Even within my lifetime I’ve seen this huge shift of what we consider right and wrong. And with the advent of mass media, the Internet, Snap-Chat, YouTube, and Hollywood…we see our societal mores slowly morphing into something our Great-grandparents would be appalled at. But this blurring of ethical principles and practices didn’t happen overnight…for it relied on man’s pride, rebellion and apathy to flourish. So now we sit, so desensitized, we don’t even react anymore to what we know is wrong…but if we do, we’ll likely find ourselves being chastised for being intolerant and narrow-minded. Job 24:13 warns of this Spiritual blindness…of evildoers who rebel against the light, who don’t know its ways or stay in its path. I ask Heavenly Father, that we would be enlightened by Your Word, and that You would illuminate our minds with Your truth, that we may be able to discern right and wrong correctly. Amen.
It tells us in Genesis 5:22-24 that Enoch lived for 365 years…faithfully walking with God…and then he was no more, because God took him away. The word used here is “translated”, or conveyed to heaven without tasting death. The only other person to experience this was the Old Testament prophet Elijah. But unlike Enoch, Elijah’s departure was witnessed as he was carried off by a whirlwind. (II Kings 2:11) What these two men did have in common though was their unshakable faith in desperate times, godliness in the face of persecution, and the boldness to speak the truth no matter what.
This verse implies… it’s not about us…and it’s not at all about our “righteous acts”. That’s because God’s infinite mercy and kindness towards us isn’t based on our works. It’s actually quite the opposite…for in Isaiah 64:6 it says, “…all our righteous acts are like filthy rags to God.” And if you think about it, we can’t even take any credit for the relationship we have with God…for without the Cross spanning that chasm between God and man, we’d be lost. No, all honor needs to go to God, the Creator and source of everything. All glory needs to be ascribed to Him… for He is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. (Exodus 34:6)
With each temptation, the devil offered Jesus a shortcut…a way to compromise and thus circumvent God’s plan. So anytime our own impatience tempts us to not wait but instead run ahead of God…we’re playing right into the same scheme. Now none of us like to wait…we all want immediate gratification, so when offered a shortcut, we usually take it. But within that shortcut can hide compromise, risk, and loss. I Corinthians 15:58 encourages us to, “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” In God’s perfect plan there are no shortcuts, and even though we may feel impatient when waiting on the Lord…we are to stand firm, fully committed and trusting in Him.
When God told Noah to build an ark, Noah must have thought to himself, “What’s an ark?”. And even though God gave him explicit, precise and detailed instructions on the assembly of said ark, (verses 14-21)…to Noah it surely would have seemed like just an impossible dream. But it says despite not knowing exactly how he was going about it…Noah did everything just as God commanded. Now likely God hasn’t called you to build a 450′ x 75′ x 45′ boat in your back yard…but there’s probably something He is calling you into right now…and you’re resisting, because to you it’s an impossibility…but to God nothing is impossible. For God will always go before you, giving you precise and detailed instructions… just like He gave Noah.
It tells us in Luke 1:17 that John the Baptist ministered in the spirit and power of Elijah…down to the same attire. For the Prophet Elijah was recognized by what he wore – a garment of hair with a leather belt around his waist ( II Kings 1:8). This garb in fact was so powerful that false prophets started copying his dress in order to deceive the people. (Zechariah 13:4) Initially, the curious crowd might have been drawn by the wild-looking man, but when John shouted, “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is near!” divine conviction fell upon them.
Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to not go along with the crowd. Sure, the peer pressure is strong, and we want to fit in and not seem odd…but we also realize what the crowd is about to do is just plain wrong. Deuteronomy 13:8 tells us to not yield to or even listen to the enticements from those who are sinning. And the old excuse of, “Everybody’s doing it!” can’t stand up to the truth if it goes against the word of God. For any words of persuasion, guilt, or deception we hear will never change wrong into right.