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Religious Reflections

Like chaff and smoke

by Pastor Steven J. Wallace

Therefore they shall be like . . . chaff blown off from a threshing floor And like smoke from a chimney - (Hosea 13:3, NKJV).

Hosea preached to the children of Israel from 750 - 710 B.C. His marriage to an unfaithful woman who bore him children (probably progeny from other men) served as a back drop for his nation's apostasy from Jehovah. Hosea's culture was corrupt to the core, and any causal perusal reveals many similarities of our own present "state of the union."

He cried, . . . There is no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land. By swearing and lying, killing and stealing and committing adultery, they break all restraint, with bloodshed upon bloodshed (Hos. 4:1-2, NKJV).

Hosea 13:3, however, speaks of the short-lived state of his nation even as smoke is pictured of as escaping a chimney and quickly vanishing away. Assyria was about to blow them away like chaff (Hos. 9:3; 10:6).

This passage should make us contemplate on our own life and world.

1. There is no lasting life on earth. The Bible plainly teaches that life here is but a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away (Jas. 4:14). And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment (Heb. 9:27).

2. There is no lasting comfort away from God. Are you living away from God? Perhaps your life is overflowing with worldly things which crowd out time to invest in your soul? There may be some pleasurable yet sinful activity that enables you to suppress the reality of God. Do not be deceived by sin's lure; life away from God is tormenting. It is so tormenting in fact, that it compelled Jesus to die for our sins that we might not be separated from God (Is. 53:5; 59:2). 1 Peter 4:18 warns, Now, if the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear? The Psalm states, As smoke is driven away, So drive them away; As wax melts before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God (Ps. 68:2). It is not that the wicked will no longer exist, but rather, they will perish in eternal torment. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night. . . (Rev. 14:11, NKJV). Have you obeyed Christ (Mk. 16:16)?

3. There is no lasting work apart from God. The wise sage Gamaliel once said, ... for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow ...(Acts 5:38, 39). Let us realize, that in the eternal scheme of things, labor in the Lord is not vain, but everything else will come to nothing (cf. 1 Cor. 15:54; 2 Pet. 3:1ff).

4. There is no lasting kingdom apart from the church. Contrary to what most religions teach, the kingdom of Christ was established in the first century. It surely came to pass just as Daniel long ago prophesied, And in the days of these kings [Roman kings, sjw] the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed . . . and it shall stand forever (Dan. 2:44, NKJV). John the apostle of Christ penned, I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom... (Rev. 1:9). John was as much in tribulation as he was in the kingdom.

This calls for a radical rejection of the many human theories that have encompassed most of the denominations of today regarding some future kingdom.

Invest in your soul, investigate the Church of Christ.

- Steven J. Wallace (Evangelist for the Sunnyside Church of Christ, 1312 E. Edison Ave.)

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