Judges 2:1-9; Luke 21:29-36; Psalms 91:1-16; Proverbs 21:11-12
NT: “Then he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. As soon as they put out leaves you can see for yourselves and recognize that summer is already near. In the same way, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. Be on your guard, so that your minds are not dulled from carousing, drunkenness, and worries of life, or that day will come on you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come on all who live on the face of the whole earth. But be alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place and to stand before the Son of Man.”” (Luke 21:29-36 CSB)
As the Lord’s return draws nearer and nearer, there are two things we must do: 1) recognize, and 2) be on guard. When trees begin to produce leaves, we know that winter is ending and summer is on its way. In the same way, as we see the signs that Jesus spoke of, we need to recognize them for what they are and be assured that The Lord is faithful to His promise… His return is getting nearer. As leaves on trees show signs of life and are the precursor of fruit, as we look among the nations and see communities of Jesus followers popping up everywhere, we must recognize that The Lord’s commission is being fulfilled and His return is growing nearer and nearer. We definitely don’t want to miss and miss out on what the Lord is doing because we don’t recognize the signs. Jesus also warned us to be on our guard… to stay awake and alert… to not allow ourselves to be lulled to sleep or dulled in our awareness or thinking. How do we stay alert? We allow God’s word to dwell in us as we abide in Christ and keep our eyes ever on Him – allowing Him to teach us and lead us as we stay involved in the business of the Kingdom.
Psalms: “The one who lives under the protection of the Most High dwells in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say concerning the Lord, who is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust: He himself will rescue you from the bird trap, from the destructive plague. He will cover you with his feathers; you will take refuge under his wings. His faithfulness will be a protective shield. You will not fear the terror of the night, the arrow that flies by day, the plague that stalks in darkness, or the pestilence that ravages at noon. Though a thousand fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, the pestilence will not reach you. You will only see it with your eyes and witness the punishment of the wicked. Because you have made the Lord — my refuge, the Most High — your dwelling place, no harm will come to you; no plague will come near your tent. For he will give his angels orders concerning you, to protect you in all your ways. They will support you with their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the young lion and the serpent. Because he has his heart set on me, I will deliver him; I will protect him because he knows my name. When he calls out to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble. I will rescue him and give him honor. I will satisfy him with a long life and show him my salvation.” (Psalms 91:1-16 CSB)
This psalm has become a source of hope and encouragement to many during this months-long quarantine to try and slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. In my community, I see signs in people’s yards all around town that simply say Psalm 91. We live in a dangerous world full of natural disasters, self-serving people, deadly plagues, unstable economies, etc. While the dangers of this world affect the righteous and unrighteous alike, those who abide with the Lord and submit to His covering can be confident that the Lord of Creation is watching over them. And if their lives are touched in someway by the dangers of life, they will not be destroyed. When we set our heart on the Lord and follow Him completely, the Lord sets His heart on us and delivers us from destruction. When we get hit with bad news or experience things that would completely level any normal person, we are able to stand and shine in the midst of the trials and tribulations through the grace that God gives us. As the world around us continues to spiral further and further out of control, we can be safe and at peace because the Lord is with us through it all, and is our peace in the midst of the storm.