Monday, January 28, 2013

Dark times calls for Light encouragement

I read a headline on Drudge that absolutely shocked me. I rarely read the news itself anymore, because it is, well, too shocking. I'm reduced to glancing at headlines with one eye closed and the other squinting. This morning it was not enough.

North Korea is experiencing a horrific famine. They have been for a long time. People in that closed nation are resorting to things that the world has only very rarely seen. There is a particularly hideous reported case. (The report itself is smuggled out at risk to citizen journalists, because the nation is so thoroughly authoritarian). The incident of which I am speaking is that there are reports, and not isolated cases, of people so hungry they are digging up corpses to eat them.

In other cases, parents have been murdering their children for food. In one case, a father killed his two kids while the mom was away on a short trip. When she returned, the dad said "we have meat", but the woman refused to believe it was pork, and suspicious, called the police. They found their teenaged children's body parts.

I began thinking, and pleading with the Lord to come soon. Because, you see, the times are so terrible. Just when I think I got over Newtown/Sandy Hook shooting, there comes reports of widespread cannibalism in North Korea. What next? I shudder to think.

Then I got to thinking, are times terrible? They are dark, and certainly getting darker by the day, that much is a definite fact. However, before I allow myself to sink into a funk, I think of two things. First, Jesus. And second, what my forbears went through. It is because of the work of Jesus we can be saved. It is because of the work of my forbears in the faith that the faith was handed down to me. I thank each and ever predecessor.

In this case today, I was thinking of Noah. Jesus said that at the time of the flood, Noah was the only righteous man left. Genesis 6:8 says that Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. Noah was blameless in his ways, and righteous. He walked with the LORD. (Genesis 6:9).

This is in contrast to the description of everyone and everything else. "The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." (Genesis 6:5). "Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence." (Genesis 6:11). "And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth."

That's twice in a row, God saw the earth and when God saw it, it was filled with violence and corruption. God was so grieved at this, He was sorry He made man! (Genesis 6:6).

In order to bring the bible to life for me, I like to think about what the bible is saying and think of what that looks like if it was happening now. In Noah's day, All men were evil. All flesh was corrupt. All they did was evil and when they were not doing evil they were thinking evil. The only righteous person was Noah. Of his sons, the bible doesn't say they were righteous or unrighteous. Just that Noah had three sons (Genesis 6:10) and that they and their wives came into the ark with Noah. (Genesis 7:7). We do not know if the sons walked with God. We do not know if the sons were blameless in God's eyes or if they were allowed into the ark because Noah's righteousness covered them. I mean, Job used to continually sacrifice on behalf of his children's sins to cover them. (Job 1:5). Perhaps Noah did also.

In any case, either it was a small band of humans who were righteous and did right in God's eyes, or it was one person. Either way, that is a lonely, lonely life. Imagine how grieved Noah must have been with all that darkness around him!

When I think of how grieved I am today, the sins of the world piling up... the awful knowledge of what is coming for them...sickness over my own sins... I think of Noah. For many years, 120 certainly, Noah preached God's righteousness and built the world's biggest boat (the world's only boat?) and asked people to join him. He had not one taker. They mocked and they laughed and Noah saw his neighbors and friends go further away from the LORD into their one evilness. How sorrowful he must have been?

Jesus said that right before He returns at the end of the Tribulation the days will have been like Noah's.

“But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. “For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,

Some take that verse to mean that the timing refers to the latter half of the Tribulation when they will have been when they were marrying and drinking and carrying on as normal. Some take the timing to mean just before the rapture, because after the rapture, when the Tribulation begins, nothing is normal.

Either way, I was thinking this morning, just how evil do the days have to get to be actually like they were during Noah's time? Worse than they are in North Korea? What is worse than eating your children? Not that humankind has never experienced cannibalistic infanticide before. (Lamentations 4:10; Deuteronomy 28:53; Jeremiah 19:9).

We Christians have a lot on our minds. But no matter how heavy our hearts are in their burdens for other people, we need not fear.

Here are some essays encouraging us as to the reality of our position. The darkness is around us, but not in us.

Here are 13 reasons Christians don't have to be afraid.

Here is an essay about Faith in Crisis

I started with a news reference to a hideous situation in anther country. I end with reminding us to keep our noses to the grindstone and our heads focused on working for Him who is Light. No matter how dark things got for Noah, he nailed his nails and bent his planks one by plodding one. He never stopped working until the LORD said 'get in the boat and I shall shut the door'. (Genesis 7:13, 16). We should never stop working until the Lord calls us with the trumpet of God and the voice of the archangel and a shout, "Come up here!" Yes it is getting dark. But soon the Light cometh! Noah persevered, let us take comfort in his righteous act as our example. Noah is an heir of righteousness (Hebrews 11:7).

Here is Encouragement for Christian Laborers — J.C. Ryle (1816-1900), "Expository Thoughts on Matthew"
“Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” – Matthew 11:11

“Do we know what it is to work for Christ? Have we ever felt cast down and dispirited, as if we were doing no good, and no one cared for us? Are we ever tempted to feel, when laid aside by sickness, or withdrawn by providence, ‘I have labored in vain, and spent my strength for nought?’ Let us meet such thoughts by the recollection of this passage. Let us remember, there is One who daily records all we do for Him, and sees more beauty in His servants’ work than His servants do themselves. The same tongue which bore testimony to John in prison, will bear testimony to all his people at the last day. He will say, ‘Come, ye blessed of my Father, receive the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’ And then shall His faithful witnesses discover, to their wonder and surprise, that there never was a word spoken on their Master’s behalf, which does not receive a reward.”
The dead may eat the dead but the living will dine with the eternal Savior at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb! Your reward who is Jesus Christ will come for His bride, and darkness for us will be no more.

5 comments :

  1. When reading the same article in which you refer to in your blog, I recoiled. But something curious crossed my mind as well. When the news seems to be so bizarre these days that one thinks it can't get any more bizarre, it does. My quick prayer was that I would not become numb to the evil, because it seems to multiply exponentially. I rest in Jesus daily, but I am, by nature, a peace-maker, and I don't want to 'shut down' due to the pain of knowing---yet, I don't want to not know. Does this make any sense? There is a fine line, I know, and I rely on Jesus to sustain me. I feel so heart broken. Truly, I think we are seeing the kind of evil Noah saw.

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  2. Thank you for delivering this message. : h

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  3. Those words makes me stronger. It is important always to have a strong faith.

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  4. When I think of these things, I think of God's grace and mercy. "There is none rightous, no not one". And I think of the fact that none seek God and then I marvel at GRACE.
    Noah was just like everyone else until God mercied him,Gen6:8,Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. And then God called him rightous as He does those of us He has mercied by His grace. Then I think about how people always quote John3:16, "For God soooo loved the world" but yet He destroyed them all but 8 people and He was rightous and just to do so. People don't understand that passage in it's entirety and context. They don't understand that Jesus was telling the Jews that God was going to save others out of other nations besides the Jews. God's sovreign choice is evident thru out the whole Bible and it is based on Him and not on us. He knew before the foundation of the world who Jesus was coming to die for and so He saw Him as the Lamb slain from BEFORE the foundation of the world.
    So my point here is, if you have been saved by the mercy of God, it is because of His love, not who you are. I am so thankful that God had mercy on me because when I look at myself I see nothing worth redeeming and know that He is right about me. Ahhh, amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. So let's be about God's work in these dark times,"Faith comes by hearing, hearing the Word of God. He has given us the privilege in participating in the work that HE is doing.
    The Bible says the days will be dark before He returns so we know that things are right on schedule so let us trust in Him as He perseveres us to the end.
    Maranatha!!
    Pam

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  5. Much faces the true remnant today - we have been warned.

    Tragically, far too many no longer heed the warnings but like those in Noah' day carry on as usual.

    Get Ready and Be Prepared. Darkness is beginning to surround this earth, but we must Look UP and hope in our LORD.

    We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.

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