Worn Out World

Scripture: Isaiah 20:2
Our world is filled with so many natural disasters and man-made disasters. This is not the world as God originally created. The world is wearing out. People long for Eden to be restored, the world which the Lord first made.
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A group of construction workers were eating lunch together and discoursing on the troubled times. As it often did, the talk drifted to the news of the day, the hot wars and cold wars, crime and violence, accidents and disaster, the political, economic and social perplexities. It was an ugly recital and the carpenters, naturally of a practical turn of mind, were hardly optimistic. "It is a great world," one of them observed cynically. "The world is all right," another corrected wryly, "the trouble is with the people who are in it." Maybe that is so, but is it really true, friends?

Let's look at this strange world of ours for just a moment today. Take the weather, look at the endless onslaught of destructive storms, the mud slides, volcanoes, tornadoes which rake our world annually. Look at those fierce blizzards, the flash floods that are visited on us every season. Look at the cold spells and hot spells, the dry spells and wet spells, the disastrous spring run-offs from benuded hills, tilled prairie lands. What a frightening toll of human life they exact! What a treasure of material wealth they destroy! How relentless they are in wearing away the precious layer of fertile top soil! Again, take the fires started by lightning. Have you ever seen fire running into green timber? Or across a parched prairie? Dry prairie grass burns just about like oil. A conifer practically explodes! Have you ever seen the animals of the wild try to outrun such a conflagration when a stiff wind is blowing, and get trapped? It is not a pleasant thing to see and what is left when the flames have raced on is neither beautiful nor profitable.

And then, what about the earthquakes and volcanoes? No one enjoys having his home shaken down on top of him, or his city, and who wants to be buried alive with ashes while he sleeps? Yes, these things have happened and they keep on happening all too frequently. Look at our atmosphere. How desirable is the sullen gloom of a cold inert fog or a hot dry wind that blows all day and every day for weeks and months at a time? What of the many deadly viruses borne about on the tiny particles of dust and moisture in the air? And the hordes of insects, fungi and bacteria, many of them so vitally affecting our bodies and our food supplies? And then think of the myriads of weeds. How costly and troublesome they are!

Now, friends, notice the basic geography of the earth. How little land there is compared to the dreary waste of water. Of the land area, how much of it is mountainous and too arid really to be of any use to man. Capping our earth at the poles are the immense frigid zones where normal human life is practically impossible. Have you noticed the fear and savagery which dominates the animal world? Watch a bird feeding. A peck of food, a look to see if danger is approaching, another peck, another look, but not too many pecks or looks in one place for danger is never very far away for a bird. It is like that all day and every day until death comes either by violence or disease. Something has gone wrong, friends. This is not the kind of world God made, nor is it the kind He intends for us to have. Better by far than this was Eden of old. Far better will be Eden restored. Surely as the Psalmist says, "The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain."

Our world is waxing old. The effects of sin, like the infirmities of age, weigh heavily upon it. The 20th century could have been a period of world-wide peace and happiness. Instead it is a time of darkness and fear such as Isaiah described when he said, "Darkness shall cover the earth and gross darkness the people." Isaiah 20:2. Statesmen enter upon negotiations with such confidence but then suddenly their confidence is gone because the desired end is never reached. Commissions and agencies are set up with the avowed purpose of searching for a formula whereby certain harmful situations can be altered. Then after months of hard labor, it is found that conditions have just grown worse. Why, it is becoming clearer all the time that each year brings new problems that defy all solution. According to journalist C. E. Vulliamy, "Humanity is marching solidly with no emotion more precise than bewilderment, into the deadest of all dead ends. It's too late now for any one to be effectively self-righteous. Man has resolutely set his foot on the broadway that leads to destruction." That is taken from his book, MAN AND THE ATOM.

As disillusionment spreads, thinking people are beginning to wonder why so many good plans for a better world have gone astray. They overlook the Bible fact that man has a weakness, a disease, over which he has no control. It is worse than cancer. It is too deep-seated even for an electronic microscope to detect. No laboratory technician can isolate it. "For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord God." Jeremiah 2:22. "Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil." Jeremiah 13:23. Yes, friends, faster and faster spins the wheel of change.

"I try," writes Bertrum Russell in PORTRAITS FROM MEMORY, "though with indifferent success, to accustom myself to a world of crumbling empires, Communism, atom bombs, Asian self-assertion, and aristocratic downfall. In this strange, insecure world where no one knows whether he will be alive tomorrow, and where ancient states vanish like morning mist, it is not easy for those who were accustomed to ancient solidities to believe that what they are experiencing is a reality and not a transient nightmare. Very little remains of institutions and ways of life, that when I was a child, appeared as indestructible as granite." Yes, my friends, that statement was made by one of the world's great philosophers. These dismal words echoed from many rostrums and today's world reminds one of the condition of those that the apostle Paul describes as "having no hope and without God in the world." Ephesians 2:12

Gertrude Stein in her last piece of prose before her death in 1946 said this: "If you're not scared, the atom bomb is not interesting." Well, that is it alright, friends. Our civilized world is running scared. Almost the whole world is afraid of the probable results of its recent past, afraid of what the future holds and also afraid for today. The past is a haunting skeleton, uncomfortably nearby and the future is a menace taking an ugly shape. These two combine to make today but a brief period of agitation between two dilemmas. Such is the sum of life for millions of mankind, they are scared.

Well, what about you, friends? Have you found any security? Have you found any remedy for this great fear? Notice how Paul describes the situation in 2 Timothy 3:1-4 and I'm reading this out of Phillips translation. "But you must realize that in the last days the times will be full of danger. Men will become utterly self-centered, greedy for money, full of big words. They will be proud and contemptuous without any regard to what their parents taught them. They will be utterly lacking in gratitude, purity, and normal human affections. They will be men of unscrupulous speech and have no control of themselves. They will be passionate and unprincipled, treacherous, self-willed, and conceited, loving all the time what gives them pleasure instead of loving God. They will maintain a façade of religion but their conduct will deny its validity. You must keep clear of people like this."

Friends, how accurately is this prediction being fulfilled today. How true it is that millions are lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God. "They have a form of Godliness but deny the power thereof." Verse 5. Hence the tragic growth of lawlessness and the general decline in morality. In the language of Carl F. Henry, Editor of CHRISTIANITY TODAY, "Western man has been floating downstream on the River of Negation, for driftwood requires nothing in the way of spiritual decision. Today, tossed by doubt and uncertainty, modern man is wearying of this world and of himself."

Well, friends, in Genesis 6:11, prior to the great deluge of Noah's day, the Bible record states that the earth was filled with violence. Even so today as men turn away from the living God and true religion, unbridled passion creates unrest, riots, mob violence, race friction, revolution, and war. "As it was in the days of Noah," said Jesus, "So shall it be also in the days of the Son of man." Luke 17:26. Of the antideluvians it is said, "They knew not until the flood came and took them all away." Matthew 24:38. Even so the second coming of Christ will burst upon the thoughtless multitudes of this modern world as an overwhelming surprise. In speaking of the signs that will immediately precede His return to this earth, Christ especially mentioned "distress of nations with perplexity, and men's hearts failing them for fear and for looking after those things which are coming upon the earth." Luke 21:25, 26.

A popular French writer recently declared that in his opinion mankind is beyond salvation. Though this is partially true, there is a brighter side to it, radiantly illuminated by the sure promises of God's Word. Probation has not yet closed. The door of mercy still stands ajar. The loving Voice of God is still pleading and whispering to us, "Give Me thine heart."

When Eve's first baby was placed in her arms, she exclaimed in joyful anticipation, "I have gotten the man Jehovah." Genesis 4:1. This is from Spurnell's translation. Eve thought that she had given birth to the promised Redeemer, but she lived to discover that her first-born was not the Messiah but the world's first murderer. Four thousand years went by before the angels announced Christ's birth in Bethlehem's manger. During those intervening millenniums, the sons of Adam marched in unbroken columns unto the dark shadows of death. None have returned to tell what life beyond the grave is like, and in 1 Corinthians 15:22 we read this: "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." What thrilling news this is to dying men. We know from past experience that men don't live very long. Life at its best is all too short, and we know the curse of death lies heavily upon the human family. But as we are doomed to die in Adam, so are we predestined to live in Christ. This, then, is the great remedy, the great panacea to the world's ills. Have you discovered that remedy, dear friends? Have you taken Christ as your Saviour and your Helper so that you can be delivered from the hopelessness that grips this modern world of ours? May this be your happy experience to lay hold of Jesus Christ as a Saviour and Friend, as a power to deliver you from this lost and dying world. This is our only hope.

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