Home   e-Library       中文 
e-Library Home |  Browse By Category |  Study the Bible    
 (Manna 17)
Turn Back Before God Strikes
TOC | Previous | Next

Turn back before GOD strikes

T.K. Shee

The Lord said in Exodus32:8, “They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them.” And Paul said in Galatians 1:6, “I marvel that you are turning away so soon …!” The people of God through the ages, be it the Israelites in the Old Testament, the apostolic church in the New Testament or even the true church of the last days, seem quick to turn away from God’s ways. They are also slow; or worse, unwilling to turn back. And for those who do turn hack, they never do so until God strikes.

When the Israelites were led out of Egypt, God performed many great wonders before them so that they would have a chance to know Him and walk in His ways. However, the Israelites were quick to turn away from His ways. They had chosen to worship idols, to murmur against God and eventually to reject the promised land. The ways of God had been made clear to these people and yet they knowingly and willfully turned away from God. They continued in their evil ways and refused to turn back - until God struck. At the foot of Mount Sinai, these stiff necked people did not turn back from worshipping the golden calf until God sent plagues to them (Ex 32:1- 33:4). At Kibroth Hattaavah, the Israelites were influenced by the mixed multitude to murmur against God as they craved for meat (Num 11:4—5). The Lord granted their wishes but struck them with a very great plague (Num —35). Many other similar incidents have been recorded about the Israelites, who turned hack only after God had struck them. They could have turned back way before having to face the wrath of God.

Jonah, the prophet of God, was another who turned away from the commandment of God. When God commanded him to preach to the people of Nineveh, he arose and fled in the other direction, towards Tarshish (Jon 1: 2,3). Although he was a prophet, he was slow to turn back to the calling of God -until God struck. God caused a big fish to swallow Jonah up when he was cast into the sea on the way to Tarshish and it was only in the belly of the big fish for three days and nights that he finally turned back to God (Jon 1:17- 2:10). For three traumatic days and nights, Jonah did not know what lied ahead for him and it was only at this moment that he chose to turn hack to God. had Jonah not turned away from God or had he turned back before God struck, he would have escaped such an ordeal.

When Jesus Christ was on earth, He knew that He would he betrayed and who it was that would betray Him. For three years, Judas Iscariot had the opportunity to repent but he betrayed Christ. Even when Judas lscariot had already chosen to betray Christ, Jesus still gave him chances to turn back. Jesus washed his feet (Jn 13:1—14). Jesus even hinted before Judas Iscariot that He knew who would betray I urn (Jn -26) and yet Judas Iscariot chose not to turn back (Jn ). Judas Iscariot only became remorseful and wanted to turn back when he realized that he had been condemned but it was already too late and he met with a tragic end (Mt 27:3—5). 1 lad Judas Iscariot turned back earlier when Christ gave him all those chances or had he turned back before God struck by leaving him alone, would he not have escaped such a tragic end?

When Ananias and Sapphira kept a certain part of the proceeds of the land they sold for themselves, they knew that it was wrong. They had the opportunity to change their minds but they did not. Ananias was struck dead. Sapphira was given another chance when Peter questioned her. She did not turn back. God struck and she too fell dead.

As we read these incidents in the Bible, they remind us to turn back. Some of us may be continuing in sin; some may have backslided in faith or arc no longer fervent in church; and some may not have responded to tile call of God to serve Him. However, it is a sad thing if we know our own faults but are slow or even unwilling to turn back. Let us always remember that when God strikes, we have to undergo great afflictions. If we were to turn hack at the right time we are making a wise choice. However, if we still remain stubborn, then there may come a time when God will strike us like He did Judas Iscariot, Ananias and Sapphira. These people were slow or unwilling to turn back. May we learn to be quick to turn hack, at least before God strikes.


PDF Download