God Had The Patience Of Job

The people of Israel were a miserable lot (sort of like us).  One minute they would be in sackcloth and ashes for the judgment of their horrible sins, and the next minute, as soon as God turned His back, they were at it again.  There were devout people in their midst who believed in God, worshiped Him, kept His commandments, and generally loved God and people.  But not many, it seems.

The Israelites were influenced by the surrounding culture.  Even when God told them not to intermarry, not to adopt the non-Jewish ways, not to worship other gods, they seemed not to be able to live Godly lives for any length of time, if ever.   The lure of the “world” was just too enticing to resist.

It’s fascinating to follow the journey of the people of Israel (and Judah) after God gave in to the cries of the people wanting the help and protection of a king like all the other nations.  Most of the kings of Israel were described as “doing evil in the sight of God.”  They ranged from mildly disobedient, to blatant abandonment and defilement of the will of God.

For about four hundred years, God put up with His chosen people whose kings would either lead them astray, or let them wander off themselves.  Toward the end, they apparently had forgotten all about His covenant and no one seemed to even have the Book of the Law to read.  They continued to practice their religion; the priests continued to function in the Temple, but without direction from the Book of the Law.  If it hadn’t been lost and forgotten, how is it that king Josiah tore his clothes when a copy was found and read?  He had never seen it before.

There is an eerie parallel with today’s Christian church.  How is it that we continue to “do church,” yet often do not follow God’s instructions in our “Book of the Law” the Bible?  We can’t say we don’t have direction; we simply ignore it, or don’t know what it is.  Our problem in losing our way is the same as in Israel’s day.  We have many church leaders who do not preach the Word.  Many have taken tangential paths away from the truth of God’s Word, with few Christians learning the Word, and some not even believing it.  Yet, we still “do church.”

After four hundred years, God had had it with His “chosen people.”  Even after King Josiah turned the Israelites’ world upside down for the good, God was finished with them.  In 2 Kings 23:27 it reads:  “So the Lord said, ‘I will remove Judah also from my presence as I removed Israel, and I will reject Jerusalem, the city I choose…” So away they went into Babylonian captivity by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar.  The nation of Israel was essentially finished as an independent state until AD 1948, when in God’s perfect timing, the Jewish people were “gathered from the four corners of the earth” (Isaiah 11:12), to continue God’s plan.

The interesting parallel is the current day “church” and it’s involvement in exactly the same sins as were the Israelites.  How in the world could they continue to “do temple,” as we continue to “do church,” and not see the hand of God coming to sweep the board clean and “remove them from His presence?”  I believe, as many do, that we are coming under the judgment of God.  Well, what exactly were the sins that caused Josiah to tear his clothes and initiate reforms never before seen?

Josiah had the Asherah (goddess Artimas) poles removed from the temple, of all places.  Some writers see these pagan items as the predecessors of the May Pole and, God forbid, the Christmas tree.  The acceptance and mixing of false gods with Christianity is common today, including the Occult, Hinduism, Buddhism, Eastern Mysticism and others.

He tore down the prostitute shrines associated with many of the false religions.  Accompanying following false gods is always the perversion of sex.  Today sexual constraints are no longer existent.  It seems that every denomination is discussing whether or not to ordain homosexual clergy.  A big movement is underway to pressure the American Psychological Association to ease up on diagnosing adult-child sex as deviant.  Should the Lord tarry, it will eventually be stricken from the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual), the bible of abnormal behavior.

Josiah destroyed the altars on which children were sacrificed to the god Molech.  Imagine that.  Even some Israelites had been convinced that sacrificing their own children was honoring God.  No difference today.  Fifty some million unborn babies have been sacrificed to the “god of convenience” since 1973, and that at the hands of many “Christians.”  No one can really believe the Bible and approve of abortion.

In most churches there is little preaching concerning the end times.  Increasingly the Social Gospel of liberal denominations is becoming the “end times.”  According to the emergent bunch, we must help God (for us to think that God needs our help is beyond arrogant) realize His dream of bringing heaven to earth.  Their attitude is that Christians believing Revelation to be a prophetic message about end times is, well, “so yesterday.”

Even if we had a current day Josiah who called the people back to faith and tried to undo all of the evil that permeates our nation, it may be too late.  There comes a time when the only choice left for God is to “remove them from His presence.”  God actually has more patience and tolerance than Job, but He has a limit.  In that day the Church will be raptured and the beginning of judgment/tribulation will begin.  Some have said occasionally that many of us will probably be surprised by who we see in heaven.  Similarly we may be surprised by who is left behind.  I don’t plan to be one looking around for a familiar face.  Come quickly Lord Jesus.  Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

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