WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JANUARY 31, 2021
TOPIC: GOD’S WARNINGS ALWAYS PRECEDE GOD’S JUDGMENT
BY T. O. BANSO
“‘Run for your lives!’ the angels warned. ‘Do not stop anywhere in the valley. And don’t look back! Escape to the mountains, or you will die’” (Genesis 19:17 New Living Translation).
God is a God of justice. One of the things evident in the Bible is that God’s warnings precede His judgment. I think that is fair. The only problem is that God’s warnings do not always avert His judgment. Why? Because people fail to pay attention to His warnings.
They behave as if God is a comedian who is just acting and is not going to carry out His judgment. God’s warning is intended to make people repent and do the right thing. Unfortunately, many don’t. They follow their own ways. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25 New King James Version).
God’s warnings always precede His judgment. But those who want to self-destruct don’t repent. Instead of repenting and sparing themselves the negative repercussions, they continue on their wrong journey and ruin their lives. Before the tragedy that befell the house of Eli, the death of his two sons and his own death, God had warned about the sin of Eli’s sons and his failure to discipline them. He warned of the impending judgment. “Then the LORD said to Samuel, ‘I am about to do a shocking thing in Israel. I am going to carry out all my threats against Eli and his family. I have warned him continually that judgment is coming for his family, because his sons are blaspheming God and he hasn’t disciplined them. So I have vowed that the sins of Eli and his sons will never be forgiven by sacrifices or offerings” (1 Samuel 3:11-14 New Living Translation). Why? Because they had squandered the opportunities He had given them to repent. Eli merely gave his children a slap on the wrists; he didn’t discipline them. Thus, God visited His judgment on them. God’s warnings preceded His judgment. Don’t joke with God’s warnings.
Jeremiah 44:4-6 says, “However I have sent to you all My servants the prophets, rising early and sending them, saying, ‘Oh, do not do this abominable thing that I hate!’ But they did not listen or incline their ear to turn from their wickedness, to burn no incense to other gods. So My fury and My anger were poured out and kindled in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; and they are wasted and desolate, as it is this day” (New King James Version). God’s warning preceded His judgment.
The angels who came to execute God’s judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah told Lot, “‘Run for your lives!’ the angels warned. ‘Do not stop anywhere in the valley. And don’t look back! Escape to the mountains, or you will die’” (Genesis 19:17 New Living Translation). But Lot’s wife didn’t heed their warning. She looked back. Therefore, God’s judgment came upon her. She became a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:26).
When God wanted to destroy Nineveh because their wickedness had come up before Him (Jonah 1:2), He didn’t just go straight to destroy the city. Rather, He sent the prophet Jonah who reluctantly delivered the message of impending judgment. “Then he cried out and said, ‘Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!’” (Jonah 3:4 New King James Version).
To Jonah’s disappointment, the people of Nineveh repented. “So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them. Then word came to the king of Nineveh; and he arose from his throne and laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes” (Jonah 3:5-6 New King James Version).
The king took Jonah’s message very seriously and caused it to be proclaimed and published throughout Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, “Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; do not let them eat, or drink water. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God; yes, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish?” (Verses 7-9 New King James Version).
Therefore, God withdrew His hand of judgment against them. “When God saw that they had put a stop to their evil ways, he had mercy on them and didn’t carry out the destruction he had threatened” (Jonah 3:10 New Living Translation). God’s warning always comes before His judgment. Your response to His warnings determines what happens to you.
After Nebuchadnezzar had a dream and Daniel interpreted it to him, Daniel told him, “O King Nebuchadnezzar, please listen to me. Stop sinning and do what is right. Break from your wicked past by being merciful to the poor. Perhaps then you will continue to prosper” (Daniel 4:27 New Living Translation).
Unfortunately, Nebuchadnezzar paid no attention to the godly warning of Daniel. He didn’t stop sinning. Twelve months later, the negative dream he had came to pass. God’s judgment was fulfilled. He was driven from men and ate grass like oxen. His body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.
(Daniel 4:31-33). God’s warning came before His Judgment. You, too, must stop sinning. “Come to your senses and stop sinning” (1 Corinthians 15:34a New Living Translation).
Solomon did not heed God’s warning. 1 Kings 11:10 says, “He [the Lord] had warned Solomon specifically about worshiping other gods, but Solomon did not listen to the LORD’s command” (New Living Translation). Solomon loved foreign women and married from the nations of the LORD had warned the children of Israel not to intermarry with them or they with them (verses 1-2). At Solomon’s old age, these foreign women turned his heart to worship other gods instead of being completely faithful to the LORD his God (verse 4).
What was the consequence of Solomon’s failure to heed God’s warning? The LORD said, “Since you have not kept my covenant and have disobeyed my laws, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your servants” (1 Kings 11:11 New Living Translation). After his reign, the LORD gave the kingdom to another person. Solomon’s son who succeeded him, Rehoboam, was left to rule over only one tribe, Judah, according to the word of the LORD (1Kings 11:12-13, 30-32, 34-36).
Those who fail to heed divine warnings will have themselves to blame; their blood shall be on their heads. “When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their watchman, when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people, then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning will save his life” (Ezekiel 33:2-5 New King James Version).
On the other hand, verse 6 says, “But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand” (New King James Version).
God has sent His Son to die for the sins of all but sinners will end up in the lake of fire if they fail to heed divine warnings to repent of their sins and give their lives to Jesus. Have you given your life to Jesus? Some people still think that hell is the imagination of some preachers.
You could be rich and your wealth is making you say “No” to the salvation message. Beware, before it is too late. God is telling those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment (1Timothy 6:17). Don’t let the false security your wealth or earthly position gives you take you to hell-fire. Hell is real; accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour now.
For that rich man in the Bible, it was too late for him; there’s no room for making any request. “Then the rich man said, ‘Please, Father Abraham, send him to my father’s home. For I have five brothers, and I want him to warn them about this place of torment so they won’t have to come here when they die’” (Luke 16:27-28 New Living Translation). But Abraham said unto him that Moses and the prophets had warned them, and his brothers could read their writings anytime they wanted to.
When he replied that if someone was sent to them from the dead, they could turn from their sins, Abraham said, “If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t listen even if someone rises from the dead” (verse 31 New Living Translation).
Maybe you’re not even rich yet you’re rejecting or snubbing those the Lord has been sending to preach the salvation message to you. Stop hardening your heart, and answer God’s call today. There is no other name that saves other than the name of Jesus Christ. He died for you and the entire world. No other person did. Never expect angels to preach to you before you accept Christ into your life – it’s not their responsibility.
Pay attention to God’s warning. The soul that sins shall die (Ezekiel 18:20). Heed God’s warning today before it’s too late.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit 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 resurrected 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 the palm tree and grow like the 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.
PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, help me to heed God’s warnings. Father, have mercy on those who ignore your warnings that they may repent and heed Your warnings. Let an end come to every hardening of heart so that Your judgment could be averted.
(For over 400 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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