Points to Ponder: Points to Ponder God Doesn't Believe in Atheists

Points to Ponder
God Doesn't Believe in Atheists

Sometimes I really admire atheists. I believe that some people believe in a "God" or a self-made image of God. Maybe a compendium of gods is their religion. But to be an atheist, one who believes there is no God, you have to have a strong faith. Humans are beings that worship. As far as I know, every human society or culture has some belief system, an object of veneration. They look to what or "whom" they perceive as having more power than they possess.
The ancient Egyptians for instance worshiped the sun god, Ra. Pharoah was seen as the Son of Ra. In the Old Testament book of Exodus, the Lord God takes on the false gods (there were many) in Egypt as He acted to free Israel from 400 years of bondage there. The 10 plagues (Exodus 7-12) were direct attacks against the Egyptian gods.
Once God had freed Israel and parted the Red Sea for them to pass through, the Israelites sang a victory song of praise to the Lord their God. A few days later God warned them that if they would obey His commands and do what is right in God's sight,
"I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you" (Exodus 15:26).
That seems like a strange warning. But if you ponder it, it actually makes sense and is applicable today. This is also why I believe there are no real atheists. Everyone worships some kind of god.
Consider the 10 plagues to which God is referring. They were rendered as attacks by the One true God upon the false gods of the Egyptians. As God mocked their supposed power, the people who had made and worshiped them suffered the diseases. The warning of verse 26 is this: If we give our heart to that which is not of the Lord or which effectively denies His authority and presence, there is "dis-ease." That which is out of line with God and His righteousness stands contrary to Him. To put your allegiance and devotion there is to experience what that god offers. Perhaps there are short-term gains and glories, but in the end there is destruction. How can any "good" thing that has to stand against God's right standard truly stand for very long?
Even today people will tend to replace the Lord with lesser gods that serve at their convenience and pleasure. Though the Bible teaches that each of us is made in the image of God, our sin nature tempts us to make a god in our own image that serves us and justifies our values or lack of them. The result is disease. I'm not referring to specific things like cancer, etc. I am pointing to what God said to the people He had redeemed from a land where false gods reigned.
Whereas the Hebrew term "shalom" describes wholeness and peace, the blessing of knowing the Lord and abiding by His word; "dis-ease" is the lack of wholeness and peace. And that emptiness, that sense of lacking 'something' can manifest itself in numerous ways.
After all, what does God mean in that verse about putting diseases on His people? Another way to phrase the warning of verse 26 is: Can God bless sin? Can you live your life in a way that you know is contrary to God's standard of what is right and expect Him to honor it - or you?
"...for those who honor Me I will honor and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed" (I Samuel 2:30).
Consider it yet another way. When you choose a way, which is outside of God's will, in violation of His word, you have withdrawn yourself from under His protective hand.
Often times we are not aware of how God has spared us from a danger only He could see. Sometimes we discovered later, in retrospect, that God "had your back."
This concept of "putting disease on" the people seems so un-"Godlike." Not nice of God at all. But isn't that just the way of saying He will let you have your way, and what comes with it? If you think following your own reasoning is better than following His word, it's a package deal. And sometimes we need to be stupid before we become smart.
"Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me" (Psalm 50:15).

Points to Ponder is a series of occasional articles written by Rev. Dennis Whitmore, Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship, 12624 Trinity Church Drive, Clear Spring, MD (1/4 mile east of Clear Spring on Rt. 40). www.hilltopchristianfellowship.com. Listen to Pastor Dennis on WJEJ-1240 AM, Tues and Thurs, at 10:45am and 7:50pm, both days.