A prophetic look at the day in which we live
Be watchful so as not to become assimilated by the world.
Luke 21:34–36 (ESV)
34 “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. 35 For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
Wait/entwine with God’s Spirit so as to know His ways and be empowered.
Isaiah 40:27–31 (ESV)
27 Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God”?
28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.
30 Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted;
31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
To ‘wait’ in the Hebrew, as well as having a sense of eager expectation and of being full of hope, also has the sense of: to twist or to bind. It is an active word which should call us to an active obedient faith (Rom 16:26). Rather than lives enmeshed in comfortable, prayerless western cultural Christianity, we must entwine with the very life of Christ in prayer-filled pursuit of God’s divine will (cf Mat 26:39).
The conclusion of Isaiah 40:31 is that a prayerful life entwined in God’s will is the very life that will be strengthened in the power of His might (Col 1:9-12; Eph 6:10ff).
If we are convinced that this is a time of the revealing of God in His righteousness and His wrath, if we want to escape His revealed wrath in these last days, to live in His grace and to stand before Him in glory (Lk 21:36) then it is time to embrace our ‘Garden of Gethsemane’ moment. A time to me filled with the anguish of the fear of losing the presence of God (Mat 26:38f) and a time to wait upon the Lord for the power of His might to be revealed so that we may stand in that day.
Engaging in a prayer-filled life in eager anticipation of the hope to which we have been called, will naturally affect the way in which we live. This prayer-filled life compels a ‘living’ daily, walking expectantly, and acting obediently to His will.
Psalm 91:1–16 (ESV) He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
5 You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only look with your eyes
and see the recompense of the wicked.
9 Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—
the Most High, who is my refuge—
10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.
14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
15 When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”
While spiritual preparedness is the most important and dwelling in the secret place of the most high is the only place of absolute certainty and protection, the warnings of natural events also require a natural response based on the wisdom which is the inheritance of God’s children. Be physically prepared for that which is to come
Matthew chapters 24 and 25
Jesus’ prophetic words in Matthew concerning the end times are given to prepare us in every way. It is not simply information so we can smugly note that we knew, far better to offer assistance from preparedness.
This was the point of the dream Joseph interpreted concerning the seven lean years preceded by seven good years. In wisdom, Joseph prepared for the lean years by stockpiling grain etc. Then he was able to provide for his family particularly but also he enabled other nations to come and buy food that was scarce.
What can we take away from the words concerning not going back for your coat or not going back to the hose to take possession? It is certainly saying that events will be flood-like and catastrophic. So fast will they happen, that if you left your coat behind, don’t go back for it. However, wisdom would say that if you were aware that at any point a particular disaster might occur then wisdom would require you keep your coat with you. Further, it would insist you carried a bag with essential items; and that you were prepared to flee to a known and previously equipped place of refuge.
Luke 12:35 (ESV) 35 “Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning…
(giving to the needy etc is not as an NGO begging on behalf of the poor but as those faithful stewards of God’s provision who are able to give out of the abundance of God’s blessing.)
This is definitely a time to live counter-culturally. Too often living radically means to go to more meetings than others, to aggressively tell others about our interpretation of Scripture, all the while comfortably living in the success-oriented peace and prosperity of western consumerism.
To pursue a physical prosperity beyond dependence on government programmes or employer controls, is seen a lacking trust in God, while living affluent consumerist lives and religiously giving a portion to the church and some to welfare projects (like most ‘good’ people) is acceptable.
Matthew 11:19b (ESV) … Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.”
Of the utmost importance is the passionate desire to discover the God of the ‘thin silence’. To be so enamoured by the light of His glory that the thought of losing His glorious presence would drive us to a gethsemane-like anguish. Strive to entwine with His presence in the beauty of holiness and to enter that ‘secret place of the most high’, and to dwell in that place always and in every circumstance.
And after the fire the sound of a ‘thin silence’