by Michael Smith
Chapter Thirty Seven
AS THE DAYS OF NOAH WERE...
SO SHALL ALSO THE COMING OF THE SON OF MAN BE
Matthew 24:37; Luke 17:26
|What was it like in Noah's day? His day saw the growth of
evil in mainly four ways: a) in violence and war, b) in the practice of
the occult, c) in drug taking, and d) in lustful uncleanness. "And
God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that
every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil
continually" (Genesis 6:5) .
But God saw something different in Noah: RIGHTEOUSNESS. Noah's
desire was to keep right with God; his aim was to obey and please
God, and to daily walk closely with Him.
Before Jesus returns for His saints, He looks for righteousness in us. To be righteous we need to ask God for cleansing for any sin, turn away from ungodly habits, and, like Noah, seek to obey and please God in all our ways.
Of course, we don't know when the Lord will return, but He expects us to watch for the signs of His coming , and to stay close to Him by having a daily quiet time with Him in which we pray and read the Scriptures and allow God to speak to us , so that we may recognise the season in which He is likely to return. Our job is to be ready and prepared and we are to help others to be likewise.
How then, are we to be ready and prepared? We are to be righteous as we said above; we are to constantly renew our 'first' love for the Lord Jesus - the love we had when we were first saved ; we are to put to death all fleshly desires that war against God's will for us, also any disobedience and any lukewarmness toward the things of God . With God's grace we will want to live a holy life by putting on God's perfect righteousness by faith each and every day .
Let us not get weighed down with worldly cares. Let us be active in doing God's will as far as we are able. All of us, whatever our situations, can, for example, pray for others in their need . We all fail from time to time, but we are to keep going; we are to persevere come what may! .
In the insurance industry, any disaster not directly caused by man is usually labelled 'an act of God'. However, when the Anglican bishop of Carlisle, Bishop Graham, queried whether the floods in the UK in 2012 could be a judgement from God, he was ridiculed and dismissed as being an 'extremist'. Clearly, few who use the term 'act of God' really believe that God was actually involved in any way!
Such is the world. But it's perhaps not so different amongst Christians either... For many years Christians have been taught that because God is a God of love, such beliefs as judgement and the reality of a place such as hell need not be taken seriously, despite the fact that Jesus Himself taught on these subjects - as unpleasant as they may be. Yes, God is a God of love, but He is also a God of Truth and Justice, which means He will discipline His people when necessary. Indeed, what true and caring earthly father looks the other way if he sees his child doing things that will lead to the youngster's destruction? Those who dismiss judgement and hell think they know better than Christ and His apostles who taught on the reality of both. If believers dismiss these things it is no surprise that the non-believer takes little heed of them either.
God doesn't jump to judgement the minute we make a mistake. Like the earthly father looking after his young child, God gives us warnings not to do certain things as they will not be in our best interest or they may do us harm. "Keep away from the fire, the electric socket, and the gas stove when it is on" the child will be told. Children easily forget though, and so the youngster may need to be warned several times before it truly sinks in. But if, when the parent isn't nearby, the child wanders too near the fire or the hot gas stove, he may be burned through his disobedience.
Likewise, God, through the Scriptures, gives us instructions in how to live a godly life, telling us to abstain from ways that can harm us spiritually. But if we ignore God's words and choose to go our own way, then unpleasant consequences may well follow. Like the child, we have been warned but we have walked away from God's loving protection and guidance, and thus there is always a price to pay - often a very high price. As the Scriptures say, "God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap" (Galatians 6:7).
So too, God repeatedly reminds nations that if they forget Him or leave His ways and the people refuse to listen to His warnings, then sooner or later problems and disasters will follow. If the people's hearts remain hard and stubborn then He Himself will start to work against that nation until either there is national repentance and a return to His ways, or the line of disobedience is crossed, in which case there is nothing left for that people but destruction - both as a nation in this life and, even more sadly, in eternity. Please read 2 Chronicles 7:14 for God's perfect remedy. Like any true and loving father, God must discipline us if necessary, and like all discipline it is seldom pleasant at the time but in the end it is for our good .
In the UK many people leave God out of their lives; many have turned to the ways of greed and mammon, to false religions, idolatry, perverse sexual inclinations, and the occult - just as in the days of Noah. And ever more laws are passed accommodating and even encouraging such things. Other folk have been captured by some addiction they cannot break, while still others seek only to please themselves. To our shame, a recent report claimed that the behaviour of Britain's young people is the worst in Europe. Can we deny that this nation has become self-centred and prideful? All around us we see fast-falling moral standards while violent crimes are ever rising. In our post-modern society the vast majority are doing what seems right to them , while rejecting the objective and perfect Truth that comes from the Scriptures.
If God does use natural disasters as a means of getting the attention of a nation, then we really need to ask whether the last few years of severely inclement weather in the UK might be a warning to us to examine where we have gone wrong, and be prepared to put it right.
The apostle Paul pointed out that ALL have fallen short of God's perfect plan and standard for their lives , but the Good News is that there is a way out, which can only be found in one place - or more exactly can only be found in one Person; and that Person is Jesus Christ. He alone lived the perfect and sinless life, and so opened up the way back into real fellowship with God for all those who are willing by faith to receive His free gift of forgiveness, grace, and eternal life in heaven.
We are plainly told in Scripture that there is a Great Day of Judgement to come at the end of time, when all who have not sought God's forgiveness and salvation will be judged . In other words, in the end no-one will be able to get away with anything wrong done in their life; there will be terrible judgement for all those who haven't sought the benefits that Jesus won for them on the cross of Calvary. There will be no exceptions and no escape.
In the Bible are described three main judgements: First, there is the Judgement of Christians when they stand before Christ after death to give an account of their lives and to receive their rewards ; Second, there is the Judgement of the nations for the way they have treated the poor and vulnerable, the Jew and the Christian; and Third, there is the Last Great Day of Judgement as mentioned above. In this chapter we have primarily been thinking of the way God disciplines and judges individuals and nations prior to these Judgements at the end of time, especially His discipline of those peoples and nations who have once known the gospel but have subsequently rejected it. Sadly, that has been the general situation in the UK in the decades leading up to the present time. Two scripture references in particular list the stages of terrible judgements that can come upon a disobedient people or nation if they repeatedly ignore God's warnings to them .
 See also the book of Enoch chapters 7 and 8.  Mark 13:3-37.  Luke 21:36.  Revelation 2:3-5.  2 Corinthians 7:1; Revelation 3:19.  2 Peter 3:14.  Luke 21:34; Matthew 7:21.  Revelation 2:25-26.  Hebrews 12:6-11.  See Judges 21:25b and Proverbs 16:25.  Romans 3:23.  Revelation 20:12.  2 Corinthians 5:10.  See Leviticus 26:14-30 and Deuteronomy 28:15-68.
© Michael Smith 2013