“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!” (2 Peter 3:9-12, ESV)
This week’s reading from Genesis describes the covenant that God made with Noah, his family, and every living creature. The covenant is very important to the Lord because He mentions it 7 times in these 10 verses thereby emphasizing the fullness and perfection of His word. These words tell us what He will do for mankind and for the animal kingdom, that he will not destroy the earth by water ever again. Hence we need not worry about the dire predictions of the scientists who tell us that global warming is going to flood the earth and destroy life as we know it. We believe God who is true to His word always, rather than the prognostications of those who deny His existence or at least His very essence.
But our world is in danger, our social order, our morality is corrupt and decaying. Those who deny Almighty God or who have redefined Him in their own image are the ones who are destroying it due to greed, selfishness and pride. Many if not most reject the Lord’s covenant, His provision for salvation, His authority and the moral commands He laid down in the Scriptures, a portion of which we see in the first half of Genesis 9. Here the Lord gave Noah the framework on which a new society needed to be built.
Society needs rules to govern it so that people do not run amok and do whatever they want without regard to God or their fellow human beings or other living creatures. The rejection of God’s Word and His mercy is reflected in our society where each person does what is right in his or her own eyes without regard to God or with respect for their fellow human beings.
Our world is slowly degenerating into chaos. Though God promised He would not destroy the world by flood, He also said that He would judge sin by making all things new which means all will be swept away. We Christians are therefore to preach the gospel out of God’s desire that no one perish by God’s judgement for the provision for salvation through God’s mercy is now in effect through Jesus Christ who paid the penalty for us.
“And the king was exceedingly sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her. And immediately the king sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison. . .” (Mark 6:26-27 ESV)
Jesus sent forth His disciples to preach, heal and cast out demons. This was an open and concerted attack on the kingdom of darkness that attracted the attention of one servant of Satan, King Herod. He thought Jesus was John the Baptist arisen from the dead come back to judge him. He had imprisoned John because he dared to speak boldly against Herod’s adultery. Herod was a weak-willed bully who was afraid of God but one day, inflamed by drink and the seductive dance of his step daughter, he made a rash vow and had John the Baptist beheaded. Apparently his fear of God was far outweighed by the opinions of his friends.
Fear of God, fear of judgment can often lead sinners to repentance. Unfortunately, Herod, like most people today, was too proud and too concerned with ego and the opinions of others to allow his fear to lead him to humility and repentance. His behavior is similar to that of many politicians and leaders today who ignore the voice of the church of Jesus Christ which is calling out for godliness in government, law and every aspect of personal life. They prefer to maintain the favorable opinion of the masses or satisfy the cravings of their flesh and the pride of their ego rather than heed the voice of the Lord. Whether or not they realize this, they have put their eternal souls in jeopardy as well as those who look to them for guidance. We in the church must stand together against the forces of darkness in the world by shining the light of God’s truth and mercy everywhere we go. We must warn others of God’s judgment for sin but also give them the good news of God’s mercy in Jesus who took the judgment for our sin upon Himself.