“I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities,
and lack of bread in all your places,
yet you did not return to me,”
declares the Lord.
20 The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, 21 nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.
Yet you did not return. Yet you did not repent. These are the regular truths of lost humanity, even in the face of the true and holy judgment of God.
In Amos 4, five times we read, “’Yet you did not return to me,’ declares the LORD. Those lines, spoken to the people of the northern kingdom, all follow different judgments of God on the land. Multiple times and in various ways, God had chastened the people. The hardships they faced should have drawn the people back toward the Lord. After all, the people had agreed to terms with the Lord in the covenant at Sinai, and that covenant included provision for such judgments should the nation turn unfaithful.
In Revelation 9:20-21 as well as 16:9 and 11, we see something quite similar. When the judgments of God are poured out on the people of earth in this prophetic vision, mankind does not turn from his wickedness. Instead, the nature of the lost is to double-down on sin rather than learn from hardship. So, in the end, the people of the world store up for themselves the wrath of God to greater and greater degrees.
Do not underestimate the capacity of mankind to press forward with wickedness even in the light of true judgment and destruction. If God does not work to change our hearts, we will, worse than a recalcitrant child, stiffen our necks and shake our fists until the Lord takes from us our very lives. Even in hell, the wicked will not be truly repentant. While they will bow to Jesus and know that they justly deserve their fate, none will desire to turn from their wickedness to embrace the Lord.
When you see the nature of mankind to be stiff-necked and rebellious, thank Jesus if you have faith. Only through his sovereign power is a dead sinner made a living saint. And if you are made a child of God in Jesus, your relationship with your God is not based on your works or your goodness. Instead, your hope, my hope, our only hope is the love of Jesus and his perfect grace.
If you know Jesus, remember the nature of mankind. We never stop telling the truth to the world. WE never stop calling people to faith. But we must know that only the Lord can change a human heart. If mankind is left to himself, he fights against God and all that is good.
Finally, if you do not know Jesus, stop fighting. If you have any desire to stop fighting, know that this is a gift of God. Repent. Believe. Trust Jesus. Be saved.