II. B. All the land ruined with pollution (3)
“Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth in it shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of the heavens; yea, the fish of the sea also shall be taken away.”
Here read Joel 1:9-13: “Therefore”—because of all those horrible crimes of vs. 2, “the land shall mourn” in bereavement. For the inhabitants shall languish. Cp. Rev. 9:5, 6, 20, 21. “…with the beasts of the field,” the domestic cattle, and the wild animals of the veld; the birds die, and the fish of the sea shall be destroyed. Noah’s flood did not affect the fish, but this judgment does. Divine vengeance (God’s curse) extends to the inhabitants of the land and to its living creatures. The land and its creatures were made for man; now God’s purpose is to punish man in the removal of these creatures.
How could there be such a complete devastation of nature? By drought, pestilence, or the ravaging invasion of enemy armies; or by any combination of these. Palestine is about the size of the state of Florida. Therefore it is not difficult to imagine a literal fulfillment of this prophesied judgment. Even as recently as March of 1988 a devastating plague of locusts struck countries in Africa already suffering famine and starvation.
In our own land toxic wastes poison the ground. The run-offs from this poison the streams. Then fish die. Industrial wastes are poured out into the ground, belched up into the air and dumped into the Great Lakes. Land pollution, air pollution and water pollution poison our environment. Water fowl are poisoned, born deformed, and quickly die. Where air pollution is said to be the worst is in Washington D.C. There the air pollution count is the highest of any city in the world. Jacques Cousteau, famous French oceanographer, tells us that the oceans of the world are becoming irreversibly polluted. The Mediterranean Sea is becoming such a sewer that bathers in it run the risk of infection from sewage pollution. At seaside restaurants there is a danger of mercury poisoning and other toxins found in the food chain. Another famous oceanographer, Armond Fruchart, said, “Man in the year 2000 probably will not die of hunger, but of suffocation for lack of clean air, or of thirst, for lack of pure water.”
We and all men everywhere take the world’s resources for granted. We take our life for granted, giving no thought to the quality of life. We take air and breath for granted with little thought to air pollution. We take our drinking water for granted, giving no thought as to how long into the future we shall enjoy pure, safe water. We take the sunshine for granted, unconcerned with those areas where smog makes the disc of the sun appear red. We take refreshing rains for granted, hardly realizing that “acid rain” (poisoned rain) ruins whole forests, unmindful of the whole ecological chain affected—the ground, the streams, rivers, fish, birds, poisoned! A few years ago we learned that the Mississippi River had become so badly polluted that signs had to be placed along its banks warning against the wind-blown river spray as poisonous.
Therefore we do well before we eat to pray the Lord to bless our table fare, and then after our meals to thank Him for good, nourishing, untainted food and drink. Also we ought to pray that on the ground of Jesus’ perfect satisfaction for all our sins we henceforth live in true repentance a new life of holy obedience.
II. The Consequences of God’s Controversy
C. People and prophet fall to destruction
“Therefore shalt thou fall in the day, and the prophet also shall fall with thee in the night, and I will destroy thy mother.” This divine severity would come on them because they had destroyed His prophets. The people would fall, and by night, so would the prophet, the false prophet who had deceived them. They deceive with their message of “Peace! peace!” But then sudden destruction comes on them. Then both the blind leadesr and their blind followers fall into the ditch.
True prophets were sent when the priesthood had failed. II Sam. 2:27, 28; Mal. 2:7, 8; Jer. 6:13. “I will (temporarily) destroy thy mother,” i.e. Samaria, the metropolis of Israel. Of course, this meant then, that the whole organism of the church, in its reprobate shell and elect kernel, would be destroyed (but later revived under Nehemiah). But what is strictly in view here is apostate Israel—the Israel that falls away, the false prophets which have apostatized. True prophets never do that.
Whenever a true church apostatizes to become a false church, it does not fall into a static state, but keeps on falling away, say from Puritanism to Unitarianism, to Romanism, to Atheism, to destruction in Hell. Or the church falls away from the Reformed faith (from the Reformed Confession and Reformed standards and liturgies, from the Presbyterian catechisms and Westminster Confession) to Amyraldianism, to Arminianism, to semi-Pelagianism, to Modernism, to the cults and the occult…The text brings us to that last fall—into Hell. All apostasy culminates in ecclesiastic Babylon, which keeps falling away (apostatizing) until its ultimate fall: “And there followed another angel, a second, saying, ‘Fell! Fell! Babylon the great city!…’” (Rev. 14:8; 18:2, Greek)
II. C. 1. The people put to shame (7, 19)
“As they were increased, so they sinned against Me; therefore will I change their glory into shame. The wind hath bound her up in its wings; and they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices.”
“As they,” the children, v. 6, of apostate priests and false prophets, “were increased.” Here is the increase of ungodly children in reprobate generations. They increased by whoredom. Think of the bastard children American servicemen leave behind in every country they have been in. As they increased in number, so they increased in sin, so the more they became careless and profane. They produce an unholy seed, ignorant of God, His law, His ways, so rejecting knowledge. “Therefore, they say unto God, ‘Depart from us, for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways.’” (Job 21:14). This is what the U.S. Supreme Court says to God, and what the public school system says to Him. Could this have anything to do with the fact that “American schools are far behind the schools of the civilized world”?
“So they sinned against me,” imitating their parents. “Hear ye this, O priests; and hearken ye house of Israel, and give ear, O house of the king, for judgment is toward you” (Hos. 5:1) “As troops of robbers wait for a man, so the company of priests murder in the way of consent; for they commit lewdness” (6:9). “According to their pasture, so they were filled; they were filled, and their heart was exalted; therefore have they forgotten Me” (13:6). “Jeshurun waxed fat and kicked. Thou art become fat; thou art grown thick; thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God who made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation” (Deut. 32:15).
When they became rich and prosperous, rolling in luxury, their prophets rebuked them and goaded them with good, but they kicked aside the admonitory ministry. When warned that “the prosperity of fools shall destroy them” (Prov. 1:32), they lifted up the heel against God and flew in the face of Providence. They had taken to that old lie, “ye shall be as gods” and made a god of their bellies in their pride, plenty, prosperity, sensuality and senselessness.
“And I will change their glory (the priesthood, Mal. 2:7-9) into shame” (v. 7b). The people shall mourn over its departed glory, and also the priests that rejoiced in it, because now it is gone, and so are they (Hos. 10:5). They “shall receive shame, and Israel shall be ashamed of his own counsel” (10:6).
“The wind hath bound her up in its wings; and they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices” (4:19).
In their idolatries and adulteries they had sacrificed all their health, wealth, comforts, time and strength to the lusts of the flesh. “By means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread” (Prov. 6:26).
Next, from that first point (under II. C.), the people put to shame (7, 19) we go to:
2. Nothing shall satisfy them (10).
“They shall eat and not have enough.” They never have enough who never know when they’ve had enough. “They,” the priests who robbed the people of the best, fresh, raw meats so they could enjoy their own favorite roasts. They got fat and overweight without being satisfied or nourished. Greedy, they were insatiable.
“They shall commit whoredom and not increase.” Solomon had wives, concubines, a total of 1000 women, yet only one son to carry on his name, and he was a fool! I Ki. 12. “Their glory shall fly away like a bird, from the birth, and from the womb, and from the conception. Though they bring up their children, yet will I bereave them, that there shall not be a man left
…Ephraim shall bring forth his children to murderers…Give them, O Lord…a miscarrying womb and dry breasts…I will love them no more…they shall bear no fruit; yea, though they bring forth, yet will I slay even the beloved fruit of their womb…”(Hos. 9:11-17).
Part of this spiritual whoredom was involvement in the occult, in witchcraft, with spiritist mediums. Dr. Kurt E. Koch has had years of experience observing family case histories of witches, wizards, i.e. mediums, now called “trance channelers.” He documents their coming to tragic ends by suicide, fatal accidents, horrible death-bed scenes—all well-known to him. In his book, “Christian Counseling and Occultism,” pp. 184-189, he writes of God’s curse on occult fortune-tellers, the trance channelers and their families and descendants to the third and fourth generation. He details the horrible effects that their occult activities have had on them. Israel was never to have found among them an enchanter, charmer, witch, a consulter of familiar spirits (of “spirit guides”) or a wizard (a male medium, sometimes called a “shaman.” Deut. 18:10, 11). The law of Moses required that these not be allowed to live (Ex. 22:18), but be stoned to death (Lev. 20:27).
– To be continued, D.V. –