The second evident sign, the second harbinger of doom and one that one could argue is a direct result of the first, was the decline in morality, or of a moral standard.
We read of the moral decline of Israel in the Word of God, and often times one must stop and wonder if it was truly the people of God that were being described. The sins and immorality that they gave themselves over to would make even the most hardened of souls blush, committing openly, sins that God both abhorred and detested, and still does to this day.
A traveler journeying from Bethlehem to the remote mountains of Ephraim, stopped in a city called Gibeah to lodge for the night. An old man seeing the traveler sitting by himself in the open square, offered him a place to stay, as well as food and drink.
Judges 19:22, “Now as they were enjoying themselves, suddenly certain men of the city, perverted men, surrounded the house and beat on the door. They spoke to the master of the house, the old man, saying, ‘bring out the man who came to your house, that we may know him carnally!’
The story just gets worse from there, with the man’s concubine being abused until the morning, dying on his threshold and being cut up in twelve pieces, but I think you get the point of the moral decline that Israel found itself in.
Perversion, depravity, sin, all these were arbitrary terms to the people of that time, just as they are to the people of our time, and if it felt good, then they did whatever felt good, and because it felt good, they reasoned to themselves, it couldn’t be wrong or sinful. The pleasures that satisfied today, no longer satisfied tomorrow, and so the appetite for perversion continued to grow until men were surrounding the homes of their neighbors, beating down the doors wanting to do unspeakable things to their guests.
A nation reaches the height of its spiritual and moral decline when the priests, the preachers, the pastors, the elders, those who ought to be the spiritual authorities of the time likewise descend into sin and depravity.
1 Samuel 2:12, “Now the sons of Eli were corrupt; they did not know the Lord.”
Who were the sons of Eli? The sons of Eli were priests in the house of the Lord, those who were to be the mouthpieces of God and bring offerings before Him. Yet they were corrupt, they did not know God, they abused and profiteered off of those who came to bring offering to the Lord, and even lay with the women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. Because of them, because of the sons of Eli and their great sin before the Lord, the men abhorred the offering of the Lord.
1 Samuel 2:22-24, “Now Eli was very old; and he heard everything his sons did to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. So he said to them, ‘why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all the people. No, my sons! For it is not a good report that I hear. You make the Lord’s people transgress.”
Two chapters later, in 1 Samuel, Israel gets conquered by the Philistines, the ark of God is taken, thirty four thousand soldiers die, as do the sons of Eli, and Eli himself upon hearing of the catastrophe that had befallen the Israelites.
Throughout their descent into lawlessness, throughout their journey from sacred to profane, never once was there a self-analysis, never once did they look at their lives and at the Word of God and point out the inconsistencies therein, as long as the priest left them alone and didn’t bug them about their sin, as long as no one spoke up concerning their fallen state, as long as everyone went along to get along, the people were happy and content, but this did not mean that God was.
They were actually shocked when they lost the first battle, and even more so after losing the second battle to the Philistines. Even as a vanquished people, even as those fleeing from before the armies of the Philistines, I’m certain that some still wondered to themselves what had just happened.
‘But we brought the ark of God in our midst, our victory should have been assured, we should have won this battle, maybe God is losing His touch, maybe the years have taken a toll.’
Men today have the same reaction to hardship and calamity in their life, because well, they went to church once in a while, and they wrote out a check for the ‘special fund’ and the ‘church fund’ they even donated items to goodwill, and now this has happened.
On the surface, superficially, the church of today is doing great. We’re building buildings, building colleges, building universities, building recreation centers, we’re innovators and pioneers in speaking volumes but really saying very little, we’re geniuses at marketing and self-promotion, and through it all we think God is with us, how could He not be, until the day we have to stand and fight and realize that He has long departed.
What many today fail to realize, even many believers I’m sad to say, is that spiritual and moral decline are progressive in nature. Unless a nation actively seeks to stop its descent into sin and depravity, unless a nation actively seeks to change course and return to God, it will continue to fall further and further into the pit because it has no bottom.
‘Well, it’s gotten this bad, but thankfully it can’t get any worse.’
These are actual words I heard passing the lips of a pastor who was lamenting the fact that the church could have done more in preventing the rapid decline of both morality and spirituality in this nation. When I asked how he had come to the conclusion that it couldn’t get any worse, his only response was that he couldn’t think of anything more depraved going on than what was already going on. I shook my head and simply said, ‘then you have no understanding of how evil flesh can truly be.’
Unless God has enough and calamity comes, unless the cup of God’s wrath finally boils over and catastrophe upon catastrophe will begin to be visited upon our shores, mark my words, it can get worse, it will get worse, because sin knows no limits, perversion knows no bounds, and somehow, some way, the unimaginable will become common practice.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.