Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Our Redemption Draweth Nigh

"And when these things begin to come to pass,
then look up, 
and lift up your heads; 
for your redemption draweth nigh."
Luke 21:28
(KJV)

I was sitting across from Zach at our kitchen table.
It was late in the evening, 
and we were almost finished with school,
after getting a late start due to obligations we 
had to fulfill early in the day.

Every now and then, 
we chatted....
in between his reading and studying,
and I wasn't expecting any special moments of enlightenment.

Isn't that usually when God speaks?

We struggle and search and seek with such energy,
we pound against the doors of Heaven,
wanting to know....now....
but He answers us....
in His own time...
in His own way....
many times, when we least expect it.

How many times has He spoken to me
through Zach's homeschool curriculum?

How many times has He spoken to me
through Zach?

I have lost count of the times I have sat 
astounded at the wisdom in the heart and mind
of our sweet boy.
I ceaselessly wonder how God will use him and his life.

All was quiet for a few moments,
when suddenly Zach exclaimed,
"This is IT!
This is it, Mama!
This is our answer!"

He had every ounce of my attention.
"What is it, Zach?
What do you mean?"

"Just listen!"
He was doing Social Studies,
and at this point, along with studying American history,
he is studying about the history of the nation of Israel and its people,
how God hardened Pharaoh's heart against them.,
how Moses kept going back to Pharaoh begging him to release them
to go and worship their own God,
and how God sent plagues upon the land of Egypt
when Pharaoh refused to comply with Moses' repeated requests.

The thing that had grabbed Zach's attention the most 
was the fact that God always, always took care of His own.
He always protected His people.
He always looked out for them....
right in the midst of the judgment He sent upon the land around them.

Zach began to read aloud straight from the Bible....
I love how his textbooks so often require him to do that.

He began to read to me about the plagues.
He's heard the story before.
But this time, he took special interest in the fact 
that as God sent forth the plagues,
He made special provision for His people....
right in the midst of what was going on around them.

Such as, in these cases....
Plague #4 - swarms of flies
God allowed the flies to be everywhere around,
except in the vicinity of His children.
 In Exodus 8:22-23, we read,
"And I will sever in that day the land of Goshen,
in which My people dwell, 
that no swarms of flies shall be there; 
to the end thou mayest know that I am the Lord in the midst of the earth.
And I will put a division between My people and thy people:  
tomorrow shall this sign be."

Plague #5 - the killing of cattle
Exodus 9:4 says,
"And the Lord shall sever between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt:  
and there shall nothing die of all that is the children's of Israel."

Plague #7 - violent hail mingled with fire 
Exodus 9:25-26 says,
"And the hail smote throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and beast; 
and the hail smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field.  
Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, was there no hail."

Plague #9 - darkness so thick it could actually be felt
Exodus 10:22-23 says,
"And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; 
and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days:  
They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days:  
but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings."

Plague #10 - the firstborn of every Egyptian household suddenly died at midnight
Exodus 12:12-13 says,
"I am the Lord....and I will pass over you, 
and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, 
when I smite the land of Egypt."

Are we seeing the pattern here?

God cares for His own.

The night before,
we had studied something very similar 
during our time of family worship.
I never cease to be amazed at how God does that.
How He orchestrates the details of our lives,
to reinforce a point He is making
and wants us to grasp and get a hold of.
Sometimes He will bring it to our attention in more ways than one...
until the point is driven home.

Remember Lot?
He lived in a land that was full of wickedness.
2 Peter 2:8 says,
"...that righteous man (Lot) dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, 
vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds..."
God was extremely angry with the citizens of the land in which Lot lived,
because the sins they committed were abominable....
and against His Divine law.
Right in the midst of the desecration of values,
the immorality,
the transgression against the holiness of God,
Lot remained a man who feared God 
and who endeavored to please Him.
He didn't succumb to the evil around him.
He stood firm in his integrity.
He knew the difference between right and wrong,
and he strove to follow and uphold the truths he had been taught.
After all, he was Abraham's nephew, remember?
Abraham's influence was strong in his life and mindset.
Seeing what was going on around him 
was a continual vexation to him.
After a very interesting and intriguing conversation between 
God and Abraham found in Genesis 18:23-33,
in which Abraham interceded to God on behalf 
of the land in which Lot lived,
God left the conversation with Abraham
with a promise to spare the land on one condition.
He would not destroy the land if He could find 
ten people living there who were righteous.
Upon examination, God found that the tide of evil was so strong
that there weren't even that many...
not even ten....
who lived there who were righteous and Godly.
It turned out that there were only four...
Lot, his wife, and two of his daughters who still lived at home.
God is true to His Word.
Had he found ten,
He would have been duty bound to spare the city.
Since he could not find ten,
God chose to bring judgment
and to destroy the land.

So, what about the four?
The four who were found to be righteous?
Did He forget them?
Did His wrath rain upon them, 
right along with the unrighteous?
Were they overlooked...
destroyed....
punished...
along with the wicked?

Come with me to Genesis 19:17.
God had sent two angels all the way from Heaven...
directly to Lot's house.
Straight to the one who still believed...
who still trusted...
in Almighty God.
The angels literally took Lot and his family by the hand,
and they pulled them away....
out of the city.  
Once outside the city walls,
the angel said this to Lot...
"Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither."

In my words?
"Hurry, Lot, because I have been given orders.
God gave specific instructions.
My first order of business is to make sure you
and your family are safe.
I cannot do ANY thing until YOU are out of harm's way.
That must happen first.
Otherwise, I cannot execute the plan.
Not until you are safe and secure,
can I proceed with my mission of destruction."

The way God made a way of escape for Lot and his family...
because they were His children...
never ceases to be a great comfort to me.

Remember Noah?
God didn't send the flood that destroyed the entire world and all that was in it,
until Noah and his seven family members were safe...
aboard the ark...
and the door was shut.

God knows where you are.
He sees your heart.
He understands your worry...
your fear....
your burdens.
He sees world conditions...
sees the condition of our country.
Sees right through to the hearts of all men and women.
He sees the vexation of your soul...
over the evil surrounding you.
He will take care of His own.
I promise.
How can I make such a promise?

Because of His track record.

We know what God will do...
based on what He has always and without fail,
done in the past.
We have living, breathing examples...
all through His Word...
to show us what and who His priorities are...
to reveal His providential care...
of His trusting children.

I admit, in recent days, 
I have had my moments of faltering, teetering faith.
During one of my recent episodes,
God used "Little Mr. Wisdom"....
again....
to snap me back to reality.

I was fretting, 
worrying,
distraught,
giving voice to the rising fear in my heart,
and I heard him say,
"Mama, He's brought us through before.
I look at God's track record."

Whew!
What does the Bible say about 
"a little child shall lead them"?

Sheepishly, I asked, 
"Zach, who taught you that?"

"The person who's doubting it!"
He responded.

Talk about putting me in my place!
I felt so ashamed...
because of my lack of faith.
I have drilled into his head since he was born...
literally...
that we must trust God.
That He cares for His own.
That He will never leave us behind in a trial.
That He always looks out for His people.
That He will see us through.

How quickly I become overwhelmed by pervading conditions...
anguished over moral decline.
How soon I panic when I remember the fierceness of God's wrath.
I take my eyes off Him for just a moment,
I begin to look around, 
and I watch as my faith ebbs away like the receding tide.
I forget that He is my Father.
That I am His child.
That as long as I am on the side of righteousness,
then He is on my side.

Zach snapped me back to what is real...
what is constant...
what never changes.

God is still God.
He remains sovereign...
over all things...
over all people...
over Heaven and earth.

He absolutely does have a track record....
that is impeccable.

From Lot and his family,
to Noah and his family,
to the inhabitants of Israel,
to you and to me....
He has always
and will always 
take care of His own.

If He always has,
why worry that He always will?

Mom used to tell me that there are three things God cannot do.
I remember how her words grabbed my attention,
because hearing them contradicted everything I had been taught about God.
As she kept talking,
I realized she was exactly right.
She said,
"Cheryl, God cannot change,
He cannot fail,
and He cannot lie."

How grateful I am for the three things God cannot do!

I love the words to the old song written by Kittie L. Suffield in 1929.
The lyrics are as true as they were when written over 83 years ago.

Chorus

"God is still on the throne,
And He will remember His own;
Tho’ trials may press us and burdens distress us,
He never will leave us alone;
God is still on the throne,
He never forsaketh His own;
His promise is true, He will not forget you,
God is still on the throne."

"Burdened soul, is your heart growing weary
With the toil and the heat of the day?
Does it seem that your path is more thorny
As you journey along on life’s way?
Go away and in secret before Him
Tell your grief to the Savior alone;
He will lighten your care, for He still answers prayer;
God is still on the throne."

"He is coming again, is the promise
To disciples when He went away;
In like manner as He has gone from you,
You will see Him returning some day;
Does His tarrying cause you to wonder,
Does it seem He’s forgotten His own?
His promise is true, He is coming for you;
God is still on the throne."

Jesus told us when we see the signs of His coming
to lift up our heads,
for our redemption draws nigh.

Signs are all around us, my friend.
Should we fear?
Is it time to panic?
Are these the moments we should let go...
of our faith...
in God?

He is our light...
and our salvation...
and the strength of our lives.

He is the Solid Rock.
He doesn't change.
He never will.

We must believe what is true and proven
and hold on to it in the days to come.
I believe we have entered into some of the darkest, most troubling times yet seen,
but God is still on the throne.
We are HIS children.
I am glad He is on the side of good, and not of evil, aren't you? 
If God be for us, who can be against us? 

Let us turn our faces upward, past all fear, doubt, and unbelief.
Let us gaze upon and into the face...
  of our Almighty,
all-powerful FATHER,
and trust His wisdom. 

He will not continue to overlook sin.
He is a holy, righteous God.
Judgment will come.
It always has.

But, we can rest assured that He will do what He has always done.
  He will keep His children safe.
Possibly by removing us ahead of His wrath....
just like He did in the case of Lot...
and Noah.

Who knows?
Maybe soon He will
"send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet,
and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds,
from one end of Heaven to the other."  Matthew 24:31.
Maybe, like the angels sent for Lot,
 they will take us by the hand and pull us away
and lead us out of this earthly city...
so corrupted by sin...
so tarnished by moral depravity...
so marred by suffering...
and maybe once we are out of harm's way,
He will say to us,
"I could not send Judgment...
I could not execute the plan...
until you were safe....
with Me at home."

Maybe that will be our means of deliverance...
this time....
ahead of the wrath to come.

I know not when our Lord will return,
but I know of a certainty...
He will come back.
I believe it with all my heart.
Signs all around us prove that His Word is true...
and being fulfilled...
right before our eyes.

What better means of deliverance?
What better outcome...
for you and me?
Than to leave this imperfect world behind...
and gain the perfect one He has gone to prepare...
the one He has taken so many of our loved ones to...
already?

So, let not your heart be troubled.
Take heart, my friend.
God still cares.
We are not forsaken.
He is still in control.
His light still shines through the darkness.

Keep looking up!
Jesus said to lift up your head.
Don't be sad.
Don't look down...
or back.

Keep your eyes on the sky.

The One we love more than life itself is coming...
in a cloud with power and great glory!
And He will take us to live with Him forever.

Imagine this....
our loved ones will be there...
to welcome us.


Thank God, we'll never part again.

We will be forever safe....
together with them....
at home.

Until then,
be assured that nothing is happening that He isn't allowing to happen,
nothing surprises Him,
it is all a part of His big plan,
 He is watching out for us,
He is with us,
our redemption is right around the corner,
and


the best is yet to come.



2 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing this. I am working on an article myself about the blessed hope of the believer - our gathering unto Christ. You've touched here on one very important point that I see about our removal before the judgment of God falls on this earth, and that is that it is not like God to judge the righteous with the wicked! This theme is given more than once in scripture.

    Also, in reading this tonight it crossed my mind that the wickedness and troubles of this present age is one reason why we're told to be "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds." Hebrews 12:2-3 When we're looking unto Jesus and considering Him, we won't be so quick to forget the love and care of God because His Son is the ultimate example of that love and care. :-)

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    1. Dear Mary! It is odd that I am seeing this comment tonight, and I realize I never replied to it. For this, I ask you to forgive me! I SO appreciate your encouragement and presence in my life...it is now going on five years since you left this comment, and I am so thankful that we are still walking this blogging journey together!! Sending much love to you, my sister and friend. :)

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