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Bible verses about Cause and Effect, Spiritual
(From Forerunner Commentary)

2 Samuel 12:9-14   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Regardless of how successful a person might consider himself in getting away with his adventure into sin, he could learn a few things from David. First, however, we must note Numbers 32:23: "But if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the LORD; and be sure your sin will find you out." Interestingly, the context of this verse is a warning to those who may not be faithful to their words of promise.

Overall, this story is a quick study into cause and effect. First, it teaches that, regardless of one's status, adultery cannot be committed without damaging relationships anymore than murder can be committed without damaging relationships. It does not matter whether the perpetrator is a prince or pauper. The only variable is the speed with which the effect takes place. We should never forget the warning given in Genesis 2:17: "In the day you eat of [the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil] you shall surely die." The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23) no matter which commandment is broken.

Second, besides death, sin produces two effects that may also manifest slowly:

1. A damaged relationship with God. Isaiah 59:1-2 shows that sin creates division between God and us because of the breach of trust. Sin is a breaking of the terms of the covenant agreed on by both God and us. After committing a sin like adultery, can the individual be trusted any longer? This effect is not easily seen, but God's Word nonetheless reveals it does occur. As this episode shows, with repentance and God's merciful forgiveness, the division can be healed.

2. Evil results in our lives in this world. Even with God's forgiveness, this second effect remains and must be borne by the sinner—and tragically, by those sinned against. For example, the evil effects of David's sin brought death—either directly or indirectly—to five people. It directly caused the deaths of Uriah and the newborn son of David and Bathsheba. In addition, it greatly intensified the ultimately deadly competition between Absalom, Amnon, and Adonijah, all of whom died violently. With the dishonorable example of their father before their eyes, it could only teach disrespect, even for those closest to them.

Thus, the throne fell to Solomon. He never had to live through the kind of family life that David's older children did. When he committed similar sins, he could never say that he saw his father do the same things.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Seventh Commandment


 

Ecclesiastes 8:11-13   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Just because the penalty does not occur immediately does not mean it will not come. Be aware! Adam and Eve set aside the teaching of God because they became convinced that the penalty—death—would not occur. When they sinned and death did not occur immediately, they were even more convinced. But death did occur, and other evil things happened in their lives that did not have to occur.

We need to understand this as part of the way God operates; He gives us time to learn lessons, to come to a better knowledge of Him, to understand cause and effect. If God reacted immediately when we sinned, it would be all over the very first time. No building of character could take place, no learning by experience, no growth in wisdom, and no understanding of human nature.

Do not be deceived because the penalty does not seem to fall quickly.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Sin of Self-Deception


 

Jeremiah 14:1-16   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Notice what is happening. The land is suffering from a drought. Did the people connect drought with obedience to the message of a false minister? Probably not.

The spirit that was speaking to them was not divine, but it was supernatural. The people submitted to it because they did not put the prophet to the test to see whether or not his teaching was in harmony with what had already been revealed through God's messenger, Moses.

God blames the plight of the nation on the false prophets to whom the people listened. What did the prophets do? They lulled the people into complacency, which led them to believe that all was well when it was not. They preached to them smooth things because the people had itching ears. They liked the things that were taught to them, but it was not the Word of God. God says they preached lies in His name. If one listens to them, then it is the same thing as the blind leading the blind and both falling in the ditch.

The land was in drought. How many carnal people would connect a drought with obedience to a false minister? Not very many because they would be thinking carnally and say, "It's just part of the cycle of things. It happens every so many years." They are not thinking that there might be a spiritual cause for it: that God is concerned about the well being of His people, and that He had brought the drought to make them think about why it is happening. The cause for concern is spiritual in nature.

Would any U.S. President or presidential candidate make an appeal to American citizens that the cause of our problems are spiritual in nature? If a national figure said before a group of people that the reason we are having troubles in the United States is that we need to repent and get back to our God, they would be laughed into shame and contempt. The reason we are seeing the immorality in the United States is the effect of listening to false ministers!

John W. Ritenbaugh
Satan (Part 2)


 

Jeremiah 17:10   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

God is stating what is later reiterated in Jeremiah 23. There is individual responsibility, and we have to face up to the fact that there is no hiding from God. He does not intend this in a mean way—not at all. He is not trying to make us feel as though we need to be looking over our shoulder all the time for His club to come down on us. That is not what He is looking for.

He is looking for us to get the good out of life. His reasons are honorable, loving, kind, and good. He is trying to help us to understand that cause and effect are at work. We need to consider: Do we really trust God?

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Sin of Self-Deception


 

Ezekiel 8:17   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The branch He mentions is probably an Asherah, a tree or a wooden pole that stood for the fertility goddess. It was essentially a phallic symbol. God says that their wickedness was the same as sticking that idol (and what they were doing) right in His nose—right in His face.

However, we need to understand that they were committing their idolatry in private. In their minds, they thought it did not make any difference; it was not hurting anyone. If nobody could see them doing it, they thought, "Hey, I'm getting away with the perfect crime. I can have my cake and eat it too. I can go to the Temple and look like I'm really somebody in the community. But, you see, here in the dark nobody sees me bowing down and worshipping these idols."

Does it make any difference? It makes a great difference to God! He was offended by what was going on. In this context, these people were in captivity because of what they were doing—it was a matter of cause and effect. What they sowed earned captivity.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Every Action Has a Reaction


 

Matthew 9:2   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Jesus sets the spiritual and physical in the right perspective. Since sin was responsible for the man's paralysis, He deals with the cause first, then the effect. All actions are subject to the law of cause and effect; for every action there is a reaction. The man's physical ailment was not nearly as heavy a burden as his spiritual corruption. In reality, physical healing is meaningless without a sound mind. Psalm 103:3 can be seen as a prophecy that the Christ would forgive sins related to sickness and disease.

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Healing a Paralytic (Part Two)


 

 




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