Saturday, February 2, 2013

How Is Your Vision?

Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
Proverbs 29:18

Earlier today I went to a local grocery store and noticed a sign that is so much a sign of the times.  Posted near the entrance, it was informing shoppers that baby strollers needed to be left outside the store or they must be checked in at the office.  As I thought of a poor young mother struggling to put her infant into a store shopping cart, I also thought of the main reason that we have arrived at a time such as this.  People have lost their vision.  They simply cannot see clearly.  How many of you can remember a time when you were younger when a woman with a baby stroller could, for the most part, be trusted to shop without fear she would shoplift?  It seems the grocer cannot even risk trusting even a young mother.  Yes!  It is a sign of the times.

I wonder if this is a sign of the time too?  
What was he thinking?

The verse above from Proverbs is most often preached on out of context.  For instance, many of you have heard it used to pitch a pastor's latest "vision" for the church--usually an expensive one.  Don't get me wrong, we do need direction for ministry as we seek to fulfill the will of God.  However, sometimes the vision might just be anything but the will of God (Sorry!  Rambling--purposefully.)  This verse does not mean that the local church is about to be shut down should we not have some prophetic vision.  No! Read the verse in its entire context again.  Did you notice the attached thought after the conjunction "but"?  It has to do with keeping the Law.  How can these two thoughts--a vision and obedience--be linked?  

The root word for vision here does not just mean having a dream or a vision.  It can also mean that one has perception, wisdom, or understanding.  In other words law-keepers have a clear vision of the importance of the law or teachings of GOD and how they benefit society as a whole.  This is the reason that the idea of vision is linked to keeping the law (Torah--or teachings/instructions).  The idea behind the word "keepeth" also enhances the idea.  It can mean, "to keep, guard, keep watch and ward, protect, save life."   

The opposite of clear vision is blindness caused by immorality.  People without a clear understanding of law and order will let loose of restraint causing the society to become degraded.  This in turn will bring destruction.  The people will perish. Such a simple sign disallowing a mother to adequately shop with her child could be a tell.  It might be an indicator that the world around us is loosing restraint.  Lawless seems to be the order of the day and even those (like young mothers) who once could be trusted are viewed with suspect eyes.  If we do not return to God and seek a proper view of His morality, direction, and teaching then this society will surely perish.  

Wickedness growing around us at such a frightening rate universally is but one of the many beacons pointing to the seriousness of the hour.  Make sure you guard your heart and relationship with Christ through prayer as things seemingly spin out of control.  Hear Jesus' warning from Matthew 24:12, "And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold."  Don't let the rise of immoral behavior taint you as you keep looking for Jesus.  Remember, He is Soon2Come!

Godlessness in the Last Days

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Burdens of Egypt and Syria

The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.
Isaiah 17:1

The burden of Egypt. Behold, the LORD rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it. And I will set the Egyptians against the Egyptians: and they shall fight every one against his brother, and every one against his neighbour; city against city, and kingdom against kingdom.
Isaiah 19:1

Isaiah's work is a collection of prophecies that were given over a lifetime of ministry.  As a result, whole sections of the book are devoted to specific situations that God wanted him to  address in his day.  For instance, Isaiah 7:1 to 9:7 refers specifically to what is often called the Syro-Epraimitic crisis.  Isaiah 5, proclaimed during a feast, addresses the backslidden condition of the people.  Another large section of the book of Isaiah reveals judgments on nations surrounding Israel for their ignoring God and their wicked treatment of the people of covenant, Israel.  While many of these prophecies have been partially fulfilled, some have not.  Therefore, they make up a body of work that speaks to the world before, during, and after the tribulation.  For instance, Isaiah 17:1 mentions that Damascus shall cease from being a city.  Since this has never happened and God is never wrong, we can conclude that this will soon come to pass before the Day of the Lord begins.  This same series of burdens hints about circumstances in the last days that seems to include current news.  Look at Isaiah 19 as an example.

The nations mentioned in these two chapters, Syria and Egypt,  are in the news nearly daily over the last few weeks and months.  This current news seems to suggest that parts of these prophecies are nearing their fulfillment.   Isaiah's prophecies also remind us of one other important point.  God is sovereign.  The LORD sent a Jewish prophet to give a word to nations other than Israel or Judah.  Not only are the saved under His power but all of those who refuse, reject, and rebel against GOD are also under His power.  These nation's, for the most part, follow ideologies that are at odd's with the Almighty, yet HE alone is God.  All creation must someday answer to the Creator.  

Syria's destruction is so swift that the land is destroyed in only a day.  Read Isaiah 17:14, "
And behold at eveningtide trouble; and before the morning he is not. This is the portion of them that spoil us, and the lot of them that rob us."  Current media reports could give us a picture of why such a quick and decisive strike takes place.  Consider the following:

Israel Syria Strike: Chemical Weapons Transfer Could Bring Israeli Military Attack, Official Warns
Iran threatens 'axis of resistance' if West attacks Syria | The Australian

Israel Threatens to Strike at Syrian Chemicals Weapons
Hizbullah Sets Up Bases Near Syrian WMDs - Middle East - News - Israel National News
US reluctant to step in vs. Syrian chemical threat, urges neighbors to cope

Iran actively weighs Syrian-Israeli clash. Iron Dome posted in N. Israel
Analysis: Israel on high alert over Syrian... JPost - Middle East

A WMD strike would definitely trigger such a response.  So would a preemptive strike. Lots to pray about and a reminder to share the love of Jesus while we can!

Add to this the tension in the nation of Egypt and one might think we were nearing the fulfillment of this section of scripture fulfilled with a coming regional war like the one outlined in Psalm 83, Zephaniah, Obadiah, and other places. It sure sounds like Egyptians are at the throat of Egyptians!

Egypt's Morsy declares curfew in 3 cities, vows 'justice' for those behind violence -

Riots over Egyptian death sentences kill at least 32 | Reuters
Egypt's leader declares emergency after clashes - Yahoo! News

Keep looking up!  The King is Soon2Come!  Blessings