In my last blog I raised the issue of God’s sovereignty and earth’s shakings and concluded with the question: what are His all wise purposes trying to tell us? I would now like to address this question. The three all wise purposes as I see them are:
First, that life is on loan to us.
Luke 12:20 “…this night your soul will be required of you…” (NKJ) We came into the world naked and we shall return in a similar fashion. His unilateral decision in the taking of lives, although hard to grasp from our modern point of view, is a loud declaration that, “…the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord,” says Job. (Job 1:21 NKJ) It’s a clear message to all that life is on loan from God and belongs to Him. That He created it, gave it and has the right to take it according to His will and purpose. Therefore He owes us nothing – not even an explanation. The young (2 Samuel 12:14), or the old (Luke 2:29), it’s His call.
Now is the time to take hold of this truth; to dedicate all that you are and all that you have to their true owner, the Lord Jesus Christ, rather than defrauding Him before it’s too late and you run out of time.
Secondly, He’s calling people to genuine repentance.
Troubles in the earth realm like ecological disasters, earthquakes and the like, are meant to warn people, who deny Jesus, that a day is coming when unbelievers will cry to the mountains and rocks to fall on them to hide them from the face of God… from His very presence.
Therefore, end-time earthquakes, calamities in the earth realm, ecologically and economically, like we find in the book of Revelation, are about calling people to actual repentance (Revelation 6:16). Why? So in such catastrophes, people would repent and turn to the Lord of Hosts and be saved! Christian’s should also realize that such things are a wake-up call to them as well. That it’s time to repent of our worldliness, luke-warmness and divided devotion, and fully consider the things of God afresh. “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3 NKJ)
Thirdly, It’s the beginning of birth pangs of the coming King and His Kingdom. (Matthew 24:7-8)
These verses reveal to us the end-time shakings, the overthrowing of nations, the arrival of deception through false Messiahs; wars and rumors of wars, trouble between people groups, famine and earthquakes in various places. It’s His warning. It’s the beginning of birth pains of the end-times. What are they to do?
They are to act as a wake-up call to this world that God’s kingdom will soon be born in a fresh and exciting way. It’s time to prepare, be alert and get ready to meet Jesus Christ; regardless of the specific day or hour of His return. It has been said, that earthquakes, ecological calamity and the like, reveal the fearful magnificence of God. I kind of like that statement! Like they are a calling card, a reminder, for the Bible says, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Psalm 111:10 NIV)
As most of society does not believe in God nor fear the Lord, the Bible therefore declares they lack wisdom. Therefore, these birth pangs are God’s calling card summoning people to fear the Lord, to reach out to Him, to get real wisdom, knowledge and strength in this hour from Him. And for those who believe, this fear becomes a gift of mercy.
Friends, when the earth shakes, the wind howls, the floods rise, the sea heaves, the mountains fall and the kingdoms of this world topple, where do you flee? Where is a safe place? The answer: GOD!
There is no doubt in my mind that He is shaking the systems of this world and all of creation, trying to get our attention. He’s using all the factors, economic, ecological and environmental as part of His strategic wake-up call. (Luke 21:25-26) It is true, we are living in the end-times, even though we don’t have a clear picture of the timing of Jesus Christ’ return. He is giving His people key warning signs for the times in which they live, to enable them to stay focused, on course and to occupy until He returns. (Lk.19:13)
As my good friend Dr Alistair Petrie writes, in his latest book God’s Design for Challenging Times, in reference to the shakings referred to in Hebrews 12:26-28 (NIV)
“And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.” This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe.”
If we examine these two passages of scripture carefully, we will see God’s activity in five different areas:
- He is shaking the earth!
- He is shaking the heavens!
- He is shaking the sea!
- He is shaking the land!
- He is shaking the kingdoms of nations!
Whenever God speaks in this manner, we need to realize it is a wakeup call to His people. When framed within the context of biblical prophecy, it is the all-knowing, and all-seeing God, who is in fact giving His people adequate warning concerning the future. He does this so that His people will not be afraid. He does it also that they will be fully awake, aware, ready and prepared for what He is doing in their midst and what will evolve in the days that lie ahead.’ God doesn’t want His people to be disheartened, afraid, lost and without hope.
In the midst of changing seasons, calamity and upheavals across the globe, there is one thing that is sure and solid; Hebrews 12:28 says it well.
“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”