I often think some of the saddest words in the Bible are from Romans 1:24-25:
Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
Therefore God also gave them up…
I can think of nothing sadder than God giving up on someone. Nothing sadder than a heart so hardened in sin that the Lord gives that heart over to the sin it craves, hardening it permanently. That is a loss that cannot be recouped. Lost blessings, lost joy, lost souls, lost forever. Beyond such a permanent condition there is also the situation of the loss of blessings and joy that occurs in the lives of so many because we may choose not to follow hard after the Lord in obedience. This type of loss is temporary, but time lost outside the blessing and joy of obedience to God cannot be recovered, even after a restoral of the relationship to God, a repentance of the erring ways of the past. Yes, the blessings are there going forward but the past is gone forever. One thinks of another sad phrase, “What might have been”, in thinking about that type of past. We are fortunate to have a patient God who will wait for us to come back from the occasional straying, a God who will in love discipline us to bring about that repentance and restoral. But while He waits, there is a sadness that occurs:
The Lord heard the voice of your words when you spoke to me, and the Lord said to me, I have heard the voice of the words of this people which they have spoken to you. They have done well in all that they have spoken. Oh that they had such a heart in them, that they would fear Me and keep all My commandments always, that it may be well with them and with their sons forever! – Deuteronomy 5:28-29
Oh that they…
In the passage of Scripture these verses are pulled from, Moses is relaying to the nation of Israel the Lord’s response to the nation telling Moses that he should mediate with the Lord for them; that he should get His Word and pass it on to them and they would obey. This is happening when Moses is teaching the Law to the new generation that would step into the Promised Land, the generation to be led in by Joshua as Moses was soon to die in sight of the land the Lord had promised to Israel. I want to be clear that I see this as a statement made by the Lord to Israel, but I think it has bearing and significance for the True Church of Christ today because it speaks to the character of God and the assured bounty of His promises.
I think of all the teaching that Jesus did that is recorded in the Gospel accounts, especially the Upper Room Discourse of John 13-17. I think of all the teaching in the Epistles of Paul, John, Peter, Jude and James; all the instructions, guidance and clarifications to Christ’s teaching that these letters contain. We have the wisdom and guidance passed down to the Church by the apostles who knew the risen Christ and chose to follow Him no matter the cost. If only we would follow what we were taught through Scriptures, it would be well with us forever.
Oh, that the world would turn to Christ and know the riches that are available only through a relationship with Him and in Him. Oh, that each of us would follow more obediently, draw closer to the Lord to experience a deeper relationship in His love. The inexhaustible grace, mercy and love of the Lord is there for all of us, all the time. We can never reach its’ limits, not ever, not if all of us were to try. The Lord is there for any who would come to Him. Oh, that all would reach for the deepest and closest relationship with Christ possible. Oh that they had such a heart in them.