Friday, August 22, 2008the curse of apostasy...
So I was watching an online video broadcast today in which it was mentioned that Christians frown on astrology, new age religious practices (like yoga and transcendental meditation), as well as all forms of sexual promiscuity. On this point, a California bimbo on the program says: "But... like... you know... that's like everyone in California... their all doing that stuff!"
Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.
You see, what the bimbo was actually saying was this: "Well, Christians have to be wrong because everyone is doing it" (add a few "likes" and "you knows" somewhere in there). That is the attitude of the overwhelming majority of souls that I deal with on any given Friday night. Forget the fact that for well over 5000 years, it has been taught by God's people that occultism and immorality is evil. Forget that for over the same time period, occultism and immorality has destroyed individual men and women, as well as entire societies. Just look around and if everyone is doing it, then "it's okay." My mother would often ask me, when I was mindlessly following my peers: "if your friends all jump down a bridge, are you going to jump too?" I wouldn't ask that question to my fellow countrymen... the answer is all too evident.
That Internet broadcast along with the usual attitude of my audience during our evangelistic endeavour reminded me of poor old Hiel, the Bethelite. We read of Hiel in the Bible, and what a sad chap he was. There is just one verse about him:
"In his days did Hiel the Bethelite build Jericho: he laid the foundation thereof in Abiram his firstborn, and set up the gates thereof in his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Joshua the son of Nun." (1 Kings 16:34)
From this one verse, a believer clearly sees the absolute folly of a life void of the fear and knowledge of God. You see, Hiel lived in Israel in the days of king Ahab; the most wretched king the Jewish nation ever produced. Those days were filled with, you guessed it, idolatry, occultism and immorality. The Word of God had become a foreign philosophy to men like Hiel, and that is why he built Jericho; not knowing that there was a severe curse against any man/woman that would rebuild Jericho:
"And Joshua adjured them at that time, saying, Cursed be the man before the LORD, that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho: he shall lay the foundation thereof in his firstborn, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it." (Joshua 6:26)
Poor Hiel... I bet he wondered why he was losing all his children as he worked to rebuild a city. I'm sure he convinced himself that he was just "unlucky", or perhaps he blamed God for his perceived "misfortune". If only he had searched the Scriptures and obeyed, instead of going about his ungodly business.
If only the people of my city learned from Hiel the Bethelite.
Instead, as I walked around downtown with my Bible sign, I was met with sighs of exasperation, curses and mockery. One man even threatened to beat me up if I continued preaching the Gospel (I called his bluff, and was mighty glad to have won that bet!). Another went to great pains to explain to me that street preaching was only for the apostles of the Lord, and not for little old me. Oh! and I mustn't forget the man who got right in my face to warn me that he was the devil! Oh dear.
It's hard not to start feeling like an Elijah the Tishbite. I know I am doing right. I know that I am preaching the Word of the Lord. I know that God is glorified by my effort. Yet, what a vexation to continually be surrounded with Ahabs and Hiels.
That said, it was impossible for me tonight to fall into Elijah's error/sin of thinking he was the only prophet left in his land. There were many believers in the market tonight. One elderly woman walked by me and said: "I'm your sister." There were also a good number of men with the Open Air Campaigners, another street preaching group doing some work a few blocks away from where we preach.
Praise God that He continues to save sinners, and will continue to the very end of the Age.
I saw many souls that I know personally tonight. Some people that I work with, people that live in my neighbourhood, I even saw a family member. For the most part these ignored me (including my cousin), not wanting to be seen with the "Jesus-freak", and I was kind to them by not going out of my way to make contact. The Lord be merciful to them, and give them a eyes to see and ears to hear (Matthew 13:9).
That's the notes for tonight, dear readers. I need some serious rest. Remember me in your prayers, dear saints of God... especially for this Lord's Day... pastor Tim and I have our most unpleasant evangelistic effort to do this Sunday...
The cursed Pride Parade.
Labels: Friday evangelism