By Jack Glover
From the beginning of time, the cost of sin has been high. It cost Adam and Eve the right to the tree of life (Gen. 3:24). It cost Israel the lives of all those over 20 their right to the Promised Land (Num. 32:11-12). And as we read below, it cost Judah 70 years of captivity in Babylon (Jer. 25:3-11).
“From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, even to this day, these 23 years the word of the Lord has come to me, and I have spoken to you again and again, but you have not listened. And the Lord has sent to you all His servants the prophets again and again, but you have not listened nor inclined your ear to hear, saying, ‘Turn now everyone from his evil way and from the evil of your deeds, and dwell on the land which the Lord has given to you and your forefathers forever and ever; and do not go after other gods to serve them and to worship them, and do not provoke Me to anger with the work of your hands, and I will do you no harm.’ Yet you have not listened to Me,” declares the Lord, “in order that you might provoke Me to anger with the work of your hands to your own harm.
“Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Because you have not obeyed My words, behold, I will send and take all the families of the north,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will send to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against this land and against its inhabitants and against all these nations round about; and I will utterly destroy them and make them a horror and a hissing, and an everlasting desolation. Moreover, I will take from them the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones and the light of the lamp. This whole land will be a desolation and a horror, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon 70 years.
The Bible contains numerous examples, as well as teachings, warning that sin is not free. In the book of Jeremiah the phrase “you did not listen” or “you did not hearken” are found many times. It is apparent that they were refusing to listen to the prophet, or prophets. Many warnings were given, but few, if any, were heeded.
Most of us have heard the warning “There is no free lunch.” Everything has some cost. When making decisions about life, especially the Christian life, we need to count what the cost is before going ahead with a sinful action (Luke 14:28). Is committing adultery really worth breaking up your family, ruining your reputation or getting incurable diseases? Are the consequences of stealing, cheating and lying worth losing your job, going to prison or offending friends? Is the pleasures of any sin worth the cost of your soul?
God has asked His people repeatedly to listen to the warnings He sent through the prophets, Christ and His apostles. They all tell us that sin will bring punishment in the form of losing our eternal reward. (Rom. 6:23) Although we are not under the Old Testament (Mosaic) law today, its examples are still there for our learning, and there are many examples of punishment to both individuals and nations (including God’s chosen nation) for disobedience to his commands and teaching.