One of the great marks of our present world is procrastination. Usually, the idea goes something like this: “Why do today what I could do tomorrow?” It’s fascinating if you think about it. We exist in a world devoured by instantaneous gratification while simultaneously being devoted to the perpetual act of putting things off. As many of you know, you can only procrastinate for so long before your acts of omission (“failing to do what you ought to do”) catch up with you. Sometimes this is relatively indifferent, but in other cases, our omission may lead to our obliteration. One chief example comes from the book of 2 Kings 17 and what can best be described as the death of the nation of Israel.
The Jewish Exile was the great horror of God’s people being vomited out of their land because of unrepentant evil. God had warned them repeatedly of the danger of their sin. But they were indifferent. They could not be bothered. They put off what God had demanded from them. They did not bother to take seriously God’s commandments. They could not be pestered with His feasts, His sabbaths, and quite honestly, with God Himself.
Scripture is not ambiguous about this reality. We read in 2 Kings 17:22-23, “The people of Israel walked in all the sins that Jeroboam did. They did not depart from them, until the LORD removed Israel out of his sight, as he had spoken by all his servants the prophets. So Israel was exiled from their own land to Assyria until this day.” (ESV)
The people of Israel had spent years spitting in God’s face. He had proven Himself gracious. God didn’t merely send one prophet, but we are told “the LORD warned Israel and Judah by every prophet and every seer” calling His people to repent. But they gave themselves to exactly what God had warned them to abstain from.
They were not merely indifferent about God, but they despised Him. And we learned about the de-humanifying process that inevitably accompanies idolatry: “They despised his statutes and his covenant . . . They went after false idols and became false.” (2 Kings 17:15 ESV) The same word for “false” appears in Jeremiah 2:5 as “worthless”. 3 (cf. Rom. 1:21)
Yet God is merciful. He gave them the gift of His Word and covenant. He afforded them a means of forgiveness, of purification, but even more, He gifted them with Himself. Nevertheless, in the scales of their hearts, they found God wanting. Whatever He had to offer was always viewed as insufficient. His path was not the means of greatest happiness, but the greatest obstacle to happiness. Such a lie persists even today.
But God is not only merciful, He is also just. There comes a day when our spiritual treason is justly called out. Here people fret. “Shouldn’t God be only merciful” What is most ironic about this, especially in our present context, is that we exist in a world obsessed with “justice”, but no one can tell you why it ought to exist. God demands justice because He is holy. God establishes justice according to His unchanging character and all of mankind is held accountable to it. His justice is not contingent upon this week’s obsession, or this generations household gods. His justice will be satisfied, and it demands blood.
We need to be warned. Our obsession with generic “good vibes” and “positivity” is leading our souls into spiritual deserts. Is it any wonder that we are so overly medicated, pursuing the contemporary soma that we might find some distraction from the futility of it all. We were meant to contemplate eternity, and we have exchanged it for 10 minute Ted Talks and 30 second TikTok videos. No wonder we are going mad and cannot even define the most basic realities of life.
We need to be warned that God is not indifferent about our spiritual indifference. Nor is that spiritual indifference indifferent towards us. When we depart from God, we are inherently uniting ourselves to someone or something else. As a fire cannot help but burn, so the human heart cannot help but worship. We will either worship the Creator, or we shall worship the creation, whether it be ourselves, our comforts, our pleasure, etc.
We must return to the warning of Christ and the Apostles: Repent. Believe in Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Save yourself from this crooked generation. Abandon your indifference, for it will consume you. Now is the day of salvation. Now is the day of rebirth. Learn from the idolatry of others for our spiritual procrastination will not be indefinitely tolerated. Come to Christ, and cast your idols behind you.