I’ve been recently reading the Old Testament books that major in God’s judgments against the kingdoms of Israel and Judah; judgments that were delivered by means of the Assyrian and Babylonian invaders, which ultimately led both kingdoms into captivity.
One cannot miss the point that God was delivering repeated warnings over an extended period of time, from one generation of kings, leaders and people to another. He told both kingdoms plainly that should their rebellion against Him continue, His judgments would follow with certainty and precision.
It needs to be said that God was not angry with his people because they were involved in some petty, minor, trivial mischiefs. One needn’t go beyond reading Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, 1. and 2. Kings, and 1. and 2. Chronicles to realize that it was the lifestyle of demonic idolatry, syncretism, abuse, injustice, oppression which made them face God’s judgment.
The list of sins was a lengthy one, and concretely spelled out. They included “shedding of innocent blood”, “oppression of alien (immigrants, refugees)”, “mistreatment o fatherless and widows”, “acting wickedly”, as well as pursuing corruption, sacrificing their own children to demons, and leading shamelessly a promiscuous lifestyle. (Ezekiel 22).
I used to read the Old Testament judgment accounts in the past more academically, by distancing myself from any real personal impact. Not any more. As I observe the rapid growth of moral, social, political and religious decadence today, the Old Testament judgment passages are coming to life with force. They are not any more a story of some distant, ancient tragedy far removed from the bearings of our days. They are coming to life as the harbinger of our own days.
Most of us do not like to talk about it. We really do not want to talk about this, but the day of big reckoning is coming ever closer. The sins of our age are no less grave than those so graphically painted by the Old Testament prophets. And just as God could not tolerate the sins of the ancient civilizations for ever, He will not tolerate the sins of our civilization for ever. Because of Jesus we should know better, act more accountably. “To whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more” – says Jesus. (Luke 12:48, NKJV)
“Once more”, states the author of Hebrews, “I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens” (Hebrews 12:26). My friends, this warning is not a metaphor or an abstract piece of poetry. But this time He will not use the human hands of some earthly superpower to bring His judgments about. This time it will be a decisive action of the mighty hand of the King of kings, the Lord Jesus himself.
The messages of God’s judgment were not received well by the ancient recipients. Even less it is popular today.