Somehow a good portion of the western church appears to have bought into a gospel that positions our Lord in a lovely glass enclosure that displays a neatly printed label: “In Case Of Fire, Break Glass”.
The assumption is that we can call upon Him at absolutely any time, and there He is, ready to help. Paramedic Jesus.
This is half-accurate. Our Lord is totally, 100% for those who would call upon Him, at any time, BUT it is on His terms, not on our terms. Some proof text (less I be deemed a spiritual sourpuss):
Wisdom is presented to us as a trait, a companion and a representative of our great God, and testifies of itself in Proverbs 1, saying the following:
(Proverbs 1:22-33 NKJVS)
22 “How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity?
For scorners delight in their scorning,
And fools hate knowledge.
23 Turn at my rebuke;
Surely I will pour out my spirit on you;
I will make my words known to you.
(So far, so good. We see wisdom is pro-active in getting our attention. But that pro-activity demands our response, as we find in v24 that our non-response is not good).
24 Because I have called and you refused,
I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded,
25 Because you disdained all my counsel,
And would have none of my rebuke,
26 I also will laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when your terror comes,
27 When your terror comes like a storm,
And your destruction comes like a whirlwind,
When distress and anguish come upon you.
28 “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer;
They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me.
(Golly, that sounds sort of cruel, but we must be reminded that God is not mocked – Gal 6:7).
29 Because they hated knowledge
And did not choose the fear of the Lord,
30 They would have none of my counsel
And despised my every rebuke.
31 Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way,
And be filled to the full with their own fancies.
32 For the turning away of the simple will slay them,
And the complacency of fools will destroy them;
(The good news is the promise of God’s amazing mercy and protection to those who would make the choice to respond to the revelations, and corrections, of wisdom – which will always work in perfect harmony with the plans and personality of God)
33 But whoever listens to me will dwell safely,
And will be secure, without fear of evil.
It’s therefore evident that we’re to purposely position ourselves in the place of preparedness (aPologies for all those P’s) and vulnerability towards God.
Our active faith that God will do what He says He is going to do, is a good thing. It will inspire us to be prepared.
In the midst of some very tough verses in Hosea, the Lord planted an eternal promise that is offered to us, if/when we understand that the breaking up of the fallow ground (by US, not by Him) is to be done PRIOR TO the outpouring, so that WHEN the outpouring pours out, we will be able to soak up and absorb all that the Lord has intended for us:
(Hosea 10:12 NKJVS)
12 Sow for yourselves righteousness;
Reap in mercy;
Break up your fallow ground,
For it is time to seek the Lord,
Till He comes and rains righteousness on you
See what’s being told us, by Hosea?
He’s telling us to personally take a pick-axe to the hard-pack of our hearts and lives, so that the broken-up ground is already overturned, and therefore receptive to the flood waters of God’s outpouring. It is a work of faith, in us, that would have us prepare – PRIOR TO the outpouring. The alternative is the promised outpouring overflowing us, and the unprepared (those with fallow ground) either missing most of what was intended to be absorbed, or worse yet, getting get swept away in the resultant flood.
Repentant David, in Psalm 32, tells us likewise – prepare. Get into, and stay in, the place of deep Spirit-led relationship with God. Now. We’re not to wait for more trouble to come upon us personally, or upon the earth, prior to coming into the deep places with our Lord. That would be foolhardy.
(Psalms 32:5-6 NKJVS)
6 For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You
In a time when You may be found;
Surely in a flood of great waters
They shall not come near him
David just told us that trying to get to God, during the flood waters, may not happen. We’re to call upon Him while He may be found. David lived that way himself (most of the time – we all know of his shortfalls):
(Psalms 27:8 NKJVS)
8 When You said, “ Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.
How does this theology travel into the New Testament? Like all true doctrine, it travels quite seamlessly. First of all, the abundance of scriptures regarding the second return of Jesus – those scriptures purposely positioned by God in the OLD Testament – simply all must (and do) function within the context of the New Testament, because it is at the end of the New Testament age that our Lord will return.
Second, is our observance that our Lord Himself called religious leadership of His own day to task for their personal failure to discern His FIRST COMING – about which LESS is mentioned in the Old Testament than what is mentioned regarding His SECOND COMING. That should speak volumes to us.
The Pharisees and Sadducees apparently got much of the religious activity correct, but sadly missed the whole point of the plan of God (our Lord’s first appearance – as our sacrifice), and the timing of God, because they were fixated on their religious protocol. Church-as-usual was being interrupted by the plans of God. Funny how that works, isn’t it?
(Matthew 16:1-3 NKJVS)
1 Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven.
2 He answered and said to them, “ When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red ’;
3 and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening. ’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.
So is it time to call upon the Lord? I would put forth that even a cursory awareness of issues in our country (economy, government, general moral decay), the world in general, and the Middle-East in particular, would incline most bible-centric folks to nod affirmatively.
It is time.
It is time to seek the Lord. It is time for us to personally break up our fallow ground. My bible speaks to me of trying times towards the end of this age. It also speaks to me of great opportunity and favor towards a victorious church, opportunity and favor and authority and eventual reward to all who would be prepared and in position to partner with God in His victorious return. The ready people.
Twice in Joel 2 the prophet tells those who would have ears to hear:
“Blow the trumpet in Zion”. You may want to read and pray into that entire chapter, or entire book, even. That short book is end-of-age-centric.
If the Second Coming of our Lord is the God-ordained capstone event of the Age, wouldn’t one be inclined to think that Joel’s alarming expression-of-ultimate-priority over all other important events (eating, weddings, gatherings of all sorts by all age people) would be MOST pertinent to the actual times prior to The Event Of All Events?
(Joel 2:14-17 NKJVS)
15 Blow the trumpet in Zion,
Consecrate a fast,
Call a sacred assembly;
16 Gather the people,
Sanctify the congregation,
Assemble the elders,
Gather the children and nursing babes;
Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber,
And the bride from her dressing room.
17 Let the priests, who minister to the Lord,
Weep between the porch and the altar;
Let them say, “ Spare Your people, O Lord,