“Therefore Jehovah said, Whereas this people draw near with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men; therefore, behold, I will again do among this people something extraordinary and wonderful. For the wisdom of their wise ones shall perish, and the understanding of their intelligent ones shall be hidden.” Isaiah 29:13-14
“You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor put any etched marks on you: I am Jehovah.” Leviticus 19:28
I’ve always been fascinated with first hand exploration accounts, particularly in tropical regions. With that said, I have been diligently reading up on a missionary and explorer, David Livingstone. If I happen to find an author to whom to read their exploration account, I always find either an unabridged or original work. With the birth of my newborn daughter, I found myself in fast food lines to get some dinner.
Having been in restaurant management off and on for years, I have become accustomed to the general workforce that makes up the interior of these establishments. It’s been a few years since I have been managing a restaurant, certainly things have degraded even a bit more. So sitting in line waiting for my burger, cheese curds and medium chocolate milkshake, I couldn’t help but notice the odd similarities of first hand accounts of tribal behavior and our culture nowadays. We are going tribal.
As I’m in line waiting the backdoor flies open, a young man emerging to take out the nightly trash. I can hear the backbeat of the hardcore gangster rap blasting in the background. The tribal modernized drumbeats are providing the momentum for the workers to make it through the day. Yet another battle cry against the assailants, of which I was one of.
The hairstyle of the young man is quite prominent and out there. While otherwise normal looking, the wild rebel like hair style shows in his strait-outta-compton movements, as he nonchalantly drags a 40 gallon Rubbermaid trash container behind my vehicle. Finished with his task he returns to the restaurant. Now, finally as my turn arrives, I pull up to the window and pay the cashier.
Inside, there are those who are working hard to push the orders out. The cook’s head bops as he listens to the drumbeats, his demeanor to be cool and smooth, the cashier, friendly, but not untouched by the current tribal culture, with her hair completely green. The order comes and on my way I go, pondering my former time spent working in the restaurant industry. Really nothing new, I’ve seen it, I’ve worked in it, but it isn’t limited to the restaurant industry.
We live in a culture where I know that many people just go along with the flow, really not considering the things that they are doing. Is this really different from the tribes that explorers ran across many years ago?
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Hosea 4:6a
The Bible is quite clear about right and wrong. Even the tribal people in Africa had knowledge of good and evil. Their justification and blatant ignorance caused them to sin willfully, justifying their actions through their traditions. Yet even in recent, the United States decided that expanding abortion, the leading cause of death in this country, (and the world) is justifiable. God is not mocked, though men might try to reason and justify their deeds, beware, Him who Created us is not ignorant of their devices and they will reap the fruits of their deeds, to the fullest extent.
“Beware that no one rob you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the traditions of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” Colossians 2:8
“They have also built the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings to Baal, which I never commanded nor spoke, nor did it even come into My mind.” Jeremiah 19:5
“Do not be led astray, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” Galatians 6:7
Nowadays it is quite commonplace to see people who have tattoos, peiricings, colored and wild hair, as well as a Jezebel-like appearance. This is not to necessarily place everyone who does these things in ignorance in the same category, nor to suggest that such things make one sinner worse than another and finally there are those who get Saved and must deal with the consequences of their past, as each of us has to do in varying degrees. Yet in our country and around the world, people are going tribal.
“Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has been released from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh in the lusts of men, but in the will of God. For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in licentiousness, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. In this regard, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same overflow of dissipation, blaspheming. They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.” 1st Peter 4:1-5
People are not just going tribal by etchings on their bodies, but in our overall refusal to acknowledge the ways of God. For people certainly acknowledge Him, as far as believing He exists, but their hearts are -far- from Him. He does not know them, nor is known by them.
“You believe that God is One. You do well. Even the demons believe, and shudder.” Jacob (James) 2:19
“Therefore Jehovah said, Whereas this people draw near with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men; therefore, behold, I will again do among this people something extraordinary and wonderful. For the wisdom of their wise ones shall perish, and the understanding of their intelligent ones shall be hidden. Woe to those who are profound to hide their counsel from Jehovah! And their works are in the dark, and they say, Who sees us? And, Who knows us? O your perversity! Shall the former be esteemed as the potter’s clay; for shall the product say of him who made it, He did not make me? Or shall the thing formed say to him who formed it, He has had no understanding?” Isaiah 29:13-16
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many entering in through it. Because narrow is the gate and distressing is the way which leads unto life, and there are few who find it. Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them from their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree produces excellent fruit, but a corrupt tree produces evil fruit. A good tree is not able to produce evil fruit, nor is a corrupt tree able to produce excellent fruit. Every tree that does not produce excellent fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore from their fruits you will know them. Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in Heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many works of power in Your name? And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart from Me, you who work out lawlessness!” Matthew 7:13-23
Certainly Mr. Livingstone was quite an explorer and a diehard adventurer. Where most would have failed, he continued on. Reading his first hand accounts of the customs of different tribes throughout Africa and the on-the-surface difficulties with teaching the Gospel to a people who have never heard of Jesus, who are rifled with their vain traditions and demonic rituals, certainly propounds the mountainous task that he undertook. Yet in our own country, I would ask if we don’t have such a task that is perhaps even worse than what a missionary might have ran across in the 1850’s Africa!
“And He said to His disciples, The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” Matthew 9:37
For we are dealing with a culture that is going tribal, not just in fashion, but also their hearts being hardened, turning from Him who Created them and turning to their own ways, refusing to repent, albeit acknowledging that their is One who is out there. We have a field that is just as a mountainous task as Livingstone tried to undertake, in many cases worse.
“Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness, where your fathers tested Me, proved Me, and saw My works forty years. Therefore I was angry with that generation, and said, They always go astray in their heart, and they have not known My ways. So I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter into My rest. Beware, brethren, that there not be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in withdrawing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called Today, that not any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold fast to the origin of our Foundation steadfast to the end, while it is said: Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the provocation. For some who came out of Egypt through Moses, however not all, having heard, provoked. Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” Hebrews 3:7-19
“Seek Jehovah while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to Jehovah, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says Jehovah. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:6-9
At least when the missionaries like Livingstone and Stanley went into Africa, they were able to preach the Gospel to those who had never heard it before. They were able to tell them how they were sinners, lost and separated from God. They were able to tell them about the great gift of God and how He sent His only begotten Son to die on the Cross for their sins. They were able to emphasize that Christ paid the penalty and that Salvation is a free gift for all who will receive it.
“But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like a menstruation cloth.” Isaiah 64:6a
…“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that everyone believing into Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:16-17
“For by grace you are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, that no one should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10
“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under Heaven given among men that is required for us to be saved.” Acts 4:12
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2nd Corinthians 5:21
“For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but gave Himself over to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live unto righteousness; by whose stripes you were healed.” 2nd Peter 2:21-24
They were able to tell the story and relate how Jesus rose from the dead (Matt. 28:6) and how He now sits at the right hand of the Father (Lk. 22:69). They were able to tell of the consequences for sin (Ro. 6:23) and how there is no merit in any works that we might try to do to be Saved (Eph. 2:8-9). They were able to tell those who would listen that each individual must repent before God and by faith believe into Jesus as their Savior. They could spend the time teaching, no matter how long it took, and planting those who could learn to read and teach others. They could be used by God to grow a Church that was honorable to Christ, the head of the Church and one that might flourish till the end of the ages. Now, in this country we have a problem.
“Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has established a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has appointed. He has given assurance of this to everyone by raising Him from the dead.” Acts 17:30-31
…” testifying both to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” Acts 20:21
“But what does it say? The Word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart (that is, the Word of Faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Romans 10:8-10
Here people profess faith of which they do not have! They profess to know God, but do not. They refuse to repent and refuse to recognize the seriousness of the situation. They are lost, in many ways more lost than those who have never heard. They are ripe to be deceived by the Antichrist, during the coming “time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7). They are the blind leading the blind and their ears are deaf to the Gospel.
“They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and reprobate with regard to every good work.” Titus 1:16
“Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into the ditch.” Matthew 15:14
Now is the time, now those of us who can see, those of us who can hear, must sound the warning and pave the way to once again preaching the Gospel to a world who has gone tribal.
“And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk decently, as in the day, not in carousings and drunkenness, not in cohabitation and licentiousness, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” Romans 13:11-14