5 August 2021
The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews helps us towards a valid understanding of why we may be experiencing sudden and devastating change in our religious and social life today. He points out that there are times when people (non-believers and believers) feel so secure and established in idolatrous and false ideas and behaviour; God shakes things up and allows whatever is not solidly founded on HIs Word to collapse in order to prove their untrustworthiness and worthlessness. He shakes things up “in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain” (12:25).
We see this in Genesis 6: “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually…So the Lord said, ‘I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens….(6:5-8).
We see this again in Genesis 11: “Then they saidi, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves,..” (11:4).
We see the wickedness of man and their desire to be God, making a name for themselves and rebelling against the almighty. There can be no doubt that today, the degree of wickedness, pride and rebellion against God is very intense, not only among those who are unbelievers but also those who claim to be believers. Man pursues after materialism, wealth, sexual gratification, success to a point of perversion and distortion, without regard for God and for the sanctity of human life.
Psalm 8 tells us that God has set His glory above the heavens and HIs majesty in all the earth. The heavens, the moon and the stars are the work of His fingers. Like the incident in Genesis 11, man has reached the moon and even sent probes to mars, seeking to make a name for themselves; yet they fail to realise that the milky way, our Galaxy, is only of many many more galaxies in the universe and God is the creator of the universe and He holds it together.
God first created man to rule the works of God’s hands on His behalf; but man, in his greed, sinful desires, has ‘destroyed’ the earth, the trees, the animals and vegetation, and caused the ‘climate change’ that is beyond correction.
The book of Revelation reveals that mankind, despite God’s shaking the world with His visible judgement, refused to repent: “The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts” (Rev. 9:20-21).
When God appears as man in the person of Jesus, man rejects Him despite overwhelming evidence of who He is; we would expect mankind to harden their hearts even in the face of God’s warning in the form of calamities and disasters.
As believers, it is understandable that we feel compassion for the suffering, the sick and the dying, but let us not forget to see the reality of the meaning of global ‘upheavals’. God, in His love, is warning unbelievers to repent before it is too late. We as believers must ‘feel’ the urgency of sharing the gospel, seeking to ‘snatch, even some, from the fire’. We must continue to sound the ‘alarm’ even though only some may respond positively.
Even for us as believers, the ‘shaking up’ is also God’s message to us to ‘wake up and do the things that are pleasing to God lest He sees it necessary to ‘discipline’ us even in the form of natural calamities and disasters and in other ways. Repentance begins with knowledge of sin. It goes on to work sorrow for sin. It leads to confession of sin before God. It shows itself before man by a thorough breaking off from sin. It results in producing a habit of deep hatred for sin. Above all, it is inseparably connected with lively faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance like this is the characteristic of true Christians.
Today, believers and the churches have to search their hearts; it is definitely clear that much of what is going on in the lives of believers and the churches are displeasing to God. Let us repent so that what cannot be shaken can remain.l