When God Wants to Throw Up

by Tad Lindley

Did you ever get tired of eating the same thing over and over and over again, because that was all you had? When I was a single man in Fairbanks, that was my regular dinner: baked red salmon egamaarrluk and white rice. It was the same thing I had eaten the night before, and the night before that, and the night before that. I usually only went to the grocery store after I got my small pay check. In between I ate half-dry and rice. Fish oil would ooze out of the egamaarrluk onto the baking sheet in the oven. After I ate the fish, the oil would get mopped up with rice. Then I would have blueberries and tea while my steambath warmed up. It was my nightly routine.

All of that came to a screeching halt one night. My stomach was full of half-dried red salmon. I was soaking up that rich red oil with my rice. When the oily rice hit the back of my throat, something snapped within me. The fountains of the deep broke up in my stomach. With all the force of a fire hose, my body rejected my dinner. It was a violent rejection.

Projectile vomiting in scripture

In the Book of the Revelation, Jesus tells of a day when he, too, will vomit. I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou were cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. (Revelation 3:15-16) Perhaps your Bible translation reads “I will spit you out of my mouth”. Don’t be tricked by attempts to sugar coat the matter. In the original Greek, emeo is the word used. It means to vomit. Ptuo is the Greek word for spit, and is found nowhere near the book of Revelation.

What will make the Lord vomit?

This message was written for the Church of Laodicea. Because their lifestyle was neither hot nor cold, Jesus said he would vomit them out. Concerning the things of God, these people in Laodicea had become lukewarm. They were blessed with an abundance of wealth. Unfortunately this produced in them a spiritual poverty. This is also very true in the United States today.

What is lukewarm?

When water or food is hot, it is because the molecules are vibrating quickly. Some vibrate more quickly than others. We feel the average effect of their vibrating. When food or water is cold, the molecules are moving very slowly. Our mouth senses this as cold. In lukewarm foods, some of the molecules are moving quickly and some are moving slowly. Their average is somewhere in between. To our hands and our mouths, we sense this as lukewarm.

God likes his people on fire

Paul urged Timothy to keep his temperature up. For this reason I remind you to fan into flames the gift of God that is in you through the laying on of my hands. (II Timothy 1:6 NIV) When a person is on fire for God, it is obvious. They want to talk about Jesus. They eagerly read the Bible to learn more about God. They are the ones that want to clap their hands during Amazing Grace. They look forward to church. They love others, even those that don’t love back. Theirs is the heart of a servant.

Lukewarm = hypocrite

When people are first called out of darkness into his marvelous light, they are almost always on fire for God. If we fail to fan the flames through prayer, fasting, and worship, however, we may become lukewarm. In some ways we are hot, but in other ways we grow cold. To the casual observer we may appear hot. We are still going to church and worshipping God, but in other areas we have grown cold. Perhaps we have withheld tithes. Maybe we have been choosing to sleep in later and pray less. Some may have begun to look at pornography on the internet. Others may desperately strive to appear loving, but be filled with resentment in our hearts. The coldness of sloth and sin mix with the former heat of living for God. The result is a spiritually lukewarm condition that gives the Lord indigestion.

Repentance is like Rolaids®

To these same lukewarm Christians that Jesus addressed in Laodicea, he also extended hope. If we lapse into a lukewarm condition, we can be saved. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:19-20) Repentance brings about renewal and restoration. In fact it is essential for raising our spiritual temperature. If you are lukewarm find a place to get alone with the Lord and let your heart be broken before him. They that sow in tears, shall reap in joy. (Psalm 126:5)

Tad Lindley is a minister at the Bethel United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.