“If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?” Jeremiah 12:5.
These are the words of God to his complaining servant Jeremiah, who was feeling “the burden and heat of the day.”
Every harvest time in Israel of old, the Jordan overflowed its banks and caused severe flooding, which naturally endangered man and beast.
This annual event is here used to ask the question if the more common difficulties encountered on life’s journey were more than could be coped with, how will the swelling, surging floods of coming judgment be faced?
Sin brings upon men many and diverse difficulties and miseries. “Fools because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted,” Psalm 107:17. The truth of this statement is played out before our eyes every day!
BUT there is worse ahead for the sinner and rejector of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I. I THOUGHT OF THE ABOVE VERSE WHEN I READ THE MANY COMMENTS CONDEMNING ISRAEL FOR ITS RETALIATORY ATTACKS UPON GAZA.
Without in the least seeking to justify any illegal or inhumane act by the forces of Israel upon the supporters of the terrorism of Hamas in Gaza, it cannot be denied that the terrorists there, like the IRA here, use the civilian crowd and civilian property such as hospitals, as cover from which they launch their murderous attacks.
Consequently, it is inevitable, because of this cowardly tactic, that those who are not involved in terrorism and are used as cover, will get hurt!
However, the complaints are not just about innocent people killed or injured by Israel’s actions but it has to be acknowledged that most ‘protesting’ is about any and all actions by Israel against the terrorists.
This may be seen in the celebrating of the terrorist slaughter carried out on Israeli citizens that protesters have openly engaged in on the streets of the United Kingdom! Such terrorism is praiseworthy and any attempt to deal effectively with the terrorists is deemed a grave crime against humanity!
II. WHATEVER LEGITIMATE ACTION ISRAEL HAS TAKEN IS NOT IMMORAL NOR WRONG.
Those who claim it is wrong for the wicked to be judged and punished are ignorant of what it is God will do with those who have defied Him and broken His law.
A terrible punishment awaits them. “Behold, the whirlwind of the LORD goeth forth with fury, a continuing whirlwind: it shall fall with pain upon the head of the wicked. The fierce anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have done it, and until he have performed the intents of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it,” Jeremiah 30:23-24.
Something of God’s judgment is to be seen in His action against the wickedness of men in the past as it is recorded in the Bible.
“And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them,” Genesis 6:5-7.
“Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground,” Genesis 19:24-25.
“But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all,” Luke 17:29.
“For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; and spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly,” 2 Peter 2:4-6.
“I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire,” Jude 1:5-7.
The Lord has made it plain in His past acts of judgment just what awaits the rebellious and defiant sinner. Furthermore, He has stated it plainly in His Word.
“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire,” Revelation 20:12-15.
There is an appointed day for such judgment. “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead,” Acts 17:30-31.
If only sinful men and woman would take heed to this truth and make preparation by coming to Christ and seeking His mercy and the pardoning of their sins and a washing away of all their guilt in the blood of Calvary’s atonement.
III. MANKIND GENERALLY DOES NOT BELIEVE IN THE PUNISHMENT OF SIN AS IT OUGHT TO BE PUNISHED.
This is especially so amongst those nations that nominally adhered to the Law of God in past times.
They have abandoned that purported allegiance to God and His Word and have gradually overturned every law authorising appropriate punishment of crimes.
The death penalty was abolished long ago. Now a ‘slap on the wrist’ is about all a criminal may expect or a spell in a prison set up so as to rival the facilities in a top class hotel!
There has been a legitimising of that which damned Sodom. There is no shame in such perversity but rather it is proudly boasted of and gloried in and flaunted!
The murder of the unborn is legal, resulting in millions of little ones slaughtered here in the United Kingdom since abortion became legal in the 1960s and in many more millions murdered throughout the world. This slaughter is invariably done to accommodate the whims of self-indulgent women.
This new ‘non-recriminatory’ attitude toward sin, has resulted in a plague, a virtual tsunami of wickednesses and lawlessness, breaking out nationally and world-wide. The Scriptures say: “Where no law is, there is no transgression,” Romans 4:15.
Nothing is deemed sinful any more. It is ‘open season’ for the thug, the thief and the lawless!
All this signifies a world ripening for judgment!
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away,” 2 Timothy 3:1-5.
I have quoted these words so often in recent times but few seem to take much heed to the fact that they describe exactly the social disorder all around us!
As the Lord said to Noah, so it will be again. “And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth,” Genesis 6:13.
The ‘Noahs’ of today, those who have “found grace in the eyes of the LORD,” (Genesis 6:8), can hear the Lord saying these words to them through such passages as the one I have just quoted from 2 Timothy.
Dear Christian, don’t be as those rebuked by the Lord in Matthew 16:3. “And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?”
There is a like inability amongst God’s people, to rightly discern the ‘signs of the times’ on display all around!
Rather, let us be at the business of building an ark of holiness and separation unto the Lord wherein we may hide ourselves and our families from the increasing turmoil of a nation bent on rebellion against God.
Isaiah shows us the way.
“Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain,” Isaiah 26:20-21.
Mankind will yet learn that sin does not go unpunished!
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting,” Galatians 6:7-8.
Rev Ivan Foster (Rtd)
8th November 2023