THE WORLD TODAY SERIES #23

The Indifferent Ones

A far more serious matter than contention within the ranks of Christians is the plight of those individuals who, while they might think of themselves as ‘Christian’, don’t consider God to be relevant to their daily lives. We have already addressed in brief fashion the Churches that attempt to attract such individuals, and have come to appreciate that they reside outside of Christianity, a harsh judgment but one that is confirmed by our review of orthodoxy. The very lack of contention among these individuals is a sign of spiritual near-death. Even worse are the Churches that attempt to cater to them. Here’s what Jesus Himself thinks about such Churches as He addresses the Laodicean Church in Revelation 3:14-19:

“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write: These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God. I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot; I would that thou wert cold or hot. So, then, because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing, and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked, I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich, and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous, therefore, and repent.”

Self-absorption, self-indulgence, decadence and moral depravity are the usual suspects in the decay of a society. They’re big factors, but not the only ones by any means. Self-reliance coupled with a Godly heart is a good thing; self-reliance divorced from God is not. Many people, seeing their social and political systems succumb to decay and corruption with their supporting handout mentality, support the rugged individualism that they perceived made their country great. They abhor the softness of their fellows, the lack of discipline and the self-indulgence as a disease that appears to be spreading out of control. Perhaps it is, but the sickness that preceded it was a wholesale turning away from God. That kind of sickness isn’t curable by resorting to an opposing Spartan, militant and confrontational spirit without God in the picture. That attitude will only add an element of savagery into the mix. A persistent indifference to God, whether the person is soft and self indulgent or go-it-alone and in-your-face hard, will simply result either way in more decay and corruption.

The indifferent ones are those who are stuck in the material world whatever their attitude, having no sense that a world of surpassing beauty and harmony, one with at least one additional dimension, is waiting for them. They have a god, probably several, that offer short-lived sensual delights or merely comfort or self-esteem or wealth and power or a multitude of shallow-bonded friends. Ultimately these various gods boil down to one, whose name is Satan. In the end, he offers everlasting destruction to the individual, and he can wreck a society faster than you can think possible.

Is God to be blamed for this indifference? I’ll let you answer that. The indifferent ones, diverse as they may be in temperament and outlook, share one thing in common: they’re stuck on themselves. Even a casual reading of Scripture will reveal the desire on the part of God to gather to Himself a people of selfless nobility. Scripture plainly notes that through the work of the Holy Spirit every person on earth has a chance to receive God on His terms. Materialism and self-absorption are symptomatic of a conscious rejection of God’s terms. Paul said it best in Romans 1:18-32:

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness, because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shown it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse; because, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

“Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man, and birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.

“Wherefore, God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

“For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections; for even their women did change the natural use for that which is against nature; and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another, men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.

“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient, being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boaster, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents; without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful; who, knowing the judgment of God, that they who commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”

Is the leadership of America, supposedly the brightest and best of society, behaving foolishly after tossing God out of the public square? I’ll offer a few examples below.

Several years ago a well-known Christian figure made a pronouncement that the Katrina disaster that destroyed large sections of New Orleans was an act of God in retribution for removing Him from American society. Following a firestorm of outraged protest, he backed down. I believe that he’s had many regrets about that over the years, because that was just the kind of act that God performs to grab our attention. Later it was revealed that the evacuation of New Orleans under the threat of Katrina happened at the very time when Israel, largely in response to pressure from the United States, demanded the evacuation of Israelites from Gaza, which was handed over to the Palestinians. Still later someone connected the dots from Joel 3:2 that maybe God wasn’t happy about the big idea of creating a Palestinian state by dividing up Israel’s already meager land:

“I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the Valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage, Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.”

Is it just possible that while President George H. W. Bush was at Madrid proposing the Roadmap for Peace that called for that dividing of Israel’s land, the freak ‘Perfect Storm’ of 1992 that caused thirty-foot waves to smash into his Kennebunkport home, might have been a token of God’s displeasure with the plan?

As a side note, it is well-documented that provisions were made long ago to provide a homeland for the Palestinians, and at the expense of Israel’s original allocation of land. Jordan took it over and refused to give it to the Palestinians.

Now the United States midwest is beginning to suffer under a large-scale multiyear drought. Storms spawning multiple, unusually violent and destructive tornadoes have become commonplace. Parts of New York and New Jersey were devastated by Sandy, a more violent return of 1992’s Perfect Storm. Do you really think that God isn’t involved in our weather? Go ahead and chalk it up to global warming if you wish, but I have a hunch that doing so would simply be playing ostrich.

And then, of course, is the nine-eleven disaster of 2001. Rabbi Jonathan Cahn connected some more dots between God and His displeasure with us in his book The Harbinger. The book keys off the warning given Israel in Isaiah 9:10 and 11:

“The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones; the sycamores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars.

“Therefore the Lord shall set up the adversaries of Rezin against him, and join his enemies together. . .”

The first part of this passage, Isaiah 9:10, was delivered by two presidential hopefuls, both of whom were since disgraced, as words of comfort both to the victims of that disaster and to the country as a whole. As Isaiah 9:11 shows, however, the words originally weren’t intended for comfort, but rather as a stern warning that mocks the intent of the people to rebuild without God. That pronouncement upon Israel following a relatively minor skirmish was afterwards fulfilled by a wholesale slaughter during the invasion by Assyria.

As Cahn points out, the rebuilding of the twin tower site in New York involved the placing of a foundation stone quarried (hewn) from granite, as well as the erection of an evergreen timber to replace a sycamore tree destroyed in the collapse of the buildings. Cahn presents other astonishing parallels between our 9-11 disaster and Isaiah 9:11.

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