Time’s Degradation

Psalm 89:47 Remember how short my time is: wherefore hast thou made all men in vain?

In a previous post I wrote about the passing of an era. My thoughts had been spurred at the time by the recent passing of Dr. Neil Cadwell. Since then another faithful servant of the Lord, in my acquaintance has ben promoted to glory: Dr. James Barrick, longtime pastor of the First Baptist Church of Cody, Wyoming. Again there is a reminder of time’s persistent progression and its effects on those left behind.

We read in Joshua;

Joshua 1:2 Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise,

The era of Moses was over and that of Joshua had begun. No one would deny the obvious differences of these eras.

  • Moses was a prophet but Joshua was a general.
  • Israel had been a horde of wandering nomads and now would be a conquering nation.

And yet it was the same God, the same law and the same expected commitment.

Joshua 24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

So why this degradation (Judges 2:7)? Why does it appear that we decline from Biblical convictions to general beliefs to personal opinions? Why? Because some have swerved (1Tim. 1:6) and others have slipped (Heb. 4:1).

The effects of time are clear: diminishing strength due to age, the reduction of fellowship due to distance and the loss of influence when individuals die. These effects are inevitable. What exacerbates the degradation is the insidiousness of compromise.

Insidiousness of Compromise

Tiredness is experienced by all of the Lord’s workers. Classic is the example of Moses and the battle in Exodus 17. His hands became heavy and he was in need of help. Aaron and Hur lent their strength to Moses and a victory was secured. The work of the Lord is just that, WORK! Once, Dr. Wayne Musson, a veteran war horse of Gospel ministry, told me that properly done, preaching one sermon is like working a full day of physical labor. Its work. Perhaps the same could be said of the other aspects of Gospel ministry.

While all experience becoming weary while well doing, we must guard against being “weary in well doing.” (Gal. 6:9; 2Thess. 3:13) In other words, we must guard our attitude toward the struggle for the Lord’s glory. Becoming weary of the struggle lends us to compromise. The priests of Israel said, “What a weariness it is!” (Mal. 1:13) The Lord rightly rebuked them.

Eli, the high priest, apparently became weary of disciplining his sons. His weariness lead to his abject compromise of no restraint against their wicked behavior. (1Sam. 3:13) The tabernacle, the nation, and the Lord’s glory all suffered because of it. This is but one of the facets whereby compromise hastens the passing of an era.

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Published in: on October 28, 2017 at 9:18 PM  Leave a Comment  

The Passing of an Era

Judges 2:7 And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD, that he did for Israel.

An era was coming to an end. Joshua, the faithful, godly leader of Israel had come to the end of his journey. Soon those of that generation would all be gone. The nation would be at a crossroad. Would that generation pass on to the next their heritage and commitment to stay true to Jehovah? Sadly, they did not, “…and their arose another generation…which knew not the LORD.”

Similar circumstances continue in the present. This was evident just recently as I attended the funeral for Evangelist Dr. Neil Cadwell. As I looked around, there were a lot of “grey heads” in the congregation, many of which had been classmates of Dr. Cadwell in those early days of Pillsbury Baptist Bible College. I was struck with the reality that an era was passing.

In fact several eras have already passed within the fundamental movement. For most of us serving in this present era, the former eras are just the stories of the fundamental-modernist controversies and accounts of the ministries of men such as Riley, Jones, Stranton and others. They are just history we read about and sadly, often don’t understand or properly interpret. Why does this happen and what should be our response?

The Inevitability of Time

Time is no respecter of persons. Solomon makes this rather clear in Ecclesiastes 12. When a youth we think we are invincible, yet time takes its toll upon each of us. King David discovered the effects of time upon his own ability to lead his troops. At one event he was almost overcome and had to be rescued, 2Sam. 21:17. Age brings a reduction in strength and sight.

Distance brings a natural reduction in fellowship and influence. The children of Israel were made aware of this affect when the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh returned to the east side of the Jordan. They had erected a great altar as a visible memorial that they and those on the western side were one people, Joshua 22:24, 25.

Death brings an obvious end of the influencing presence of one we love and admire. Joash was the little prince saved by Jehoiada the High Priest. He was hidden from his evil grandmother, Athaliah, who would have killed him to secure her ambitions. When Joash finally ascended the throne, he was a godly king all the days of Jehoiada. But, alas, it was at the priest’s death that he drifted from a place of righteousness.

Each of these preceding dynamics are inevitable. Yet must we simply resign ourselves to the diminishing of God’s favor because time marches on? In future posts we will examine the reasons for negative effects and a proper response.

Published in: on May 10, 2017 at 1:02 PM  Comments (1)