The church awoke one day to a horrible scandal. We blushed to hear that a preacher of the gospel had spent millions of dollars on fancy cars, lavish jewelry, luxury homes, expensive wines! The ungodly laughed and mocked, and the name of Jesus became the butt of jokes and satire. And then the world was told that the nation’s number one “sin preacher” had been caught in sin! Again God’s people cried, “Please say it isn’t so!” And we watched the awesome decline of some ministries. Amidst it all, these sobering words rang so true: “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God” (1 Peter 4:17).
Why was the church so shocked? We had been warning that judgment was at the door, and it must begin in God’s house. God is willing to let His name be mocked just to wake up the church and give one last trump to the world. “And if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” (1 Peter 4:17-18). God’s judgments in His house are so sudden and frightful, men’s ears tingle when they hear of them. When God judged the house of Eli, He said, “I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle. . . . I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knoweth” (1 Samuel 3:11 and 13).
When God judged Israel and the house of Manasseh for corruption, He said, “I am bringing such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whosoever heareth of it, both his ears shall tingle” (2 Kings 21:12). God told Jeremiah that such awesome judgments were soon to fall on the house of Israel that “whosoever heareth, his ears shall tingle” (Jeremiah 19:3). In Hebrew, to “tingle” the ears meant to rattle the ears and make them red with shame. Even the wicked will have blushing ears!
If God will rattle the ears of this nation by what they see and hear of His judgment upon the church, what kind of sudden, fearful judgments will fall upon this society? The media of this nation has delighted in making sport of religion. They have made the nation distrust all holiness preaching and made all ministers out to be charlatans and crooks. People lift their drinks to toast, jeering, “Here’s to all hell-fire preachers!” But it is all going to change overnight. God will tingle the ears of the world because there will be sudden ruin! Sudden death! But we can look up and rejoice because we know that our redemption draws near (see Luke 21:28).