"Sinners In Zion"          

Isaiah 33:14


     There were many in the Old Testament church, as there are many in local churches today, who were the saints of God in name only. They were in Zion. But they were not of Zion. They were hypocrites,professing to be what they knew they were not,the servants of God.No one knew their true character until God, in providence, put their faith to the test. Then they showed themselves to be "sinners in Zion" and hypocrites at heart.

     When things are going well, it is impossible to separate the precious from the vile, to distinguish wheat from tares, sheep from goats, true believers from hypocrites who merely profess to be believers. The gospel net takes in both bad fish and good. And in times of peace and prosperity it is impossible to tell one from the other. But when trying times come, when adversity comes, when the fires of persecution burn, false brethren soon show themselves. When the rains of providential judgment begin to fall, the floods of earthly care rise, and the winds of persecution blow, those houses that are built upon the sand will fall. At such times, sinners in Zion are afraid and fearfulness takes the hypocrites by surprise.

     Isaiah 33 describes a time of great trouble in Judah. Sennacherib and the Assyrians had invaded the land. Many nations had already fallen prey to the merciless invaders. But the Lord God promised Judah that he would protect her (Read II Kings 19:32-34). Yet, there were many among the chosen nation who did not believe God. They were terrified at the sight of Sennacherib. Though they were in Israel, they were not of Israel. They professed to be saints. But they were sinners at heart. They claimed to worship God. But they were only hypocrites. In the time of trial the sinners and hypocrites in Zion were discovered. They showed their fear and unbelief. Because they did not believe God, they began to flee, though none pursued. They trembled, though no enemy was seen.

     Beware of hypocrisy! Make your calling and election sure. Do not be satisfied with being in Zion, or in the church. Give no rest to your soul until you are in Christ. If our religion is not true, it will fail in time of trouble. If our hope in God does not make us calm and peaceful in the hour of trial and the night of sorrow, of what use is it?



Don Fortner