Challenge for today: Set aside time to read the Word slowly and ask the Holy Spirit to fill your hungry soul.
Andrew Yang recently wrote in a blog, “Everything is changing all at once. The change moves in lockstep, even as it summons up bewilderment, chagrin, and pushback. The pushback feels too little and too late – for what openly declares itself now can only do so by virtue of territory already captured and held while the rest of us slumbered. The captured territory encompasses institutions that have until recently been granted plenary power to decide such matters. They have themselves on a cliff, with no precedent – and perhaps no capacity – for climbing down safely.”
When I ponder what astute observers of our culture are saying, it makes me wonder if we are ready for the dramatic change, being orchestrated by the Lord of History. Our sovereign Lord could intervene suddenly; at any moment. Paul warned us, “the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. Are we ready and waiting? While people are saying, ‘peace and safety’ destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman and they will not escape” (Thess. 4:3). Are we prepared for such a day? What will SUDDENLY look like?
There are three references to “suddenly” in the prophecies of Isaiah:
First, in Isaiah 30:13 the prophet is speaking to Israel. “Because you despise what I tell you and trust instead in oppression and lies, calamity will come upon you suddenly – like a bulging wall that bursts and falls. In an instant it will collapse and come crashing down.” Israel was like a high city wall with an inadequate foundation. By “oppression” and with “lies” (v 12) they had built a wall to assure their safety and prosperity, but it was about to be shattered (v 14). They hoped Egypt would help build a wall of protection against the Assyrians. Has our nation become oppressive in its behavior and become conditioned to believe lies? Are we beginning to see cracks in our foundations?
The second in Isaiah 47:11 the prophet is speaking to mighty Babylon, “So disaster will overtake you, and you won’t be able to charm it away. Calamity will fall upon you, and you won’t be able to buy your way out. A catastrophe will strike you suddenly, one for which you are not prepared.” In verse 10 the Babylonians boast of no one seeing them. But the prophet said to them, “But your ‘wisdom’ and ‘knowledge’ have led you astray, and you said, ‘I am the only one and there is no other.'” They thought they would escape any disaster. But it will come suddenly. Since we have spurned God, could this be true of our society?
Thirdly, we read in Isaiah 48:3-4, “Long ago I told you what was going to happen. Then suddenly I took action, and all my predictions came true. For I know how stubborn and obstinate you are. Your necks are as unbending as iron. Your heads are as hard as bronze” God had acted in the past after give his warnings. “God established a pattern of prophecies faithfully fulfilled, anticipating idolatrous thoughts rising from the hard hearts of his own people. God had prepared this defense for his own honor” (NIVZSB). In our stubbornness and obstinacy have we forgotten God’s actions in the past? Will God once again act drastically in our day? Don’t believe the dominant narrative of our day.
Are you ready for the day of the Lord? It will happen SUDDENLY. My advice from Isaiah: First – pay attention to the cracks in our foundation. Second -don’t trust the future outlook of the popular media. Third – pay attention to God’s actions in the past.
There are also times we need to take a step of faith to enter into what God has waiting for us. There may also be occasions He will ask us to give something that we cherish to someone, and often it seems to boomerang into something coming back that is beyond what we ever gave. But God loves us and desires that we obey and trust him to provide for us in unimaginable ways. Even in those times we are without something we think is necessary, He later unfolds His plan before our eyes, and we are grateful. Peter’s words are so true in II Peter 3:13 and he says, “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”