The Curse Of Negligence
A very dangerous attitude entering into our general me today, and one affecting the whole structure of society, is that of doing just enough to "get by." The efforts of men are too often half hearted, with no spirit and fervor in the work, Such an attitude is serious enough and bad enough in secular affairs, but when it invades the sacred realm of religious life it becomes disastrous. Here one must deal with God, for it is He who is insulted and robbed by half hearted efforts, and the "get by" spirit. In the history of Moab, the time finally came, when, because of her idolatry and corruption, she was ripe for destruction. The word of Jehovah came unto the prophet Jeremiah pronouncing her doom, and commanding that she be destroyed; adding a curse upon those who should enter the work of destruction negligently, or refuse to act at all, Hear the prophet: "Cursed be he that doeth the work of Jehovah negligently; and cursed be he that keepeth back his sword from blood." (Jer. 48:10) Two words here need defining, namely "curse" and "negligently." The word "curse" is defined, "to invoke evil upon, anathematize, excommunicate, execrate." One needn't get over-excited when the pope curses or "damns" him as he did the Russians recently; but when God pronounces a curse, to disregard it is tragic. "Negligently:" "apt to omit what ought to be done." This is about the greatest problem facing the church today, the tendency to "omit what ought to be done." In Deut. 11:13 God demanded service with "all the heart." Jesus said the greatest command is that men should love God "with all the heart." (Matt. 22:37-39) God commanded that "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might." (Eccl. 9:10) And also that Christians should be "in diligence not slothful; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord." (Rom. 12:11) But what if someone should not take seriously the Lord in this matter, going about the work negligently today? The nausea of the Lord is declared against the insipid, indifferent, lukewarm attitude in no uncertain terms, when to the church, Laodicea, He said "I will spew thee out of my mouth." (Rev. 3: 16) That exactly expresses God's attitude still toward such a dispos ition. The general attitude of many congregations today, entirely too many, is that of doing "the work of the Lord negligently;" in worship, in work, and in warfare of a spiritual . and doctrinal nature. But note more carefully the next curse of Jehovah through the prophet, "And cursed is he that keepeth back his sword from blood." Moab must perish, must be des troyed; God commanded it, and whosoever would hold back, or shrink from the task, must perish under His anathema. The Lord's people are still His army, although not now engaged in carnal warfare, yet engaged in a warfare none the less terrific . and deadly. The Christian fights "against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." The exhortation to "contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered unto the saints" was not given to preachers exclusively, but to all Christians. No man, preacher or otherwise, can "contend earnestly for the faith" and at the same time "hold back his sword," To "contend" is to wield the sword, to smite "hip and thigh," as did Samson of old. The armor of the Christian is of a spiritual nature, perfectly adapted to the warfare; and as said the apostle, "mighty before God to the casting down of strongholds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God." (2 Cor. 10:4, 5) But for the sword to be felt among those whom God has said destroy, the work cannot be done negligently, nor the sword kept back "from blood." Is it true that in the army of the Lord there are too many "camp-followers" and not enough actual fighters? Xerxes said, "I wish I had as many soldiers as men;" maybe that is what the Lord wishes, too. Gideon's army lost nothing of strength when of the thirty-two thousand men, twenty-two thousand of them went back; and then later when, through lack of diligence, nine thousand seven hundred more of them were rejected. "A few with God are mightier than a multitude without Him," someone has said; and certainly the negligent and the "holders back" do not have Him, for He has said, "My righteous one shall live by faith: and if he shrink back, my soul hath no pleasure in him." And now, along with all the other "isms" the army of the Lord has to fight, such as denominatioalism, pre-millennialism, "straddle-the-fence-ism," etc., Catholicism looms more formidable than ever before. For a long time the blood stained harlot that rules from the seven hilled city on the Tiber, has been casting her lustful eyes toward the United States; and it seems that at last our President is about to embrace her. I am not appointing myself a critic of the President of the United States; neither did God appoint me such, but rather said that I should pray for him. But every student of History knows that this gesture will ultimately mean to the religious life of this country if carried to the full maturity of the Pope's desires. Without speculating on what might be the outcome, for only God knows that, the vital point is this: Every Chrisian must tighten the belt a few notches tighter, whet the sword a few degrees sharper, exercise himself to greater ability, and shaking off the spirit of doing the work of the Lord "negligently," strike with all his might this monster of iniquity upon every occasion, Who dares hold back his sword when God says "Strike!"