“When A Nation Forsakes God”
July 16, 2012
I took this photo yesterday of Brooksyne and the super-sized sunflower voluntarily growing in our garden area. We’re not accustomed to seeing a flower right outside our 2nd floor bedroom window. Sunflowers are “happy” flowers, since they make us think of the sun and happy faces are modeled after them.
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“The Lord, the God of their fathers, sent word to them again and again by His messengers, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place; but they continually mocked the messengers of God, despised His words and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against His people, until there was no remedy” (2 Chronicles 36:15,16).
2 Chronicles 36 records the final days of the southern Kingdom prior to their exile to Babylon. It is a very sad chapter with leadership characterized by the phrase, “did evil in the eyes of the Lord”. Zedekiah was the final king and “he stiffened his neck and hardened his heart against turning to the Lord God of Israel” (v. 13).
Today’s main text is a summary of conditions at the time of the fall and should speak to any nation and people regarding the consequences of forgetting God and forsaking His ways.
This text teaches three characteristics concerning the immutable (unchanging) God:
1) The patience and persistence of God.
- Ancient Israel: God “sent word to them again and again by His messengers.” The Old Testament historical period provides abundant evidence of God using His prophets to call His people back to Himself.
- Modern mankind: Consider the many ways truth is being spread as God is patiently and persistently calling people to follow Him:
- God fearing, Bible-faithful churches and pastors
- Radio and TV
- Internet and hi tech devices
- Lifestyle evangelism
- One on one witnessing
2) The compassion (mercy, pity) of God.
- Ancient Israel: “He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place”
- Modern mankind: We have abundantly and repeatedly seen His compassion poured out.
3) The wrath of God. “until the wrath of the Lord arose against His people.” I suppose the wrath of God is one of the lesser studied and least appreciated characteristics of God. However it is amply taught in both the Old and New Testaments and is treated as an attribute of God by theologians. J.I. Packer in his book “Knowing God” states, “The fact is that the subject of divine wrath has become taboo in modern society, and Christians by and large have accepted the taboo and conditioned themselves never to raise the matter.”
- Ancient Israel: This passage is followed by an outpouring of God’s wrath and judgment, as “He gave them all into his [the devil's] hand.” (See 2 Chronicles 36:17-21)
- Modern mankind: When will God’s judgment come? We may think never or at least not in our lifetime.
Let us observe the final words in our portion: “until there was no remedy.” Never is there a more desperate prognosis given than “there is no remedy”, whether we’re dealing with a health matter, financial reckoning, relationship estrangement, spiritual battle or otherwise. At least there is hope while we’re seeking out a solution, but to hear these words at the conclusion of our search, leaves one feeling destitute and hopeless.
We thank God that there is a remedy for the righteous, for those who appropriately respond to His message and His messengers. Paul assured the Christians in Thessalonica and all who “serve the living and true God, to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivered us from the wrath of God… For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 1:9b,10;5:9).
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, nearly 3,000 years after Your judgment fell upon the Israelites during the fall of Jerusalem, we continue to hear those who mock messengers sent from You, those who despise the words of Scripture and those who scoff at biblical prophecy. So much prophecy is filled with warnings for us so that we won’t end up destitute and hopeless. Your Words are enlightenment to our heart, and encouragement to our spirit as we appropriate the life-saving message of salvation through Christ Jesus our Lord in whose name we pray. Amen.
Here’s another view of our super-size sunflower taken from our second story bedroom window! We’re enjoying this colorful visitor in our landscape.
“God Has Spoken By His Prophets” Video Choir You rarely hear this song. It has a great message!
“People Need The Lord” Video Steve Green
“No More Night” Video David Phelps with an intro by Joni
An online study of the attribute of the wrath of God.
A study on the wrath of God by A.W. Pink. This message concludes with A Word to Preachers. Brethren, do we in our oral ministry, preach on this solemn subject as much as we ought? The Old Testament prophets frequently told their hearers that their wicked lives provoked the Holy One of Israel, and that they were treasuring up to themselves wrath against the day of wrath. And conditions in the world are no better now than they were then! Nothing is so calculated to arouse the careless and cause carnal professors to search their hearts, as to enlarge upon the fact that “God is angry with the wicked every day” (Psalm 7:11). The forerunner of Christ warned his hearers to “flee from the wrath to come” (Matthew 3:7). The Saviour bade His auditors “Fear Him, which after He hath killed, hath power to cast into Hell; yea, I say unto you. Fear Him” (Luke 12:5). The apostle Paul said, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” (2 Corinthians 5:11). Faithfulness demands that we speak as plainly about Hell as about Heaven.
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