Why didn’t God relent when Josiah purged the land of all the false gods and led the people back to worship Him? Why didn’t He allow Josiah to have as long or longer a reign as his grandfather, Manasseh? Why wasn’t Josiah’s repentance and restoration of Israel enough to prevent judgment?
I don’t have the answer.
But what seems clear from this account is that there is a point of no return. There was a point of no return for Israel and beyond that point, there would be judgment regardless of what changes they made.
In the same manner, the Bible warns us, “Look, now is the right time! Look, now is the day of salvation!” (2 Corinthians 6:2) and “Today, if you hear his voice, don’t have stubborn hearts as they did in the rebellion.” (Hebrews 3:15)
God’s grace is abundant and infinite for those who claim it. But there comes a moment when it is no longer available.
That might be the moment you slip suddenly into eternity while thinking there would be time to turn to God later. Or it might be that moment comes sooner, that you continue to live for many years but no longer have the Holy Spirit’s conviction for sin, no longer have any desire for God. There may come a moment when you have hardened your heart so many times that it is too calloused to sense Him calling any longer.
But here is the good news. If thinking that you might have reached that point of no return brings sorrow, repentance, and a desire for God, then it is not too late. As long as you have breath and the desire, which only comes from the Holy Spirit, this is your opportunity!
As the world learned today of the passing of Stephen Hawking, I wondered if in his final moments he came to realize that the source of the universe he found so fascinating was the God who gave him year after year beyond any doctor’s prognosis. God granted him more than fifty years to continue studying, learning, investigating, to perhaps one day come to acknowledge and worship God. Only God and Stephen Hawking know whether he ever came to such a realization, but one thing is certain.
Today, Stephen Hawking understands all the mysteries of the universe that he sought his entire life. More importantly, he has finally learned that there is a God.