FORGET NONE OF HIS BENEFITS
volume 16, number 39, September 28, 2017
“. . . whenever you hear a word from My mouth, warn them from Me.” -Ezekiel 3:17
Casually Drifting to Hell
Once upon a time there was a family – a father, mother, and three children. All the children were in their teens. The entire family was very excited about their week long rafting trip down a mighty river. They had planned the trip for months, and finally the day for the trip had come. They thought they had all the supplies they would need. They even left their cell phones in their car. The plan was totally to enjoy being with each other, uninterrupted for the entire week. They did not know, however, that far downstream there was a serious precipice, a plunge of three hundred feet to a rocky landing. On the first day of their trip, they saw a man on the shore, as they drifted by, warning them of the precipice, that they must turn back now, for death was unavoidable if they persisted in their trip. They paid him no mind. After all, they were enjoying themselves. The scenery was beautiful. They were enjoying uninterrupted conversation, really getting into some serious talk about where to attend college, what to study, how their dating lives were going. And they really enjoyed the evenings around the campfire, cooking their meals over the open fire, sleeping in their own tents, waking up each brisk morning to the sounds of birds chirping away, seeing within one hundred yards of their campsites, deer, elk, and moose.
Along about the third day of their trip, they began to run out of food. They had lost a great deal of it when they hit some rapids and their raft capsized. However some very kind people on the shore offered them some of their food. These kind people never warned the family of the coming precipice as others had done, and that actually made the family feel very good about their trip. They were grateful, of course, for the food and enjoyed spending a few hours on shore with these very kind people. It was time, however, to push off from shore and continue their journey down the river. They continued to be amazed at the beautiful scenery. All was so calm and peaceful.
There was a persistent problem, however, every day of the trip. It seemed like around every turn in the river they were met by some men with voice amplifiers, calling out to them, warning them that trouble was up ahead, that they must turn back, for death and destruction were surely coming if they persisted in their trip. The family became increasingly irritated by these “spoilers of the journey.” They wanted to relax, not to be bothered by the railings of impending doom.
A day or so later they ran out of drinking water, and this became a big problem. But in the nick of time another group of kind hearted people on the shore offered them several bottles of clean drinking water. These very compassionate people were concerned about social justice and were very desirous to make the world just a better place to live. The family was so appreciative. Their friends, however, said nothing about impending doom.
Meanwhile, as they continued on their way, casually drifting down the river, there they were again, those “spoilers of the journey.” This time, however, there were many of them. They all were dressed differently. They came in different sizes, shapes, and colors, and their manner of delivering their message changed from person to person. The interesting thing, however, was that their message was basically the same, that impending doom and destruction was a reality, that it was certain, unless they took steps to turn back from that destruction. The “spoilers of the journey” were saying, “Turn from destruction. There is no need to die. You can be saved. Turn back now.” This was really irritating to the family. They said, “This just isn’t the time to talk about such things. Besides, you are frightening our children. Why don’t you give us something more positive, more entertaining. In your message of hate you are ruining our journey.”
It seemed to the family, as they inched closer and closer to the end of their trip, that the number of “spoilers of the journey” increased not only in number but also in the intensity of their voice in pleading with them. A few of them actually waded into the rushing water to reach for the raft to drag them to safety, but the family kept going. After all, it was such a beautiful place. So peaceful, so enjoyable. At one point the father had a fleeting thought, “What if these ‘spoilers of the journey’ are right? What if there really is a precipice up ahead?” But the father quickly dismissed such thoughts. “These men are just judging us because we have a lovely family and are so enjoying ourselves on the journey. They are just jealous of the fun we are having.”
On the next day, the last day of their journey, while hearing eight or ten “spoilers of the journey,” pleading with them to turn back, they just laughed and continued on their way. But then, they began to hear a mighty rushing of water. At first, they could not discern what it was, so they continued. Then, however, much to their horror, they realized these “spoilers of the journey” had been right all along, that though they had been a pain in the neck, they actually were trying to help them. So, at the last moment the father tried to turn aside to safety. However the current was far too strong for that. The more the father tried to turn the raft to safety, the faster they drifted toward the precipice. Finally, there was no hope. The family plunged over the precipice, falling three hundred feet to the rocky landing below them, being shattered on the rocks. They all died that day, and it was totally avoidable.
Yahweh, the lover of His people Israel, even though they had turned away from Him to idolatry, sent one prophet after another, or shall we say, “spoilers of the journey” to warn Israel and Judah to turn away from the certain, terrifying expectation of judgment. He said to Ezekiel, “Son of man, I have appointed you a watchman to the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from My mouth, warn them from Me. When I say to the wicked, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to warn the wicked from his wicked way that he may live, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand,” (Ezekiel 3:17,18).
“A jealous and avenging God is the Lord; the Lord is avenging and wrathful, the Lord takes vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserves wrath for His enemies. The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and the Lord will by no means leave the guilty unpunished,” (Nahum 1:2,3).
What good is it, my friends, to see people drifting down the river of life, who are casually making their way to hell, while providing them only food and drink, engaging them in political conversation, but failing to warn them of impending doom, refusing to tell them the only remedy for eternal destruction?
Your job, dear blood bought believer in the Lord Jesus, is to be “the spoiler of the journey,” the watchman, the disruptor. You are to warn the wicked of judgment and hell fire. Your failure will mean that the blood of the damned is on your hands. What shall you do? Warn anyone and everyone who will listen, “Flee from the wrath of God which is surely coming and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.”