““Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 NKJV
In these days that we find ourselves in, it is easy to feel insecure. Since the beginning of the pandemic, gun sales have skyrocketed here in the United States, and people are worried about safety like no time before. I heard of a study a couple weeks ago that stated that fifty four percent of Americans fear other Americans more than anything else. We have become a nation of adversaries, fearful, awaiting a spark to burn everything down.
I have to admit that I find myself oscillating back and forth, between fear and faith as I consider all the things going on. This morning, I encountered the ever famiiar passage in Deuteronomy chapter six which contains the Shema. It magnifies the significance of the word of God. The children of Israel had gone through much and would go through much more.
They were to place the law of God before them all the time, and teach it to the children. Those of us who are New Testament believers can learn much from this, as we face much uncertainty. There is nothing new in the situations we are facing, and we are not alone in this troubled world, as many are in the same struggles.
We are in a time when we must seek the Lord and be reminded of this faithfulness. We must take advantage of the promises of the great salvation and commit to seek the Lord. We have been given His word as a guide and instruction manual in these perilous times. Like those who have gone on before us, let us place the word before us. It is our protection, our armor.
“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—”
Ephesians 6:13-18 NKJV
Brothers and sisters, God has given us that great reminder in His word, and the presence and power of the Holy Spirit to secure us in time of trouble. He also told us ahead of time that these times were coming. We have had nearly two thousand years of preparation for the days to come. Let us pause and reflect on the things that God has already provided.
I think of the early church and what they faced. They did not complain, they took holy action and continued on mission as they took the Gospel to the planet and turned the world upside down. I find that I am exhilarated by the opportunity to share the Gospel. We are in one of the most exciting times in the history of Christianity.
The coming days, weeks and months, are going to bring great clarity to the household of God, as we will need to be deliberate in our worship, our prayer, and our mission. As we go forth, let us be fortified by the word of God.
Let us also reflect the heart of our Savior, Jesus as we go out and love those who persecute us, that they be saved like we were. We must remember that we are dealing with people, ordinary creatures of flesh and blood, who need to be forgiven.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
Ephesians 6:12 NKJV
Each day, I rejoice in my failures, as I am one who can easily be puffed up, and deceived into thinking that I have somehow arrived at the pinacle of pious perfection.
My old man points a stinky finger from the grave and reminds me that I am not yet glorified. As we go and tell, let us remember that those we are being sent to are lost and just as in need as we used to be. As we still are.
Just as God’s grace is sufficient for us to live in this fallen world, it is also sufficient to save the souls of those who have not yet been forgiven. I think of Paul and Silas who were beaten and cast into jail. In the midst of the trouble, they turned to God and sang hymns and spiritual songs. They knew that they were under the eternal protection of God.
“But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.” Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?””
Acts 16:25-30 NKJV
My people, we are being watched. In the midst of what we face, others are watching to see how we respond. Many eternal decisions are being made. Let even our darkest moments be a strong witness of the Gospel.
“Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.”
I Peter 4:16 NKJV
“For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.”
II Timothy 1:12 NKJV