About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman

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Rejecting The Word Of Warning


Josiah was king of the Southern Kingdom of Israel (Judah) from 640 to 609 B. C..  Judah had paganized itself by worshipping pagan gods such as Baal.  After discovering a long lost scroll of the Book of Deuteronomy in the temple, Josiah proceeded to implement national reforms through his political decrees.  These reforms were meant to return Judah to its great and godly beginnings, but they failed.  Legislative reforms do change the laws of the land but they fail to change the hearts of those who paganize the national landscape.        


During Josiah's rule prophets like Habakkuk and Zephaniah proclaimed the prophetic word of warning to the unrepentant people of Judah.  Unless the people repented of their sin, their nation would fall as an act of God's judgment.  The people rejected the prophetic warnings of the true prophets of God.  They preferred false prophets who played on their craving for the good life by prophesying that Judah will be great again.  Four years after Josiah died in 609 B. C., the Babylonian Empire began to mount attacks against Judah that culminated in Judah's destruction in 586 B. C.. 


When the citizens of a nation consistently reject the prophetic warning, despite all national reforms, sooner or later, that nation will fall at the hand of their enemies as an act of divine judgment.  Here is a portion of the prophetic warning to Judah, which by the way, has futuristic hints of world-wide judgment.  Zephaniah 1:2 through 4 reads:


"I will sweep away everything  from the face of the earth, declares the Lord. I will sweep away both man and beast;  I will sweep away the birds in the sky and the fish in the sea and the idols that cause the wicked to stumble.  When I destroy all mankind on the face of the earth, declares the Lord, I will stretch out my hand against Judah and against all who live in Jerusalem ." 


When God decides to implement judgment on a nation, He pulls out all of the stops.  Things get real nasty.


Like Judah, our western-world nations have forsaken any godly influence they might have once had.  Also like Josiah's attempts at national reform, present-day attempts at a return to godliness through judicial and legislative means will fail.  They did not work in Josiah's day; in any other day in history; and they will not work in our day.  What we need more than ever are the true prophets of God rising above the false prophets with the spiritual guts to proclaim the prophetic word of warning to unrepentant and self-absorbed people of our nations.  Whether on a national level or on an individual level, Jesus rightly predicted that "unless you repent, you will perish" (Luke 13:3). 


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