“But My People Have Forgotten Me...”

Samuel Rindlisbacher

When God chose Israel under the Old Covenant, He gave it His blessing. It began well: “Israel was holy to the LORD, the firstfruits of his harvest” (Jer 2:3). But unfortunately, Israel forgot its God—just as our society is doing today. “…But my people have changed their glory for that which does not profit. Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the LORD, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water” (verses 11b-13).

Israel began worshiping Tammuz, the god of vegetation, and the sun as the source of life in the middle of the temple (cf. Ezek 8). In the same way today, we’re turning away from the living God, the source of blessing, while being simultaneously surprised that the blessing is also departing. It’s a spiritual “law of nature”: God’s blessing is linked to God’s conditions. “If you faithfully obey the voice of the LORD your God, being careful to do all his commandments…” (Deut 28:1), then God will bless.

It’s like throwing a stone into the water: ripples form. When a tree is shaken, its fruit will fall. Likewise, if man walks away from God, the consequences won’t fail to materialize. This is exactly what happened to Israel: “…they make offerings to false gods; they made them stumble in their ways, in the ancient roads…” (Jer 18:15).

Isn’t it the same for the Western nations? Haven’t they consciously turned away from the God of the Bible? They’re doing exactly what the prophet Ezekiel warned against: “Son of man, when a land sins against me by acting faithlessly…” (Ezek 14:13). The Western nations knew God. There was once an awakening toward the Bible, particularly in the countries of the Reformation. The older generation may still remember praying before class and reading the Bible in school. The catechism was taught in confirmation classes at public schools. Thousands of missionaries went from these countries into the whole world. But today…

God has the same things to say about these nations as He did about Israel back then: “But my people have forgotten me; they make offerings to false gods…” (Jer 18:15). People have made nature their god!

You may have heard about Greta Thunberg’s startling lecture at the TEDx conference in Stockholm last year. Think what you may about this young girl, but she fascinates me with her dedication and zeal. How she focuses on what she thinks is important! Her commitment and determination! And, if I may ask, are we Christians equally committed to Jesus and the spread of His Gospel?

The big tragedy in the midst of all this talk about “saving the planet” is that the Savior God is deliberately excluded. The Creator isn’t wanted. Among other things, Greta Thunberg said in her TEDx speech that humans are “an animal species, among others.” This concept has its origin in the theory of evolution, in which a Creator God is unnecessary. Our new “messengers of the gods” are called ecology, conservation, and saving the planet.

Recently, I read that many Swiss churches and organizations left the clocks in their towers set to 5 minutes to 12, “to show that humans are running out of time.” Such churches have lost their calling. Instead of returning to the Creator God of the Bible, paganism has found its way in under the guise of “old-time religion”!

Those who still believe in Jesus should therefore take the decisive action that the Bible illustrates for us. Let us stick to His Word even more decisively! Let’s live according to biblical ethics. Let’s have more decisive courage to testify for Jesus. Let’s put off sin even more decisively. And let’s await the rapture; it could occur any day!

Maranatha; come, Lord Jesus—come soon! Amen.

Midnight Call - 02/2020

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