As Africans, we are no strangers to crime and violence.
We have had our fair share of invaders, dictators, warlords and freedom fighters who have then turned on their own people. Not only that, we constantly hear of assault, murder, rape, abuse and many other violent crimes.
South Africa is reeling as we are confronted on a daily basis with news of another woman or child being rape and killed.
A UCT student was raped and killed in the last week by a postal worker, in a Post Office, in the southern suburbs of Cape Town.
Many people in Africa live with this as their daily reality.
When will enough be enough? Is God concerned? When will God do something?
These are good questions that Genesis 6 helps us answer.
For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.
You may have seen the classic film “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” with Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Terminator (Arnold) is sent back in time to protect a young boy who will grow up to lead the resistance and protect the world against Judgment Day – a complete nuclear holocaust.
The Terminator was sent to prevent Judgment Day.
The Bible also speaks about a Judgment Day.
Not a nuclear holocaust, but a day when every single human being that has ever lived will stand before God to give an account of themselves.
However, the real Judgment Day, unlike the movie, is unpreventable.
The doctrine of the judgment of God or the notion of a Judgment Day sounds like complete lunacy to the post-modern, post-Christian world of our day. Our world despises any kind of authority or accountability that might limit my self-expression or self-government.
We can’t even handle someone telling us that we parked badly, let alone the truth of a Judgment Day.
But, just because we don’t like something, doesn’t make it untrue.
We are familiar with the idea of separation. We’ve all experienced it at one time or another.
Jesus taught that at the end of this age there is going to be a separation. According to Jesus, this world is not going to continue forever. There will be a supernatural end, a cataclysmic event, a universal conclusion to this present age. Jesus called this “the Son of Man coming in his glory”. Jesus, who first came into our world as a baby born in humble circumstances, will return again as the all-powerful King, who sits in judgment over the nations of the world. Then there will be a separation between what Jesus refers to as goats and the sheep. Those that belong to Christ, the sheep, the King welcomes them into his kingdom. To the goats, those who have rejected Christ, the King says the exact opposite: to depart from him “into the eternal fire” of “eternal punishment”. (cf. Matthew 25:31-32, 41, 46)
On 16 July 2016 a faction of the army in Turkey tried to take control of the government in a coup. Soldiers, tanks and F16 Jet Fighters invaded Istanbul. 280 people were killed, but ultimately the coup failed. TIME magazine called it: Turkey’s long night of the soul.
The good news was that the night came to an end, warring stopped, day dawned, hostilities ceased, and the fierce anger stopped.
A couple of months ago, a man with a severe peanut allergy died after eating a curry from a restaurant whose owner repeatedly ignored warnings that he could be putting customers’ lives at risk.
Paul Wilson was found dead after buying a takeaway containing peanuts from a Indian restaurant. The restaurant owner is on trial for manslaughter after he took a “reckless and cavalier attitude to risk” and “put profit before safety”. The owner received repeated and numerous warnings that he was putting his customers’ health, and potentially their lives, at risk by not labelling his meals correctly.
The prosecuting attorney told the court that tragically for Paul Wilson, the owner took none of those opportunities and ignored all of the warnings he was given. Now he is facing criminal prosecution.
Although we live in a very beautiful country filled with amazing cultural diversity and many good things, we also live in a country that faces huge challenges. There is a growing, rich elite that seems unconcerned for the poor. There is growing poverty because of poor education and lack of resources. When listening to the news we are confronted with corruption, lack of accountability, cronyism and poor service delivery.
The prophet Isaiah
Isaiah’s world was not much different and God’s message through Isaiah is for us today. Isaiah was a prophet in the Old Testament, who lived in Jerusalem, and related to the people a message from God. According to Isaiah 1:1 the vision is addressed to the people of Judah and Jerusalem. But the vision is not just for them, because 1:2 says “Hear, O heavens! Listen, O earth! For the LORD has spoken…” Isaiah’s message is for all countries, all generations, all peoples, all the inhabitants of the earth, whether you are religious or non-religious, Christian or Muslim. In chapter 5 Isaiah pronounces God’s judgment on the world in the form of six woes. This is God’s message for the us. Continue reading God’s message to South Africans