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Hebrews 11:13 speaks of the faithful being pilgrims who only saw the promise from a distance. I think it is important for us to live effective and fruitful lives in this world. It is important to occupy till the Master returns. In that we are to take that which the Master has placed in our hands and get an increase. (Luke 19:12-13). It is important that we do not fall into the trap of thinking that there is nothing for us to do here but wait. The world should be better because we have been here. We should “lighten the corner where we are.”
After having said that, we cannot ever lose the fact that we are still at a distance from God’s incoming Basilea. Things will get worse, and even in places we may see some things get better before they get worse. We may live a good life and then again we may have barely enough to survive. Whatever the case, we are pilgrims and strangers.
Yes I am a citizen of the United States, but I am also a citizen of the Basilea of God. And my ultimate loyalty is to that. And because of that I yearn for the home that I have only been able to see from afar. I yearn for that home when thousands of our sisters and brothers die in an earthquake and the resulting Tsunami in Japan. I yearn for that home when I hear of children, elderly, those with special needs, and the weakest amongst us being abused by those more powerful. I yearn for home when killing citizens is referred to as “collateral damage.” I yearn for home…
I know it’s old school, but every once in a while I just want to think about walking on the streets in glory. I want to think about asking Moses about the exodus. I want to think about the lion lying with the lamb, I want to think about “peace in the valley.” And yes, along with Rance Allen I long to just make it to heaven…that will be good enough for me!
We often find ourselves in the storms of life. One preachers said that in this life we are either entering a storm, leaving a storm, or in the midst of a storm. But God has given us a view of hope in the storm.
Genesis 9:12-16 tells the story of God’s promise at the end of the great flood that destroyed the earth. This was a storm. The Bible pictures Noah’s precarious journey through a huge flood and God’s promise int he midst of the storm. That promise is a colorful bow. Whenever we see a storm and the sun’s rays are visible, we can see this magnificent display. God is showing that God is there. God is reminding us that even this storm is under the control of an almighty God.
So you have storms, look up and find the rainbow. You may have pain, and that pain is just as real as the raindrops of the thunderrstorm, but so is the grace of God just as real as that bow of promise that traces along the sky. You might have struggles, but God is there just as sure as the bow of promise is there.
And you may have a cloud overspreading your horizon that your sins have caused. But don’t give in to dispair. Hold on, Hold out, God has a rainbow somewhere. I like what E. J. Waggoner wrote in The Gospel in Creation:
Let the cloud of sins be ever so thick and threatening, the glory of God’s word of grace shining upon it will bring into full view the bow of promise, and we shall remember that there is forgiveness with Him. So even the clouds of darkness that overshadow the earth may bear to us a message of comfort.
In the last days, Revelation 13 paints the picture of a beast that rises out of the sea and a beast that rises out of the Land. These beasts seek to overtake the people of God by forcing all the world to obey their dictates. The beast that comes out of the Land even causes fire to come down from heaven as it seeks to add divine authority to its dictates. This symbolizes a “false” revival that seems to attempt to replay the test given on the Mount by Elijah that the God who is really God should cause fire to come down from heaven.
But in the midst of all of this error a message comes forth. The message is written of in Revelation 14:6-12. The people of the Second Advent Movement have referred to these messages as the three angels message. There are other messages in that chapter, but these three were seen as specifically for this time to tell the world.
The first of these messages is from an angel that has the everlasting gospel to preach unto those who live on the earth. The angel says to worship the creator in light of the judgment. Worship the creator. There is something about the two beast deception that requires a remembering of the Creation. It is here that the Sabbath comes in. For the Sabbath was created to remind us of the creator and the creation. It is here that we remember that God creates things out of nothing. It is here that we gain strength in the realization that no beast whether from land or sea, or dragon from heaven can mess up the desires of God.
The Sabbath has been uniquely designed to be a reminder of the Creative power of God. And if we are going to make it through the evil days ahead, we must take ahold of that Sabbath-Creator truth.