“Loved ones, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see if they are from God. For many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).
The desire to know more was part of the lure that led to the fall in the Garden of Eden, and with it, the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3:22). For generations after the fall, people did whatever they wanted and that led to unrestrained wickedness (Genesis 6:5). Scripture tells us that as time passes “many will run back and forth and knowledge will increase” (Daniel 12:4, TLV). Our fallen nature is inclined toward doing what is evil in God’s eyes. God sent the flood to cleanse the land of evil and to start a new generation of people having intimate knowledge of Him. That may have lasted a while, but the tower of Babel narrative (Genesis 11) shows us that we are prone to walking away from God and glorifying ourselves. With all the knowledge we have gained over the years and all the ways that we have applied it; how do we discern good from evil and truth from falsehood?
The world is crying out for a savior—screaming at the top of its lungs for someone to deliver it from the chaos that surrounds us. However, the problem looks very different from person to person and it seems very difficult to know what exactly they need deliverance from. One thing seems very evident, many are running to and from seeking whomever will step into what they perceive as a void to save them from their enemies, while all along ignoring the only One who can save us—God!
Therefore, just as you received the Messiah Yeshua as Lord, keep living your life united with him. Remain deeply rooted in him; continue being built up in him and confirmed in your trust, the way you were taught, so that you overflow in thanksgiving.
Colossians 2:6-7 (CJB)
How do we know that someone has truly repented and now live a life united with Messiah Yeshua with a devotion to advancing the Kingdom of God? After Donald Trump was elected president of the United States in November 2016, I watched as prominent Christians and other ministry leaders walk slowly to the line of declaring him a Christian. The slow walk became a sprint as more and more people began echoing that declaration. He was declared to be prominent biblical characters like Cyrus, and Jehu. He was called God’s anointed, and the Chosen One—a title he boldly embraced in a news conference on the White House Lawn.
What would you expect from an adversary who know how everything will end and who would do whatever it takes to win or prevent a total loss? We are in a season filled with chaos on a global scale. People are prophesying that these are the days described in Revelation and the world is experiencing the birth pangs described in Matthew 24.
Do you grieve for the brokenhearted, for broken marriages, and broken friendships?
Do you grieve for the oppressed, the disadvantaged, and the disenfranchised?
Do you grieve for the hungry, the sick, and the terminally ill?
Do you grieve for those who reject the Gospel and for those who have never heard it?
Do you grieve for those who die in their sin?
Do you grieve for the loss of innocent life— the child in the womb, the youth, or the elderly?
Do you grieve when those with whom you disagree are harmed, injured, or killed?
Do you grieve for those who look, sound, and think different from you?
Do you grieve for the persecuted and the persecutor? Do you grieve for the wickedness that is filling the earth?
Do you grieve for the law enforcer and the law breaker?
Do you grieve?
“So God created humankind in his own image; in the image of God he created him: male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27) and “it is not his purpose that anyone should be destroyed, but that everyone should turn from his sins” (2 Peter 3:9b).
Can a nation boast that its foundation rests on Biblical principles and declare itself Christian, yet stand with those who extort and deceive people? Will such a nation escape God’s gaze and the righteous judgements declared for those who trample on His word?
It is heartbreaking to see what is and has been happening in the US and around the world. Lives are being taken, relationships are breaking apart, people are hurting, and institutions are in disarray in the wake of a pandemic, social upheaval, and racial tensions. We readily relegate those with whom we disagree as members of “the other side”, even our fellow followers of Yeshua.
“He has told you, humanity, what is good, and what Adonai is seeking from you: Only to practice justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God”.
Yeshua (Jesus) exemplified four traits very clearly for us to emulate. They are traits that we find throughout the Bible from Genesis to Revelation—He is just, loving, merciful, and humble. Furthermore, Yeshua said He did nothing of His own, but only what His Father taught Him (John 5:19) and said only what His Father sent Him to Say (John 12:49). These were God’s traits Displayed through His Son and are for us to live by. One may say that love is the foundation of it all, for we were created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27) and God is love (1 John 4:8).
By all accounts, Pontius Pilate was not a righteous man, but he was at least interested in the truth and in declaring that he found no case against Yeshua (Jesus), he spoke the truth. Looking at world events today one may instead ask, “does the truth even matter?” We have re-branded lies in such a way that it’s now a popular strategy to gain attention, notoriety, and wealth. It may appear that facts no longer decide whether information is true or false, but if we like the information presented. Such an environment makes it more likely that the Antichrist will succeed in deceiving the nations.
David, after he was almost killed in battle against the Philistines, gave thanks to God for delivering him. David said, “Adonai is my Rock, my fortress and deliverer” (2 Samuel 22:2). David’s men had to protect him because he grew tired during the battle, but he wrote, “With you I can run through a whole troop of men, with my God I can leap a wall” (2 Samuel 22:30). The near death experienced prompted David’s men to whisk him off the battlefield and advised him never to go out to battle again “in order not to quench the lamp of Israel” (2 Samuel 21:17). David was essential to the hope of Israel in his time, and so are you today!
There is a teaching/opinion out there that God does not bring calamity and does not bring judgment because of Yeshua’s (Jesus) sacrifice and the ushering in of a new covenant. Some faith leaders are using this to urge us to continue to meet in mass to worship because we are protected from the Corona Virus.
I am still learning and have not yet come to a complete understanding of Scripture but I can confidently say that faith is not irresponsible. To say that God does not bring calamity or judgment is an irresponsible betrayal of scripture. God says He does something but man find a way to dispute His word—or, so they think. No amount of reading between the lines can justify saying God does not bring judgment or that God will not bring about what is already prophesied. Tell that to Ananias and Sapphira who fell dead after deceiving the Apostles about how much they profited from selling their land (Acts 5:1-11) or Herod who an angel of the Lord killed for not giving God glory (Acts 12:23). Both of these incidents happened after Yeshua ascended to heaven.
God does promise to protect us—”the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one ” (2 Thessalonians 3:3). Still, Scripture makes it clear that we experience the same difficulties as everyone else in the world—”We are hard pressed in every way, yet not crushed; perplexed, yet not in despair; persecuted, yet not forsaken; struck down, yet not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).
We still live in a fallen world and are still susceptible to pain, sickness, despair, and death. It would be irresponsible to walk into oncoming traffic and it is irresponsible to disregard the safeguards put in place to protect ourselves and others from contracting the Corona Virus.
I may be stubborn but I know that I am not impervious to this virus. Furthermore, Scripture tells us not to put God to the test (Deuteronomy 6:16; Matthew 4:7). Yes, God is faithful to fulfill His promise to protect us, but unnecessarily exposing ourselves to danger is irresponsible and amounts to testing God!
“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it” (1Thessalonians 5:23-24).