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Posts Tagged ‘Gospelcall’

As a young Christian brought up in a Christian background the kind of testimonies that showed God’s power are those of people like the Apostle Paul. It sounded powerful to say I was a drunkard and a criminal but when I heard the Gospel I run to Jesus for his mercy. Stories like I was a vehement atheist angry about God and I convinced many against him but one day God grabbed me by his loving kindness and I submitted to the Gospel message. It’s those who seemed to have lived in direct rebellion against God that have a story to tell. The rest of us good boys with respectable sins not so much.

Nobody said to me that indifference to God, living like God doesn’t exist and his Word doesn’t matter is such a grievous sin. You know those people you talk to and they quickly respond, I don’t subscribe to religion. I’m not into God and faith but I respect your need for it! Those who don’t mind having a Christian name and heritage but practice none of that. From our perspective we may not think that’s as sinful as cursing God and living in immorality. But that’s because we are not in the kind of relationship God is forced to be in with them. We are not the ones God has shown overwhelming love and grace and it’s been trampled upon with indifference.

In one of our Ministry Training Courses at iServe Africa, we are studying the book of Isaiah and right from Isaiah 1 God prosecutes Israel and Judah for her sin and rebellion against him. In Ch. 1-5 he shows that Israel and Judah are clearly culpable and deserve the coming judgement. He paints a vivid and gruesome picture that tells us these guys deserve the judgement God proclaims. And the picture and song of Isaiah 5 leaves us thinking these guys needs to be judged quickly and seriously.

But the sin that caught my attention is one we sometimes don’t see it’s depth and ugliness, that of indifference towards God. Ignoring what he has said and treating it with contempt like it means nothing to us. In a relationship, one might fear hate and anger but indifference is the worst of them all. When the other person shows you what you say and do makes no difference then you really do have a problem.

In the wider section of Isaiah Ch. 13-24 God prosecutes the nations and cities of the known world including Jerusalem in Ch. 22. An army is right on the door step of Jerusalem and you’d think now they’ll cry out to God and turn back to him. God has repeatedly called them out and sent his prophets like Isaiah to warn them of impending judgement. Perhaps now finally they’ll wake up from their drunken stupor. But to our surprise, this is how they respond:

12 The Lord, the Lord Almighty, called you on that day to weep and to wail, to tear out your hair and put on sackcloth. 13 But see, there is joy and revelry, slaughtering of cattle and killing of sheep, eating of meat and drinking of wine!
“Let us eat and drink,” you say,
“for tomorrow we die!”
Isaiah 22.

Like a rebellious teenager they do the complete opposite of that. And what’s worse, they don’t even care. God’s charge and clarion call is met with indifference. They don’t care how many times God has called them out. They don’t care about the fate that awaits them. They don’t care that even right now God is giving them a chance to repent. They go on with merry making, eating their last before taking on the disaster on their own. Can you imagine that? They’ve got to be crazy you say. But before you judge them too quickly have a look at our own world today.

You’d think disaster would finally wake our world and everyone would run to the Lord for help. And yes we ought to rejoice when we hear of those who have been interested to hear the Gospel from last year. We praise God for those COVID-19 came as a wake up call whether they were unbelievers, nominal or backsliding Christians. And for many of us who saw God’s love and grace amidst the pandemic and were strengthened in our faith and resolve to live for God and the spread of the Gospel.

But do not be surprised that you didn’t see the revival our churches have been seeking for years. Don’t be surprised that some of your attempts to reach friends and family fell on deaf ears despite the clear wake up call about the fragility of life under the sun. And right now when things are getting better in most parts of the world let it not surprise you how quickly we’ll move on away from what God started last year. To continue living like he doesn’t exist and his word is null and void to us.

Sometimes I wake up in the morning and the first thing that hits me is just how kind God has been over my life. I see his goodness all over, his breath of life, his provision, the beauty of his creation and that he’s given me a chance through the preaching of the Gospel. It makes me feel so lucky and privileged and then so sad to know I don’t always live up to that kindness. To know sometimes I make plans and start projects with little to no regard to him. I remember how often I take charge with little regard to his word and without seeking his help. It pains me deeply and yet I forget so quickly. May the Lord have mercy on us and work by his Spirit that we may see things clearly by the light of the Gospel.

It’s a sad reality when we see God’s people face judgement while we know it could have been avoided. When we realize all they needed was to heed and turn back to God. We get a small view of how God sees our world like a father seeing his children go astray despite calling them out repeatedly. And then we walk right ahead indifferent of his clarion call. How it must pain God to be in this relationship. If it were me I would have walked out years ago. But as we see in Isaiah and repeatedly across scripture God is not like man. He’s slow to anger and quick to forgive those who’d turn to him however indifferently we have lived our lives until now. The question is will you learn from Judah and act differently, to turn to him for salvation and to live in light of his Word? Or will you continue ignoring his clarion call of the Gospel, indifferent of his overwhelming love and grace and unconcerned of the coming Day of Judgement?

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