TO CHEW ON: "Behold the nations are as a drop in a bucket,
And are counted as the small dust on the scales;
Look, He lifts up the isles as a very little thing …
All nations before Him are as nothing,
And they are counted by Him less than nothing and worthless." - Isaiah 40:15,17
A few weeks ago, terrorist attacks in Paris were a reality check for all us living in democratic countries.
As I think about these events and the relatively recent rise of militant Islam, my mind wanders back to earlier international threats during my lifetime. As a Baby Boomer I have no memory of World War II but do recall how we in North America were mesmerized by the Soviet Union in what was called the Cold War. Then our neighbor the U.S. got entangled in Vietnam, followed by sorties into Iraq and Afghanistan, where Canadian soldiers were also involved. In each of these "eras" the threat has felt real and imminent, only to pass—at least for us here in Canada.
Will that happen again with this threat of terrorists, who strike randomly and with seemingly no thought or care for their own lives? Or this time will it touch us close to home, as it has communities in Nigeria, Syria, New York, Paris?
I superimpose on these musings what the Bible says about God and the nations: that He is in control - Isaiah 40:15-17. Nothing that is happening here surprises Him. The Bible witnesses to this in many other places s well - Job 42:2; Psalm 115:3; Revelation 19:6.
So, can we do anything but quake in our boots and wonder what's next on God's inscrutable timetable? I think there is. Matthew 24 gives us lots of warning about the doomful days ahead. Jesus' instructions to His disciples then still apply to us today. He said:
- We should be alert and undeceived by people who claim to be saviors - Matthew 24:4.
- In the international conflicts that are ahead, we can expect to be hated for our loyalty to Christ - Matthew 24:9.
- We need to endure in the faith versus being offended and taking it out in hatred and betrayal of each other - Matthew 24:12-13.
- We must preach the "gospel of the Kingdom" to all nations as long as we can - Matthew 24:14.
PRAYER: Dear God, I worship You as the all-powerful One. Help me to busy myself following Your instructions instead of beating my breast in a woeful "What's next?" Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.