"Amend Your Ways"
By Lois J. Stucky
The prophet Jeremiah was given the very difficult calling of God to warn Judah of the approaching, devastating judgment that would soon come on Judah and Jerusalem and their inhabitants unless the people would hearken to His call to repent of their sin and iniquity. God pled with His people through Jeremiah: "Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the Lord; and I will not cause Mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger for ever. Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God… Turn, O backsliding children…for I am married unto you…. Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings…" (Jer. 3:12-14, 22).What a heart God had for His people! What more gracious offer could He make to His sinning people who rejected His commandments and worshiped other gods?
Again and again God appealed earnestly through Jeremiah to His wayward people: "Amend your ways and your doings.... If you thoroughly amend your ways and your doings I will let you dwell…in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever" (Jer. 7:3, 5).
But the leaders of the people continued on in their rebellious ways against the commandments of God. They rejected warning after warning from God through Jeremiah and other prophets throughout the reign of several kings until God could bear the sin no longer. In God’s time, judgment came as prophesied. Many of the people were carried away in captivity to Babylon. The cities of Judah became desolate. Jerusalem was burned.
Reading the story of Judah’s sad failure doubtlessly makes many of us feel like echoing loudly Jeremiah’s cry in our nations today, "Amend your ways and your doings!" We feel deep concern as we see sin and iniquity abounding on every hand. Judgment seems impending. But knowing that the merciful heart of God is as great today as in Jeremiah’s day toward those who repent and do righteous deeds, we have hope and not despair. "Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound" (Rom. 5:20). In this hour of extreme need, how timely is the front-page article of this issue of Herald of His Coming, calling to repentance and prayer for the ultimate answer, which is God’s powerful intervention in revival power!
Amending MY Ways
As articles in this issue pointedly remind us, revival in a nation begins with revival in the church, and revival in the church begins with you and me! It is not safe to assume that I have no ways or deeds to amend. Anyone sincerely desiring to see revival come and willing to do some serious heart-searching in preparation for it – will do well to follow the leads in the article of Charles G. Finney. This man greatly used of God in revivals in the earlier days of this nation has much experience from which to speak to us. The tendency is to compare ourselves with others and feel that we are doing all right, but it is essential to wait before the Lord and His Word, that we may examine and judge ourselves biblically.
Keeping a watchful eye on our ways and deeds and amending them where needed is essential if we are to pray effectively for revival. And oh, the importance of watchfulness and holiness in the light of Christ’s coming for a Bride without spot or wrinkle, as page 7 so clearly sets before us! What higher incentive could there be than to be ready to meet our beloved Lord Jesus Christ Who is coming for a glorious church! (Eph. 5:25-27).
Good Stewards of God’s Gifts
Each of us has been given something from God whereby we can bless and benefit others. The article, "One Can Turn the Tide," is an illustration of how our prayers count. The story is an inspiration to invest prayer and efforts to open the way for God’s blessings to freely flow. Prayer is something each of us can give; even a bedridden saint can pray!
We are very grateful to all of you who have joined your gifts with ours at Herald of His Coming to benefit hearts around the world. Whether it is your gift of prayer or funds or words of encouragement or the packaging of Heralds for mailing, or a calling to distribute Herald literature – whatever it is, as we unite from the heart, God is pleased to add His blessed increase, and benefits flow to others. All are invited to make Herald of His Coming a channel of your giving in one way or another to the work of God’s kingdom.
To God be the glory for the way He has inspired faithfulness and in some cases sacrifice, to enable needed Herald messages to go out in spite of the uncertain financial conditions in the world. Thank God for the partners He provides to maintain the Herald’s timely mission in this late and critical hour! Let us pray together that our united efforts will make an effective impact by God’s grace and power, wherever the Heralds may go.