James Bond first saved the world from the villainous organization known as SPECTRE in 1962. Next November he'll do it again. The 24th Bond movie is even titled "Spectre." Apparently James Bond never ages. If movie time were real time, he would be 86 years old (Sean Connery was 32 when he played the first Bond).
While James Bond hasn't changed, the theaters in which he performs his heroics have. The latest innovation is called 4DX. Theater seats buck and dip along with action on the screen. Compressed air blasts from headrests to simulate bullets flying by. Fans provide wind effects. Rain falls from the ceiling and mist is squirted from the seat in front of you (you can turn off water by pressing a button). All this is intended to lure young moviegoers who prefer home theaters, video games, and online movies.
Technology has changed the way we live, but it cannot change who we are. We still feel the same fears and cherish the same hopes as our parents and grandparents did when Bond was fighting his first villain. Nor has God's nature changed. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). The Bible is still relevant because the God it reveals is still relevant to our deepest needs and desires.
This week I have been pondering a passage in 2 Kings 17 that seems eerily descriptive of our culture. Here we find a listing of reasons why God brought judgment against the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Let's see if they describe us.
Israel "feared other gods" (v. 7). America is home to five million Muslims, three million Buddhists, and more than a million Hindus. Twenty-five percent of born-again Christians believe everyone goes to heaven; 26 percent think all religions teach the same truth; 40 percent believe Christians and Muslims worship the same deity.
Israel "served idols" (v. 12), putting material things ahead of God. Is it idolatrous that consumer debt in America has grown from less than a trillion dollars to nearly 55 trillion in the last 50 years? Israel "despised his statutes and his covenant" (v. 15). What does God think of same-sex marriage, now legal in 35 states? Israel "burned their sons and daughters as offerings" (v. 17a). How does God view abortion, which has killed more than 57 million babies?
Israel "used divination and omens" (v. 17b). Is it relevant that the Satanic Bible outsells the Holy Bible six-to-one on American college campuses? Israel "sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord" (v. 17c). Is this sin related to pornography, which makes $13 billion each year in the US? Hollywood makes 400 movies a year; the porn industry makes 11,000.
As a result, "the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them out of his sight" (v. 18). What does God think of us? Have you prayed for spiritual awakening yet today?
Publication date: December 8, 2014
For more from the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture, please visit www.denisonforum.org.
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