A medical doctor once saw the finger nails of a man he identified as a baseball executive. By seeing them on T.V., he understood that the man had serious health problems ahead. Interestingly, the man he identified wasn’t the executive but a man sitting beside him. But the doctor’s diagnosis remained the same.
The future can sometimes be seen in present events. We often say, “If such and such keeps up, such and such is bound to happen soon.” Jesus noted that his generation had the weather deciphered. “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’, and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky but you cannot interpret the signs of the times....” Matthew 16:2. When Jesus spoke of the temple being destroyed the disciples asked him, “What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” Matthew 24:3. Jesus replied in language that still baffles Bible students.
Hurricane hunting planes fly into the violent vortex of wind and rain to give accurate details of wind speed and direction of the storm. That gives meteorologists a grip on what land mass is the target and what damage is possible.
However, as Jesus said to his day, understanding nature doesn’t qualify one to understand the “signs of the times.” They could tell the future of weather hours ahead by present weather conditions. But they had no sense of the “spiritual times” involved in Christ’s appearance in Israel. That failure led in A.D. 70 to Roman armies investing the holy city, dismantling the sacred edifice layer by layer and burning everything combustible. And Jews being sold into slavery by such numbers they cost pitifully little.
What about America today? Do the “spiritual signs of the time” have meaning for us? Well...consider: from the earliest permanent settlements in America, Jamestown in 1607 and Plymouth in 1620, faith in the God of the Bible determined acceptable behavior. If America had started with the morals in place today, where would America be today, four centuries later? Especially since but 56% of us believe in the same God who brought those settlers to America.
Are Christians insightful enough to see the future that our reckless belief and behavior will inevitably bring to our children and grandchildren? Or do we mistakenly think it’s no longer important that “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD”? Psalm 33:12. Or that it no longer matters that “righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people?” Proverbs 14:34.
Are we so depraved as to think that God’s Old Rules no longer Rule, leaving us free to make new ones as culture changes? It doesn’t take a genius to see the drift-rush in American life to the pre-flood Genesis 6:5 immorality. But is there enough spiritual insight left in America to prepare the nation for God’s Terrifying Judgment? Fini
(A disclaimer: I had no idea what I would write when I began this blog.)
Like birds in a nest, many people satisfy themselves with a chewed and regurgitated Bible message. Even then, like Charley Brown, they don’t want to THINK to understand it; they want to simply absorb the message by osmosis.
If that approach is correct, why did God command the men on Mt. Hermon, “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him” Mark 9:7? And Jesus said, “Listen!”, when teaching the parable of the sower Mark 4:3. And, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” Mark 4:9 And, “Consider carefully what you hear”...Mark 4:24. And, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this” Mark 7:14. Deuteronomy 18:15, I Kings 4:34, Proverbs 1:5 and James 1:19 are other representative scriptures.
Not wanting any of his spiritual jewels to be unrecognized or misunderstood, God demanded care in listening to every message. He wouldn’t be careless in what he said. He knew we would very likely would be as we heard. Listening hastens understanding since it stirs up “the little grey cells.”
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Like sins left too long unrepented, the Allies had little choice but to let Nazis have nearly three years to build up an invincible defense around the Ploesti, Romania, oil fields. Allied bombers appeared in the skies August, 1944, and often thereafter. The nearly impenetrable anti-aircraft fire inflicted staggering losses on those planes. And only at the end of August, 1944, did Russian infantry capture the city and its previous resource.
Any fault, when small, is reasonably capable of solution, at a reasonably small cost. But left to grow in us, either poorly disciplined or undisciplined, it will exact a severe cost before it ceases or recedes. Swollen with years of unchecked self-indulgence, it will require surgery that makes the cure more painful than the disease. And that will be the worst possible choice: to make peace with the sin rather than to war against it! “That’s not the way I want to be” becomes a mournful, “That’s the way I am.”
Let the words of C.S. Lewis encourage us: while sin begs our patience while it’s small, it offers no mercy to us when it’s large. While begging a small place in our lives at first, it will at last demand our entire life. America has so long boasted of tolerance that it sees any effort to correct sin as an unacceptable infringement on personal freedom. It’s time, before it’s too late, for America to realize that God imposes accountability on every freedom. Fini