Saturday, June 2, 2012

Studying prophecy brings joy in seeing God as sovereign

Word of the week: Collapse.

Societal, cultural, financial, economic, political. The world as we know it is ending. And now we really see that this is so. This week's news brought the world ever closer to the consciousness that things will not remain as they have been. And still, as much as the world sees that the events we are experiencing in the aforementioned realms are changing, for the worse, and perhaps to never be the same again, they still insist that this has nothing to do with Christ. They say, 'Oh, the world is changing, and the Zombie/Mayan/Cayce/Nostradamus apocalypse may be near, but it has nothing to do with that guy, Jesus.'

A prophecy from Peter: "They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”" (2 Peter 3:4).

They say such things because they believe them. Satan has blinded the lost to the things of Christ. It has always been so. The Israelites taunted Jeremiah with the same:

"Behold, they say unto me, Where is the word of the LORD? let it come now." (Jeremiah 17:15)

And why do they believe the Zombie/Mayan/Cayce/Nostradamus apocalypse and not the Christian Revelation of the promised Apocalypse? Because the aforementioned are from satan. Now satan, they'll believe.

Technically, the world has been ending since Genesis 3, but the feeling of chaotic flying apart has increased dramatically in the last two weeks. Pundits are talking openly of a Euro collapse, and at one point Bloomberg's market screens showed Greek drachma! Panic calls to the institution yielded a short statement that they were 'just practicing' and ended with a please move along, nothing to see here.

I'm enjoying the Spirit's sweet presence every day. I enjoy my walk with Jesus in increasing amounts of awe and joy. I am encouraged by knowledge of the sovereignty of the Father. Far from being depressed personally, I am more joyous all the time. Seeing these world events and understanding where we are on the timetable of God's prophetic clock, I'm slain with wonder at the vastness of His intelligence and the scope of human history- and grateful that I am a part of His kingdom.

Yes, the days are difficult, and I mourn for people who are lost in sin and for my own sins. But the events we read about here and elsewhere far from saddening me, make me think of Exodus 15:11.

"Who among the gods is like you, LORD? Who is like you—majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?"

In the current phase of Christianity, many have lost that sense of awe. I think it is because many popular teachers and preachers have taught and preached a raised up man. The excessive focus on our prosperity, our self-esteem, our pits, our problems, combined emphasis of His love to us, His friendship with us, His Bridal "romance" of us, has resulted in a lowered God.

Too often Western Christianity looks to Him as a friend, (which He is) but in looking at Him only as friend, through that one facet, and not so much as Sovereign King, Judge, and Holy God. This looking exclusively at Jesus through one facet has allowed many to devolve His status in their minds from friend to 'old buddy, pal o' mine.'

A sense of awe in Him was heightened in me this week as I read the unfortunate incidences of cannibalism (the South Beach Miami event was not the only one! And the problem is in Maritime Canada, too.) But as read some of these headlines- not purposely- but even as my eye caught them as they were listed on a page with other headlines, and I averted my eyes in disgust, I was amazed in realizing that the lower society sinks the higher I see Him. It is as if He is stripping away the layers and revealing us to be the depraved sinners we are and by contrast, we can't help but see Him as August Holy One.

Quite simply, western Christianity does not have a transcendent view of God anymore, and thus a sense of awe is lost. This particularly applies to prophecy. Only a Sovereign God expressing His will upon the world knows the end from the beginning. Only He at His will and pleasure states what will happen in a thousand years, or six thousand years, and it comes to pass exactly as He said! We are living in the times of Romans 1. Our nation is being judged, Romans 1 IS the judgment as He gives them over to their depraved minds. This is an awe inspiring thing- to see the bible pages ripped from its bindings and come to life on earth in the news. It makes me fear Him and it makes me love Him.

That He stays His hand of execution despite seeing the perversity in the world makes me love Him even more. He said in Luke 13:6-9

The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree
"And he told this parable: "A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, 'Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?' And he answered him, 'Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.'"

The vineyard owner is God who rightly wants to see fruit in His tree. The gardener is Jesus who came to sow seed and tend it. He pleads with the Vineyard owner (God) for a bit more time. The parable relates to both the nation of Israel that God had planted and also to the fruit-bearing individual. Jesus had been preaching for three years, but even after He ascended the tree was not uprooted- yet. That happened in 70AD when Jerusalem was sacked by Rome and the inhabitants scattered.

So when I write of judgments to come and the signs that indicate their nearness, rather than be completely sad, I also focus on how compassionate He has already been. "It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not." (Lamentations 3:22) He has been giving the Spirit time to grow seeds, waiting for us to repent, bringing many sons to come to Glory! (Hebrews 2:10). His wrath is tinged with patience, and I am in awe of this God who loves us despite the perversity and rebellion we see in the world today!! THAT is how I stay positive. I hope you do too.

Habakkuk finally got it, saying in chapter three:

"Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble to come upon people who invade us." and then he said,

"Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places."

No matter how low the world gets, the Lord makes me tread on high places. My Holy awe of Him is a reverence mixed with fear: “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ’God is a consuming fire.’” Hebrews 12:28-29

3 comments:

  1. Jesus the author and finisher of my faith will uphold me and those he calls to himself.
    I have had a couple of weeks to examine some things as my mom has been in the hospital twice and my step dad struggles to keep up with what is going on. They, I am not their judge, have not given up their own way (or the worlds) to follow Christ. I am seeing the full grown fruit of a lifetime of following self and negativity. They are, at this point very confused about even the most daily things. I have prayed for them, they have had many opportunities, it seems as though the sun is setting on their day's. It is most difficult to watch. Same as the world as it slips into eternity, one person at a time without Christ. I too, am grateful beyond measure for the truth of the Word and the faith to believe it.

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  2. Jeff, I'm so sorry, You said that so eloquently...it brought tears to my eyes. I have dear ones who also are slipping away, and you're right, it is so difficult watch. Ill pray for you.

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  3. I am praying for you and your family Jeff. Take care, and God Bless you.

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