PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: “A Word from God at Closing Time?” By: Ron Woodrum
In 1860 French Scientist Pierre Berchelt made a startling prediction. “Within a hundred years of physical and chemical science, man will know what the atom is. It is my belief that when science reaches that stage, that God will come down, with his big ring of keys, and say to humanity-‘Gentlemen, it’s closing time!”. As we look around us, seeing the perilous times in which we live; seeing all the end-time players taking their final positions; when we read the daily newspapers and find it sounding like the pages of Holy Scripture, we realize with Berchelt that we are rapidly approaching “closing time!” Jeremiah had been prophesying for forty years that judgment was coming. As he heard the reports of the coming calamity, predicted by the LORD, being fulfilled in historic events, he too realized that “closing time” at hand. So did King Zedekiah. He called for Jeremiah, had him removed from prison, and brought to the Palace in Jerusalem. At that point, in the privacy of the Throne Room, he asked, “Is there any Word from the LORD?” For over forty years, Jeremiah had, through tears, pleaded with his people to forsake their sins, repent, and return to the LORD, and with Everlasting Love, He would forgive and restore them. If they ignored, and continued in their stubborn sin and backsliding, they would reach a point of no return, and see the LORD’S Word is true. But the people were running “helter skelter toward destruction with their fingers in their ears!” Jeremiah would repeat the message of the LORD, one more time without stuttering, to the King and the people.
Years ago, there was a new Doctor that just graduated from medical school. He took up a residence in a small town. An old man was his first patient. The young doctor wanted to make a good first impression and was very nervous as he examined his patient. The old man listed all his symptoms and ailments for the Doctor. The Doctor carefully examined and checked him, and had no clue of his diagnosis. The Doctor asked, “have you ever had this trouble before?” The old man replied, “Yes, many times!” The Doctor smiled, and said, “Well it looks like you have it again!” Jeremiah, unlike that Doctor, knew exactly what was ailing his nation. Sin, in its many varieties had infected them. They had had it before. Now it looks as if they have it again! Without returning to the LORD, there was no cure. He asked them a rhetorical question-“Is there no balm in Gilead?” The answer was “no, not for them!” Another, “Is there no physician in Gilead?” The answer, “no not for them!” Judah, was suffering from the same thing that the Roman Philosopher Seneca recognized. He said, “Men love their vices and hate tem at the same time!” He cried out, “Oh that there was a hand that could reach down from heaven, and deliver me from my besetting sin!” It seems that Judah, and our generation, is caught in the hypnotic paralysis of Satan and sin. Carlos Villas, a missionary to India, tells of an encounter he had in an Indian countryside. He came upon a bird perched on a branch on a bush. It seemed paralyzed-in some kind of hypnotic state. He looked, and close to the bird was a snake, moving slowly bobbing and weaving. The bird was so mesmerized it could not move. It was incapable of flight! Villas, fearing for the bird, decided to rush toward the snake, waving his arms and shouting. The arresting stare of the snake was broken-the bird was freed of its paralysis-and took flight to escape. That is exactly what is wrong with mankind, Villas thought-we are caught in the destructive hypnotic stare and snare of the snake-Satan.
A.W. Tozer agrees-“The deep disease of the human heart is a will broken loose from its center, like a planet that has left its central sun and started to resolve around some strange body from the outer space which may have moved in close enough to draw it away!” Dorothy Sayers wrote of this plight of mankind many years ago. She wrote, “Recently a young and intelligent Pastor remarked to me the other day that he thought one of the greatest strengths of Christianity lay in its profoundly pessimistic view of human nature. There is a great deal of truth in what he says. The people who are most discouraged and shocked at the barbarity and stupidity of human behavior today are those who think highly of Homo Sapiens as a product of evolution. They still cling to the optimistic belief that civilization will finally so influence mankind to rid us of such behavior…for such appalling outbursts of bestial ferocity…are the utter antithesis of everything they have always believed. Now it seems unbelievable that the whole world has suddenly gone mad together”. Sayers continues, “But for the Christian this is not so! He is deeply shocked and grieved as anybody else, but he is not astonished! He has never thought highly of human nature left to itself. He has been accustomed to the idea that there is a deep interior dislocation in the very center of human personality, and you can never legislate to change man from this nature to make him good!” Jeremiah knew that well! Jacques Elull, a Christian philosopher, says it well. “Today no one knows where he is going; the aim of life has been forgotten and the end has been left behind. MAN HAS SET OUT AT A TREMENDOUS PACE-BUT IS GOING NOWHERE!” Is there any hope for our generation? Is there a word from the LORD? Who can share it? Oswald Chambers, author of “Our Utmost For His Highest”, wrote “The people that influence the most are not those who button-hole us, but those who live their lives like the stars of heaven, and the lilies of the field, perfect, simply, and unaffectedly; those are the lives that point us to salvation!” Jeremiah, with his ministry and message did just that! He was God’s Prophetic Word for Closing Time. God is looking for modern day prophets to speak a Word from Him. There is a Biblical story where Joshua encountered some prophets speaking a word to the people. He brought a concerned word to Moses. Moses asked him “where you jealous for me? Don’t be!” Then he spoke a word very relevant for our times! He said, “Oh that all of the LORD’S people were prophets! Oh, that the LORD would put His Spirit upon all of them to speak His Word to the people!” (Numbers 11:29). That is what is needed today-in our desperate hour! It’s closing time-Is there any Word From the LORD? Christian-is there?