Will You Finish Well?

Proverbs 21:1, “The King’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord, He turns it wherever He wishes.” NASB

God used Assyria to discipline the ten tribes of Israel for their rebellion and idolatry. However, early in the process, God sent Jonah to one of the major cities of Assyria, Nineveh, calling the people to repent and turn to God. Jonah was predicting the destruction of the city in forty days, but to his surprise and dismay the city did repent and God delayed the judgment. Apparently, their repentance was short lived. Pride and power took over and they attacked Jerusalem but God intervened and destroyed the Assyrian  army that had surrounded the city.

Still, Assyria remained a threat and so God sent Nahum to warn the nation they were about to be judged. This time they did not heed the warning and repent. Instead, as Nahum prophesied, God used Babylon to bring judgment on them. Babylon became the world power for a season and we will see in future studies that God will send prophets to them as well.

When Assyria repented and turned to God they were on the right path. However, somewhere along the way, they got off track and ended up turning back to the old ways.  Judah did the same thing. Under Hezekiah there was great reform and the nation was on the right path, but under Hezekiah’s son, Manasseh, the nation turned back to the old ways. Judah was eventually judged by Babylon. We will see this pattern repeat again and again in future studies. God will make Himself known and people will turn to Him and follow Him for a time, but many will eventually go back to the old ways.

It is one thing to start well but we must also finish well. Even today we see people come to the Lord, repent of the old ways, and start to live for Him, and then, drift back into the old patterns and walk away from God. The Bible is put on the shelf. There is no longer time for Church and Bible study but always time for some form of recreation or activity. Peter had some very sobering words for those who follow this pattern in 2 Peter 2, which is our homework today. Let’s contrast 2 Peter 2 with 2 Timothy 4:1-8.

There are several images used in these two passages. If you were to use one of them to describe your relationship with God, which one would you use?

Are you going to finish well?

Don’t forget your homework!

Pastor Dave