True Christian living requires us to live according to Kingdom standards which bring Heaven to earth
By: Neville Fowler
Dear Christian Friend,
There is a word in the English dictionary that means a 'doleful complaint' or a 'lamentation' - what we might these days call a 'moan'. That word is 'Jeremiad'. The word is derived of course from the name of the prophet whom God sent to the Jews in the sixth century BC to warn them of the disaster that was soon to befall the nation of Judah because of their disobedience to Him. Basically the message Jeremiah had to proclaim was this: "Thus says Jehovah: Behold, I am fashioning a disaster and devising a plan against you. Return now everyone from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good." Jeremiah 18:17. Of course those Jews did not like Jeremiah's preaching. They much preferred the message of other self-proclaimed prophets who said, even to those who despised God, "Jehovah has said: You shall have peace", and who said to those who believed in following their own ideas and desires instead of God's commandments "No evil shall come upon you."
We see much in the present day situation that reminds us of that. We see the world sliding into greater evil as each day passes. The great and clever men, the earth's rulers and scientists, proceed with increasing arrogance and disregard for the Creator to refashion the world and even its living creatures after the pride and imagination of their own unregenerated hearts. And the great mass of ordinary people follow them willingly in anticipation of the wonders of materialistic technology they promise, especially miracles of healing that would be becoming to even an angel of light - cures for cancer, new hearts from pigs, a cure for AIDS (even though the scientists created it), an end to ageing, perhaps even endless life. A chance juxtaposition of chemical elements must have originated life they say but they themselves will perfect it. According to them notions such as righteousness and ethics, and conversely of sin and immorality, are outmoded; religion is mere superstition born of ignorance.
My own country, Britain, has today become largely a godless nation. Its leaders in government, church and public life generally, especially the media of radio, TV and press, provide no worthwhile moral guidance or example. Greed is the ruling motivation from great to small. To profit greatly by exploiting the weakness of others is something to be admired and applauded. Generosity is folly. Alcoholism is rife, even amongst children as greedy corporate executives devise subtle ways of getting them hooked on laced sweet drinks (sodas). We lead Europe in the level of teenage pregnancy and unmarried parenthood. Sex education, divorced from Christian morality, would prevent unwanted pregnancies they said. The opposite has happened. Abortion has become an everyday occurrence. It can be purchased at the pharmacy even by children in the form of the 'morning after pill'. The institution of marriage has been attacked and destroyed by deliberate government policy and media propaganda. The family is broken up and we must now cover the countryside with new homes to accomodate all the family members who are alienated from one another - separated and divorced parents, and teenagers who flee the family home in rebellion or to escape abuse by parents. Sodomy rules and must not be criticised as a disproportionate number of practising and unrepentant homosexuals and lesbians are given positions of influence in government and broadcasting. Paedophilia is rampant and official sympathy appears to side more with the perpetrators than with the victims. One wonders how long it will be before anyone speaking out about it will be condemned for discriminating against people on the grounds of 'sexual orientation'! The judicial system generally treats the criminal with leniency and consideration and neglects and ignores the victim of crime. Serious crimes like violent assault, murder and rape get derisory sentences in the courts - often much less punishment than crimes against property. Even the concept of punishment is politically incorrect - only rehabilitative 'treatment' is permissible. Cruelty to children by parents and others close to them increases yearly - likewise cruelty to animals. Adultery is a matter for humour. Fornication is the norm. Anti-religion is the dominant philosophy of the country. We are reaching a stage where evil is called good and good is called evil (Isaiah 5:20). All of this in a society that is materially richer than it has ever been, where knowledge and education in secular matters have greatly increased. Yet the politicians of all parties continue to proclaim that national salvation lies in more education leading to greater prosperity. Their only disagreement lies in how to achieve it.
The last year has been a depressing time for many British people. The likely future extent of the BSE/CJD disaster has become more evident, as has the callousness, greed and stupidity of the people in government and industry who caused it and who did so little so late to contain it. Then we had disastrous floods that again exposed the greed, incompetence and stupidity of those who should have been able to foresee and prevent them. The fiasco of the millennium dome likewise. Railway accidents that revealed years of neglect of safety - money is more important than people in our value system. Latest of all the utter insanity of the Foot and Mouth Disease 'control programme' that has exposed the nauseating hypocrisy of the claim the British make to be a nation of 'animal lovers.'
"Righteousness exalts a nation. Sin is a reproach to any people." (Proverbs 14:34). Surely our nation, our world, should wake up to the fact that the 'natural disasters' we witness are not unrelated to our sin and disregard of the Creator's will. The 'archbishop of Canterbury' (ecclesiastical head of the Anglican Church) said in his 'Easter' address to Britain today that he utterly rejects the suggestion that Britain's woes may be anything to do with judgement by God, for he believes in a God of love not of judgement! The pope in his 'easter' address to the world claimed that there is no reason why the world shouldn't get better! His meddling in politics in Russia, Poland and the Balkans have hardly produced peace and neither has his involvement in the Middle East. Thank God we know that He is in control of the world's history and destiny and that though He uses human rulers they are mere pawns in His hands.
By contrast with the proclamations of prelates, the message of the bible could not be clearer. Man's selfishness and sin will increase with time and so commensurately will the ills of the world. Nor will that bring about a great revival of faith in God. In fact Jesus asked rhetorically: "When the Son of Man comes will he really find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8).
Jeremiah was unjustly accused of unnecessary pessimism. The false prophets with their apparently cheerful and optimistic outlook were warmly received. Yet Jeremiah's message was the truth of God, His word, and not at all ultimately pessimistic because it saw through to the end of the captivity of the Jews to a restoration of the nation after 70 years of exile in Babylon. God's true prophets do not gloss over the evil of sin and its consequences but they do point the way through repentance and reformation to God's forgiveness and mercy. Jesus himself told his followers: "Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near." (Luke 21:28).
God told the prophet-priest Ezekiel that he was appointing him as a watchman to the nation of Israel. "When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him a watchman, when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people, then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet but did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning will save his life. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman's hand." (Ezekiel 33: 2-6).
Brothers and sisters in Christ, God has appointed us to be His watchmen in this age. Blow your trumpets! Jesus is coming again!
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