Funerals call family and friends together during times of loss, sadness and weeping. Long estranged family members are sometimes brought together by the death of loved ones, where sorrow, tears and mourning reunite and heal personal breeches among the living. Yet there is a much greater "call to weeping" upon America and the Western World of Christianity today. The funeral of the nations, the death knell of our civilization, and the whole world, has been announced. The epitaph was written long ago. Will you attend that funeral? Is your name on that epitaph? Or will you hear God's "call to weeping" now, that you may escape this world's final interment and find a new world, with gladness and "joy in the morning?"
by Jerry Gentry
"And in that day did the Lord GOD of hosts call to weeping, and to mourning, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth: And behold joy and gladness, slaying oxen, and killing sheep, eating flesh, and drinking wine: let us eat and drink; for to morrow we shall die" (Isa 22:12-13).
"[Jesus] who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared" (Hebr. 5:7).
Seventy years have now past since Nebuchadnezzar's final blow struck death upon the nation of Judah. King Zedekiah was captured; his sons killed before his very eyes; the invading army "put out the eyes of Zedekiah; and the king of Babylon bound him in chains, and carried him to Babylon, and put him in prison till the day of his death" (Jer. 52:11). The thousand mile funeral march took the old nation of Judah to her burial place in Babylonian captivity. That is now long past history.
The former grandeur of Jerusalem and Solomon's temple are only a faded memory in the hearts of a few old timers&emdash;"ancient men" (Ezra 3:12)&emdash;who yearn to see their homeland. It is "by the rivers of Babylon" that these eyewitnesses of the old pomp and glory of Jerusalem now "sat down, yea. . . [and] wept, when. . . [they] remembered Zion" (Ps. 137:1). Out of this "call to weeping," a remnant of Israelites respond and return to Judea to rebuild the wall, the temple and the city. Yes, a remnant return to God, as a "firebrand plucked out of the burning" (Amos 4:11) of the fires of God's judgment.
Some 42,000 Israelites hear God's "call to weeping." Under Ezra and Nehemiah, they are organized. Together, they march to their homeland of Judea. During their journey, at the river Ahava, Ezra calls a fast "that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance" (Ezra 8:21). These Israelites hear God's particular "call to weeping" upon their lives in their time. Do you hear that call today?
It is a sight to behold as they arrive at Jerusalem. All the former glory days of David and Solomon are gone. Jerusalem lies in a heap. The wall is razed to the ground. The temple lies in rubble. All the city folks were formerly carried away as captives into foreign lands. The captors left only "certain of the poor of the land for vinedressers and for husbandmen" (Jer. 52:16).
First, the city wall is rebuilt, under Nehemiah. After a lapse of many years, and after much preaching and warning from the prophet Haggai, comes further response. Most among the remnant are fatalistic, saying, "The time is not come, the time that the LORD'S house should be built" (Hag 1:2). Yet eventually, the temple is rebuilt, by a few tenacious believers. "When the foundation of this house [the temple] was laid before their eyes, [the old timers, who had seen the former temple] wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy" (Ezra 3:12). Seeing is believing, then as now, for most, even among the remnant. Excitement spreads, as progress is made.
"So that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people: for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard afar off" (v. 13).
God's "call to weeping" was heard by Ezra and a small remnant of his day. Do you hear that same "call to weeping" today? What is the state of "your body [which] is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you" (1Cor. 6:19)? Is it fallen down? Are you living in sin and rebellion? Are you rebuilding your temple each day, through prayer, Bible reading and meditation? Or will you let it lie in ruins, given over to "the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life" (1John 2:16)? Do you argue, as did your forefathers, that "The time is not come, the time that the LORD'S house should be built?"
The Bible says there is "a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance" (Eccl. 3:4). The Titanic once sailed the Atlantic with thousands of people on board. Amidst merriment and partying and ill-timed dancing, this "unsinkable" ship, damaged by an iceberg, sunk. There were few survivors. What would have happened had they heard God's "call to weeping" and fallen to their knees with crying and heartfelt prayer? Flares from the Titanic were seen and there were rescue vessels within reach. But as it was, no rescue ship responded and most voyagers drowned. America and the Western World are sinking as sure as the Titanic. Yet the party spirit of merriment, feasting and pursuit of materialism and entertainment continues at an all time high among Christians of the Western World.
Jesus said, "Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted" (Matt. 5:4).
The Psalmist tells us, "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy" (Ps. 126:5). We must feel the pain of sorrow if we will experience the joy of gladness. King David admitted, "I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long" (Ps. 38:6). The shortest verse in the Bible states, "Jesus wept" (John 11:35). To what purpose does God "call [his people] to weeping, and to mourning?" It is because, "sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better" (Eccl. 7:3). We are born into this world with a heart infected by sin. Our hearts are not right with God. We need sorrow and weeping, whereby we "seek him [God] with all thy heart and with all thy soul" (Deut. 4:29), for healing and revival.
You must "draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. [You must] cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded" (James 4:8). How? By responding to God's "call to weeping." "Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up (v. 9-10).
The apostle Paul tells us, "Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.
What is it about God's "call to weeping" that brings joy to some, death to others? "For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death" (2Cor. 7:9-10).
God's great "call to weeping" down through history and even today "worketh repentance" in a remnant of Christians who will respond. He will ultimately arrest the attention of his children, one way or the other, willingly or unwillingly, voluntarily or through chastisement. There is eventually an ultimate and final "call to weeping" at "the end of the world." It is the same call heard only by a remnant down through all history. Do you hear that call today? What is your response now? Is the temple of your heart built up with Godly fruits? Are you a "vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work" (2Tim. 2:21)? Do "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, [and] temperance" (Gal 5:22-23) dominate your thoughts and actions?
Of the day of God's great and final "call to weeping," the Bible says, "For it is the day of the LORD'S vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion" (Isa 34:8). Yes, there is a "year of recompences for the controversy of Zion," which is quickly coming up. "A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the LORD hath a controversy with the nations, he will plead with all flesh; he will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the LORD" (Jer. 25:31).
Are you a saved believer? Are you bringing forth "fruits meet for repentance" (Matt. 3:8). Will you avoid that final great funeral march of all history into death, hell and the lake of fire? Then you will hear God's "call to weeping." You will "humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time" (1Pet. 5:6).
We are instructed that: "It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart" (Eccl. 7:2). Will you lay these words to heart today? Will you "go to the house of mourning?" Why? Because "the heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth" (v. 4). Where is your heart today? Will you mourn and weep for the sins of America and the Western Christian world? Do you grieve for the transgressions all around you? Do you mourn for your own personal sins and backslidings? Can you say with Jeremiah, "Woe is me now! for my soul is wearied because of murderers" (Jer. 4:31), when we look at the abortion statistics?
Can you say with Isaiah, "Rise up, ye women that are at ease; hear my voice, ye careless daughters; give ear unto my speech" (Isa. 32:9), when we witness homes and churches ruled by haughty women, who "walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet" (Isa. 3:16).
"Many days and years shall ye be troubled, ye careless women: for the vintage shall fail, the gathering shall not come (Isa 32:10).
"Tremble, ye women that are at ease; be troubled, ye careless ones: strip you, and make you bare, and gird sackcloth upon your loins (v. 11).
Such a day it is. "For it is a day of trouble, and of treading down, and of perplexity by the Lord GOD of hosts in the valley of vision, breaking down the walls, and of crying to the mountains" (Isa 22:5).
To all who are riding that "unsinkable" ship called the good life of merriment, frolic and materialism, who say "soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry" (Luke 12:19), God says, "Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee" (v. 20).
"O daughter of my people, gird thee with sackcloth, and wallow thyself in ashes: make thee mourning, as for an only son, most bitter lamentation: for the spoiler shall suddenly come upon us" (Jer. 6:26). Yes, the spoiler will come suddenly. How must we prepare?
The Bible says, "Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness" (James 4:9).
Yes, the Bible teaches there is "a time to weep," a "call to weeping." Will you find time to weep for personal sins and the sins of our nation? Will you fall to your knees and mourn for the transgressions of God's people? Only then will God deliver, now as in ancient times, when "they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses" (Ps. 107:6). Hallelujah!
"And when we cried unto the LORD God of our fathers, the LORD heard our voice, and looked on our affliction, and our labour, and our oppression. And the LORD brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders:" (Deut. 26:7-8). So will He do again.
There is a great Exodus yet to come, one so great it will pale the former into insignificance. This exodus for a remnant, from the lands of our present captivity in the Babylonian world system, who hear God's "call to weeping," will break forth into a great return and rebuilding at the return of Jesus Christ. The dawning of the great Sabbath of one thousand years is upon us.
"Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that they shall no more say, The LORD liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But, The LORD liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land. (Jer 23:7-8). "Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither" (Jer. 31:8).
Do you hear God's "call to weeping" today? Are you responding to Him now? Can God say of you, "I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people" (Isa. 51:16)? Will you hear God's "call to weeping?" Will you be among the remnant whom God ultimately "hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness" (Ps. 30:11).
Will you prepare now, by responding to God's "call to weeping, and to mourning?" Only those who respond, with Jesus, in genuine heartfelt "strong crying and tears," will experience that great Sabbath of rest of one thousand years and God's eternal kingdom. For this remnant, the Psalmist tells us in chapter 30, verse 5: "For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning."