Saturday, July 30, 2011

Rich Man, Poor Man (Not the TV show)

     The account can be found in Luke chapter 16 in the Bible. It tells the story of a rich man who had a grand feast every day. He wasn't hurting anyone. He hadn't killed or stolen, hadn't been cruel to anyone. He was minding his own business and was even giving the poor beggar, Lazarus, the leftovers. Now Lazarus wasn't just poor. He was an outcast, probably a leper who by law had to stay outside the city gates so as not to infect anyone else. Dogs would come and lick his sores. The dogs and the leftover food were the only apparent comforts Lazarus had.
    But God loved him and the rich man and the dogs were God's provision. Now you may think God wasn't much of a provider if that's all He did, but there is no record of Lazarus whining and bemoaning his fate.
    Both men died but did not end up in the same place. The rich man died and went to hell. Lazarus went to a place called Sheol, or Abraham's bosom. This was a holding place for Old Testament believers, people who were eagerly awaiting the coming of their Messiah (savior, or deliverer).
    The rich man lifted up his eyes, being in torment, to the place where Lazarus was waiting with believers who had gone on before: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Elijah and Elisha, Joshua, Moses, and others. He begged Abraham, the father of the Jewish Nation, to send Lazarus to dip his finger in water and sprinkle it on his tongue that he might be cooled.
    Father Abraham replied, "In life you received your reward. You had everything you wanted and lacked for nothing while Lazarus spent his life in want and suffering. There is a great gulf fixed between you and us. Lazarus cannot come to you, and you cannot come here."
    The rich man said he was being tormented in the flame. This appears to be a true story since Jesus never mentioned names in his parables. Many people refuse to believe in hell but that does not erase its existence and will not prevent you from going there if you don't ask Jesus to be your Lord and Savior. Are you really willing to take the chance that you might be wrong because you want to party in this life? You will not be glad you did when this life is over. Think about it. God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentence. Hell was created for Satan and his demons, but God will not force anyone to go to heaven. Jesus is the only way to get there. Like I said, think about it. The choice is yours.

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