Friday, July 25, 2014

End Times Redux

image used under Creative Commons license, photo by Billy Gast on Flickr
Last week, in "Preparing Us for the End or Drowning Us in Lies?", we talked about the End Times and why we could recognize being close, but never that it had come for sure.  Remember our keynote passage?  It was Mark 13:31-33 (KJV), which said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.  But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.  Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.".  But we never touched  on why that was true.  There's more.

Luke 12:54-57 (KJV)  And he said also to the people, When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is.  And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass.  Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?  Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?

Jesus is angrily telling the people that they can tell the signs of weather change, but not the impending end.  We've all seen good magicians and bad ones.  When we can see what's going wrong with a trick, it's very often that the magician can't do misdirection very well.  Many tricks are based on getting audience attention to shift from what he's really doing to where he wants the audience to look.  If it works, people don't understand how the trick was done.  If it doesn't work, the trick becomes obvious.

In our illustration, our eyes are taken away from the ominous gray clouds of the impending storm by the beautiful colors of the sunset.  Misdirection.  Peter tells us the devil roams the earth like a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8), but note that it's as or like a roaring lion.  Satan, when we pay attention, isn't that impressive.  The lion's roar is as much to bolster his appearance of dangerousness as to communicate his wrath with a foe.  Even younger, weaker, inexperienced lions will use the roar like that.  Misdirection.

Think of what the devil does with his roaring while roaming the earth.  He tries to get our attention away from the "still small voice", make us focus on how powerful he appears.  And, compared to us, he is.  But compared to God, definitely not.  So, Satan is going to take our attention as much away from God as he can.  He doesn't want us seeing the comparison.  Even more, the devil doesn't want us thinking about who God is, what He does for us, and how much He loves us.  And all of that is ... misdirection!  The devil has had thousands of years, here, to practice and refine his skills.  Let's look at Luke, again.

Luke 12:54-57 (KJV)  And he said also to the people, When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is.  And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass.  Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?  Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?

On the surface, it could seem like we have a grumpy God.  But look at His complaint.  These are His people.  They are supposed to know Scripture.  And yet, they've willingly taken skills in meteorology from the demons, while ignoring more important things for their eternal security. Instead, they've convinced those around them (and possibly themselves) that their weather forecasting skills were proof they had it together in all areas.  Satan had been successful at misdirection and they were willing to settle for that.  And, while being good at forecasting, they totally miss that the Messiah is walking among them.

There are some lessons to be learned, here.

  1. While the devil is powerful, much of his "roar" is all show, for appearance.
  2. There are real miracles, but all the demons can give us is a distracting magic show.
  3. We can allow ourselves to have our attention stolen by misdirection or 
  4. we can focus on what's spiritually important.
  5. If we focus on God, we can expect results like these verses:
Proverbs 16:9 (KJV)   A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.

Jeremiah 29:11 (KJV)  For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Romans 8:31 (KJV)  What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

We may not know, with 100% certainty, when this will all end.  But we do know God's heart toward us, don't we?
  




No comments:

Post a Comment