Shun the World’s Pleasures
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 1 John 2:15.
The true Christian will not desire to enter any place of amusement or engage in any diversion upon which he cannot ask the blessing of God. He will not be found at the theater, the billiard hall, or the bowling saloon. He will not unite with the gay waltzers, or indulge in any other bewitching pleasure that will banish Christ from the mind.
To those who plead for these diversions, we answer, We cannot indulge in them in the name of Jesus of Nazareth…. Go in imagination to Gethsemane and behold the anguish which Christ endured for us. See the world’s Redeemer wrestling in superhuman agony, the sins of the whole world upon His soul. Hear His prayer, borne upon the sympathizing breeze, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matthew 26:39). The hour of darkness has come. Christ has entered the shadow of His cross. Alone He must drink the bitter cup. Of all earth’s children whom He has blessed and comforted there is not one to console Him in this dreadful hour. He is betrayed into the hands of a murderous mob. Faint and weary, He is dragged from one tribunal to another. . . . He who knew not the taint of sin pours out His life as a malefactor upon Calvary. This history should stir every soul to its depths. It was to save us that the Son of God became a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. . . . Let a sense of the infinite sacrifice made for our redemption be ever with you, and the ballroom will lose its attractions.
Not only did Christ die as our sacrifice, but He lived as our example. In His human nature He stands, complete, perfect, spotless. To be a Christian is to be Christlike. Our entire being–soul, body, and spirit–must be purified, ennobled, sanctified, until we shall reflect His image and imitate His example. . . . We need not fear to engage in any pursuit or pleasure that will aid us in this work. But it is our duty to shun everything that would divert our attention or lessen our zeal.
That I May Know Him p. 311
—–Please pray for EB’s situation. LS
—–Please pray that God will heal my body and my marriage. Lou
How vital to our own walk with our Saviour is the study of the lives of those recorded in the Holy Bible. The Apostle Paul tells us, “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” 1 Cor 10:11 Israel was to be a nation whose king was their Redeemer, a theocracy. He had such wonderful plans for them. Through His chosen people, He wanted to bring the rest of the world to Himself. Sadly, the people took their eyes off from the One Who loved them with an everlasting love and looked instead to a human leader; so that they could be like the nations around them. What a lot of trouble that rejection caused them throughout their generations. When they were ruled by a good king, his subjects tended to be good. When they were ruled by an evil king, the people became wicked.
Hezekiah was one of Judah’s good kings. He tried to do right in the sight of the Lord. The passover had not been celebrated for many years. One of his first goals was to point both Israel and Judah to their Only Saviour and lead them back to the right way. “And Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, to keep the passover unto the LORD God of Israel” 2 Chron 30:1
Later, when the king of Assyria decided to add Judah to his collection of nations and sent a letter to this good king, Hezekiah turned his eyes to the Only One Who could save him and his people. “And Hezekiah received the letter of the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up into the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD. And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD, and said, O LORD God of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; thou hast made heaven and earth. LORD, bow down thine ear, and hear: open, LORD, thine eyes, and see: and hear the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent him to reproach the living God. Of a truth, LORD, the kings of Assyria have destroyed the nations and their lands, And have cast their gods into the fire: for they were no gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone: therefore they have destroyed them. Now therefore, O LORD our God, I beseech thee, save thou us out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the LORD God, even thou only.” 2 Ki 19:15-19 The Great King of the Universe heard and answered the prayer of His servant. He sent a mighty angel and slew 185,000 of the Assyrian army.
One day this good king became very sick. In mercy the Lord sent Isaiah with the message, “Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.” 2 Kings 20:1 Hezekiah was shocked. He thought over all of his zeal for his Maker and couldn’t understand why this must be. “Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the LORD, saying, I beseech thee, O LORD, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore.” 2 Ki 20:2,3
How quickly our Loving Saviour answered that prayer. “And it came to pass, afore Isaiah was gone out into the middle court, that the word of the LORD came to him, saying, Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the LORD. And I will add unto thy days fifteen years; and I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake.” 2 Ki 20:4-6 How Hezekiah’s heart should have filled with joy, but instead a little doubt entered in. Hezekiah seemed to languish spiritually after his healing. Instead of believing Isaiah’s word, he asked for a sign showing his unbelief. Our Merciful Redeemer gave the king the wanted sign. The sun’s shadow went backwards ten degrees.
Through this sign, the Lord was drawing the sun worshipping nation of Babylon to Hezekiah that he might teach them of the True and Living God. Sadly, “Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up.” 2 Chron 32:25 He failed to give glory to God for this miracle and as a result of his bragging about the greatness of his kingdom and all of his riches, the Babylonians never learned about the One Who wanted to save them. Through the prophet he was told that because of this, his posterity would be taken captive and the kingdom destroyed. His first comment was that as long as it didn’t happen during his lifetime, he didn’t really care. Yet upon reflection, Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the LORD came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah.” 2 Chron 32:26
Moreover, Manassah was not born until after that event and the sad history of his life would never have happened if Hezekiah had died when he was first sick. Sometimes we do not understand why things happen as they do. Sometimes we stumble and reel under the trials that come upon us, yet we must be careful not to insist that God answer our prayer just the way we ask. He knows the future. He knows what is best. He says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isa 55:8,9
From Hezekiah’s experience, we can see that a miraculous healing is not always the best way. Sometimes a more gradual healing, a more gradual deliverance from our trial (or no healing, no deliverance from trial) can be a greater blessing because it can keep the person from becoming the center of attention, a celebrity, lifted up in his own sight and in the sight of others.
Let us trust fully in our Dear Saviour’s leading. Let us rely on Him Who knows the end from the beginning. Let us be faithful to the One Who loves us so.