Rev. A. Martlew, L.Th., England
THE CHAIN OF LIFE
THE above title is not to suggest that we spend lives in chains. There are some however, whose lifestyle is such that they may as well, for it is self inflicted. They could so easily free themselves from their difficulties and enjoy a life of freedom in Christ.
Those who know the Lord and study the Scriptures, sometimes come under criticism for spending time reading of events which occurred centuries ago. What we should be doing they say, is to concern ourselves with the present. Both these views are correct. Those who are not acquainted with the Scriptures are not aware that they contain valuable information on the whole of man's history, including events which are still in the future.
It is vitally important for Christians to be well informed. In this way we know where we are in time, and are not taken by surprise when major events occur. Whilst it is irksome to watch smiling politicians on the television lying through their teeth and stating that they have everything under control, nevertheless it is our Christian duty to be well informed.
Maybe you have met people who don't read newspapers, never watch the news on TV, and takeno interest in world affairs other than sport. Their excuse for not wishing to be involved in the worlds' miseries is that they can't change anything. This argument maybe valid for them, but it does not hold for Christians. We have a duty of care, and we can only exercise that care for God's glory by our understanding of world events, both past and present. It is the past that has shaped the present, for life is.a continuous chain and we cannot divorce ourselves from it. As active Christians we must be a vital part of that chain, not only for our own
edification, but above all, that we may be vehicles to bring others to Christ.
Today, there are many who attend a church, sing lively choruses and wave their arms in the air, but have no knowledge. All they know is that Jesus loves them, and this gives them their 'feel good' factor. This is a form of escapism from the realities of life.
One of God's sternest warnings to Israel was given to the prophet Hosea. His ministry was to the Northern Kingdom some fifty years prior to the Assyrian captivity:
My people are destroyed (cut off) for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. (HOSEA 4: 6)
This dire warning was also addressed to the Southern Kingdom of Judah, for they were taken captive into Babylon over a hundred years later. Today, I believe we should take heed of Hosea's warning, and apply it to Israel Britain in the Isles. Whilst we will not be marched off into captivity and bondage as were our forbears, nevertheless, what we are presently enduring is a period of bondage. This has been brought about because we have, nationally, ignored God's Holy Word.
We may be certain that we will not be taken into further captivity for we are assured in II Samuel 7: 10 that God has appointed a place of safety for Israel, and that we will move no more. This is not to say that God will not correct us in measure and leave us unpunished (Jeremiah 30: 11). The present bondage which covers these islands will continue as long as the nation continues to ignore the manifold warnings which were given by the Holy Spirit to the prophets.
All the while bad legislation is passed by Government, all the while the Churches ignore God's Word, all the while the people do their own thing, our bondage will increase. We have two things we must be deeply grateful for, the first is that the Abrahamic Covenant is unconditional; that is to say that whatever the nation may do, God for His part, will honour that contract. If it had been conditional, our nationhood would have ceased generations ago. The second is our Royal Throne, how precious is this Throne and she who sits upon it.
We remember with deep gratitude the everlasting Davidic Covenant. (II Samuel 7)
In spite of these two Covenants, the Nation must continue to suffer bondage, and rightly so. How grieved the Holy Spirit must be as He sees this once great nation, begging to all and sundry as our prosperity dries up, and our once good name is remembered no more. We ask, for this concerns us all, will church and state and the people repent? This question is the most important and far reaching question for this time. Let Joel, that mighty man of God answer the question:
Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet.
Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God? Then will the Lord be jealous for his land, and pity his people.
Yea, the Lord will answer and say unto his people, Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen:
How can we be certain that this prophecy has not already been fulfilled? Because, if all the people of Judah had gathered between the porch and the altar,and cried
unto the Lord Spare thy people O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach that the heathen should rule over us, the Lord would have heard their cry.
The fact that they were taken captive into Babylon and ruled over by the heathen shows without a doubt that they did not seek the Lord. Had they done so, the Mighty God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, would have heard their cry, and sent them corn, and wine, and oil. Neither would they have been a reproach among the heathen.
We have further evidence that the people did not seek the Lord in Joel's day, and it is found in Acts 2: 16-21:
But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
How wonderful is our God, for He will surely act when the nation collectively goes into the churches just as it did during the war when the Queen's father called the nation to prayer. Within hours the tide of battle was turned, and renewed strength was given to the allies. The Lord will act once again when the command will issue from the Crown.
At this present time there is no sign of repentance. The very meaning of the word is unknown to the people. As the squeeze continues, and the belts are tightened, that day will surely come.
What advantage does the believer have over the non-believer? Apart from the certainty of eternal life, we have knowledge from the Scriptures where we are in time in God's timetable of world events. We have the assurance that the Almighty is in control of history, and that every promise of restoration will be fulfilled.
Allow Paul to have the final word:
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.The Spirit itself beareth
witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
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