Things in the world are bad, and thoughtful people often ask why. We look at certain communities and ask why conditions are so dire. Why so much violence and killing? Why such poverty? What can be done about it? The issues are complex. It seems obvious that poverty plays a major part in the problem. Then you see rich people killing their mother, cheating each other, and consuming drugs and alcohol like spring water. The effect of centuries of oppression is certainly causative, except for the millions of people whose ancestors did not endure slavery and racial bias, yet are still mired in poverty, prone to crime, and afflicted with substance abuse issues. Many say it’s the government’s fault. The education system is failing our children. You may wag your finger at the impotence of the contemporary Christian church. The breakdown of the family cannot escape an accusatory glance. In my opinion all of these, plus others, are accurate symptoms of the real problem.
In the aftermath of the great flood, God explained it to Noah with a matter-of-fact statement. In Genesis 8:21, He says, “I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done.” It is our heart that is the source of all of these problems. More specifically, it is the evil in the heart of man that is the root of the problem. Interestingly though, I think this passage also reveals that it is not the environment that is the problem. Because of man’s corrupt heart, God in ancient times wiped out every living thing that was not on the Ark Noah built. But after a year of environmental destruction by water, God knew that things had not changed. So as God continued to work His plan of redemption – which will culminate in the 2nd coming of Christ – He established an environment for mankind to live where God would not intervene with His just wrath. He said to Noah, “While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, And cold and heat, And summer and winter, And day and night Shall not cease.” (Genesis 8:22 NASB)
Here’s what I believe this means. We (human beings) will reap what we sow. Our lives on this earth will be the result of what we do. Not only that, but we have to live in accordance with the natural environment of our present time. In other words, we have to adapt to our current environment. When it’s cold – where a coat and gloves. In the summer – work and store up for winter. When it’s day – work; when it’s night – rest. There are times when things are more difficult – deal with it. Because of what others have done, things may be more difficult – deal with it. This may seem very harsh, but you have to have faith that things will change for you if you do the right things. It may be winter now, through no fault of your own, but will you be ready when summer comes around? It may be night right now, but will you take the darkness as an opportunity to indulge your flesh, or just sit around complaining? Or will you rest in God, spend the down time in prayer, and be rested for the inevitable rising of the sun.
No matter what the situation is around you or what environment you are in, your life is greatly impacted by what you do. Because of the evil of man’s heart, there is a harvest of evil all around us. Some of that harvest may be from your seeds. But you can create a harvest of righteousness and goodness with your own actions.