Daily Readings & Thought for September 21st. “YOU WILL ALL LIKEWISE PERISH”
Sin is not a word people use these days, I even met a teenager who had never heard the word ‘adultery’ – and had no idea what it meant – she came into our Bible Education Centre on a rainy morning while waiting for the Internet place next door to open. Today, attitudes are as they were in the days of Hosea who wrote, “ the LORD has a controversy with the inhabitants … There is no faithfulness or steadfast love, and no knowledge of God” [ch. 4 v.1] That is exactly the case with our world today – “the LORD has a controversy with the inhabitants” – and soon this will become awesomely evident.
In the days of Jesus, people more widely believed that God was the ultimate arbiter of punishment for their sins. Our readings in Ezekiel also show this, making the point that God had been merciful toward his people, yet there comes a point when God, seeing that his people do not change although he keeps showing mercy, ultimately brings awesome destruction – and Jerusalem came to a terrible end because of the abundance of their sins and lack of repentance. It is significant that only once does Ezekiel use the word ‘mercy’ – although Jeremiah uses it frequently. God’s people abused his merciful attitude in Jeremiah’s time. The one occasion Ezekiel uses it is in his ch. 39 v.25 “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on the whole house of Israel, and I will be jealous for my holy name” A latter day prophecy we believe will soon occur..
Now Jesus makes a very interesting point in today’s ch. 13 in Luke. Evidently people had been saying that when a tower collapsed in Siloam and killed 18 people (v.4), those people must have been worse sinners than other people. How did Jesus respond? “No” he says, “I tell you they were not, and if you fail to repent you will all likewise perish.” There is less and less belief in God these days, so no spirit of repentance.
We must look at ourselves! If we are not on God’s side, trying our best to do his will, there is no future for us. Jesus followed up his warning about Siloam by telling them a parable about a man who planted a tree (v.6-9) and who came for 3 years, looking for fruit, but found none. It was given one more year to produce fruit and a special effort was made to fertilise it. If it did not produce fruit it would be destroyed. Jesus came to the lost sheep of Israel, most would not follow him, 40 years later there was terrible destruction, especially in Jerusalem..
The response of Peter on the day of Pentecost when the people were ‘cut to the heart’ in realizing they had killed their Messiah, was to tell them to “Repent and be baptised” [Acts 2 v38] So we have done that! Good. Are we heeding the lessons of God’s word – not only with a repentant attitude – we must each ask ourselves, are we producing fruit? There is no point in having a “knowledge of God” if we do not