BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
There are three phases in a man’s life – the past, the present, and the future or yesterday, today, and tomorrow. The past is gone and there is nothing anyone can do to change it. We are living in the present while the future is before us yet to be explored. God has a glorious future for everyone despite whatever anyone did with his past. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV). That was what God told the children of Israel when they were exiles in Babylon.
God is saying the same thing to you. The future He has planned for you is not one of disaster. But it is what you do today that will determine the type of future you’ll have. However, much as everyone desires a glorious future, many are daily creating a sorrowful future for themselves by their choices today. The danger signs portend a sorrowful future, and only a retrace of their steps and reversal of their actions can avert a sorrowful future that might not be too evident to them now.
Esau was a man like that. He sowed a seed of a sorrowful future for himself. Anyone sensitive enough would have seen a sorrowful future before him but he didn’t. The danger sign was not obvious to him when he was selling his birthright to his brother just for a plate of food. Jacob was as hungry as he was if not hungrier but he was able to delay gratification (enjoyment). He was more focused and disciplined than Esau. He knew what he wanted and went for it (Genesis 25:29-34).
Esau ate the food and sold his birthright and it didn’t appear as if anything was wrong. But an eternal exchange had taken place. Esau had sown the seed of a sorrowful future and the fruit would soon be ripe for him to harvest. Later, he wept bitterly for his birthright but it was too late. The book of Hebrews warns us about Esau and the wrong choice he made: “Lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears” (Hebrews 12:16-17 NKJV).
It is sad that there are many today like Esau whose current experience in life is a harvest of a sorrowful future whose seed they sowed in the past. And it will take the mercy of God and genuine repentance to come out of this sordid and harrowing experience. God is a merciful God!
Unfortunately, the danger signs of a sorrowful future are currently evident in some people’s lives by the way they are living their lives. The choices and decisions they are making will only create for them a sorrowful future. The only way out is for them to repent, change, and begin to live their lives in accordance with the Word of God.
In this message, I want to share with you some danger signs of a sorrowful future. I believe God will help you to deal with any of these signs that may currently exist in your life. And where you’ve already failed regarding these signs in the past, I pray that God’s mercy will help you out as you genuinely repent.
The danger signs
What are the danger signs that can create a sorrowful future for anyone?
1. When someone postpones or avoids making decisions fundamental to his life. The life of the rich young ruler in Matthew 19 exemplifies this error. He was offered the opportunity to decide for Jesus in response to his heart’s desire to have eternal life.
Jesus didn’t go to him; he came to Jesus to enquire what good things he must do to have eternal life. Though I think his question was wrong because having eternal life is not based on the good works that anyone does, Jesus still gave him an answer based on the premise of his question. However, he wasn’t ready to pay the price that Jesus told him. “Now behold, one came and said to Him, ’Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?’ So He said to him, ‘Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.’ He said to Him, ‘Which ones?’ Jesus said, ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ The young man said to Him, ‘All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’ But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions” (Matthew 19:16-22 NKJV). This man went away sorrowful because he had great wealth – but in reality, he was possessed by his wealth. He went away and went into oblivion. Today, we don’t know his name.
Many people today are postponing fundamental decisions in their lives about their salvation, their families, their callings, their career, their finances, etc. By that, they’re only creating a sorrowful future for themselves. They’ll regret later that they didn’t make the decisions in the past. They’ll be unhappy.
Some of them can no longer make these decisions – they are too late! For some, the price of making those decisions has increased – they are more frightening than ever. The situation has become more complicated and they’re not happy living with the monster they’ve created by their indecision and inaction.
Is there a decision that you are convinced you should make today? Don’t let the cost hinder you. The cost of not making that decision will be much higher in the future and it will create a sorrowful future for you that can’t be compared with whatever pain making the decision now may cost you.
2. When someone’s decisions are based on consideration for today alone and there is no consciousness and seriousness about his destiny and tomorrow. There can’t be fulfilment in life without discovery and pursuit of destiny – God’s purpose for each person. Life without consciousness and pursuit of destiny is misery. Ecclesiastes 6:10 underscores the truth about destiny: “Everything has already been decided. It was known long ago what each person would be. So there’s no use arguing with God about your destiny” (NLT).
Daniel reminded King Belshazzar of Babylon that God was the one that controlled his destiny but he had not honoured Him. “For you have proudly defied the Lord of heaven and have had these cups from his Temple brought before you. You and your nobles and your wives and concubines have been drinking wine from them while praising gods of silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood, and stone—gods that neither see nor hear nor know anything at all. But you have not honored the God who gives you the breath of life and controls your destiny!” (Daniel 5:23 NLT). Belshazzar lived his life without regard for his destiny. God’s judgment was passed on him and he was killed that same night.
When someone lives today at the expense of God’s purpose for his life, he is a candidate for a sorrowful future. A wise person will always make decisions in light of destiny. Such a person always considers the implication of his decisions on his future. But whenever someone doesn’t bother about how his choices today affect God’s purpose for his life or future, the person is bound to reap a future of sorrow. He will cry later. That was what happened to Esau. He cried for his birthright but it was too late. You can’t have your cake and eat it!
Young men and women who engage in pre–marital sex and end up dropping out of school and the girls having to take care of unwanted babies fooled themselves. Songs of Solomon 2:7 warns, “I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or by the does of the field, do not stir up nor awaken love Until it pleases” (NKJV). Until it pleases means until the time is right. That tells us there is a wrong time to wake up love.
Ecclesiastes 3:8 says there is a time to love. There is a right time for a young man and a young woman to go into love affairs. To do so prematurely is to plan for a sorrowful future. Unless they repent and retrace their steps, they are creating a sorrowful future for themselves. You only need to listen to those who had followed this path tell you the story of their lives and how they found themselves in miserable conditions. The scripture cannot be broken. Lamentation 1:9 says, “Her uncleanness is in her skirts; she did not consider her destiny; Therefore her collapse was awesome; She had no comforter. ‘O LORD, behold my affliction, for the enemy is exalted!’” (NKJV). May you not live a life of regrets. But you must repent if you don’t want to experience a sorrowful future.
3. When someone makes a permanent decision based on temporary emotions or circumstances. Feelings or emotions are temporary. They are subject to change. Temporary circumstances are not permanent; they will soon pass away. Don’t be impulsive when making decisions, especially permanent decisions. Be rational and deliberate. Think very well.
Again, looking at Esau, we see that he made a wrong permanent decision on a temporary circumstance. Hunger is temporary; it comes and goes. Selling a birthright is permanent; it can only be sold once, not sold piecemeal. Once you sell it, you don’t have it again and you can’t reverse it. No matter how much satisfied you are today, you will become hungry again. Selling one’s birthright to satisfy hunger is, therefore, not the right solution to hunger because you can be hungry again. And when you become hungry again, there will be no birthright to sell.
Making a wrong permanent decision based on a temporary circumstance is a danger sign of a sorrowful future. Some are regretting today for their belongings and assets they sold just to meet a temporary need. They sold those things not for investment but for consumption. It is not a wise thing to do. They met the need at that time but the need was not such that could be permanently met; it re-occurred. Such people face the temptation of selling one thing after another until there is nothing remaining to sell, yet their condition never improves. Others are regretting their divorce, which was a permanent decision they made based on their temporary emotions or situations. I pray that you will not suffer any misfortune that will force you to sell your assets in your efforts to raise money.
4. When someone, because of the attendant suffering, opts for the easy road instead of the road that is hard but right. Beware of the easy road. It is easier to descend a mountain than to climb it. It is easier to tell a lie and escape punishment than to say the truth and face punishment and humiliation. But whatever advantage you think you have gained by following the easy road is only temporary.
Not only will you continue to live in the fear of being found out and the consequences of your action, but the truth will also catch up with falsehood one day. Many people have compromised to follow the easy road rather than the hard road, which they knew was the right one, but they were not prepared to go through the suffering. Proverbs 22:8a says, “He who sows iniquity will reap sorrow” (NKJV).
I believe that the rich young ruler in Matthew 19 must have felt there was suffering on the road Jesus asked him to follow and he wasn’t ready for it. Even Jesus acknowledged that it was a hard decision for the rich man to make. Nevertheless, he should have made the decision because it was the right decision. “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God’” (Matthew 19:23-24 NKJV). It is hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God but it is not impossible!
The disciples of Jesus didn’t find His comments comfortable. They were concerned that no one might be saved in view of what Jesus had said but He allayed their fears. “When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, ‘Who then can be saved?’ But Jesus looked at them and said to them, ‘With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’ Then Peter answered and said to Him, ‘See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?’” (Matthew 19:25-27 NKJV)
Peter said they had left everything to follow Jesus – to follow the hard but right way but he wanted to know what would be the reward for them. What would they have in return for this hard decision they had made? Hear Jesus’ reply in Luke 18:29-30: “So He said to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life’” (NKJV).
There is a reward – both now and in eternity – for someone who decides to follow the hard way, not compromising. Jesus said he would receive a hundredfold now in this time — houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions — and in the age to come, eternal life (Mark 10:30). Don’t just take note of the good things promised and ignore the phrase “with persecutions” – they are together. 1 Peter 3:17 says, “For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil” (NKJV).
Beware of success that comes without paying any price! No pain, no gain! Jesus says, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:14 NKJV). The easy road only leads to a sorrowful future in hellfire for the sinner; it leads to regrets even here on earth for everyone that has avoided suffering today so as to enjoy tomorrow. Such a person could enjoy today but will suffer tomorrow. “They sow the wind, and reap the whirlwind” (Hosea 8:7a NKJV). May that not be your portion in Jesus’ name.
5. When someone cannot delay gratification but prefers immediate enjoyment. This is related to the last point I discussed. Lack of self-denial is a danger sign of a sorrowful future. This sign is so evident in the way some people run their families, businesses, and so on. They cannot deny themselves now of some comfort, sleep, new clothes, new shoes, new cars, and the like. They want to enjoy now and now! They are not ready to sacrifice their comfort for a better future. So they enjoy now and set up themselves for a sorrowful future.
Everyone that engages in savings and investment does so not necessarily because he has plenty of money but because he has decided to postpone gratification. Such a person wants to deny himself some enjoyment today so that he can have some returns tomorrow. But those who, inadvertently, plan for a sorrowful future live for today only.
Look at the prodigal son. Any observant person would have known that he was heading for a sorrowful future. He didn’t wait for his father to die; he got his inheritance from him. Worse still, he left for a far country where he squandered everything in riotous living. “Whoever keeps the law is a discerning son, but a companion of gluttons shames his father” (Proverbs 28:7 NKJV). The prodigal son was only rescued from a sorrowful future when he repented and returned to his father. You can read the Bible account of this story in Luke 15:11-32.
The young man should have delayed the enjoyment of his inheritance till the death of his father. He should have stayed at home to learn what his father still had to teach him. But he felt he had learnt enough and could stand on his own; he felt he didn’t need his father anymore. Why is my father slow in dying so that I can start enjoying myself? If he won’t die now let him give me my portion of the inheritance so that I can go far away from him and enjoy myself. But that laid the foundation for a sorrowful future for him. He suffered degradation after wasting everything he had received from his father. But thank God for his genuine repentance and the large heart of his loving father. He was fortunate that his father was still alive. Otherwise, his future would have been sorrowful. He would have suffered, as his elder brother would, most likely, not have shown him mercy. But his father welcomed him back home and threw a party for him.
If anyone can’t delay gratification, he will eat his tomorrow today, and when he gets to tomorrow, he’ll discover it doesn’t exist – he ate it yesterday! That will not be your portion in Jesus’ name. Hebrews 12:2 says, “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (NKJV). Learn endurance from Jesus. Delay gratification.
6. When someone is running his day-to-day life on debt. This is a recipe, a breeding ground, and fertile soil, for a sorrowful future. Habitual financing of today’s consumption with credit is living today at the expense of tomorrow because you are already spending the money you’ve not earned. Every day brings its own worries (Matthew 6:34). What will you use to finance the challenges of tomorrow? Borrow again? You will be entangled in a vicious cycle of borrowing. He that goes a-borrowing goes a-sorrowing. Proverbs 22:7 says, “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender” (NKJV).
I am not talking about wise borrowing for investment but borrowing for consumption or to live beyond your means. Some people buy useless or unnecessary things on credit. They finance their luxurious lifestyle with credit. Some of them have not even finished repayment before some things they bought on credit packed up, got spoilt, or finished. Beware of avoidable debts. Running your life on debts is one sure way to put oneself in a permanent financial predicament. A sincere, well-thought-out plan of coming out of debt is necessary for such a person or else, he will not be financially free. Such a person will continue to be at the mercy of his creditors. And this is contrary to the will of God for His obedient children. Deuteronomy 15:6 says, “For the LORD your God will bless you just as He promised you; you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow; you shall reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over you” (NKJV).
7. When someone has no plan for tomorrow but lives each day in pursuit of whatever comes his way. This does not mean that such a person is lives a life of worry but is careless with his life. Time is a most valuable resource that must not be wasted. Someone who wastes time waste his life.
Someone who has no plan for tomorrow but lives each day in pursuit of whatever comes his way never invests time but uses his time anyhow. Such a person will never maximize the twenty-four hours God has given to each person daily.
Poor preparation precedes poor performance. Quality living is not based on acting habitually on the spur of the moment but on living a purposeful life. You cannot live a purposeful life if you don’t plan how to use your time and what to use it for.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven” (NKJV). Did you see that? There is a time for every purpose under heaven. Also, verse 17 says, “God shall judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work” (NKJV). Take note of the later part of that verse: there is a time for every purpose and for every work. Therefore, it is necessary to plan your day, which helps you to schedule for each day the right thing you will do rather than just do whatever comes your way. If you are able to plan for each day, you would have succeeded in planning for each month and for each year.
8. When someone does not have eternal values governing his life but patterns his life after what is in vogue and human philosophies. This means that the Word of God is not of any importance or is not the final authority in the life of such a person.
The lives of some people are not governed by the Word of God. They despise the Word of God. But their lives are being governed by human philosophies, dominant thinking in society, and the latest fashion. Such people are being guided by environmental influences. They have no divine purpose for living. They live a reactive life rather than a purposeful life. They are tossed to and fro by every wind that is blowing in society. Such people are candidates for a sorrowful future.
The Bible warns in Colossians 2:8: “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ” (NKJV). 1 Timothy 4:1 also warns: “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” (NKJV). Anyone who follows such strange ideas is only working towards a future of sorrow. “Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines” (Hebrews 13:9a NKJV).
The Bible says God upholds all things by the Word of His power (Hebrews 1:3). As the Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2:5, our faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. The power of God is communicated to us in His Word. It is the Word of God that must direct your paths if you are not going to have a sorrowful future. The psalmist prays, “Direct my steps by Your word, and let no iniquity have dominion over me” (Psalm 119:133 NKJV).
Man is not to direct his own steps or depend on the word of others. Jeremiah 10:23 says, “O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (NKJV). God’s Word is true and is the truth; it is infallible (Psalm 119:160; Matthew 24:35). God’s Word is sure and tested; it cannot fail. “The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times” (NKJV). Man’s philosophy can fail. Fashion keeps changing – no one can catch up with fashion.
When you pattern your life after the Word of God, you are standing on solid ground. Jesus illustrated this in the parable of the two builders. The man who built his life on the Word of God did not suffer a misfortune when the problems of life came. “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say? Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great” (Luke 6:46-49 NKJV).
Someone’s life will experience a dismal collapse if he/she is not governed by eternal values but what is in vogue or human philosophies that Satan is peddling. However, every obedient child of God has received a Kingdom which cannot be shaken as Hebrews 12:28 says.
9. When someone’s business appointment is more important than his appointment with God. In other words, when someone is more concerned about money-making than his spiritual life, he is preparing for himself a sorrowful future. One’s relationship and fellowship with God should come before one’s work if one is not going to have a sorrowful future. Life is not all physical. There is more to life than the physical that we see. The spiritual is more real than the physical. Anyone who will not have a sorrowful future must have a robust and living relationship and unbroken fellowship with God.
Mark 8:36-38 says, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (NKJV). Of course, the Bible encourages us to work. God, Himself, is a worker. At creation, He worked for six days and rested on the seventh day. Thus, teaching us both the need to work and the need to have a Sabbath rest (Genesis 2:2). Jesus says in John 5:17 that His Father has been working until now, and He has been working.
In 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12, Paul stressed the need for believers to work rather than loaf around. “For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread” (NKJV).
Nevertheless, work should be put in proper context. No one should promote his work-life above his relationship and fellowship with God. Concern for what to eat and wear and meeting other legitimate needs of life should not become cares that should make one’s spiritual life shallow or hollow. Jesus deals with this in Matthew 6:25-34. It is because of these cares that many people run from place to place and crowd their lives with much work to make more money. But Proverbs 23:4 warns, “Do not overwork to be rich; because of your own understanding, cease!” (NKJV).
It is because of the need to make more money that makes some people rush out of their houses in the morning, not doing their quiet time. They don’t listen to God and communicate with Him. That is why others don’t attend church services at all or attend at their convenience. This is a sign of a weak or sick spiritual life. The zeal for the Lord’s house has not eaten them up like David in Psalm 69:9. They should have been glad like David upon hearing, “Let us go into the house of the LORD” (Psalm 122:1 NKJV). But no, going to the house of God is seen as a burden.
Hearing the Word of God and praying is not their delight because they feel the time spent in the house of God and in the presence of God is a waste. They believe it hinders them from making more money. Ecclesiastes 5:10 says, “He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This also is vanity” (NKJV). The New Living Translation puts it this way: “Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness!”
But a balance between one’s work or vocation and fellowship with God must be maintained if one is not to have a sorrowful future. “He who trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like foliage” (Proverbs 11:28 NKJV). The Living Bible says, “Trust in your money and down you go! Trust in God and flourish as a tree!” That is why the psalmist prays in Psalm 119:36: “Help me to prefer obedience to making money!” (TLB). The New Living Translation renders it thus: “Give me an eagerness for your laws rather than a love for money!”
What the psalmist says in the Old Testament, Paul amplifies in the New Testament thus: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:10 NKJV). Take note of that phrase – many sorrows. Maybe that is why Agur, the son of Jakeh, prayed to God Proverbs 30:8-9, saying, “Remove falsehood and lies far from me; Give me neither poverty nor riches — Feed me with the food allotted to me; Lest I be full and deny You, and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or lest I be poor and steal, and profane the name of my God” (NKJV).
The love of money, and not money, is the root of all evil, and it is this love of money that draws some people away from God until their spiritual life becomes non-existent. But someone who maintains a steady relationship and fellowship with God will receive His blessing, which will make him prosper. “The blessing of the LORD makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it” (Proverbs 10:22 NKJV). Did you see that phrase? No sorrow. Compare no sorrow with many sorrows that we read before in 1 Timothy 6:10 where the Bible says those who love money will pierce themselves through with many sorrows. But in contrast, the blessing of the LORD makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it.
No sorrow. That’s what God gives to those who trust in Him – those who don’t live their lives independent of Him. Neither their present nor their future will be sorrowful.
10. When someone is in close relationships with the wrong people. As the saying goes, “Show me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are.” Perhaps a truer statement is “Show me who your friends are, and I will tell you what you will become.” Relationships are vital to greatness in life. Who you walk with determines, significantly, what you will become.
Nobody comes into your life and leaves you the same. He either adds to you or removes from you. He either lifts you up or pulls you down. He either encourages you or discourages you. If you want your life to be better, change your company for the better. If you want a glorious future for yourself, you don’t walk with those who are engaged in sinful pleasures and vanities. The wrong company will not help you to realize your potential.
Someone has rightly said that it is better to stand alone than to be in the wrong company. “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits’” (1 Corinthians 15:33 NKJV). Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend” (NKJV). How can you be sharpened by a friend who is blunt or dull? You will soon become like him. Ecclesiastes 10:10 says, “If the ax is dull, and one does not sharpen the edge, then he must use more strength; but wisdom brings success” (NKJV).
Wisdom dictates that if you are serious about being sharpened, you look for someone sharper than you, not a dull person. If you are in relationships with those who are not heading for a future similar to what you desire for yourself, they will take you to where they’re going. A wise person will be careful in choosing his friend. “The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray” (Proverbs 12:26 NKJV).
Because relationships are vital to greatness in life, the righteous don’t go into a relationship with just anyone. God warned Judah not to join Israel in her idolatry but to leave her to face the consequences of her rebellion. “Though you, Israel, play the harlot, let not Judah offend. Do not come up to Gilgal, nor go up to Beth Aven, nor swear an oath, saying, ‘As the LORD lives’ — For Israel is stubborn like a stubborn calf; now the LORD will let them forage like a lamb in open country. Ephraim is joined to idols, let him alone. Their drink is rebellion, they commit harlotry continually. Her rulers dearly love dishonor. The wind has wrapped her up in its wings, and they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices” (Hosea 4:15-19 NKJV).
Your future will be determined a great deal by the type of people you have relationships with. If your friends and associates are wrong, your life and future will be wrong, no matter what appears to the contrary now. The Bible says, “Whoever walks with the wise will become wise; whoever walks with fools will suffer harm” (Proverbs 13:20 NKJV). Your future cannot be brighter than the quality of relationships you have. You have to change your relationships to positively change your future. A future of sorrow awaits those who crowd their lives with the wrong set of people who become their advisers, mentors, and role models.
For example, Amnon, David’s oldest son had a bad friend called Jonadab. He was also Amnon’s relation. Jonadab gave Amnon a piece of advice that drove him to an early grave. Having as a friend someone who encourages and teaches you how to perfect evil desires is a pointer to a sorrowful future. A God-fearing friend would have silenced Amnon, and killed his lust for his half-sister, Tamar. But Jonadab was his counselor.
2 Samuel 13:1-4 says, “After this Absalom the son of David had a lovely sister, whose name was Tamar; and Amnon the son of David loved her. Amnon was so distressed over his sister Tamar that he became sick; for she was a virgin. And it was improper for Amnon to do anything to her. But Amnon had a friend whose name was Jonadab the son of Shimeah, David’s brother. Now Jonadab was a very crafty man. And he said to him, ‘Why are you, the king’s son, becoming thinner day after day? Will you not tell me?’ Amnon said to him, ‘I love Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister’ (NKJV).
What was the satanic counsel of crafty Jonadab? The Bible says, “So Jonadab said to him, ‘Lie down on your bed and pretend to be ill. And when your father comes to see you, say to him, ‘Please let my sister Tamar come and give me food, and prepare the food in my sight, that I may see it and eat it from her hand’” (2 Samuel 13:5-6 NKJV)
Amnon carried out the plot successfully and raped Tamar. But he only caused himself and his father, David, sorrow because two years later, he reaped what he had sown. “And it came to pass, after two full years, that Absalom had sheepshearers in Baal Hazor, which is near Ephraim; so Absalom invited all the king’s sons. Then Absalom came to the king and said, ‘Kindly note, your servant has sheepshearers; please, let the king and his servants go with your servant.’ But the king said to Absalom, ‘No, my son, let us not all go now, lest we be a burden to you.’ Then he urged him, but he would not go; and he blessed him. Then Absalom said, ‘If not, please let my brother Amnon go with us.’ And the king said to him, ‘Why should he go with you?’ But Absalom urged him; so he let Amnon and all the king’s sons go with him. Now Absalom had commanded his servants, saying, ‘Watch now, when Amnon’s heart is merry with wine, and when I say to you, ‘Strike Amnon!’ then kill him. Do not be afraid. Have I not commanded you? Be courageous and valiant.’ So the servants of Absalom did to Amnon as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king’s sons arose, and each one got on his mule and fled” (2 Samuel 13:23-29 NKJV).
Amnon suffered untimely death because he had a friend who did not discourage him from lusting after his half-sister. Instead, he taught him how to rape her. Jonadab was a wicked man, a callous person. See what he said to David about Amnon’s death: “And it came to pass, while they were on the way, that news came to David, saying, ‘Absalom has killed all the king’s sons, and not one of them is left!’ So the king arose and tore his garments and lay on the ground, and all his servants stood by with their clothes torn. Then Jonadab the son of Shimeah, David’s brother, answered and said, ‘Let not my lord suppose they have killed all the young men, the king’s sons, for only Amnon is dead. For by the command of Absalom this has been determined from the day that he forced his sister Tamar. Now therefore, let not my lord the king take the thing to his heart, to think that all the king’s sons are dead. For only Amnon is dead” (2 Samuel 13:30-33 NKJV).
Did you see that he didn’t mention that he gave Amnon the evil counsel on how to rape Tamar? Relationships are not by force; they are by choice. It takes your permission for anyone to come into your life. And it takes your permission further for anyone to give you wrong or evil counsel.
Be careful that you don’t create a future of sorrow for yourself by going into the wrong relationships. “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God” (2 Corinthians 6:14-16 NKJV)
Look at another example in the Bible. Dinah would not have been defiled by Shechem if she had not gone to see the daughters of the land. It was her desire for a relationship that put her in that trouble. Remember, Dinah’s mother, Leah, was not loved by Dinah’s father, Jacob. Probably this affected her self-esteem negatively. Genesis 29:31 tells us how Jacob did not love Leah.
Relationships are necessary but it is better to stand alone than to be in a wrong relationship. Genesis 34:1-2 says, “Now Dinah the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne to Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land. And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her and lay with her, and violated her” (NKJV). Don’t open your life to just anybody; don’t go into a relationship with just anyone. You need only quality relationships, and, prayerfully, let God lead you into relationships that will impact your destiny positively.
Avoid going into relationships that will drain you spiritually and leave you empty. Many people today are in such a condition but are yet to realize it just like Israel didn’t. Hosea 7:8-9 says, “Ephraim has mixed himself among the peoples; Ephraim is a cake unturned. Aliens have devoured his strength, but he does not know it; Yes, gray hairs are here and there on him, yet he does not know it” (NKJV).
11. When someone spends his youth in lusts and so-called enjoyment and lives off his parents rather than engage in gainful work. There are many people in this category who are wasting their youth in unproductive ventures. They think they don’t have to go to school, acquire marketable skills, and use their brains and hands in diligent work. They live this way because they believe that their wealthy parents are there for them to get whatever they need. They do not appreciate the fact that their parents won’t always be alive or remain wealthy. They don’t realize that there is a limit to which they can continue to sponsor their lives. Some youths could even be living off their wealthy relations or friends from wealthy homes. This is a sign of a sorrowful future.
Proverbs 23:5 says, “Will you set your eyes on that which is not For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away like an eagle toward heaven” (NKJV). The Bible also says in Proverbs 27:24 that riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away like an eagle toward heaven. Riches are not forever.
Even if the parents of such youths succeed in bequeathing great wealth to them, their indolence and irresponsibility will make them squander everything. And such youths will live in penury. Ecclesiastes 2:18-19 talks about such a scenario. It says, “Then I hated all my labor in which I had toiled under the sun, because I must leave it to the man who will come after me. And who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will rule over all my labor in which I toiled and in which I have shown myself wise under the sun. This also is vanity” (NKJV).
Unless those who depend on the wealth of their parents, relations, and friends and will not engage in diligent work repent, there is no great future for them. There is no amount of money they are given that will change their fortune for the better. They will live in want and die in misery unless they repent. There are some examples of such children around. They wasted the wealth bequeathed to them by their parents. Wealth that is not invested but squandered doesn’t increase!
Both the young and the old should avoid lusts. Lusts will create a sorrowful future for anyone. 1 John 2:17 says, “And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (NKJV). 2 Timothy 2:22 warns us to flee youthful lusts but pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. Also, Proverbs 5 talks about the immoral woman. Verses 18-20 counsel, “Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of your youth. As a loving deer and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times; and always be enraptured with her love. For why should you, my son, be enraptured by an immoral woman, and be embraced in the arms of a seductress?” (NKJV). Those who follow the path of an adulterous woman and live in youthful lusts, cruising around in deceitful enjoyment, will reap a sorrowful future. Their future shall be full of regrets.
God is a worker. He created man to work. He put Adam in the garden to tend and keep it (Genesis 2:15). Anyone who will not work in his youth but chooses to live in sinful pleasures and lusts, indolence, and recklessness will end in poverty, no matter the wealth he may be enjoying now.
Hear God’s advice to such persons: “Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest. How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep — so shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, and your need like an armed man” (Proverbs 6:6-11 NKJV). Did you see that? Poverty!
The Bible also says in Proverbs 13:4, “The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich” (NKJV). And according to Proverbs 14:23, “In all labor there is profit, but idle chatter leads only to poverty” (NKJV). The New Living Translation renders it thus: “Work brings profit, but mere talk leads to poverty!” A sorrowful future awaits the indolent. Don’t be lazy.
12. When someone is not accountable to anyone. This is when someone is not under the authority of anyone. He is not answerable to anyone. This also means that there is no one you can report him to. Such a person is dangerous to himself and everybody around him. It is safe to move away from such a person because he is a law to himself. If everyone is accountable to no one, it means there is no control, and that is a recipe for anarchy – a situation where there is no law and everybody does whatever he likes.
In the Bible, the Israelites were in such a situation at a time in their history. Judges 17:6 says, “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (NKJV). Also in Judges 21:25, the Bible records: “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (NKJV).
However, many years before then, God had warned the children of Israel through Moses, their leader: “You shall not at all do as we are doing here today — every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes — for as yet you have not come to the rest and the inheritance which the LORD your God is giving you” (Deuteronomy 12:8-9 New King James Version). They were not to do as they pleased when they arrived in the Promised Land.
Even if in the time of the judges when there was no king, Israel had the King of kings (God) as their leader. He had given them His laws on what to do and not to do. None of them had any excuse to do what seemed right in his eyes. If they knew they were all accountable to God, each of them was expected to do what was right in the eyes of God.
God’s standards are the best and supreme, and everyone must submit to them. Otherwise, there is the danger of a sorrowful future. All our righteousness (self-righteousness) is like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). Ultimately, it is what God says that is right, that is right, not what anyone deems right in his eyes. Proverbs 21:2 says, “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the hearts” (NKJV).
That is why God instituted human authority, which sets rules and standards on His behalf for the smooth and proper conduct of human affairs. We are to obey all rules and regulations put in place by human authorities as long as they do not violate the supreme laws of God. From what Peter and the other apostles said in Acts 5:29, there are times when we have to disobey men to obey God. It is advisable to have nothing to do with anyone who deliberately walks against authorities because such a person is indirectly opposing God.
God’s instruction is very clear about obeying authorities – don’t resist the authority. Romans 13:1-7 says, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor” (NKJV).
Whoever disobeys the governing authorities is saying he is not accountable to them, and, therefore, not accountable to God. God becomes the enemy of such a person! Can such a person win against God? That’s why it’s good and wise not to be a partaker of that person’s sin. He is dangerous, not only to himself, but, to those who decide to partner with him. 1 Peter 2:13-17 says, “Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men — as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king” (NKJV). This scripture is simple and clear. It is not ambiguous.
God expects the children to be accountable to their parents and obey them. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother,’ which is the first commandment with promise: ‘that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth’” (Ephesians 6:1-3 NKJV). Exodus 20:12 and Deuteronomy 5:16 say a similar thing. Colossians 3:20 says, “Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord” (NKJV).
It is in the best interest of a child to obey his parents and be accountable to them. A sorrowful future awaits a rebellious child. “He who is often rebuked, and hardens his neck, will suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy” (Proverbs 29:1 NKJV).
Still within the family, God ordains that a wife should submit to her husband as to the Lord. That means a wife should come under the authority of her husband. This is not because the husband is superior or better. This is God’s order, and it is for the good of the wife. “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body” (Ephesians 5:22-23 NKJV).
The Amplified Bible explains verse 22 better. It says, “Wives subject (be submissive and adapt yourself to your own husband, as (a service) to the Lord.” Please pay close attention to the word “adapt.” To adapt means adjust to something, become accustomed to, change, or settle in. Also, notice that the reason for a wife to subject herself to her husband is not because of her husband but because of the Lord. It says that when a wife subjects herself to her husband, it is a service to the Lord.
Also, Ephesians 5:24 says, “Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything” (NKJV). The subjection of a wife to her own husband (not another person’s husband or all men) should be in everything as long as it does not amount to disobeying the Word of God.
1 Peter 3:1 and 5 also emphasize the need for a wife to be subject to her husband. The Amplified Bible renders verse 1 thus: “In like manner, you married women, be submissive to your own husbands (subordinate yourself as being secondary to and dependent on them and adapt yourself to them) so that even if any do not obey the word of God they may be won over not by discussion but by the (godly) lives of their wives.”
But the question is: can those in authority abuse their power? Yes, they can and they do. And God will deal with them. Indeed, Romans 13:1 says, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God” (NKJV). Nevertheless, no leader should think that this scripture gives him the licence to manipulate or exploit his followers or do whatever he likes whether in the family or society.
Every leader is holding power in trust for God. Therefore, he must exercise it with the fear of God – not irresponsibly, callously, or ruthlessly. If the Bible says God is the one that appoints the authorities that exist, it is only logical to say that He who appoints can also remove. Nebuchadnezzar confirms this because he had a firsthand experience of it. After God had humbled him, he testified of God thus: “For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand” (Daniel 4:34b-35 NKJV).
Both the leaders and the followers must bring themselves under the supreme authority of God. My emphasis here is that you should make yourself accountable. It is dangerous for someone not to be accountable to anyone at home, in the church, in the school, in the workplace, or in an organization. God has instituted government at different levels for our safety and not to be a terror to us.
Working against governing authorities, therefore, amounts to putting ourselves in danger now and in the future. This also applies to parents in their relationships with their children as well as husbands in their relationships with their wives. Ephesians 6 talks, among other things, about the responsibilities of both parents and children. We must never forget to balance this important relationship. While children are supposed to obey their parents, God also puts a check on the parents. Ephesians 6:4 says, “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (NKJV). What does it mean not to provoke your child to wrath? J. B. Phillips Translation renders it as: “Fathers, don’t over-correct your children or make it difficult for them to obey the commandment” (Ephesians 6:4). Twentieth Century New Testament says, “And fathers, do not irritate your children.”
The book of Colossians also gives a similar instruction: “Fathers provoke not your children to anger lest they be discouraged” (Colossians 3:21). J. B. Phillips Translation again renders this verse as “Father, don’t overcorrect your children, or they will grow up feeling inferior and frustrated.” New Century Version says, “Fathers, do not nag your children. If you are too hard to please, they may want to stop trying.” Many parents are guilty of this.
Both biological parents and spiritual parents must never feel that they cannot be wrong or they do not need to change where and when necessary. Only God does not go wrong and does not change. This message is not trying to encourage lawlessness by children but to balance the parent-child relationship. Children must obey their parents as premature death is one of the resultant effects of rebellion against parents (Exodus 20:12). But parents must also learn how to communicate with their children. They should not provoke them by what they say. They should not abuse their position as parents to destroy, discourage, or devalue their children.
What about the husband-wife relationship? Though wives are expected to submit and subject themselves to their own husbands in everything, this is not an excuse for husbands to become dictatorial or autocratic. Husbands are not supposed to be abusive but loving and caring.
Ephesians 5:25-28 says, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself” (NKJV). Look at the description of the type of love husbands are supposed to have for their wives – love that gives self even to the point of death. That was the type of love Jesus had for the church. To love your wife is to love yourself.
Also, Colossians 3:19 says, “Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them” (NKJV). So God does not mean that a wife by submitting to her husband should become a slave or victim of domestic violence. No. There is a reciprocal demand on husbands to love and care for their wives.
1 Peter 3:7 says, “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered” (NKJV). Take note of the phrase “weaker vessel.” It is talking of a comparative degree of weakness. This means that the husband, too, is a weak vessel! Only God is the strength of both husbands and wives. And God tells the husband to honour his wife. That scripture also says that if a husband fails to honour his wife, his prayers may be hindered. If you won’t obey 1 Peter 3:7, you had better remain single so that your prayers won’t be hindered!
God does not tolerate a wife not respecting or submitting to her husband. But He also does not take kindly to a husband dishonouring his wife, beating her, or maltreating her. That tells us that both husbands and wives should be accountable to each other and both of them accountable to God although the husband remains the head. No woman should remain in an abusive marriage. Once there is a threat to her life, a woman should leave such a husband even if temporarily for the husband to regain his sanity! No wife should die in the hand of a violent husband in the name of submission. This is not what God means by submission.
The Bible calls the wife a weaker vessel to illustrate the kind of attention and care that He expects the husband to give to the wife as a fragile vessel. We always handle carefully and with respect objects that are fragile lest they should break. That’s how God expects husbands to handle their wives. God’s authority structure must be respected and obeyed everywhere. To do otherwise is to be preparing for a sorrowful future.
13. When someone habitually exposes his mind to unedifying materials such as books, music, and videos/films. One of the gates to the heart is the mind, and the Bible says, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23 NKJV). People are largely a product of what they read, watch, and listen to. If someone feeds his mind with dirty information through unwholesome music and books, such a person’s life cannot be better than this information – garbage in, garbage out.
The dirty or harmful information that you allow into your mind will find its way into your heart and defile it. “And He said, ‘What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man” (Mark 7:20-23 NKJV).
Those who read dirty and immoral books and watch and fill their minds with similar destructive information from music and videos/films cannot live a wholesome life and their future would be rotten. What do you expect from someone whose favourite publications are pornographic magazines? He would become a sexually perverted person. Disgusting words, lyrics, and images in immoral publications, music, video, and films will hold captive and mould negatively the lives of those patronizing them.
Your life will be shaped by the information you allow into your mind, which it will process. Jesus says, “Take heed what you hear” (Mark 4:24 NKJV). He says again, “Take heed how you hear” (Luke 8:18 NKJV). Don’t listen to just any music. Don’t watch just any film or video. Don’t read just any book or magazine. Be selective and guided by the Word of God. “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8 NKJV).
A sorrowful future awaits those who devote their lives to listening to indecent music, watching immoral films and videos, and reading ungodly and satanic books and magazines. Anyone who desires a glorious future should have nothing to do with these resources that Satan is using to ruin destinies, devastate families, and destroy society.
14. When someone neglects his family and fails to bring up his children in the way of the Lord. Some men and women are acknowledged as successful in their various professions in the public, especially in the media, but at home, they are failed fathers and mothers. Success in a career can never compensate for failure at home. Your children represent your future, and neglecting them means sowing a seed for a sorrowful future.
Malachi 2:15 says God wants godly children from the union of a man and woman in marriage. However, children will not become godly just because they have been born or because their parents are church-goers or professed Christians. Raising godly children requires much spiritual work to be done. It is beyond providing them the basic material things of life, sending them to good schools, and so on.
Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (NKJV). You must catch them young by making your own positive impact and impression on them based on God’s Word before they leave you. Thus, they will not deviate from God’s Word and embrace strange teachings. They will not come under ungodly influences from others. The indelible impression the Word of God you raised them with will have registered upon their spirit.
Everybody returns home each day, no matter his/her success in the office or business. Nobody sleeps in the office except he/she is on night duty! And everybody will return home eventually after a very successful career in business or public service. But which home will those who have neglected their families – their wives, husbands, or children return to? This is one reason no one should try to build a successful career or business at the expense of his family. Whoever does that will be an unhappy man or woman later in life, and probably till he dies. Success at work will never compensate for failure at home.
Your family will be more important to you tomorrow than they seem today. Anyone who is neglecting his children will not have a satisfying future, no matter the joy he seems to have now. “A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her who bore him” (Proverbs 17:25 NKJV). Compare that scripture with Proverbs 10:1: “A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is the grief of his mother” (NKJV). Proverbs 15:20 says a similar thing: “A wise son makes a father glad, but a foolish man despises his mother” (NKJV).
Children won’t turn out to be wise children on their own. Parents, especially fathers, must invest sufficient and quality time to train them in the way of the Lord so that they can have peace and joy in the future. God says concerning Abraham: “For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice, that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him” (Genesis 18:19 NKJV).
Fathers who close at work and spend all their evenings at the nightclub will not be able to make on their children the kind of godly impact that God expects from parents through biblical teachings and examples. Absentee parenting is not God’s ideal for raising children that will assure parents of a peaceful and joyful future.
Parents must reorder their priorities and spend enough quality time with their children. Husbands must spend time with their wives, not using work and the need to provide for the family as an excuse.
The Bible says while there was a famine in the land of Gerar, Isaac spent time playing with his wife! Yet he wasn’t a lazy person – he worked hard. But he didn’t allow the famine to put pressure on him and create tension in the home. “Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out at a window, and saw, and, behold, Isaac was sporting with Rebekah his wife” (Genesis 26:8 ASV). Sporting with Rebekah! What does that mean? New Living Translation says Abimelech saw “Isaac caressing Rebekah.” The New King James Version says Isaac was “showing endearment to Rebekah his wife.” The New King James Version Commentary says the Hebrew word-play on the name Isaac in the verse literally means, “He Who laughs was laughing with Rebekah his wife.” It’s not possible for a husband to do that in absentia. He must be at home.
A sorrowful future awaits any parent who neglects his children. Also, a sorrowful future awaits anyone who neglects his family, especially husbands who neglect their wives. Proverbs 5:18 says, “Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of your youth” (NKJV).
In the days of the Prophet Malachi, husbands dealt treacherously with the wives of their youth. Therefore, He paid no attention to their offerings and didn’t accept them. “And this is the second thing you do: you cover the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping and crying; so He does not regard the offering anymore, nor receive it with goodwill from your hands. Yet you say, ‘For what reason?’ Because the LORD has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, with whom you have dealt treacherously; yet she is your companion and your wife by covenant. But did He not make them one, having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth” (Malachi 2:13-15 NKJV).
There must be repentance to avoid a sorrowful future. God wants reconciliation in families – a godly home is necessary for raising the godly children that God is looking for. The hearts of the husbands must be turned to their wives and the hearts of the wives turned to their husbands. The same must happen between parents and their children just like God said concerning the ministry of Elijah the prophet. He said in Malachi 4:6, “And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse” (NKJV). This is the only way to experience a blessed future and not a sorrowful future.
15. When someone eats his seed and buries his talents. A seed is anything God has given you that you can use to bless others and for His glory. It can be money, time, materials, and so on, which you give to God’s causes on the earth, His servants, and other people, whether they ask for it or not. The principle of sowing and reaping is well established in the scriptures. Concerning the physical sowing of seed, the Bible says, “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest … shall not cease” (Genesis 8:22 NKJV). This principle equally applies to spiritual seed sowing,
The Bible encourages believers to sow because whatever we sow is not a waste. There is harvest for every seed sown. Ecclesiastes 11:1-2 says, “Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days. Give a serving to seven, and also to eight, for you do not know what evil will be on the earth” (NKJV).
This chapter continues in verses 4-6 by saying, “He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap. As you do not know what is the way of the wind, or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, so you do not know the works of God who makes everything. In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not withhold your hand; for you do not know which will prosper, either this or that, or whether both alike will be good” (NKJV).
God will give you both seed and bread. Bread is for eating and seed is for sowing – the order should not be reserved. But whoever eats his seed, cuts off himself from future harvest. No seed, no harvest! 2 Corinthians 9:10 says, “Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness” (NKJV). Great harvest! A sower will be blessed; the person who eats his seed will sorrow! Because the latter didn’t sow in the planting season, he will have nothing to reap in the harvest season. Many don’t sow their seed but eat it because it is easier to eat than to sow.
Proverbs 11:24 says, “There is one who scatters, yet increases more; and there is one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty” (NKJV). Also, Isaiah 32:20 says, “Blessed are you who sow beside all waters, who send out freely the feet of the ox and the donkey” (NKJV). The sower will be blessed. It is the blessing of the LORD that makes rich and He adds no sorrow to it (Proverbs 10:22).
The sower or giver will be blessed because the harvest is usually more than the seed sown. When you sow, you’ll be enriched so that you can give even more generously (2 Corinthians 9:11). Jesus said, “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38 NKJV). The sower will be given back good or full measure (i.e. much), pressed down, shaken together (i.e. to make room for more), and running over.
In the parable of the three servants who were given different amounts of gold or talents (money), the two that gained five and two more talents were described as good and faithful servants. They were also given more responsibilities plus celebrating together with their master. But the servant who went to hide his talent reaped a sorrowful future. Not because the master hated him but because he was a wicked and lazy servant who rather than profiting with what he was given accused and insulted his master. He activated a sorrowful future for himself by his action.
This is what Matthew 25:26-30 says: “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth’” (NKJV).
Don’t eat your seed; don’t bury your talent. Whatever God has given you whether money, spiritual gifts, natural gifts, abilities, or skills, use them to the glory of God and for the benefit of fellow human beings. “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10 NKJV).
As far as spiritual ministration is concerned, the command is to put no price on it. Jesus said, “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8 NKJV). Don’t make God’s house a house of merchandise (John 2:16).
Those who commercialize the spiritual gifts and the anointing God has given them don’t have God’s approval. They don’t last. God knew that in the last days there will be such people – those whose god is their belly. They serve their belly, not our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul said in Romans 16:18 that some people who caused divisions and offenses in the church did not serve our Lord Jesus Christ but their own belly
He also said in Philippians 3:19, “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame — who set their mind on earthly things” (Philippians 3:18-19 NKJV).
God has already pronounced judgment on such people. “And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber” (2 Peter 2:2-3 NKJV). Beware of such people and make sure that you’re not one of them. Their future is sorrowful because they are only using God to make money; God is not using them. Don’t use your spiritual gifts to make money.
The Bible says of Jerusalem in the day of the Prophet Micah, “Her heads judge for a bribe, her priests teach for pay, and her prophets divine for money. Yet they lean on the LORD, and say, ‘Is not the LORD among us? No harm can come upon us’” (Micah 3:11 New King James Version). These were the spiritual leaders of Judah. Judah was eventually destroyed because these leaders didn’t lead the nation on the right path.
Conclusion: God desires a glorious future for you, not sorrowful. Avoid anything that can create for you a sorrowful future as you have learnt in this message. Deal with any of these danger signs in your life. The only way to realize the glorious future God has for you is to completely follow Him as Caleb and Joshua did (Numbers 32:12). You will get to your Promised Land in Jesus’ name.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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