You don’t have to perish!
If you were hungry, and a friend told you where you could find some food, would you listen, or would you ignore the information and starve? How about the same scenario with thirst, nakedness, and illness—would you pay any attention? If you discovered a medication that was proven to cure whatever ails you, would you take it, or would you rather suffer with that ailment and die? What would you do if you were cold and homeless, and someone offered you a warm home and a warm bed? Would you choose to stay in the cold or accept this warm room and be comfortable?
I think the average person would answer yes to all of the above offers without hesitation. It makes no sense to suffer or die when help is available. Pain and death in the presence of help is pointless and needless.
Similarly, after God brought the Israelites out of captivity from Egypt, He made them an offer. He promised to be their God and their provider. He even promised to subdue their enemies. He simply asked that they listen to Him, submit to Him, follow His ways, and reject idols (See Psalm 81:8-14). But did they listen? No!
So what did God do? He washed His hands of them and left them to their evil ideas, and He said of them, “I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices” (Psalm 81:12 NIV84). You might say that God said to the Israelites, “Have it your way!”
Sounds very frustrating and heart breaking, but God has given man the power and ability to make choices. When man makes his own choices, God gets out of the way and lets man face the consequences of his choices. As the old adage goes, “You make your bed, you lie in it.”
Before we belittle the Israelites for being stubborn or disobedient, I’d like to suggest that, from the beginning of time, man has had this attitude—stubborn and disobedient!
When Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the garden, they lost their relationship with God. Years later, God revealed His plan to restore the relationship with man. In the person of Jesus, He became man and died as the substitute for man. The only thing man must do is to admit to God that he is a sinner (sin passed on to all men after the initial sin), and ask God for forgiveness through His Son Jesus Christ. The consequence of not believing in Jesus is clearly stated in the Bible. That consequence will be eternity in hell, which is also referred to as the lake of fire or the second death (See Revelation 20:14).
You probably didn’t know this truth before, but now that you do know it, and now that you know the outcome of not believing in Jesus, don’t you think you need to make the decision that will secure your future? Please don’t argue about this. If you make the wrong choice it cannot be reversed later. God loves you, but He will not force you to do anything against your will. Just as He left the Israelites to their own wicked devices, He will do the same with you.
Recently, there was an advertisement on television advocating separation of church and state. The character in the ad claimed to be an atheist. At the end of his presentation, he said, “I am an atheist, and I’ll gladly go to hell.” How sad! Does he know what it means to be in hell? My heart ached for him, but then I became angry. Going to hell is not something one should joke about or be cute about. Please don’t let this man’s attitude be your attitude, and please don’t perish, because you really don’t have to!