First, I’d like to share with you the portion of the introduction that spoke so clearly. “The Book of Second Kings teaches that once a nation abandons its heritage it loses the ability to discern the difference between right and wrong. The very makeup of the national and individual conscience is affected. Superficial reforms and mere lip service accomplish little. The Lord demands true repentance. The final results of continued sin is always total collapse. However, God’s love is so persistent that He will never give up on His people.” (NASB)
A nation is made up of people. It is the people who turn the neck. Then when a leader who does not have the values of the people comes into position, the course is set for destruction. We also need to acknowledge that the people vote the leadership in, so again, it goes back to the heart of the people of the nation.
What is our heritage? This land, the United States of America, was founded upon the freedom to worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Also, were you aware that some of our founding fathers who first set foot on this land were Jews? And the rest of those who risked their lives to come to this land came to escape the State Church systems that were in place because they were not teaching a true scripture!
As I reflect on the changes in our society it is hard to imagine the way things were when I was born. People depended on each other. Communities were built around a church. Life was much simpler. When I compare the “conveniences” and technology of today, can I really say that it has made my life better? No. Greed and self-fulfillment have overtaken us. The scripture that comes to mind is Judges 21:25, “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” Today, these words not only describe the people but they also describe our government leaders, they do not follow the laws of the land!
We are no different than the Israelites and every word the Lord spoke to them regarding holiness and obedience and repentance applies to you and me. Many will say that the United States still has several churches in every city. The building may say it is a church, but the preaching is no way close to the Bible. It is a fulfillment of Paul’s words to Timothy, let’s listen: “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.” Incontinent means without self-control. The NASB translation also states that people will be “revilers” which means that they will not come into agreement with or consent to the ways of God, they were born for strife; in others words, they are against everything of God.
You might be wondering what this has to do with you or me. Let me share the next scripture the Lord brought into my mind this morning, “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17)
Read over the list of character traits again that Paul wrote, I’ll give you another translation to compare. “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; and avoid such men as these.” NASB
This list is not applicable only to the unsaved, many of these are found in the body of believers. In this society it is not hard to not slip into some of these attitudes without even making a conscious effort, but that doesn’t make them right.
In Peter’s second letter in chapter 1 he lists what the walk of a believer should look like. “seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge; and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness; and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;” (NASB, emphasis mine, II Peter 1:3-10)
Are you practicing these things? Practice is repeating them over and over again, it’s not being perfect, Christ was the only person who walked this earth perfect. But it is with a whole heart of diligence to pursue righteousness! This path will change your life! I pray you hasten to be obedient to this word and pursue the upward call of Jesus Christ!
Abba, thank You for Your word which brings life, eternal life. Life eternal begins at our rebirth. A new chapter in a new book is being written as we allow the Potter to redesign the clay to Your specifications! As we reflect on these words, we rejoice in the hope that is before us. We desire You and You alone. You are looking for those who truly desire to be ready for Your return; a pure, spotless bride! We consecrate these earthly bodies to You today. Have Your way in us, through us and about us. We love You with all our hearts! Amen!