"They did not obey the voice of the Lord their God, but transgressed His covenant, even all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded; they would neither listen nor do it." 2 Kings 18:12
History is full of "if only's." If only Adam and Eve had believed God and rejected the temptation to eat of the forbidden fruit, there would be no pain and death. The earth would have never produced weeds and there would have never been predators and prey in the animal kingdom. If only Cain had obeyed God he would not have killed his brother Abel and be cursed.
If only Israel had not practiced idolatry, they would have been protected and not conquered and enslaved. If only David had not committed adultery with Bathsheba and caused her husband to be killed, Israel would not have had war and strife throughout his reign. If only the young rich ruler had been willing to give up his stuff, he would have received treasure in heaven and been saved and numbered among Jesusí disciples.
And if only most people would receive the gospel and repent of their sins, hell would be reserved for the few instead of the many.
Often when we face a crisis in our lives we think of how we could have prevented it. Most of our problems are avoidable. In fact, we bring many of them upon ourselves. Many die prematurely because of their choices. The person with lung cancer thinks, if only I had quit smoking. The person with diabetes thinks, if only I had controlled my craving for sweets.
When we cause injury to ourselves we think, if only I had been more careful. Life is full of regrets and we all wish we had do-overs. Regarding our health, we can eat better, give our body exercise and live less carelessly.
What about those who have died and are now awaiting the Judgment and the sentence of hell? The Bible says that the Lake of Fire is the second death but how long it takes to die there we donít know. It is a place of suffering and torment. Letís suppose that billions were now in hell, burning, being tortured and suffering - what would they say to those in sin? No doubt, many would say what Lazarusí rich man said, -"I beg you to send warning to my brothers that they will not also come to this place of torment." (Luke 16:28)
Those who perish in hell will have many regrets and the thought of "if only" will replay in their minds. If only I had received Christ and obeyed God, I would have eternal life in Paradise instead of burning torment in hell.
Let us live our lives in such a way as to make Satan say "if only." "If only I had been able to get them to sin. If only I had been able to tempt them to leave the blessing for the curse. If only I had been able to steal, kill and destroy them."