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220. Business as Usual?

This edition questions whether it’s still “business as usual” while the world is falling apart.

SINCE YOU ASKED

Jesus said in Matthew 24 one of the signs of His return would be that nations would rise up against nations and kingdoms against kingdoms. This is precisely what is happening in the Middle East; kingdoms are rising against kingdoms. Many Old Testament prophecies, such as Deut. 33:13-16, indicate that oil and “hidden treasures” under the sea and the sands will be found in Israel in the last days of history. This also has come to pass. These are but a few examples that prove that we are in the last days.

The question we must ask, however, is So what? What difference does it make? We are experiencing unprecedented changes throughout the world. The world’s economy has been turned upside down. Unprecedented “natural disasters” have destroyed crops, lives, and livelihoods. Islamic regimes are threatening to conquer the world. Few people feel as secure as they once did. Prophecy is unfolding before our eyes. Never in all of history has the rapture seemed so imminent. Yet, have these unprecedented events caused us to reconsider the focus and direction of our lives? Is it still “business as usual,” only with less “business” than there used to be?

If television is a fair reflection of society, most people are oblivious, concerning themselves with the latest gadget, fashion trend, or perversion, focusing their brainpower on such pursuits as the analysis of the advantages of dark beer over light beer. It’s just like the days of Noah. He was sounding the alarm of the coming judgment, but nobody was listening. He preached and built…preached and built. For 120 years he preached and built. In the end, apart from his own family, not one person was saved. Yet he never waivered in what God asked him to do.

One of the purposes of prophecy is to make us more holy. In light of what’s coming, we should be asking, “How then should I be living?” If the days in which we are living have not caused us to consider this question, we’ve got some soul searching to do. Why have we not considered this? Does it indicate that we’re too focused on ourselves to ever really care about what God wants from us? Have we been kidding ourselves when we say we really love God? Jesus said that if we love Him, we will obey His commandments. Do we even know what they are? Do we really care? Are we laying up treasures in heaven or treasures on earth? Are we participating in some way in the great commission to go and make disciples? Do we really love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul strength, and mind? Are we placing His interests above our own?

AS I SEE IT

The accounts of Jonah and Noah provide a most interesting comparison. Jonah’s preaching in Nineveh resulted in the greatest revival in history. The entire city was saved. Compare this to Noah’s results: not one convert. Yet who is listed in Hebrews 11, the “heroes of the faith” chapter? Noah is there. Jonah is not. Clearly, faithfulness was the criterion for inclusion, not results. Jonah fulfilled his mission only after God convinced him that running the other way wasn’t going to work. Even after he had completed a most successful mission, Jonah resented the mercy God had shown to the people of Nineveh. In the end Jonah attacked the very character of God as He chose to have compassion on whomever He willed.

Noah, on the other hand, had determined to finish well, regardless of the cost. Despite the lack of results, he remained faithful. Not only is he remembered in the faith chapter, but he is remembered elsewhere as a picture of the character of God, but his huge boat served as an illustration of our salvation as it lifted him and him family above the waters of judgment and ultimately to safety.

God, likewise, wants us to finish strong. Our roles throughout all of eternity are dependent on what we do with what God has given us, especially when things get tough. What will you do? What changes do you need to make?

Not sure if you’re part of God’s family? Make sure.

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