Believers today have been given God’s Word and heard his voice in our lives just as they did in the Exodus generation in 1445 BC, David’s generation in 1000 BC, Jeremiah’s generation in 600 BC, Jesus’ generation in 30 AD and the people living in Jerusalem who received the New Testament letter of Hebrews in 63 AD.
Like them, we have a choice to either receive or reject the Lord’s invitation into his rest. If we can understand God’s Words and trust his ways as revealed in these promises, we will be able to stabilize our souls for rest and prepare our minds for action - not only in the good times, but even in the worst times. We will be fruitful in season and out of season because we will have entered into and remained in God’s rest. Doing so is absolutely necessary because the day of evil comes to each one of us individually - and will come to us as a nation. We must prepare our souls now.
To do this we must first hear the promises and understand the ways of God. Today we have an opportunity to inhale the doctrines of truth. If we do this, we can live daily in God’s rest exhaling both the character of the Lord and the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.
If you know the character of the Lord and the fruit of the Spirit, you also know that much more is involved than just joy and peace, because not every situation in life demands joy or peace. Sometimes in this fallen world, living among those in rebellion to God, we will also need to be faithful, just, humble and good.
We will need to be faithful to the Lord - even while everyone else is compromising God’s Word and twisting his created order. We will need to remain in God’s rest while we think and speak faithfully of his ways - even while being mocked for not compromising, and being identified as evil for not twisting the reality of his created order. These will not be easy fruits of the Spirit to produce if you have lost confidence in God and left his place of rest.
We will need to be just and seek justice - even when our culture is oppressive. We will need to be just and fair - even when a bribe determines innocence or guilt. We will need to speak fairly, honestly, and justly - even when the path to survival requires lies, compromise, and betrayal.
Are churches today preparing our souls for situations like this?
God’s Word does. And he defends his Word with his very nature, and backs it up with a promise. You can remain committed to justice in the midst of a society bent on compromise and still maintain your place in the rest of God.
We will need to “walk humbly before our God” - even when doing so is identified as arrogant and uncooperative by men who demand we bow before them (instead of before God). The humble cannot be weak. There is a time when humility before the Lord will require you to rise up as mighty in the face of rebellious men. You will be in God’s rest, but this will not be tolerated by those who do not understand that their momentary greatness in this age was given to them by the Lord - or that it is already passing away.
Stay humble, my friend, and do not fear the lions!
We will need to be good even when men declare that “good is evil”, and identify “light as darkness”. These will be difficult times for us. But know also that they will not be spiritually productive days for the “Christian” who has compromised his testimony to tolerate wickedness, cooperate with evil, live patiently in sin, and make peace with the unrighteous.
A good man in these days will have to be a strong, confrontational man willing to live independently in the rest of his God - more a battle-hardened warrior than a religious social organizer.