BEING AWARE OF THE TIMES
By Danny Houze, Senior Pastor
In my daily Bible reading and journaling I have been in the gospel of Matthew for some time. This morning I was struck by the relevance of Jesus’ teaching as it relates to human nature.
In Matthew 24 Jesus is talking about the signs of the end of the age just before his return. In verse 36 Jesus makes it clear that “no one knows the hour” of his return. His point is instructive in that the certainty of his return should not lead anyone to expect they can predict the exact time of his return. Wise counsel that should not be ignored. However, it is verses 37-39 that stood out to me:
“For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.”
In verses 1-36 Jesus had been talking about the signs of his return. Beginning with verse 37 his focus is shifted to the people’s response to the signs of the times. This is where Jesus speaks right into the very heart of human nature be it in Noah’s day or in August of 2020.
Despite all the turmoil and confusion around them the people in Noah’s day continued on with life as usual. The response to all the evil around them and Noah’s words of impending judgment, was to live in denial. Is this not a dead-on assessment of many if not most humans? We don’t want “to fill our minds with negativity,” so we refuse to “go there.” We don’t want to consider the implications of the signs of the times as it has to do with ourselves or our families, so we get busy with getting the kids ready for school and sports. We run from reality by immersing ourselves into leisure activities be it watching too much television or playing too much golf. None of these things are wrong in and of themselves until we use them as means of escape from the pressing realities. Finally, we slip into being someone who is “unaware.” The idea being, someone who lacks knowledge and wisdom as it relates to the events around them. I fear too many Christians have fallen into this state.
In contrast to “being unaware” Jesus exhorts us to “stay awake” in verse 42. What does it mean to Christians in 2020 to “stay awake?” As a fellow struggler and one who has certainly “not arrived” I humbly offer a couple of thoughts: First, immerse yourself in Bible. Christians have been given the wonderful resources of God’s Spirit and God’s word. In tandem these essential resources bring you peace and rest, instruction and loving reproof, and wisdom and discernment. Given the tumultuous days we live in I would suggest a slow and thorough read through Paul’s 2nd letter to Timothy. Paul not only gives wonderful instruction for the times but he also writes autobiographically so we get a picture of the challenges Paul faced and how he responded.
Secondly, pray for wisdom (James 1:5-7). I am only a needy human and I need wisdom that goes far beyond the wisdom of this world and I pray for it constantly. Your personal wisdom and the wisdom of the world is simply not enough. When we pray in faith for wisdom God is faithful to answer those prayers. As you study God’s word you will find the Holy Spirit directs you as to how you should pray for wisdom.
Let us remember that in these turbulent days that our trust and faith in Christ makes a way forward so that we may live with a wise awareness. Difficult and confusing days can leave us with questions, but the one thing we never have to question is God’s love for us. We know this because he demonstrated his love when Christ died for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). May you rest in his love and provision.
Father, thank you that you remain faithful to us even when we are faithless. We are grateful for the words of our Lord who always speaks truth into our lives. We pray in faith that you would provide us with wisdom and discernment beyond ourselves so that we remain aware of the times in which we live. May the wisdom and truth you provide produce spiritual fruit in our lives that will come up before you as a sweet aroma of worship. In Jesus name, Amen.
Danny Houze, Senior Pastor