Horror Story

This time of year many people become fascinated with the concept of horror. Movie-goers inundate themselves with flicks depicting things they hope never happen, but enjoy imagining are real for the moment. Nice families decorate their yards with images they should pray never meet up with them in real life.

So what about horror? Is that a concept thought up by Hollywood, or did they just deem it profitable for luring suspects to the ticket office or rental box?

“Where is that in the Bible?”

That question was shared by an evangelist in our church a couple of years back in describing how he had prayed about something he felt God was showing him. It is a good concept to keep in mind. If the Bible is our roadmap of life, then it should contain examples we can use to evaluate ideas we come across. Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 1:9, “There is no new thing under the sun.” So, where is horror in the Bible?

Abram in the presence of a Holy God

And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. Genesis 15:12

Abram (soon to be renamed Abraham) was about to have God Almighty give him a sign. God was revealing to Abram that he would give Abram the land he was sojourning in and multiply his children after him (he had not been able to have children at all at that point).  His descendents would go into captivity for four hundred years, be delivered, and come back to posses the land for their inheritance. After hearing God speak these things, Abram did what many humans have done in such an awesome moment, and asked God how would he know this would happen (we would like to think hearing it from God’s mouth would be enough, but we are still frail fleshly creatures).

God had Abram prepare a sacrifice, then put him in a deep sleep and this “horror of great darkness” came upon him. God spoke to him further, then had a smoking furnace and a flame pass between the parts of the sacrifice he had prepared. Abram knew he was in the presence of the most powerful Being in the universe, who had the power to give him breath or to take it.  No other entity deserves such awe or reverence on our part.

The mighty King David

Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me. Psalm 55:5

Like the roar of a lion, intended to disable its prey with fear, David had seen the wickedness and heard of the disastrous acts of those who hated him, and he was overcome with horror: not only at their ungodliness, but also at their desire to take him down. In particular, this Psalm describes his dear friend, with whom he “took sweet counsel”, and “walked into the house of God in company.” (v. 14)  David had not seen the betrayal coming and was not sure he would recover from the depth of the wound. Ever been there?

David, known as a “man after God’s own heart,” knew where to take his fear and complaint, and God worked for him.

Righteous David was appalled at the wicked and their boldness 

I remembered thy judgments of old, O Lord; and have comforted myself. Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law. Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage. Psalm 119:52-54

How are you doing with the growing wickedness around you? Passive? Afraid to say anything? Accepting? Buying into the mantra that anything less than cheering on the ungodly in their actions is intolerance?

Those who choose to live contrary to God’s moral laws, who the Bible calls “wicked,” are not helped by my refusal to call ungodly behavior wrong. Mercy and truth meet together when I am willing to plainly say, “There is a life that will lead you to Hell, but there is a remedy for sin that begins with repentance.”

I continue to be horrified by what I see and hear: unions of same-sex couples as though they were equivalent to actual God-ordained marriages, the lightness with which I see ordinary people regularly disdaining their own God-sanctioned marriage vows to pursue whims of attraction that only lead to adultery if not curtailed; those who never choose the bonds that f marriage at all but live as though they shared its commitment. This is not popular speech these days, but make no mistake: it is not hate speech at all.  Obedient righteousness is the only “out” from this world to life in the next.  Caring about someone’s eternity cannot include condoning evil. Condoning unrighteousness cannot convert it to anything other than what it is: sin. My opinion of your behavior cannot undermine or enhance your chances of going to Heaven. God’s Law, as expressed in His Word, regarding your behavior will make all the difference in where you spend eternity.  I must stand on His Word, for I will be judged by it in the end as well.

The wicked in horror as the judgements of God fall upon them.

They shall also gird themselves with sackcloth, and horror shall cover them; and shame shall be upon all faces, and baldness upon all their heads. Ezekiel 7:18

Do you love a good “apocalypse” story? I challenge you to read over the whole of Ezekiel Chapter 7.  It is a picture of a time when all that we know and trust in this world unravels for those who continued to shun or simply to put off repentance.  One can run from voices that condemn ungodly behavior, and for the present time, the multitude can shout them down and make laws to oppose them and potentially shut them down. But there is one voice and power you will never be able to completely run away from.

Do you picture God as a nice “Grandpa in Heaven”? Refocus on a wrath-filled, holy, all-powerful God who gets His fill of wickedness, and responds as only He can do:

Thus saith the Lord God; An evil, an only evil, behold, is come.

An end is come, the end is come: it watcheth for thee; behold, it is come.

The morning is come unto thee, O thou that dwellest in the land: the time is come, the day of trouble is near, and not the sounding again of the mountains.

Now will I shortly pour out my fury upon thee, and accomplish mine anger upon thee: and I will judge thee according to thy ways, and will recompense thee for all thine abominations.

And mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: I will recompense thee according to thy ways and thine abominations that are in the midst of thee; and ye shall know that I am the Lord that smiteth. Ezekiel 7: 5-9

Unspeakable inescapable horror: A God gone from Savior to Judge. No mercy. No help from wealth of gold or silver. No escape. No hero. No deliverer.

Happy endings?

No there is no happy ending then. But there could be one now. The choice on the ending is made before the judgement begins. What will you do?

Your horror story

If you feel the need to delve into some horror this end of October, hit your knees and pray over the only real reason to feel horror: an unrighteous soul in the hands of an angry God. Do it while He still has mercy to extend to whoever will repent. It does not have to end for you the way it surely will for the unrighteous.