There is a lot going on in the world today. Especially in regards to sin. The floodgates have been opened and the river of filth pours forth in torrential volume. So much more has become accepted. So much more is permitted. An environment has been created where to even speak out against sin has become taboo.
Woe vnto them that call euill good, and good euill, that put darknes for light, and light for darknesse, that put bitter for sweete, and sweete for bitter.
Isaiah 5:20 (Holy Bible 1611)
Lawlessness and rebellion against God is evil, not good. Man’s highest wisdom is darkness, not light. Sin is bitter, not sweet. Woe unto us!
I was born in the seventies and grew up in the eighties, not yet “born from above”, so stumbling and bumbling through life, in pursuit of my desires, coveting what was not given me. My career in sin was well begun.
The decade of the nineties was my trade school, where I solidified myself in my wicked pursuits. The world seemed to permit almost anything, and there were few social obstacles left to curb my behavior. I became hardened in sin. My conscience seared. A criminal in the eyes of God… pity not so in the eyes of man.
But I wasn’t the only one. Books and television and movies and sliding social norms and dirty jokes and dirty talk and dirty behavior abounded freely. When the Internet rolled in, it just offered up openly, and anonymously, what used to carry a social stigma. And it all happened so rapidly!
If you’d have asked me then what I thought of the world, I’d have said
“it’s gone plumb loco”.
That was back then. I know better now. The world hadn’t gone plumb loco. Not yet. That stuff back then was kindergarten by comparison to the stuff of today. The tree was laden with overripe fruit, it is true. But now it can barely be stomached.
The fruit reeks. The axe is laid to the root. The fig tree must die. It never covered our shame in the first place. It became our fashion instead. Nakedness is no longer covered, our shame is openly borne, and we call it our glory. It is field day… with ribbons handed out for lewdness.
In this world of lawlessness and debauchery and chaos and deception, I will say this… Unless you read the bible,
you haven’t a clue what is presently being unleashed!
And even if you do, it is doubtful you can rise above your conditioning to accept the truth. Even the sheepdogs languish. Especially the sheepdogs. They went to the same grade school as you, after all, and then capped it with a seminary mortarboard. Pity the sheepdogs. Not all are corrupted, though. Some are rooted in Christ. Praise God.
When Jesus saved me, the first thing I wanted to do was study his words, know his will, find out who He really was. I had a King James Bible, but it was included in the “so called” Standard Works of the Mormon Church. This meaning it had been annotated, footnoted, and cross-referenced to the other three books the Mormon’s “claim” to be scripture. Being that the claim is false, and the other books are NOT scripture, but books of heresy, I did not want to risk reading a bible issued by those that interpreted it according to their false doctrinal stand.
I did a bit of research, ordered a King James Bible that contained nothing but the text, no cross-references, study guides, or interpretative notes of any kind. I am not opposed to study guides and commentaries, and find them useful, but I am a staunch believer in that they ought to remain separate from the bible, and not be attached in any way. Others do not harbor this sentiment and prefer a built in study guide. Well and good for them. I however prefer commentaries as a side dish, take or leave what you will. The main meat on the plate is the bible,
and to be taken in its entirety.
Every blessed word. Nothing more. Nothing less.
So, my newly ordered Bible arrived in the mail and I immediately immersed myself in its contents. Reading the text, unaccompanied by external explanations of any kind, was an illuminating experience. Was I capable of interpreting God’s words one hundred percent accurately on a single reading? Of course not. But it helped me to begin to understand the mind of God, and the un-fordable chasm that exists between His perfect and holy ways, and man’s foolish thoughts and desires.
Several years later, I still maintain it a profitable thing to read what the words say with as little external bias as possible. The plain truths are plain indeed, and it is quite astounding to see how much our traditions have added to, or subtracted from, the truth contained in God’s Holy Bible, though many are unaware that this is so. Or maybe there is just little that can be done about it on a large scale.
My first course of action was to share the truth of the bible with my wife and children. My children were enthusiastic about it from the get go, my wife however, was anything but pleased. We had worked ourselves into a lifestyle of shunning any semblance of orthodox religion and had instead embraced the teachings of the world, which to say it mildly, were about as far from what is contained on the pages of the bible as can possibly be.
Black is White. Day is Night.
I decided on a couple of scriptures for my children to memorize, the intention being that over time, God’s truth would become written in their hearts and minds, as well as on the printed page. This intention was derailed in short order by a painful divorce as my wife decided she had had enough and would follow her own path. A path without me, and without the bible. But before all this, my children memorized two scriptures. A couple that stood out to me strongly for some reason.
Here is the first.
Feare yee not mee, saith the LORD? will yee not tremble at my presence, which haue placed the sand for the bound of the sea, by a perpetuall decree that it cannot passe it, and though the waues thereof tosse themselues, yet can they not preuail, though they roare, yet can they not passe ouer it.
Jeremiah 5:22 (Holy Bible 1611)
It was a scripture that captured well the power and nature of God. It seems today, some five years later, to be even more comforting than when I first read it. My marriage problems of then seem trivial by comparison to the perilous times that have so rapidly come upon us.
Even in the midst of crisis and confusion, we generally omit to give proper thought to the Lord God above. Do we not tremble at his presence? He has placed the boundaries of what is allowed and not allowed in this world. The waves do roar and toss themselves, they have for centuries, but seem to be whipping to a particular fevered frenzy in our times. As predicted by the Bible. It is God himself who allows this storm to cross set boundaries, and deal what damage He permits. Do you not see? If the storm has begun to crescendo,
It is because God allows it!
There is no thought more comforting to me than that. It is God who decrees the boundaries, where and how the storm is allowed to rage. If it has proceeded recently past its accustomed bounds, well then, God has so let.
The enemies of the Lord will take every inch towards wickedness that they are permitted. You have heard the expression, “give an inch and they’ll take a mile”. Nice sentiment. But hardly true in this case. If God allows an inch, then that is EXACTLY what they will get! An inch. No more, no less. God sets the boundaries. Perhaps the mile will be permitted tomorrow.
In the book of Job, Satan complains to God about a “hedge” that has been placed that he cannot circumvent. The hedge referred to is the one God has placed around his servant Job.
Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on euery side? thou hast blessed the worke of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.
Job 1:10 (Holy Bible 1611)
This “hedge” is something that fascinates me to no end. Further proof of these boundaries set by God that cannot be crossed without his permission. Satan, in this case, was griping about a particular hedge he was unable to breach. In fact, the details of his complaint are revealing.
He claims the hedge has been made “about him”, “about his house”, and “about all that he hath on every side”. I have a question.
How the heck did he know that?!?
Life isn’t a video game where we run around with some green glowing aura surrounding our person that protects us from encroaching damage. The hedges God places are invisible to the fleshy eye. Satan whining in so much detail about the hedge shows his interest in getting at what God protects. He literally probed EVERY SINGLE INCH of Job’s hedge for weakness, going about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1Pet. 5:8).
Do you not think he probes EVERY SINGLE INCH of the hedge God keeps around you? Does that not give you reason to tremble at the presence of the Lord? To fear HIM that keeps you safe from the roaring lion, as he prods and pokes at the hedge about you? Does it not offer good reason to walk a little more shamefast and humble through life, and not be so careless in how we “tempt the Lord our God” (Luke 4:12)?
Ecclesiastes dovetails something interesting to this “hedge” concept.
He that diggeth a pit, shall fall into it; and who so breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him.
Ecclesiastes 10:8 (Holy Bible 1611)
The roaring lion, the serpent, the devil, the dragon, Satan, old Nick… whatever you want to call this ancient foe… he probes the hedge for weakness. According to the above verse, it behooves us not to “breaketh an hedge”! I surely don’t need to grapple with the serpent that slithers on the other side. Especially one in a foul mood intent on “biting” what it cannot get at. Must really hack him off. So, word to the wise.
Don’t go messing with the Lord’s hedges!
What lurks on the other side is NOT something you want to tangle with.
The other verse my children memorized also shows God’s dominion over all his creation, though to my thinking, in a more personal way.
Are not two Sparrowes solde for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very haires of your head are all numbered. Feare yee not therefore, ye are of more value then many Sparrowes.
Matthew 10:29-31 (Holy Bible 1611)
Not one sparrow shall fall without God either touching it with his own hand, or “allowing” it to be touched by another hand, or by the laws He has determined. NOW, THAT IS COMFORTING STUFF!
Top it off with the fact that God has every hair on my head numbered (and that includes a modestly robust beard) and I am truly humbled. Sometimes in a moment of loneliness or suffering, or when a Psalm 137 sentiment weighs upon me, I reach up and pluck a hair from my head, just to send a message upward, that I am most grateful that the ruler of the Heavens and the Earth, condescends to care about even the smallest details of my life. One hair plucked. Heaven’s books renumbered. I am comforted. Pour on, wretched world.
For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised
Psalm 96:4 (Holy Bible 1611)
Yes. And much stronger than anyone or thing in this world HE created. The Book of Daniel gives an account of one of the most powerful kings to ever sit a throne on Earth. Nebuchadnezzar. Ruler of Babylon. The golden kingdom. Kings in this ancient age were not as the kings we are familiar with in more recent history. Kings limited in power and scope. No. Nebuchadnezzar, along with Nimrod, and others of the time were more accurately described as god-kings. Note the small case g in god, and k in king.
There is only one King of kings.
There is only one God. Others that the world speaks of are not really gods, but only so called. It’s not really that confusing, so I will let it be.
Nebuchadnezzar was one of these god-kings, where every command and whim of the moment was obeyed absolutely. He could order a person killed at the drop of a hat, without question, without a reason. These were the kings to be feared above all. BUT EVEN THEY WERE PALTRY IN POWER COMPARED TO ALMIGHTY GOD!
In the forth chapter of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar was warned to break off his sins by righteousness, and show mercy to the poor (Dan. 4:27). He disregards this warning. In verse 30 he claims credit for the grandeur of Babylon, saying that he built it by his own power, for the honor of his own majesty.
God is not mocked
Galatians 6:7 (Holy Bible 1611)
God took his kingdom away from him at that very moment, and his reason was also taken away. He was eventually put out in the field to eat grass like an ox, and his hair and nails unmaintained, grew like birds’ claws and eagles’ feathers and he became more beast than man (Dan. 4:33). Like some of the dudes from the sixties. We should be grateful when God allows us our wits and a semblance of reason so that we remain above the beasts of the earth. It is a sad thing to behold one who has had his wits taken from him.
Sometime, in the course of this humiliation, Nebuchadnezzar lifted his eyes unto heaven and his understanding returned unto him. Verses 34-37 contain his personal witness to the “everlasting dominion” of God. He confesses that God is in full control of ALL people and events in both Heaven and on Earth, and that he does his own will and none can stay his hand.
There is much to think of in this account. One purpose of this incident was to show Nebuchadnezzar that “the most high ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will” (Dan. 4:32).
If a king of this magnitude and power learned and confessed this about God, then what of all that have come after him? There has never been a king or president or ruler holding any post that has not been placed there by God himself! He has set the boundaries and hedges, and causes or allows whatever transpires.
This includes our present day
Whatever happens is presided over from above. In fact, the Bible has already laid out how God will ultimately deal with his creation and how He will (in His own time) wrap the whole ball of wax up according to his own purpose and desire. EVERLASTING DOMINION. It never ends. It has never been in doubt. It will never be in doubt. Rejoice! In a world gone plumb loco…
God is in charge of every detail.