Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

You Were not Willing!

Meditation for the week of February 7, 2010

Matthew 23:37 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!

Jerusalem is the center of the earth as far as God is concerned.  We could likely go farther and say that the earth is the center of the universe and that Jerusalem, the City of David, is the center of the earth.  Jerusalem is a city that was privileged.  Jehovah was worshiped there long before it became the capital of the nation of Israel.  In Genesis 14:18 we are introduced to Melchizedek king of Salem (Jerusalem), and he was the priest of God Most High.

But Jerusalem developed a form of worship that was more important to them than the God that they were supposed to be worshiping.  They had a religion but they were rebellious.   In Isaiah we read,  “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth! For the LORD has spoken: "I have nourished and brought up children, And they have rebelled against Me  The ox knows its owner And the donkey its master’s crib; But Israel does not know, My people do not consider (Isaiah 1:2-3).’”  While the Lord has always had a faithful remnant that truly worships and believes in Him; and while there were partial revivals under Ezra and Nehemiah and again under John the Baptist, the religious leaders over the years had their minds made up, and they didn’t want to be confused with the facts.  So when prophets were sent to some of the Kings who were worshiping heathen Gods with critical messages, the Kings of Israel actually killed the prophets of the Lord. 

Things may be bad for Israel and Jerusalem right now but as I understand Scripture, during the tribulation period things will get worse before they get better.  And it didn’t have to be that way because the Lord tried to speak to them over and over again.  When destruction comes it won’t be because God didn’t love them or try to save them.  It will be because the occupants of this privileged city “were not willing.” 

I think of people who call themselves Christians today and I wonder how many of them really understand what it means to “repent and believe.”  Repentance isn’t just turning from immorality.  Many religious people who have never been saved do that when they decide that they want to live “better” lives.   Instead it is “turning from idols to God  (1 Thessalonians 1:9).”  In the Bible turning to idols usually causes immorality and turning from idols is the best way to cause people to turn from immorality.  When I go to my place of worship on Sunday morning, I wonder how many people who are sitting by me have “turned from idols to serve the living and true God.”  We break bread together and we listen to the Word of God being preached, but do we all actually know the Lord as our Savior?  Or are we worshiping a God that we have made up in our own minds?  How many of our children who have been raised in Christian homes have really been born again and how many of them have been told that they were born again by their parents or friends or Sunday School teachers?  How many of us really believe that God can only be worshiped One Way and that way starts by trusting in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ?  That One Way involves trusting and not doing to go to heaven.  No ceremony, no good work, no system of religion will ever take the place of the Lord Jesus who offers Himself to the world as the way to heaven.

What scares me is that if Jerusalem in the Lord’s day could think that they were so right and be so wrong, could that be true of ME?  Yes, it could!  And could it be true of my church or congregation where I worship?  Yes, it could!  None of us are going to enter heaven based on what others say, nor are we going to get there based on what we “thought” was right.  We are going to get there only through faith in the blood of Christ.  I can’t give anyone that faith.  I don’t even know for sure who among my friends and family really have it.  But I do know that none of us will get to heaven any other way. 

Those who miss out on God’s salvation will no doubt be haunted by their memories as they spend eternity away from God and the joys of heaven.  They will not doubt remember “how often” the Lord offered them His salvation and they WERE NOT WILLING!

Bruce Collins

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