Sunday, October 25, 2015

Something Momentous and Ominous

Before a tsunami hits, the sea retreats, birds fly away, creatures hide, and an ominous stillness—like that which is experienced within the eye of a storm—overwhelms the atmosphere.  My sense is that is where we are right now in spiritual reality.  Something momentous like a giant wall of water is building height and strength at the margin of our existence, and the corresponding silence of God has an ominous edge.  Notwithstanding this edge, however, the whole of the matter at the center is about God Himself arriving on the scene in the fullness of His Presence and glory.  Still the old prophet’s words ring with divine portent: “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears?” (Malachi 3:2).  In the book of Amos, the prophet laid out five specific instances of disastrous happenings to the children of Israel, and each time the Lord said, “Yet you have not returned to Me” (Amos 4:6, 8, 9, 10, 11).  Finally, after the fifth time, He said “Prepare to meet your God, O Israel” (Amos 4:12).

When mommy corrects the children, and it proves unsuccessful (usually after the “nth” time), she declares, “Wait until your daddy gets home!”  Then the fear of the Lord grips their little hearts.  In fact, the sheer magnitude of the threat of daddy’s presence begins correcting the children in their hearts before he even gets home.  Such, I imagine, is what God hoped for in the case of the children of Israel in Amos’ day.  But alas, children are children, and therefore it is nearly inevitable that heads must roll!  But not if we discern the times and sober up in time to meet Him properly.  Indeed, “The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.  Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins”; also, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation”; “For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?  And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner?” (1 Peter 4:7-8, 12-13, 17-18).