Topical Studies

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What the Bible says about Overindulgence
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Exodus 15:26

As God's children, we can call upon Him for healing. He is our Healer and promises to keep us from the terrible diseases of this world if we obey Him. He assures us in Psalm 103:3 that He is the One "who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases." During His ministry, Jesus healed everyone who asked "according to [their] faith" (Matthew 9:29). He gave Himself in sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins, and it is by His stripes that we are healed (Isaiah 53:5; I Peter 2:24). John writes, "And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight" (I John 3:22), showing that our healing is conditional upon obedience and right living.

This is wonderful promise! These days, it is a welcome relief to know that God is the Great Physician and our Father. We can conduct our lives confidently, knowing that we can rely on God's protection.

On the other hand, we should not be foolish, stupid, or careless in these matters. Certainly, we should not put ourselves in harm's way or tempt God to force Him to act in our behalf (Deuteronomy 6:16; see Matthew 4:7). There may be no quicker way to invoke the wrath of Almighty God (Exodus 17:1-7)!

So we should ask ourselves when we are sick and tired and in need of God's healing, "What have I done to bring this on? Have I tempted God with my lifestyle? Has He withheld His protection so that I might get sick and have the opportunity to learn a lesson and repent of a sin?" If we are honest with ourselves, we will find ourselves answering, "Yes" to several or all these questions.

If so—if we have not been treating the temple of God's Holy Spirit properly—if we have been burning the midnight oil or the candle at both ends—if we have been feeding it low-quality fare, skipping meals, or overindulging in sugary or fatty foods—if we have been skipping even moderate exercise, such as taking walks—if we have been carrying too much weight, etc.—then we need to do something about it! That is the essence of repentance: change!

For too long, I feel, members of God's church have not put enough emphasis on this last part of the process. We are happy and eager to take advantage of God's mercy and blessing to be healed, but too often we have not made the necessary changes to show Him that we indeed have learned our lesson and wish to please Him by living healthfully from then on.

The process works the same physically as spiritually because it is a universal, eternal law. If we do wrong and seek forgiveness, God by His grace and mercy forgives and leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). But He cannot repent for us! That is our job. He takes us as far as He can along the way, but we must make the changes so that repentance actually occurs. We must, by whatever strength we can muster with God's help, bear down and change.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Sick and Tired

Isaiah 3:16-23

This passage describes the wealth, finery, and attitudes of Israelite women as the end nears, and it does not paint a pretty picture (see also Amos 4:1-3). He depicts them as "haughty" and "wanton" with more clothes, jewelry, makeup, and accessories than they know what to do with! Economically, the passage indicates a society of so much wealth and leisure that its women are indulged and free to pursue their desires to excess.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Economics in Prophecy

Amos 6:4-6

What a picture of excess and uselessness! Like Babylon, these people live in indolent luxury, surrounding themselves with the latest creature comforts, overindulging in rich and expensive food and drink. A glass or a cup is not enough for them—they must drink wine from bowls to satisfy their addictions! They sing songs that mean nothing, but in their hearts they think their songs and music equal to David's! Life is a party! And all they have to show for their lives is a lack of judgment.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The World, the Church, and Laodiceanism

Amos 6:4-6

Amos 6:4-6 mentions feasting, indulging in artificial stimulation, listening to unusual music, and taking excessive and vain measures in personal hygiene. The single idea behind these illustrations is that the excesses of powerful Israelites were possible because of their oppression of the weak and poor.

By contrast, verses 9-10 show ten common Israelites huddled together in one house in fear of the war-induced plagues. People will die so rapidly that the survivors, looking out for themselves, will not take the time to bury the bodies of their own families but burn them in huge funeral pyres. These survivors will eventually recognize that God has dissociated Himself from them, and they will consider it an evil thing even to mention His name! How very bitter! And how very far from God!

The people, whether rich and indulgent or poor and deprived, were self-concerned. Throughout chapter six, Amos balances complacency and disaster, boasting and fear, showing that they result from rejecting God and idolizing self. Inevitably, God will send judgment upon Israel.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Prepare to Meet Your God! (The Book of Amos) (Part One)

Revelation 18:7

From a theological point of view, Revelation 18 identifies the hallmarks of Babylon. The signs are idolatry, theological prostitution or spiritual adultery, self-sufficiency, self-glorification, pride, complacency, reliance on luxury and wealth, avoidance of suffering, and violence against life. Reading Revelation 17 and 18 carefully, one finds each of those traits expressed in some way.

Interestingly, God emphasizes three in particular in Revelation 18:7. Personifying Babylon as a woman, God reveals her innermost, secret thoughts and thus her true character.

The first of the three characteristics emphasized here is pride, self-glorification: "She glorified herself . . . 'I sit as queen. . . .'" The second is reliance on wealth, satiety, overindulgence: She "lived luxuriously [extravagantly, lustfully, without restraint]." The third trait is avoidance of suffering, for she says, "[I] will not see sorrow." Because reliance on wealth can easily lead to proud self-sufficiency and avoiding all suffering, these three are interrelated. What bothers God is that her self-sufficiency is aimed against Him. Who needs God when one has everything? Avoidance of suffering produces compromise with both conscience and law. It can severely damage one's character, and to God that is a serious matter.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The World, the Church, and Laodiceanism


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