It is a new year but 2021 doesn’t suddenly seem better than 2020, does it? The same problems persist and new ones arise, year after year.
Many of you remember the fall of the USSR which was officially complete in 1991. Many hailed the era of the US as the only super-power. Then came the dot-com bubble of the ‘90s and a false sense of good times and endless prosperity. Yet, a decade after the fall of the USSR came 9/11 and a series of wars against terrorists that went badly. Our old problems merely morphed into a new set of troubles and our optimism faded.
I have often heard well-meaning individuals predict the certainty of God’s judgment on America for its sins. That is true, but the judgment of God takes many forms. It isn’t necessarily an obliterating, destructive end. Judgment may just as likely be a long period of stagnation, a multitude of problems, a failure to thrive, and as string of frustrations. We see this in the lives of individuals who make consistently irresponsible ore even wicked choices. Their judgment may be to live with the consequences of their sins. I believe in judgment, but we ought not to assume it is best represented by its most dramatic historical examples.
Please read Hebrews 12. It compares the new Messianic era to the generation at Sinai, most of who perished in the wilderness before the Promised Land was even in view. Yet, a principle of God’s working is laid out for us in verses 24-29. It describes the work of God in history as a shaking of heaven and earth “that those things which cannot be shaken may remain” (v. 27).
Those words help us understand our time and the last 2,000 years of history. God shakes out all that is not part of His Kingdom which “cannot be moved” (v. 28). Therefore, it behooves us to “serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear” (v. 28) because we realize the truth that “our God is a consuming fire” (v. 29).
These are difficult times because things are being shaken out. The key is to understand that if we are part of Christ’s Kingdom, we are part of what cannot be shaken.
The shaking of God is a frightening thing, but a necessary part of the advance of His Kingdom, which continues on the course its Lord has established.