PATRIARCHS AND PROPHETS # 14
Abraham and the Destruction
We should beware of
treating lightly God's gracious provisions for our salvation. There are
Christians who say, "I do not care to be saved unless my companion and
children are saved with me." They feel that heaven would not be heaven to them
without the presence of those who are so dear. But have those who cherish this
feeling a right conception of their own relation to God, in view of His great
goodness and mercy toward them? Have they forgotten that they are bound by the
strongest ties of love and honor and loyalty to the service of their Creator
and Redeemer? The invitations of mercy are addressed to all; and because our
friends reject the Saviour's pleading love, shall we also turn away?
The redemption of the
soul is precious. Christ has paid an infinite price for our salvation, and no
one who appreciates the value of this great sacrifice or the worth of the soul
will despise God's offered mercy because others choose to do so. The very fact
that others are ignoring His just claims should arouse us to greater
diligence, that we may honor God ourselves, and lead all whom we can
influence, to accept His love.
"The sun was risen
upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar." The bright rays of the morning
seemed to speak only prosperity and peace to the cities of the plain. The stir
of active life began in the streets; men were going their various ways, intent
on the business or the pleasures of the day. The sons-in-law of Lot were
making merry at the fears and warnings of the weak-minded old man. Suddenly
and unexpectedly as would be a thunder peal from an unclouded sky, the tempest
The Lord rained
brimstone and fire out of heaven upon the cities and the fruitful plain; its
palaces and temples, costly dwellings, gardens and vineyards, and the gay,
pleasure-seeking throngs that only the night before had insulted the
messengers of heaven--all were consumed. The smoke of the conflagration went
up like the smoke of a great furnace. And the fair vale of Siddim became a
desolation, a place never to be built up or inhabited--a witness to all
generations of the certainty of God's judgments upon transgression.
The flames that
consumed the cities of the plain shed their warning light down even to our
time. We are taught the fearful and solemn lesson that while God's mercy bears
long with the transgressor, there is a limit beyond which men may not go on in
sin. When that limit is reached, then the offers of mercy are withdrawn, and
the ministration of judgment begins.
The Redeemer of the
world declares that there are greater sins than that for which Sodom and
Gomorrah were destroyed. Those who hear the gospel invitation calling sinners
to repentance, and heed it not, are more guilty before God than were the
dwellers in the vale of Siddim. And still greater sin is theirs who profess to
know God and to keep His commandments, yet who deny Christ in their character
and their daily life. In the light of the Saviour's warning, the fate of Sodom
is a solemn admonition, not merely to those who are guilty of outbreaking sin,
but to all who are trifling with Heaven-sent light and privileges.
Said the True Witness
to the church at Ephesus: "I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast
left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and
repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and
will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent." Revelation
2:4, 5. The Saviour watches for a response to His offers of love and
forgiveness, with a more tender compassion than that which moves the heart of
an earthly parent to forgive a wayward, suffering son. He cries after the
wanderer, "Return unto Me, and I will return unto you." Malachi 3:7.
But if the erring one
persistently refuses to heed the voice that calls him with pitying, tender
love, he will at last be left in darkness. The heart that has long slighted
God's mercy, becomes hardened in sin, and is no longer susceptible to the
influence of the grace of God. Fearful will be the doom of that soul of whom
the pleading Saviour shall finally declare, he "is joined to idols: let him
alone." Hosea 4:17. It will be more tolerable in the day of judgment for the
cities of the plain than for those who have known the love of Christ, and yet
have turned away to choose the pleasures of a world of sin.
You who are slighting
the offers of mercy, think of the long array of figures accumulating against
you in the books of heaven; for there is a record kept of the impieties of
nations, of families, of individuals. God may bear long while the account goes
on, and calls to repentance and offers of pardon may be given; yet a time will
come when the account will be full; when the soul's decision has been made;
when by his own choice man's destiny has been fixed. Then the signal will be
given for judgment to be executed.
There is cause for
alarm in the condition of the religious world today. God's mercy has been
trifled with. The multitudes make void the law of Jehovah, "teaching for
doctrines the commandments of men." Matthew 15:9. Infidelity prevails in many
of the churches in our land; not infidelity in its broadest sense--an open
denial of the Bible--but an infidelity that is robed in the garb of
Christianity, while it is undermining faith in the Bible as a revelation from
God. Fervent devotion and vital piety have given place to hollow formalism. As
the result, apostasy and sensualism prevail.
Christ declared, "As
it was in the days of Lot, . . . even thus shall it be in the day when the Son
of man is revealed." Luke 17:28, 30. The daily record of passing events
testifies to the fulfillment of His words. The world is fast becoming ripe for
destruction. Soon the judgments of God are to be poured out, and sin and
sinners are to be consumed. Said our Saviour: "Take heed to yourselves,
lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness,
and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
For as a snare shall
it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth"--upon all whose
interests are centered in this world. "Watch ye therefore, and pray always,
that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to
pass, and to stand before the Son of man." Luke 21:34-36.
Before the destruction
of Sodom, God sent a message to Lot, "Escape for thy life; look not behind
thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be
consumed." The same voice of warning was heard by the disciples of Christ
before the destruction of Jerusalem: "When ye shall see Jerusalem compassed
with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them
which are in Judea flee to the mountains." Luke 21:20, 21.
They must not tarry to
secure anything from their possessions, but must make the most of the
opportunity to escape.
There was a coming out, a decided separation from the wicked, an escape for
life. So it was in the days of Noah; so with Lot; so with the disciples prior
to the destruction of Jerusalem; and so it will be in the last days. Again the
voice of God is heard in a message of warning, bidding His people separate
themselves from the prevailing iniquity.