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Don’t Hold Your Breath

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Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 66:1-24; Philippians 3:4-21; Psalm 74:1-23; Proverbs 24:15-16

Old Testament

Today we finish up the book of Isaiah and we start with a good reminder: God is in heaven and the earth belongs to Him and is under His control (Isaiah 66:1). One reason why we have so many problems in this world as well as in our personal lives is we don’t live like this is true. We think we are in control. Worse, we think we have the ability to run things effectively. This is arrogance and is the reason why none of our problems ever seem to get solved.

I can’t think of a more appropriate verse to describe the condition of the United States today than Isaiah 66:4b. For a couple of centuries we had a culture that valued what the Bible (God’s word) has to say. But now the people who lead this country (in government, business, entertainment, and education) dismiss it as irrelevant to our daily lives, if they acknowledge it at all.

The book of Isaiah closes with God declaring that He will triumph over those who reject Him (Isaiah 66:23-24). This is not a haughty declaration by someone who can’t back it up. This is a warning to all people. Rejecting God has tremendous eternal consequences.

We live in a society where we give out trophies for finishing in last place and where criminals get slaps on the wrist. The message we are giving is there are no negative consequences in life. Combine that with a society where all signs of God have been eliminated from government, entertainment, and education, and people grow up thinking that their eternity will work out just fine. But that is not true. And God wants everyone to know that.

The world would be a better place if people lived with the understanding that there is a God and that God is not us. If we would just humble ourselves God would bless us (Isaiah 66:2).

Don’t hold your breath.


New Testament

Once someone comes to know Jesus everything that they knew before becomes meaningless (Philippians 3:7). All the efforts to earn righteousness with God. All the material possessions. None of it matters. Its all worthless when viewed from eternity, where we will spend virtually 100% of our existence.

The only thing that has any value is knowing that Jesus is your Lord and Savior (Philippians 3:8). Whatever wealth one may attain on this earth is only temporary. After we die we have to leave it behind. We start the next life either with nothing in hell or with everything (Jesus) in heaven.

And the only way to enter heaven is through faith in Jesus (Philippians 3:9). You can’t count on your own good deeds. At one point in his life Paul had believed that he was doing the right things to earn favor with God (Philippians 3:4-6). But he came to realize he was wrong and that faith, not works, is the ticket to heaven.

But sadly so many people aren’t interested in learning this truth. They live for the moment, satisfying their appetite for pleasure and bragging about the sinful things they do (Philippians 3:19). This is another verse that describes the United States.

Our society values immediate pleasure at the expense of long-term spiritual health. For decades we have sacrificed the future for the sake of the present. This has created many problems that are now starting to pile up that we can’t figure out how to solve. But if we would live in the present for the sake of the future we would be more successful.

Don’t hold your breath.


Psalms

In another example of the consistency of the Bible Psalm 74 touches on these very same subjects. It was written after the Babylonians destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem (Psalm 73:3-8). Due to their sin, God allowed Israel to be conquered by their enemies. Sin always has consequences. That is one of the prevalent messages God is trying to get across to us in the Bible.

Israel had been given so much from God. Then, over time, they turned away from Him in favor of other “gods”. Ultimately Israel became weaker and their enemies became stronger and God used Assyria and Babylon to punish them.

All of this could have been prevented if Israel had just turned back to God. If they had He would have poured out His blessings on them.

Sound familiar? This is the current state of America. We are weak. Financially. Politically. Morally. We lack leadership. The countries that hate us and want to destroy us, such as Iran, Russia, and China, are getting stronger. There is no doubt in my mind that, unless we return to God, we will be destroyed just like Israel.

Don’t hold your breath.

Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.

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