Planning for the future begins before we are born. When a baby is coming, supplies need to be purchased, a birth plan needs to be created, and research often begins on the best car seats, baby beds, etc. This planning for the future continues. What schools to attend, and how to prepare for higher education? There are graduation parties and then weddings to plan. Soon retirement must be planned for, and in our older years, we are encouraged to make a will, buy a burial plot, and plan our funerals.
So much of our lives is spent planning for the future. Yet, how much time is spent planning for the life to come? This verse says it is "HIGH TIME to awake." Being too busy, overanxious, careless in our devotions and church attendance, becoming weary in well doing, and neglecting fellowship with Godly people are all things that can put us to "sleep" spiritually, causing us to forget what "time" it really is.
God's mercy is sending us a wake-up call. It might come through the Word or through hard trials and persecution. Sleeping is dangerous! It is "HIGH TIME to awake"! Instead of only living in the moment or planning for the near future, let us consider living in the light of eternity.
When we look at how our time is spent, do we have an awareness of the life to come? Are we "awake" to temptations, time wasters, people in need, and opportunities to witness? What do we do with all our spare time? Will those things matter in a few years or in eternity?
"Knowing the time" (it is getting late) should challenge us to change some of our priorities and to invest in what is truly lasting. Today, it might be good to take a few minutes and ask, "What time is it?"
There is a story about a man who was on a mountain and saw a snake. The snake was cold, and he asked the man to carry him down to where it was warmer. The man said, "No, you’ll bite me," but the snake promised he would not. The man believed the snake, picked him up, and carried him down.
Of course, after a while, the snake did exactly as the man had feared – it bit him! The man said, "You promised not to bite me," and the snake said, "You knew what I was when you picked me up."
Often there are things that have not been good for us. They might have even "bit" us in the past, causing us to spiritually stumble or fall. God gives us victory, but then a little snake comes along. "Surely we can handle it now," we tell ourselves. We feel much stronger than we were before.
Just as we cannot literally place a fire inside our shirt without painful results, we cannot pick up those "snakes" (things that have caused us so much trouble in the past) without equally painful results. The next time the enemy tells you that NOW you are strong enough to handle those "snakes," remember he is a liar. Regardless of how long you have been saved, the things that you struggled with in the past must be avoided! It is good to remember the words of the snake: "You knew what I was when you picked me up."
God was angry with the people of Israel! When Aaron created an idol (a calf) at the people’s request, they worshiped it, saying, "These be thy gods which have brought thee up out of Egypt." God told Moses He would not "go up in the midst" of Israel, "lest I consume" them (verse 3).
What could Moses do? Other versions of this verse say that Moses took his own tent, pitched it outside the camp, and called it the "Tent of Meeting." Historians say it was 2,000 cubits (about ¾ of a mile) from the camp. There Moses met with God, and God talked to Moses "face to face, as a man talks with his friend" (verse 11).
When Moses left the camp for the Tent of Meeting, the people noticed. "Every man stood at his tent door." When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud (God’s presence) moved to the door of that tent.
Today, wickedness abounds in our world. Is God any less angry? Now, more than ever, God needs His people to consistently meet with Him. Do you have a "Tent of Meeting," a place where there is a separation between the profane (things that are earthly) and the holy (time spent with the Lord)? Do you have a place where you regularly meet with the Lord? Is it "outside the camp," away from the noise of everyday life?
When Moses spent time with God, it was obvious to the people. Likewise, as we spend more time in our "Tent of Meeting," it will become obvious to those around us. Our nation needs more people who consistently withdraw from life to meet and hear from God. Perhaps it would be good to consider the discipline of a place (a "Tent of Meeting") to regularly meet with God.
Not far from where we live is an old cabin that is slowly falling down. In years past, we have seen people stay there, but now it is completely uninhabitable. We drive by and think, "How sad!" It did not take someone with a sledge hammer or chainsaw to destroy that home. Simply neglecting to maintain and care for it has, in time, had a destroying effect. I have often said, "Oh, I neglected to tell you" or "I neglected to take care of that," but this verse reminds us of the one thing we MUST NOT neglect – "so great salvation." How tempting it is to skip a daily Bible reading, prayer, or a church service! We think, "Just one won’t matter that much." But one almost always becomes two and soon a regular habit of neglect is established. The enemy knows many Christians will avoid sins like stealing, killing, cheating, drinking alcohol, or taking illegal drugs. Yet, how easy it is to neglect a few things here and there! King Solomon described it as "a little sleep, a little slumber" (Proverbs 6:10). The songwriter told of the serious end of a life of neglect: "Through neglect, I’m lost at last" (Soon the Summer Will Be Ended). This Bible verse is a reminder as we start each day to not neglect those things that keep our spiritual house strong and secure.
If you have ever driven a car that needed an alignment or pushed a grocery cart with a crooked wheel, you know how difficult it is to go forward while being pulled to the left or to the right. From the moment we wake up until we fall asleep, there are demands for our time and attention—responsibilities, social media, technology, a job, or school. Is it any wonder that we often feel like we are "out of alignment"?
When your car is "out of alignment," tires wear out prematurely, it causes extra stress and fatigue to the driver, and it is a safety concern. An alignment will make sure all four wheels point in the same direction.
Just as Bible reading and prayer, silence and solitude are much needed spiritual disciplines. Jesus spent time alone with God, making sure His will and life was in alignment with His Father's.
In this age of technology, we seem to be addicted to noise. Times of silence can be unsettling. Often, we are uncomfortable being alone with our thoughts. We would rather keep busy so that we can push aside our true needs. In silence and solitude, distractions are removed, and God can bring to the surface inner problems and needs that we have been ignoring.
Today, let us create a space where we STOP (talking, doing, socializing, being entertained) and START (listening to what God has to say). It might be painful as God reveals what is out of alignment in our life, but when we allow God to do His perfect work in us, we will find true rest and peace.
"We are silent at the beginning of the day because God should have the first word, and we are silent before going to sleep because the last word belongs to God" (Dietrich Bonhoeffer).
A popular song, written in 1918, tells of the parents of a young soldier who was marching off to war. These parents asked their friends: "Did you see my little Jimmy marching with the soldiers up the avenue? They were all out of step but Jim." Of course, what those proud parents did not realize was that their son was actually the only one marching out of step. This verse brings to mind marching in step, or "lockstep," a way of marching with each person as close as possible to the one in front. Walking in the Spirit is to be "as close as possible to the One in front." This requires walking at the Holy Spirit’s pace, not ours. When a decision needs to be made, are we "in step" with the opinions of others, or do we "walk in the Spirit"? We often do not want to be seen as odd or different, and it is much easier to go along with others, to keep in step with our friends and relatives. But if we do that, it will not be long until we will find God’s Spirit is way ahead of us, and we no longer have that close relationship with Him we once had. To keep in step with the Holy Spirit will mean we are "out of step" with the world. They might view us as "little Jimmy," completely out of touch and out of step, but what are we out of step with? The world’s values, opinions, expectations? Those change continually and are impossible to be "in step" with. How much better to walk in step with God’s Spirit!
The French Revolution lasted ten years, but for many people 1793-1794 was the worst. One politician said, "Let's make terror the order of the day!" During this "Reign of Terror," it is believed that 300,000 people were arrested, 17,000 were executed, and 10,000 died in prison.
When Paul called on Christians to "persuade men" because we know "the TERROR of the Lord," this was not the kind of terror he was talking about. Other versions translate this as "the FEAR of the Lord." To fear God is to have respect and reverence for Him, to understand He is holy, just, and righteous, and to learn how much He hates sin. This fear includes a strong desire to not displease the Lord.
To gain this healthy "fear of the Lord" requires getting into God's Word (Bible reading and study). Psalm 119:38 promises that God's Word (when proved and confirmed) produces fear (or reverence for God).
Proverbs 2:1-5 has great instructions for understanding fear and finding Godly knowledge. Verse 1 - RECEIVE God's words Verse 2 - APPLY your heart to understanding Verse 3 - CRY after knowledge Verse 4 - SEARCH for knowledge and understanding Verse 5 - "THEN shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God."
It is dangerous to be a Christian (a "salesman" for Christ) and have little real fear (reverence, understanding, and knowledge) of the Lord. "We fear men so much because we fear God so little" (William Gurnall).