God Always Has the Final Word

John Hoag, NBBI Chancellor
John Hoag, NBBI Chancellor

By John Hoag

Close to 2,500 years ago Jeremiah stood in the ashes of Mount Zion. The place of worship devalued by God’s people now had been totally desecrated by the enemy. The temporal things around him destroyed and desecrated, the man of God looks heavenward. “Thou, O LORD, remainest for ever, thy throne from generation to generation.” Lamentations 5:19. He finds consolation at the eternal throne of God. What a contrast – the eternal throne of God with Mount Zion, which was in ashes.

Thank God that Jeremiah’s life was not to be determined by the verdict of history but by the verdict of eternity. The man of God was motivated not by fear of man but faith in God. He refused to lay the blame for the defeat of God’s people anywhere else but to their own sinful entanglements. With his own people unresponsive to the Word of God, and persecuted by a leader supposedly representing God, Jeremiah powerfully stands amidst the ruins as a man who knows God.

A permissive society has taken its toll on evangelicals… there is no doubt that religion is growing today in North America but I am quite certain that righteousness is not growing. Sanctified leadership is a crying need in our churches and that means the New Brunswick Bible Institute has an important role to play in sending godly young people to serve Christ in our churches. Mark Bredin once said, “Bible schools that identify and meet the real spiritual needs of people are still in demand and so are their graduates.”

Declining Bible school enrollment across the country concerns us but we dare not fall into either of two dangerous errors. “I have little sympathy for a ‘Go Back to’ movement,” said the late A.W. Tozer and I would agree. We can’t sit down with founders, pioneers, or patriarchs for that matter and recover the past. Neither do I have much faith in the future dreams of an emerging church that disconnects from tradition, and past history in such a way that common faith is not relayed to the next generation. We must rather look up to the throne of a God, who reveals His will and His ways in His Word.

Mark Bredin, quoting Dr. Ken Hannah of Moody Bible Institute, once wrote, that in periods of decline “Bible schools dare not change their mission. The future belongs to those who know who they are and why they exist.”

Someone has suggested “God always has the final word.” The flood destroyed the old world but God remained. Job despaired of life but realized that being linked to the eternal God was what was important, Job 42:5-6. An entire generation of Israelites died in wilderness but God remained. Psalm 90:2, God will not forget us if we don’t forget Him.

This article appears in the November 2009 Open Bible Bulletin.

3 Responses

  1. Tim
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    I agree with your assessment. We need to stay focused on the truth of God’s word. We need to pray that our students (current and prospective) are filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, that they may walk worthy of Him, pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of Him. This would be a productive prayer for our churches as well, as they have the responsibility of encourging believers to live a life totally committed to Him.

  2. Troy
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    John, you hit the nail on the head. The answer is found in God’s word and looking to any other source, past, present or emergent, won’t work. God’s word, like God Himself, is everlasting and applicable to every generation. Religion is growing but righteousness is growing stale. Our churches need to be reminded that while NBBI and other bible teaching colleges are teaching students, our churches need to be teaching, edifying, and preparing their congregations to do the same work that students are preparing for. The world around us, both overseas and in our backyards, needs God and we need to make ourselves available to God for His purposes. He saw fit to create us knowing full well how mankind would treat Him yet it was still for His pleasure he created us. He than sent His son to die for us to offer us a way back to Him. Oh, how much He loves us! We need to live for Him, to be available to Him all for His glory.

  3. David
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    John, thanks for the timely message in our fast changing world. Far to many ill-advised individuals race headlong into change without consideration for the past or the future. We need more like Josiah: “He did what was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of his father David; he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.” O that NBBI might continue to carefully and prayerfully do what is “right in the sight of the Lord!”

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