Let me introduce you to what I consider to be a very interesting and important aspect to our lives in consideration of the times that we are living in. Consider if you will an event from the Old Testament.
David was the sovereign king of Israel and God’s chosen ruler. God’s desire was that David would always depend on him rather than on his own strength or on the might of his armies. For that reason God had told David to never count his fighting men. David however, was stubborn and wanted to know how many men he had to depend on so in rebellion to God’s directive David had the fighting men counted. In response to this disobedience God gave David three choices, Three years of famine, three months of being at the mercy of his enemies, or three days of God’s judgment. David choose God’s judgment and in the days that followed 70,000 of David’s men died!
It is the immediacy of that judgment that I want you to notice.
Then consider the book of Revelation which is a prophetic telling of the days that will come at the end of this age when God’s judgment will once again be poured out upon mankind. The numbers of those who will die in rebellion to God are staggering. At different times we see both a fourth and a third of all humanity die on the earth. Literally this is billions of people.
Once again notice the severity and the immediacy of that judgment.
Then there is the period of time we are living in today. During our time it seems as if anything goes and that there is no reaction from God about anything.
Millions of babies are aborted each year, genocide occurs regularly, and anything which the scriptures declare is sacred to God seems to be fair game for men and women to trounce under their feet without a peep from heaven.
What changed? Where’s God? Is he even really there? If you are honest all of these are questions that you’ve asked or at least thought.
It is exactly this same situation and question that Peter is addressing in 2 Peter 3 when by the Holy Spirit’s direction he writes…
“Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.” (2 Peter 3:3–13, NIV)
Right now we are living in what scholars have called a “dispensation of grace” or a time in which God has withheld his judgment because of the atonement of Jesus on the cross. Literally we are living in the middle of two periods of God’s judgment upon humanity, one behind us, and one in front of us. Because we live relatively short lives in reference to God’s interaction with mankind we can begin to believe only what we see and feel and we can begin to use only the experiences of our lives and the opinions of society around us to form the belief system that controls our actions, behaviors, and beliefs. This is very dangerous because just like all periods of grace this one will come to an end and God will once again judge the sinfulness of mankind. If we have used something other than God’s perspective, found in the Bible, as the rule for our lives we are falling prey to the world around us and are subject to His judgment.
Where are you today?
- Are the scriptures the basis for your life?
- Do you find yourself regularly being constrained and challenged by God’s word to become something more?
- Are you living a life that you will not be ashamed of when Christ returns?
- Are you living a life worthy of the kindness and grace that Jesus has afforded you and me?
- Do you feel out of sync with the philosophies and thinking of today’s world?
We should absolutely enjoy this period of God’s graciousness but let’s never forget that ultimately we all give an account for our lives and let’s live our lives with that day in mind.