Sunday, June 5, 2016

Sending a Message?

I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”   Genesis 12:3  NKJV

I think most of us are familiar with the concept of “drawing the line” between what is an acceptable or unacceptable action.  As a child, I certainly remember learning that lesson, and as a parent I also remember teaching it to my children as well.  I often wonder though, if mankind somehow feels those rules do not apply when it comes to crossing the line drawn by our Father in heaven, or that He somehow only sets boundaries for our “guidance” rather than for our obedience.  Personally, I believe the answer to that conundrum was firmly answered this past week by the events we watched occur in Paris.

God thunders marvelously with His voice; He does great things which we cannot comprehend. For He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth’; Likewise to the gentle rain and the heavy rain of His strength. The beasts go into dens, And remain in their lairs. From the chamber of the south comes the whirlwind, And cold from the scattering winds of the north. By the breath of God ice is given, And the broad waters are frozen. Also with moisture He saturates the thick clouds; He scatters His bright clouds. And they swirl about, being turned by His guidance, That they may do whatever He commands them On the face of the whole earth.     Job 37:5-12  NKJV

Guess who controls the weather? It doesn't “just happen”, as many might believe, but is a process put in place by God and obviously by His own words does as it is told by Him. There are many examples in the word where we are shown that God controls not only the weather, but all of creation, and that it takes but a word to cause this earth to do as He commands. Whatever your thoughts on this, I believe it is safe to assume that most, if not all of us as believers will acknowledge the fact that God is in control. I will let others decide for themselves if God is trying to send a message, but one thing is very clear and that is that a time of judgment on the entire earth is rapidly approaching.

“And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.   Zechariah 12:4  NKJV

There is an old Jewish saying that I have read many times over the years which says simply that “coincidence isn’t kosher”.  I don’t recall when I first read that, but it is something that I have always remembered when I study the Word, and consider the events we see happening in the world around us in light of what God has already revealed to us.  This past week presented me with just such an opportunity as the world watched two events occur simultaneously, and yet for most, those events were completely unrelated.  What I am referring to is the Israeli-Palestinian peace summit in Paris, and the coincidental torrential rains which have flooded Paris and the surrounding countryside.

Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven. He answered and said to them, "When it is evening you say, '[It will be] fair weather, for the sky is red'; "and in the morning, '[It will be] foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.' Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot [discern] the signs of the times. "A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah." And He left them and departed.    Matthew 16:1-4 NKJV

I have always found this to be an interesting passage because it really gives us some insight into the person of Jesus and his thoughts about the religious leaders of that day. Now at first glance, you might wonder what was so bad about asking for a sign? I'm sure many believers today probably ask God for signs all the time for one reason or another, and the Bible has many examples of people doing the same thing. Yet in this instance Jesus was upset at the religious leaders for asking, and I think it is important for us to understand why, especially considering many believe we are right now in much the same circumstance.

The first thing Jesus does here is to explain to them just how easy it is to see the signs. He uses the example many of us have heard before as “red sky in the morning, sailors warning; red sky at night, sailors delight.” Obviously it has been around for a couple of thousand years or so because Jesus uses it too. Yet obviously it isn't too difficult to simply look up and observe the color of the sky in the morning and at night, and it would appear that Jesus was making the point to them that in order to see the signs of the times all they had to do was observe because the signs they wanted to see were all around them.

Next Jesus calls them “hypocrites” for their inability to recognize the signs that were right in front of them. The word for hypocrite that Jesus uses here means “pretender”, which makes one wonder what they were “pretending” to be? I believe the point Jesus is making by using this term is that they were not really believers at all, but just pretending to be.  Whether or not the world realizes that God is sending a message, we are assured that as time goes by these messages will become stronger, louder, and much more obvious.  

As believers, our prayer should be that the world wakes up and realizes what is going on, and that many will come to the realization that God is very much alive, and willing to make His presence known to this world.

Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’ “Listen to Me, you stubborn-hearted, Who are far from righteousness: I bring My righteousness near, it shall not be far off; My salvation shall not linger. And I will place salvation in Zion, For Israel My glory.   Isaiah 46:9-13  NKJV

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