Joshua 13:1-33; Luke 17:26-37; Psalms 85:1-7; Proverbs 20:12
NT: ““Just as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the Son of Man: People went on eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage until the day Noah boarded the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. It will be the same as it was in the days of Lot: People went on eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, building. But on the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be like that on the day the Son of Man is revealed. On that day, a man on the housetop, whose belongings are in the house, must not come down to get them. Likewise the man who is in the field must not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife! Whoever tries to make his life secure will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. I tell you, on that night two will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other will be left. Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left. Two will be in a field: one will be taken, and the other will be left.” “Where, Lord?” they asked him. He said to them, “Where the corpse is, there also the vultures will be gathered.”” (Luke 17:26-37 CSB)
This is a continuation of Jesus’ lesson on the Kingdom and the second coming of the Son of Man. The story of Noah and the story of Lot contain two examples of mankind’s “cup of iniquity” filling up to the point that God could no longer withhold His judgement and continue showing His mercy. Even after being warned, the people in Noah’s day continued filling up the cup. The people in Sodom had become so corrupt and committed to their lifestyle that they had gone past the point of repentance. As we take a sober look at the world today, we can see the same pattern. Mankind continues to fill up that cup of iniquity and people grow more and more committed to their denial of God and their sinful lifestyle. The world’s systems are like a decaying corpse and those who are committed to the world’s systems are suffering the same fate. Many people see those taken in this description of the end times as the faithful that are caught up in the rapture – but it appears that Jesus is actually talking about those who are taken up for judgement. When the disciples ask Jesus where they will be taken, His response is around judgement rather than blessing. What do we take from this description of the last days? We look at Jesus’ warning to remember Lot’s wife. Four people were delivered from the judgement of Sodom, but only three survived. Lot’s wife had too much of Sodom in her. As we take a close look at ourselves, do we have more world in us than Kingdom? If we continued in the things we are currently engaged in, would Christ’s return interrupt our plans? Those who are found faithful to the King will be saved from the King’s wrath. Like Noah of old, those who are found faithful will be left to rule and reign with the Son of Man in the New Jerusalem on the New Earth. If we continue living our lives as we live them today, what would be our fate? The good news is that there is still time to repent and be found among the faithful citizens of God’s Kingdom.
Psalms: “Lord, you showed favor to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob. You forgave your people’s guilt; you covered all their sin. Selah You withdrew all your fury; you turned from your burning anger. Return to us, God of our salvation, and abandon your displeasure with us. Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger for all generations? Will you not revive us again so that your people may rejoice in you? Show us your faithful love, Lord, and give us your salvation.” (Psalms 85:1-7 CSB)
It is very likely that this psalm was written after the Babylonian exile, when the exiled Jewish nation was allowed to return to their land and rebuild. The Babylonian exile occurred after hundreds of years of warnings given by prophets sent by God. The Jewish people continued their unfaithful behavior until the Lord’s hand of mercy was removed and judgement came. For 70 years, the Jewish people remained in exile and were then allowed to return. Just because the people were allowed to return, it didn’t mean that their hearts were fully repentant. As soon as they were free in their own land, many of the exiles reverted back to the same sinful behavior. This psalm begins with praise and thanksgiving for God’s forgiveness that allowed them to return – but it then becomes a prayer for God once again show His mercy after the people had fallen back into sin. It is a sin to fall into sin. It is also a sin to be unrepentant and remain in sin. It appears that the people realized the error of their ways and were crying out to God for forgiveness, mercy, and salvation. As I look at the state of our nation here in the U.S., I am convinced that the only way we can turn the tide of our filling cup of iniquity is for the church to be revived: for the church to be done with conceding to the ways of the world… to be done with all the political gamesmanship, and give their lives wholeheartedly to the Kingdom of God. Along with the Sons of Korah of old, I pray to the Lord over the church of Jesus Christ, “Will You not revive us again so that Your people may rejoice in You? Show us Your faithful love, and give us Your salvation.”