Monday, June 17, 2024
Monday, June 17, 2024
HomeAll The NewsFor Uncertain Times-God Will Pull The Trigger

For Uncertain Times-God Will Pull The Trigger

As I wrote last week, we’re not the first of God’s people to navigate through challenging times. All of the history in the Bible, whether Old Testament or New Testament, finds God’s people in trying times. I believe we can learn a lot from those times to help us navigate today. That’s why I recently released a new book, For Uncertain Times: 40 Truths of God’s Care in National Distress.

I previously shared a lesson drawn from when God’s people faced oppression in Egypt. Over time, I’d like to share with you a lesson from those times when the nation of Israel found itself in national distress. This is covered during the reign of King Hezekiah when the Assyrians invaded Judah. We find the Biblical account in Isaiah 30-31, as well as II Kings 18-19.

Then

As we read in the previous article (see Sept. 28 issue), God warned His people of what was to come. He warned Israel and Judah of the Assyrian invasion. The warnings can be traced back to the Exodus and the giving of the Law, nearly 700 years before the fall of Samaria — well in advance, and consistently throughout, those 700 years. Each true prophet — those whose messages are recorded and those who aren’t — gave this same warning, a warning that increased during the time immediately preceding the invasion and resulting exile.

The same could be said for the people of Judah, who’d also been amply foretold. Despite warnings, even as the Assyrians closed in on Judah, the people didn’t believe God would ever bring judgment. They didn’t believe God would ever pull the trigger.

Their attitude is revealed in Ezekiel 12, “Son of man, what is this proverb you have in the land of Israel: ‘The days go by and every vision comes to nothing?’” (Ezek. 12:22 NIV). God told Ezekiel that He heard and knew the people of Judah said He’d never bring the judgment of which He instructed the prophets to warn. Think how amazing this is. Ezekiel wasn’t talking about the Assyrian invasion, but rather the Babylonian invasion in 586 B.C. Remember, this was almost 150 years after the exile of the 10 tribes. By Ezekiel’s time, the nation of Israel was gone, and Judah had experienced firsthand the Babylonian exile of its king and some of its people.

You may recall that it hadn’t been too long since the Assyrians took 46 Judean cities and brought the city of Jerusalem to near defeat. Before that, the nation of Israel in the north experienced the exile of the 10 tribes. Backing up even further, there were many times when God allowed a military loss or an attack because of the disobedience of His people; and let’s not forget the clear testimony of the flood. Without question, God does execute judgment.

Yet, in the time of Ezekiel, God’s people generally believed, and even commonly said, that the Lord would never actually do what He said He would do. If this was true at this point in history, certainly it was the case when the Assyrians invaded Israel. When the prophets warned of impending doom, everyone most likely brushed it off. They didn’t believe God would let the shoe drop. They didn’t believe He’d pull the trigger.

But He did. He has many times. He’s patient, but He’ll take action.

In response to their saying that He’d never do anything, God told Ezekiel to tell the people: “Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am going to put an end to this proverb, and they will no longer quote it in Israel.’ Say to them, ‘The days are near when every vision will be fulfilled. For there will be no more false visions or flattering divinations among the people of Israel. But I the Lord will speak what I will, and it shall be fulfilled without delay. For in your days, you rebellious people, I will fulfill whatever I say, declares the Sovereign Lord’” (Ezek. 12:23-25 NIV).

God did what He told Ezekiel He’d do. We’ll cover that next week. But He also did to Israel what He warned through Moses, Amos, Micah, Isaiah and others.

Now

The proverb of the people, mentioned in Ezekiel 12, is much like the popular sentiment in this day and age. It’s likely something we’d say. The particular application to that warning is regarding the end of the age, but it stands as truth to all that could happen in life and especially as a consequence of sin. We may not say it as they did in that day. We might say, or at least think, “that’ll never happen to us.” The Biblical record, history and our lives would say otherwise.

It can happen to us. If it’s punishment for sin or a promise from God, we can bet He’ll pull the trigger. If it’s general difficulty in life, we can also expect that calamities can happen to us. Peter wrote in His epistle a warning of this reality, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” (I Peter 4:12 NIV).

—Jake is the newest state missionary and would love to share about the work in Northwest Arkansas and encourage your church to stand firm. (standfirmministries.com) You can a copy of Jake’s new book, For Uncertain Times, on Amazon.

RELATED ARTICLES