Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just? Genesis
My specific reading at the moment is Ezekiel ~ he of the dry bones set dancing up out of the dust of the ages ~ & don't you just love that visual imagery. Ezekiel is all about idolatry & how much God hates it, about how the nations about Israel will be reduced to nothing & less than nothing for rejoicing over Israel's downfall, & about the faithfulness of God. It is probably the only time in my life I have read all of this book sequentially. I tend to dance around, bob back & forth, & read completely out of sequence so I have found reading it through straight, from beginning to end, hard going.
The 2nd commandment addresses the issue of idolatry & yet from beginning to end Israel's besetting sin is idolatry. I'm a fast reader ~ which is what happens when you spend 3 years of your life wading as fast as possible through impossible texts so you can write a not very enlightened paper about them, so I had got about 3/4 of the way through scratching my head because we all know idolatry is wrong. We all practise it, of course, but we know it's wrong & when we realise we try & do something about it.
There is the whole issue of God's holiness & the glory of His name of course but there is another reason, one that rather shocked me because I tend to think of myself as a little person, someone of no account, & I spend a good bit of my time trying hard to so blend into the background as to neither draw attention to myself nor have to engage in social situations I find difficult & unrewarding. Enter Derek Prince.
I like Prince. On the whole I think he had an excellent grasp of the importance of the middle east to the End Times & the centrality of Israel & the Israelites. I had listened to his preaching for years & found it thorough & vivid but had never had the good fortune to get my hands on one of his books. Not that I was trying over hard, there being so many excellent books around I have yet to read, but last time I was in Koorong I got his On Experiencing God's Power. Weird title but the insides looked ok. Stuff on fasting [which was really good] & tithing, controlling the tongue ~ & holiness. I have a thing about personal holiness because God has been on my case for years about how important it is. What I never really got [except that without it none of us will see God] is why it was so important.
I mean, seriously, I'm a common little garden variety sinner saved by grace. There's a lot of us around & I don't think anyone who knows me really well would choose holiness as an adjective to describe me. Au contraire, mes soeurs. Anyway, Prince is my *light reading* just now. That almost seems like a contradiction in terms but then Prince isn't difficult. Not really. Deep, but not difficult. And because I was reading him on the boat, & in the green room, & tucked up in the back corner of Max Brenner's I was constantly losing my place & reading fairly randomly when I stumbled on his chapters on The Salt of the Earth.
In here Prince lays down the principle established in Genesis when Abraham pleaded for Sodom, starting with: for the sake of 50 righteous men & working his way down to a bare 10, would God not spare the city? Ten righteous men were not to be found & so Abraham & Lot flee the city with their families. In the process Lot asks God a favour because he doesn't think he can make it all the way to the mountains he's been told to retreat to in time. He requests that he be allowed to find refuge in the little village of Zoar.
And what does God say? “Behold, I grant you this favour also, that I will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken.” For the sake of one righteous man [& make no mistake, Lot was righteous, the bible says so] little Zoar was spared.
Now that is the principle. The application is for us. Remember we have been told we are salt & light. We get sprinkled across our wider communities, usually numerically small, to act as salt. And what does salt do? It acts as an antiseptic to cleanse filth; it aides the prevention of corruption; it is necessary to good health; it adds flavour. For the sake of the righteous on Earth God with holds His judgement but if the salt should lose it's flavour.....
The wider application is that we are a priestly people after the order of Melchizedek, watchmen called to stand in the gap & plead for God's mercies on our communities, to act as an astringent & cleanser, to slow corruption, to aide health etc. So long as we do our job there is still time to reach the unsaved ~ which is one reason why a great apostasy, a great falling away, is necessary before the judgement because there will then be no~one to plead the world's cause.
Prince points out that we are also ambassadors, Christ's representatives on earth, & one of a Nations final acts before declaring all out war is the withdrawal of their aambassadors.
So the question becomes: How much do we care for our unsaved family? Our neighbours? Our communities? Our Nation? Our entire world? For the sake of one righteous man God spared Zoar. Do we care enough to strive after holiness? We are made righteous by the blood of Christ but do we actively pursue it? Are we quick to repent & confess? Are we diligent in working out our salvation? A huge responsibility rests on our shoulders; the fate of the entire world in fact ~ & while Christ will return, let it not be because we have failed in our duty.