addressed by Christ.  They are a church, they have a name, they think that they are alive, but in fact He knows their deeds and they are dead.(3:1)  Complacency can have the appearance of life and activity, but if the activity is not obedience to God, and its life is not found in Christ, it represents a disregard for God in the face of His provision in Christ.

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