Jeremiah 46:13-47:7; 2 Timothy 3:1-17; Psalms 94:1-13; Psalms 21:17-18
NT: “But know this: Hard times will come in the last days. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, demeaning, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid these people… But you have followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, and endurance, along with the persecutions and sufferings that came to me in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra. What persecutions I endured — and yet the Lord rescued me from them all. In fact, all who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. Evil people and impostors will become worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed… All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5, 10-14a, 16-17 CSB)
We are currently in the “last days.” Technically speaking, we have been in the “last days” since Christ left the earth and sent forth His Holy Spirit. How long the last days will last, no one knows but God the Father – but we do know that the last days will come to an end once the good news of the kingdom has been proclaimed in all the inhabited earth as a testimony to all people groups (Matthew 24:14). Paul forewarned Timothy (and us) that within the last days there will be hard times. The Greek word for times is the word ‘kairos,’ which refers to seasons or due season. As spring progresses to winter, there are changes in the seasons… and before the new life of spring can arise, the bleak death and disillusionment of winter descends upon the earth. So will be the last days. As time progresses from the resurrection and ascension of Christ to Christ glorious return, the seasons of life on earth will progress and hard times will grow harder until the end… then all will be made new when Christ returns in Glory to destroy His enemies.
As hard as times were at the end of Paul’s life, he knew that they were only going to get harder… that people were going to grow more and more deceived, appearing to be religious, but full of all kinds of evil and conceit. When those hard times came, Paul would not be there to help Timothy… but his words would be there… and the word of God would be there. For Timothy to endure through the hard times and come out standing in faith… for us to endure in faith until the end, he needed (and we need) to continue in the truth that he had learned and believed in, and he (and we) needed to know how to use scripture to mature and complete his faith, and equip him for every good work. As Paul said, evil people and impostors will become worse, deceiving people and being deceived. The word of God is the unchanging North Star that will lead us through hard and perilous times to come out at the end saved and in faith.
Prayer: Lord, I thank You for the sureness and steadfastness of Your word… that all scripture is inspired by You and profitable for growing me to maturity and equipping me for every good work. Help me to grow in my understanding and knowledge of Your word by Your Holy Spirit, so that no matter how hard or perilous times become, I will be have what I need to stay the course and endure in faith until the end. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.