Friday, May 2, 2008

Iniquity, Is It Full?

A man on the moon; small pox nearly eradicated, a weapon to slay nearly a hundred thousand with one explosion, daily conveniences fit for kings, all, in the midst of ease and comfort unimaginable in earlier times, are the norm for us today. Civilization has arrived. At last we control the universe—or do we?

Surely we have it all. Were there ever a people with so much genius? Was there ever a civilization with a comparable level of ability and accomplishment? Surely the microwave and the Blackberry demonstrate our superiority to the architectural wonders of Macchu Picchu. The Nasca lines, visible only from extreme heights (space?) must have originated from an earthly purpose and not any awareness of the possibility of being seen. The ability of the ancient Paracas to perform delicate brain surgery absent today’s modern implements simply demonstrates good luck and not skill. The pyramids of Egypt were a result of brawn, sweat and slavery with little imagination or talent.

In our endless egotism, we have become convinced that our accomplishments—and they are many—have totally separated us from our ancient ancestors. In fact, we are so wrapped up in ourselves that we have chosen not only to fail to acknowledge their magnificent accomplishments in the hard sciences but also to ignore the hard lessons they learned about their relationship with God.

Yes, their God and our God are one in the same. The same God who created the whole affair has been monitoring this ongoing enterprise from the beginning. He has patiently endured watching His greatest creation—we were made in His image after all—avoid His teachings and violate His laws. He has offered us unimaginable gifts, many of which we have squandered, and watched as we offered up praise to graven idols. We are no different from the ancients in that we see a “messiah” behind every lamp post and choose to ignore the one true God. That “messiah” can be a man with a false or self-serving doctrine or even wealth, fame, power or the other endless sources of our pride.

When God promised the children of Abraham the land of Canaan, it was with the proviso that it would not be until much later. He knew the Amorites would eventually become so iniquitous that they would necessarily have to be replaced. In a state of Divine fairness He would not deprive them of their holdings until their iniquity was full. (Deuteronomy 32:4)

We have seen His hand in the destruction of various societies, steeped in sin, by various means. Whether flood, earthquake, volcano, drought or miraculous (see Sodom and Gomorrah,) God will end the practice of ignoring Him. Fortunately, in the last example, I believe that it would be possible to fulfill the requirement for salvation which He offered. I do believe “one righteous man” could be found. Considering our moral position and the spate of recent earthquakes in unusual locations, I may be wrong. Throughout the scriptures, the Lord has offered man the opportunity for repentance in advance of His final actions.

One might believe that observation of the paths taken by the Israelites to finally be allowed to enter the Promised Land would have resulted in their absolute devotion and adherence to the commandments of God. We need look no further than Manasseh to falsify that premise. This King of Judah learned the hard way. Read 2 Kings 21:10-15 to fully understand what happens when God has finally had His fill. “I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it up side down,” states His intent in everyday terms which carries a meaning easily understandable to even the most ignorant.

Inherent in all this is the judgment of nations. The early fathers of the country understood all too well the cost of offending God. Madison observed in 1840 that, “Providence punishes national sins by national calamities.” Samuel Adams said, “Communities are dealt with in this world by the wise and just Ruler of the Universe. He rewards or punishes them according to their general character.” Thomas Jefferson in 1794 stated, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that His justice cannot sleep forever”

God is the same today, yesterday, and tomorrow. He will tolerate us only so long as we permit it by adoration, praise, and repentance. The only question left then is of our response to Him and His immutable laws. Our fate is in our hands as He has clearly stated that which He expects of us. He will keep His end of the bargain. The only remaining question is when our iniquity becomes full.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

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