A New Beginning
It’s that time of year when people seek to do away with the old while bringing in something new. A New Year presents new opportunities for resolutions and fresh starts. There is no shortage of intention but how much success will there be throughout the course of the year? How does it look to you after the first week of 2017? One week is often enough time to see whether our resolutions will have actual success. This year is important and there is a sense of urgency, a wake-up call if you will that we need to take seriously. The world around us is changing by the day and it is imperative for us to have ears to hear what the Spirit of God is saying (Rev 2-3). How can we hear and discern the voice of God? Perhaps, a commitment to a daily Bible reading program would prove helpful in allowing God to express His heart and pleasure at a personal and corporate level.
The first week of Bible reading is rich seeing that Genesis and the birth of Christ are featured. How can you summarize creation, the fall of man, Cain and Abel, Noah and Abraham? That’s just the Old Testament. In Mathew we have the birth of Christ and the Sermon on the Mount. How can you incorporate these Biblical accounts to events taking place in the world? The bottom line is this; what is God saying?
The subject of fake news has gained considerable traction in recent weeks. The objective is to mislead people from the truth while providing a believable narrative that a majority can subscribe to. Who is telling the truth and who is actually promoting fake news narratives? A primary theme that has surfaced this past week through the Bible reading has been man’s ability to cover-up. We saw this with Adam when he sewed fig leaves after his transgression against God. We then saw God’s prescribed covering consisting of animal skins. What are some of the implications that can be gleaned from this Biblical example?
Have you taken note of the volatility of today’s world? Hardly a day passes without some mention of terrorism or natural disaster such as volcanic activity, violence, earthquakes and weather related disasters. Are we paying attention and keeping vigilance to these increasing threats; are we seeking the Lord while he may be found? Perhaps we hear about these things but choose to maintain a status-quo Christianity somehow feeling to be immune from any of its ramifications. This is a dangerous place to be.
Jesus mentioned that the last days would resemble the time of Noah. Today, there is no man building an Ark but there are Noah’s sounding out the warning of the destruction to come. There will always be the non-Christian scoffers but it’s the resistance from within today’s church that poses the greatest opposition to the message of Noah. They reject the pending judgements to come while choosing to focus in the reshaping of the world through a kingdom mandate. It sounds noble and it certainly has an appeal but there is one primary problem; it does not get to the root issue of sin. It is glossed over through the covering of a fig-leaf brand of doctrine that gives the appearance of spirituality.
Here is the bottom-line! Noah was a preacher of righteousness who faithfully warned his world of pending judgement due to their sin. At the same time he prepared an Ark (a covering) of safety that would shield those who would hear and respond to his message. How successful was he in rallying a people to that which the Spirit of God was saying? He only had eight in the Ark of safety (his family) when the floods came. Not a particular good response if you ask me. Jesus later preached to the non-responsive churched people of Noah’s day several thousand years later between his death and resurrection (1 Pet 3:19-20). Is there a modern day equivalent to this group?
There are those today who take issue with Noah and his message asserting that he could have been more accommodating in his ministry; in other words he did not have to resort to a doom and gloom message. One can almost hear those same voices today that seem to think Revelation 17-19 can be altered and changed. On this point we need to be very careful. Remember what Ham did to his father in a moment of vulnerability. He uncovered and exploited his father and I fear many are doing the same today. The modern day teachers of righteousness that warn of the pending judgement to come are often subjected to ridicule, most of it coming from within the church itself.
Let’s put a modern day application to the above account. How do you view the election of Donald Trump as the president-elect of the United States as he assumes the office on January 20th? On the surface it is a good thing and personally I am very happy that he won. There are very positive trends taking shape as a result of his upset win. The stock market has been roaring; jobs are either staying or returning to US shores and there has been an overwhelming sense of optimism of what is to come. I too am encouraged but at the same time there is a concern, a deep concern in my spirit.
Why did God destroy the earth by way of a flood in the days of Noah? Let’s read the account:
Gen 6:5-7 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
The full manifestation of evil was on full display without restraint. Noah was noted as one who found grace; he was also cited as being righteous alongside Daniel and Job (Eze 14:20). Noah also is mentioned as one of the heroes of faith.
Heb 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
The parallels to Noah’s day and ours are very similar. Is this not what the Lord is referring to in looking at the last days?
Mat 24:37 But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark,
The ministry of Noah was more than just building an Ark, he was warning the people of judgement and the need to be in the Ark of safety. The stench and corruption of sin was at its fullness when the floods came upon the earth. It is a picture of the ripening bowl of iniquity that is currently playing out before our eyes. What is the remedy that we can pursue in helping to stem the rot and turn the tide? It is revival; a revival that gets to the root of the sin and corruption that is plaguing our world. Does our theology allow for the sword to get to evil’s core? Here is my concern:
There has been an enormous amount of leaked e-mails in USA politics that figured into the presidential election. A week before the election there were sordid revelations of horrific acts being practiced by leaders in high positions of elected office. Just as quick as these revelations came to light they were quickly suppressed to the background. Were these revelations true; if so why did they come to the light only to be quickly be removed from sight? This absolutely frightens me because it suggests that there are deep underlying demonic activities that are undetected beneath the surface.
What happens if these roots exists and remain suppressed throughout the discourse of daily life? Does it really matter how economically blessed a nation may be or how optimism prevails amongst the people? Don’t get me wrong, these are good things and I am grateful for what is taking place but it will remain short-lived if the root issues are not addressed. The simple placement of fig leaves that Adam and Eve used to cover their transgression is now deep and sophisticated and very difficult to flesh out in light of today’s evil. Consider the following verses from Job that helps to give perspective:
Job 41:12-15 I will not conceal his parts, nor his power, nor his comely proportion. Who can discover the face of his garment? or who can come to him with his double bridle? Who can open the doors of his face? his teeth are terrible round about. His scales are his pride, shut up together as with a close seal.
Revival is the remedy but how best to go about it? How can these hidden areas of national and personal sin be addressed and removed? Let’s look at God’s acceptable covering as seen in Genesis 3.
Gen 3:21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
God’s solution provides the means in being able to get to the root. The covering above is figurative of the cross which represents the only way to eradicate sin once and for all. The Lord did his part in becoming the sin sacrifice but what is our role in today’s environment? What steps can we take to help unveil this tightly woven covering of corruption that lurks beneath the surface? This fabric of sin will not be touched by easy-going Christianity or by a theology that places sole emphasis on dominionism over spheres of influence. No, it must go much deeper and it must get to the root. So what is the remedy? Where are the modern-day John the Baptists?
Mat 3:10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Jesus speaks to these very issues in his teachings on the Sermon on the Mount. Take a good look at the 8 beatitudes and other accompanying lessons. The foundation of the beatitudes precedes the thought of being salt and a light to the nations (Math 5:13-16). This is then followed up with the teaching on the Law and its elevated status. This is how one gets to the root of where all sin originates. Is this commonly taught today? Redesigned doctrines have an appeal but they fail in getting to the root. This is my burden and concern in going forward.
Frankly speaking we need a Josiah type revival. The Babylonian captivity had already been determined for Israel but God gave a reprieve and opportunity for Israel to hear and respond to what God was saying. Josiah’s revival did not change God’s plan of exile for his people. In like manner we have been given a reprieve and an opportunity to seek the Law of God, in the Fear of the Lord to help bring needed repentance to a nation and world that has turned its back from God. I also feel that the determined judgement of the last days will play out as written in the Book of Revelation. This does not mean we acquiesce and just let it happen. God has called us to be a bride who will have the privilege of accompanying Him at the time when He comes against his foes at Armageddon. There can be no glorified earth prepared for the Lord if there is failure in implementing the provision, the covering that God has afforded to man (Gen 3:21).
It is in this dialogue where Jesus teaches on the Lord’s Prayer (Math 6:9-15). Do we practice the beatitudes; are we poor in spirit, mourn over iniquity in the land, do we learn from the Lord’s example of meekness, are we hungry for the righteousness of God, merciful, of a pure heart, peacemakers and those who can rejoice in the midst of persecution (Mat 5:3-12)? Do we place an emphasis on God’s law and see its ability in getting to the root of heart related issues (5:17-22, Gen 4:5-8)? If this is our heart and desire we then have the means in being able to touch and remove the embedded stench of sin. It also provides us the opportunity for us to be like Daniel’s in our respective Babylon’s or areas of influence. Remember, Daniel was effective in Babylon due to setting his heart to not be defiled (Dan 1:8). He first implemented the qualities of the Beatitudes and so must we.
The world is in dire need of a mighty revival and I feel it is coming. The lessons of the parable concerning the great net in Math 13 should not be lost on us. There is a mighty harvest at hand that will consist of both good and bad fish (Math 13:47-50). This parable makes clear that there is a limited window in being able to teach and secure the harvest. This is why the combination of the casting of nets and mending ministries are essentials in the days before us (Math 4:18-22).
One final thought to glean from the rich passages of this week’s reading. It has to do with Nimrod and Babel. This will be covered extensively throughout the coming year seeing that Babylon is threaded throughout the whole of the Word of God. There is an upcoming event that is worthy of our attention. It will take place on Sunday, January 15th in Paris. It has to do with the recent UN resolution concerning Israel and the Palestinians. There will be seventy nations supposedly weighing in as to how to go forward with the process. It is interesting to note that this is taking place five days before President elect Trump takes office. Make no mistake; the election of Donald Trump has shaken the establishment to its core. It’s an establishment that goes beyond US borders.
There is a particular statement made by a sitting US senator that caught my attention when taking the above into account. Here is the relevant portion of his remarks:
“…undermine the “new world order” that’s been in place for the 70 years since World War II”.
Senator John McCain is a republican senator from Arizona and his comments are worthy of note. He was referring to the president of Russia in the above remarks, a charge and accusation that has yet to be proven. Do unproven allegations provide enough substance to push the world to the brink of war? Do not forget Nimrod’s role at Babel as he sought to rally the people of his world into a single powerful entity (Gen 11:1-6). This subject will be revisited throughout the year.
Now more than ever we need to pray. It is not a time for complacency or self-congratulatory plaudits as a result of the USA election. I am of the opinion that God granted America and to a certain extent the world a reprieve. It presents us an opportunity to seek for revival; a move of God similar to that seen in the days of Josiah.
2Ch 34:18 Then Shaphan the scribe told the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath given me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king.
2Ch 34:19 And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the law, that he rent his clothes.
See you next week!