Isaiah 28:15 “You boast, ‘We have entered into a covenant with death, with the realm of the dead we have made an agreement. When an overwhelming scourge sweeps by, it cannot touch us, for we have made a lie our refuge and falsehood our hiding place.’”

     Of all the lies propagated by the fake worldly church the one that does the most eternal damage is the lie that makes people believe that their own goodness will be enough.  Enough for heaven and enough here on earth.  That false preaching seems to serve well in good times but what about bad times?  In bad times when life takes a turn for the worse hurting people are left with nothing to sustain them; Jesus saw this too and that there were few Gospel workers available;  “Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few’.…” (Matthew 9:36,,37)

     When life takes a turn for the worse, when disease or death comes knocking at your door, reality comes on you – full force and with no let-up.  How will you deal with it?  How, depends on what you believe and who is helping you through tragedy and loss.  Some believe only in what they think they see – just this short life.  Our popular culture of ‘death denial’  that  encourages living like life has no end, doesn’t help anyone.  Where are the party animals and the empty philosophers when death crashes our party?  The room empties out and the party moves elsewhere.

     We live life like it has no end.  We are not given to think about how precious life is because we are too busy entertaining ourselves.  How priorities would change if we lived each day as if it were our last or close to our last.  The Bible tells us; ” . . . people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27)  This adds a note of sobriety to life but sadly many don’t think of life’s limits before they’re upon them.  They don’t know scripture. They aren’t taught scripture.  And some who claim to minister to them don’t know or care about God’s Word either.   And so many have placed their trust in those who act like they’ve made a ‘deal with death’!  Popular culture scoffs at God and leads people into a shallow kind of  ‘don’t worry – be happy’ approach to life!  Popular preachers do the same.

    Barnes’ Notes explains what Isaiah means; “‘We have made a covenant with death’ – We are not to suppose that they had formally said this, but that their conduct was as if they had said it; they lived as securely as if they had entered into a compact with death not to destroy them, and with hell not to devour them.”  This is the celebrity lifestyle propagated by those who are successful and living life ‘large’.  In the world it is the all pervading cult of eternal youth.  In the fake religious world it is a twisted prosperity gospel.   It is a glittery, empty song that leaves everyone on a ‘sour’ note when reality comes to their door.

      If you want to know about ‘overwhelming scourges’ go visit the seriously ill in hospitals or in their homes as they struggle with dying.  Go visit prisons where many despair as they struggle with the consequences of their decisions.  Go visit drug and alcohol rehabs where lost souls take the first halting steps back to sanity and sobriety – back from the death’s doorstep. There will be no priest of ‘good cheer’ there  ‘working the steps’ with the addict.  Glib secular and new age preachers don’t do many hospital visits, or clean up vomit or pray with the dying.  The ‘don’t worry – be happy’ jingle rings very hollow in prison, the gutter and hospitals.

       Matthew Henry nails the empty ones who love your companionship and tithe in fair weather; “And whether those that teach are drunk with wine, or intoxicated with false doctrines and notions concerning the kingdom and salvation of the Messiah, they not only err themselves, but lead multitudes astray. All places where such persons have taught are filled with errors.”  You find lots of merry companions when all is well and few friends when the storms of life bring darkness to your existence.   In the dark times – empty philosophy and bad doctrine leaves you and those you love in despair!  This is so wrong!

     And what message will bring light into the places of hopelessness and fear that ‘overwhelming scourges’ bring?   Matthew Henry tells us; “. . .  it is only in Christ Jesus that the holy God communicates with sinful man. . . . If we are at peace with God, we have, in effect, made a covenant with death; whenever it comes, it cannot do us any real damage, if we are Christ’s. But to think of making death our friend, while by sin we are making God our enemy, is absurd. And do not they make lies their refuge who trust in their own righteousness . . . ”  The Gospel Word specifically came for dark and dirty times!

     What messengers will dare to go into the dark places to bring the Light of hope?  Those that preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ can and do go into places of despair and devastation. They bring a message that gives comfort and hope to despairing people. The pain isn’t dulled or denied but made bearable by introducing the Presence of the One who has been through it and overcame it.  Honest preachers will walk into dark places not because they aren’t afraid but because they believe Jesus is greater than the darkness of death.  They are convicted!  They bring the Word of conviction to a sick dying world.

      Jesus didn’t come for those that are healthy, happy and have no worries.  He came for you, for me, and for the guy cornered by life – up against a hard unforgiving wall;  “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31,32)  Jesus made no deals with death.  He defeated death!  “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:55-57)

     Jesus came to set us free of our chains – to set us free of fear, pain and death.  Jesus came so that we might live, here now and ever after; “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:9,10)

     Come Lord Jesus!
   

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