This is just me talking, I have no scholarly studies to back me up. But when I look at the moral fiber of humankind in general today, I’m convinced that most of us don’t take God and his word seriously. We just don’t believe he means what he says.
This is nothing new within our ranks. Right from the beginning we were deceived into thinking that God didn’t mean what he said.
Think back to the Garden of Eden when God told Adam not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in Genesis 2:17. To disobey would mean death.
Eve wasn’t on the scene yet, but from what she said to the serpent in Genesis 3:2-3, Adam shared with her God’s message of death for disobedience, so she was fully aware of the consequences.
In spite of that knowledge, Eve allowed the serpent to deceive her into thinking that God wasn’t serious; that he would not kill her for eating from that tree and that he would be pleased if she did, because she would then be as gods, knowing good from evil. That would be a good thing, wouldn’t it?
Well, Eve was convinced; she ate, convinced Adam to eat, and the rest is history.
Unfortunately, that propensity for deception was passed down from generation to generation. As a result, most of the seven-plus billion of us still believe that God doesn’t mean what he says in his word.
Seriously!? How can anybody who has read the Bible be so deceived? Scripture is full of evidence to the contrary, full or proof that God is serious.
For example, in chapter 7 of his book, Jeremiah shares a time when, due to their ungodly behavior, God told Israel to shape up or he would do in Judah “as I have done to Shiloh.” What he did to Shiloh is described in 1Samuel 4:10. In a nutshell, he allowed the Philistine army to slaughter 30,000 Israeli soldiers. So God’s message to Judah was one of destruction.
Obviously Judah didn’t take God seriously. Their behavior got no better during the ensuing years and God made good on his promise. He allowed Judah to be attacked and defeated by Babylonian forces; and, in the process, the main temple in Jerusalem was completely destroyed and the people were taken into a 70-year period of bondage in Babylon.
That’s Old Testament; but let’s look now at New Testament evidence of God’s sincerity. Global warming is a controversial subject of discussion today. Some people believe it; some do not. I count myself among the believers, and here’s why: Scientific measurements tell us that the surface of the planet is heating up, polar ice caps are melting and sea levels are rising.
God’s word tells us in 2Peter 3:10 that at some unknown time in the future, “the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are within shall be burnt up.”
Global warming is the beginning of the fulfillment of this prophecy – and evidence that God is serious in what he says. Are there still unbelievers out there?
Our goal is not to predict doomsday. It’s a long way from happening. Jesus’s 1,000-year reign comes first. But learn to take God at his word.
Failure to do so may be at your peril.
Rev. O.L. Johnson, a retired LAPD lieutenant, is an associate pastor in his home church. Greater New Zion Baptist, 501 W. 80th St. in Los Angeles.
Pastor’s Corner is a monthly religious column that looks at the relevancy of scripture to life today. The column appears on the first Thursday of each month in the Wave and its website, www.wavenewspapers.com.