God's harvests pass away. People of Judah were warned again and again but would not repent of their sins. They refused to do so. Vs. 4-7 shows irrational response of people. When make mistake it is natural to correct it. When fall it is normal to get up. Judah's response was unnatural. Refused to admit they had fallen. They turned away from God and refused to repent or return.
Vs. 8 – They had the “law” but were being led astray by their “scribes” who had “lying pens.”
Felt God had abandoned them: vs. 14, but they had abandoned Him.
Invasion was coming and panic gripped their hearts.
Vs. 18 – God is covered in grief and is heart sick.
Vs. 21 – God is broken and mourns as “horror” grips his hearts.
This is what our sin does to God!
Note also, Ezekiel 6:9, “I was crushed by their promiscuous hearts that turned away from me and by their eyes that lusted after idols.”
They reasoned that the Babylonian siege would end in time to harvest crops in the field. Then food would be plentiful. They did not repent and the siege grew tighter. Gaunt starvation stalked the streets. Crops wasted in fields or enemies feasted on Judah's crop.
“Cry” in vs. 20. Obviously the cry of the people. Opportunity for deliverance had passed away. Missed opportunities!
I. God does call - John 6:44, 63, 65
God seeking men. God pleading with men. In Garden - Gen. 3:9 "Where art thou?"
Before Flood - Gen. 6:5 - still God's spirit warned men, pled with men, knocked at door of wicked.
Eph. 4:30 – Grieve the Spirit – when we do things he forbids us to do.
1 Thess. 5:19 – Quench the Spirit – when we do not do what he commands us to do.
God's Spirit does call. Moses: Exo. 3:4, Mary: Luke 1:26, Joseph: Matt. 1:20, Paul: Acts 9:4-5
Today - God's spirit calls. How merciful it would be if lost men could seek him and find him. How infinitely multiplied is mercy of a God who seeks men. Strives with men that they may be saved.
Men insult God - yet His Spirit strives with sinners.
II. God does cease calling - Gen. 6:3, Isa. 55:6
At last the ark was finished. When 120 years were gone, God's patience was ended. It was not that God suddenly lost his temper. But the time came when to withhold judgment any longer would be a sin, and a just and holy God could not sin. The time had come when God must show His holiness as He had shown His love.
Note Gen. 15:16 - "the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full." God was still patient - His mercy was still extended.
Deut. 20:16-17, God's startling command to utterly destroy...Amorites. After infinite mercy God's patience wore out.
Note. Rom. 1:24,26,28 - God ceased to strive.
Sodom and Gomorrah - Angels sent - then judgment - Gen. 19.
Neglected opportunity always passes away.
Disciples asleep during Christ's agony in Gethsemane.
III. Man must respond when God calls
"I can get saved when I get ready" or "I can serve God when I get ready" - NO! While God calls!
To each man God calls. You have felt that touch. God deals in many ways - but He does call and we must an swer while He calls.
1. Must respond while you have life - Prov. 29:1, Prov. 28:1, James 4:14, 2 Cor. 6:2
2. Must respond while your heart can hear His call. Note Heb. 3:7, 15 and 4:7. Day may come when your heart can no longer feel the touch of God nor hear His call.
Burn phosphorus on piece of wood - a white ash will coat the wood and make it almost impossible to burn. So when strong conviction has deeply stirred the heart, it deposits on heart ashes of burnt-out desire which make it increasingly difficult to kindle again in heart.
Felix - Acts 24:25 - "Felix trembled" - Strange feel ing crept into his heart. Will he respond or will he resist? "Go thy way...convenient season.
It is a common habit of men to appease a convicted conscience by putting off decision for Christ until more convenient season. Felix was anxious to get rid of Paul's disturbing message for the present without shutting door completely. He stills his conscience with well-guarded promise that at a future time he would consider this matter of his soul's eternal interest. He looked for a tomorrow only that he might get rid of the responsibility of the present hour.
My purpose - warn you of danger of putting off a decision for Christ. The conviction in your heart is God's way of tell you that today is the time for your decision to be made. There is no reason for delay - no more convenient season - Delay robs you of peace. Tomorrow may not be yours.
Deut. 30:11-20 - Choose life and life!
May be last chance
May never again have conviction of need
No reason for delay
Only way to find real peace