Sow the Wind, Reap the Whirlwind

Sow the Wind, Reap the Whirlwind

WindWhirl-M13
(from Wisdom's Friend)

A common accusation leveled against God and the Christian faith is that a loving God would not send people to hell. God replies in Zechariah:

“But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and stopped up their ears. They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the Lord Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the Lord Almighty was very angry. ‘When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations, where they were strangers. The land was left so desolate behind them that no one could come or go. This is how they made the pleasant land desolate.'” (Zech. 7:11-14 NIV).

Like many passages in Scripture, there is a literal interpretation and a spiritual interpretation for these words. Those to whom it was first given suffered literal exile away from their pleasant land, because of their obstinate refusal to listen to God’s words and repent of their sins and obey him. But God’s Word abides forever (Mt. 24:35, Is. 40:8). It still speaks to us today. Therefore, this passage has something to say to us as well.

“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Rom. 15:4 NIV).

“Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did” (1 Cor. 10:6 NIV).

So, given this principle, what can we learn from this example, where God’s people of old were sent into exile for their sin, including the sin of refusing to listen to God’s warning to repent? The passage begins with a presentation of the charge laid against the people, that they were the ones who brought the punishment upon themselves, by refusing to listen to the truth which the Spirit of God revealed about their hearts’ condition. God did this not to condemn them but out of love, to convict them so that they would respond and be able to receive all with which he wanted to bless them. But they refused. Then and only then did God give them up to themselves and their hard hearts. They had brought it upon themselves.

But how did they get to that point of refusing the very God who had saved them, rescued them from slavery in Egypt? It did not happen all at once, living lives of thankful obedience for long years to God for all he had done for them, and then suddenly deciding to balk and no longer submit to him. No, things seldom take such a dramatic turn in peoples’ lives for no reason. The problem is, that underlying reason is often not easily visible because it has lain hidden beneath an outwardly unchanged situation, while inwardly and invisibly–and slowly–things have changed, little by little (Small Steps into Darkness.)

One small step away from the Lord and his light may hardly seem significant or noticeable. But over time, repeated steps take one farther and farther away from the straight and narrow path, until finally the light has disappeared altogether and that sheep is lost and in darkness. Each small step of disobedience and sin is like a quiet, gentle breeze that seems refreshing and nothing to be concerned about. But the reality is that, like a number of small brooks merging together into a stream and then a mighty river torrent, small wisps of wind can likewise join to form a mighty storm, a destructive tornado or hurricane. We are warned in the Zechariah passage that if we sow the wind of sin, we will reap the whirlwind of God’s wrath over sin. “They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind” (Hos. 8:7 NIV). We will be scattered “with a whirlwind among all the nations, where they were strangers.”

The ancient people of God experienced this scattering and whirlwind literally in their own day and lives because of their unrepentance for their sins and refusal to come to God for forgiveness. The same will hold true for all who follow their example. Unrepentant sin and abandonment of God in one’s life leads to abandonment from God in hell–strangers forever from God.

“He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord” (2 Ths. 1:8-9 NIV).

Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood” (Rev. 22:15 NIV).

The land was left so desolate behind them that no one could come or go. . . .” There is no desolation like that of hell. To be abandoned by God for all eternity because the one there abandoned God when he called him to come for free forgiveness of sins that bring one to the desolate land, after having lived one’s life upon this beautiful earth and enjoying God’s abundance . . . that is the fault of the one who did not pay heed to God’s Word. That is why the passage from Zechariah ends with these solemn words: “This is how they made the pleasant land desolate.”

They made it that way. They took the good things which God so richly furnishes human beings upon this earth and trashed them and used them selfishly, polluting both the earth and their own bodies and souls.

“She has not acknowledged that I was the one who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil, who lavished on her the silver and gold–which they used for Baal” (Hos. 2:8 NIV).

God created each one of us for his own purposes, to glorify himself–and he is worthy of that glory (Rev. 4:11). Those who use this great gift he has given to us, of life and its wonders, for their own purposes thus rob God of the silver and gold or preciousness of life. They have stolen from God. For this, they must go where thieves go (1 Cor. 6:9-10), apart from God in the prison of darkness that is separated from the glorious light of heaven by a tremendous chasm that cannot be bridged–a “land” so desolate that no one can come or go (Lk. 16:26).

These are the thoughts which the Lord gave to me upon reading this passage from Zechariah. It is repeated below to refresh the memory. May the Spirit of the Lord speak to all who read his words and meditate upon them.

“But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and stopped up their ears. They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the Lord Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the Lord Almighty was very angry. ‘When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations, where they were strangers. The land was left so desolate behind them that no one could come or go. This is how they made the pleasant land desolate.'” (Zech. 7:11-14 NIV).

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply (Choose Facebook or Standard)

 

Please enable us to use MORE time to reach MORE PEOPLE ... Donate NOW.

close
Facebook Iconfacebook like buttonYouTube Icon