"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace."
Solomon, the wisest man to walk the earth (apart from Jesus of course) reminds us that there is a time for everything. From Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 we learn: "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: 2a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, 3a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, 4a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, 5a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, 6a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, 7a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, 8a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace."
Jesus told his disciples that they should be wise in discerning the seasons happening here on earth. In Luke 21:29-30 Jesus says: "Look at the fig tree and all the trees. 30When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. 31Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near." When you read the entire passage you'll know Jesus is talking about the end times.
If you are paying attention to what's happening in the world today, it's becoming more and more clear that the pace of Biblical prophecy being fulfilled is increasing. Since that is both above my paygrade and not the focus of this topic, if you want to learn more about what is happening in the world and what Biblical prophecies are being fulfilled before our eyes, I will direct you to Amir Tsarfati and Pastor Jack Hibbs. These are two examples of men who are Biblically sound and are paying attention to the rapidly unfolding current events.
As the Day draws near, one thing is changing in our world and it's something Paul told Timothy was going to happen: people are going to become more and more evil. In 2 Timothy as Paul is nearing the end of his life he leaves Timothy with these wise words: 2 Timothy 3:1-5 "1But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people."
All you have to do is turn on the news to know that the people Paul was referring to aren't the "fringe" any more, they are becoming more and more mainstream. So the question stands: what are Christians supposed to be doing in these days when the "tolerance" for our beliefs are now categorized as hate speech, bigoted, and offensive? As always God knew we would be living in tumultuous times and He has given us many instructions on how we are supposed to live in a hostile world.
For today's encouragement we'll dive into the book of Nehemiah. To give a quick recap of what's happening.... the people of Judah have served their allotted time in captivity for disobedience and it's time to go rebuild Jerusalem. As usual the enemies of God weren't happy about King Artaxerxes giving the command for Nehemiah to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls (Ezra was already there rebuilding the temple). So we start our lesson in Nehemiah 4. The people are tired and the enemies of the Jews aren't happy. We read in vs. 10 "10Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, “The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall.” So the people are tired.
Then in verse 11 we see: "11Also our enemies said, “Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work.” So the enemies are threatening war.
The icing on the cake is vs. 12: "12Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, “Wherever you turn, they will attack us.” The people are intimidated.
So we have tired people, forceful enemies and discouraged people. Sound familiar? If the evil that is growing in our culture hasn't caught up with you it will. So what do we do in these circumstances? Well Nehemiah had a solution to the aforementioned problems. Here is his response in vs. 13-14: "13Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows. 14After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”
It's quite simple:
1- get prepared
2-get in position
3- remember the Lord who is GREAT and AWESOME, don't be afraid of them
4- Fight for your families, your sons and your daughters and your wives and your homes
While I'm not advocating for any type of violence, I am advocating for the spiritual Biblical fighting referenced here. In Nehemiah chapter 1 we read about Nehemiah getting on his knees and praying. He then decided to do something as the Lord led to change the circumstances. If we try to engage in the spiritual battle we are facing in the flesh, we'll end up like the men in Acts 19: "13A group of Jews was traveling from town to town casting out evil spirits. They tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus in their incantation, saying, “I command you in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, to come out!” 14Seven sons of Sceva, a leading priest, were doing this. 15But one time when they tried it, the evil spirit replied, “I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but who are you?” 16Then the man with the evil spirit leaped on them, overpowered them, and attacked them with such violence that they fled from the house, naked and battered."
Let's not do that, OK? Instead, let's follow Nehemiah's lead. Let's be deeply committed to praying for our families and communities. Let's seek the Lord and be filled with the Holy Spirit so we can be led to take a stand when the Lord leads. This is a time to stand, let our light shine and not be intimated by the enemy. In closing I'll leave you with this quote from Charles Stanley:
"Obey God and let Him take care of the consequences."
Have a blessed day!