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New Beginning -Challenges

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God makes demands on his people and, often through spiritual leaders, confronts believers with their sin. He also calls to account false gods and those who exalt themselves against him. The wicked vainly challenge God by questioning his authority, seeking to resist his power and opposing his people.

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God’s challenge to his people

The challenge to obedience

Deuteronomy 30:15–18 NIV
See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.
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The challenge to serve him alone

1 Kings 18:21 ESV
And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word.
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The challenge to discipleship

Matthew 16:24–26 ESV
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
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Challenging one another’s sin

The call to rebuke and admonish

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Sin challenged by spiritual leaders

Nehemiah 9:30 ESV
Many years you bore with them and warned them by your Spirit through your prophets. Yet they would not give ear. Therefore you gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands.
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Examples of leaders who challenged the sins of others

The prophet Nathan challenges David; Azariah the priest challenges Uzziah; Ezekiel was called to confront Jerusalem; Hosea challenges the unfaithfulness of Israel; Peter confronts Ananias; Paul challenges Peter.

God’s sovereignty is unchallengeable

It cannot be questioned

Isaiah 45:9–11 NIV
“Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker, those who are nothing but potsherds among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘The potter has no hands’? Woe to the one who says to a father, ‘What have you begotten?’ or to a mother, ‘What have you brought to birth?’ “This is what the Lord says— the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker: Concerning things to come, do you question me about my children, or give me orders about the work of my hands?
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His purposes cannot be thwarted

Isaiah 14:27 NIV
For the Lord Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?
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No-one can stand against him

Jeremiah 49:19 NIV
“Like a lion coming up from Jordan’s thickets to a rich pastureland, I will chase Edom from its land in an instant. Who is the chosen one I will appoint for this? Who is like me and who can challenge me? And what shepherd can stand against me?”
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God’s challenge to the wicked

He challenges false gods

1 Kings 18:22–24 NIV
Then Elijah said to them, “I am the only one of the Lord’s prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. Get two bulls for us. Let Baal’s prophets choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by fire—he is God.” Then all the people said, “What you say is good.”
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He challenges human pride

Isaiah 23:9 NIV
The Lord Almighty planned it, to bring down her pride in all her splendor and to humble all who are renowned on the earth.
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Challenges to God and his people

To God

See also ; The serpent challenges God’s word; Isaiah’s opponents challenge God to do what he has announced.

The challenge of the antichrist:

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Jesus Christ is tempted by the devil; Jesus Christ is challenged by Peter; the Pharisees challenge Jesus Christ

To God’s people

See also ; ; ; ; ; God’s people are equipped to stand against the devil’s attacks;

Further examples of challenges

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