Peace time mentality

“The word of the Lord came to me: “Take note, son of man, the house of Israel is saying, ‘The vision that he sees is for distant days; he is prophesying about the far future.’ Therefore say to them, “This is what the sovereign Lord says: None of my words will be delayed any longer! The word I speak will come to pass, declares the sovereign Lord.’”
Ezekiel 12:26-28

“This is because they have led my people astray saying, “All is well,” when things are not well. When anyone builds a wall without mortar, they coat it with whitewash. Tell the ones who coat it with whitewash that it will fall. When there is a deluge of rain, hailstones will fall and a violent wind will break out. When the wall has collapsed, people will ask you, “Where is the whitewash you coated it with?”
Ezekiel 13:10-12

The Israelites lived in a time of peace and prosperity. No war, no famine, no drought to worry about. They built houses, had children, farmed the land and bred their life stock. They did all the normal things that one would do in life. But all this time the Word of the Lord had been forgotten and pushed aside. They were pre-occupied with the good and comfortable life.

Ezekiel comes to the scene and prophesies their exile and destruction, yet they thought that it was the far future and didn’t concern them. They turned to the prophets who declared “all is well”; after all, who can deny that all is well? It certainly looks well. Anyone who thought otherwise was weird. Ezekiel was certainly weird, what in the word was he doing digging holes in the walls and packing up his stuff (Ezekiel 12:3-11)? Yet their doom was looming. What God had promised in the Law (Deuteronomy 30:15-20), He was sure to deliver.

This comfortable, peace-time mentality seeps in unknowingly. Our life is good, our needs are met, everything is at peace. There is a war going on in our backyard, right at our door step, yet we do not see. When someone brings it to our attention, we turn away and dismiss them. We find prophets, teachers and preacher who tell us that “all is well” and “Christ is coming, but not in our generation” (2 Peter 3:1-13)! The worst part of it all is that we lose the sense of urgency and gravity in God’s commands. We water His words down to our level of comfort and our pace of life.

Let’s rewrite the Great Commission and see what it looks like:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. If you have the time and money go and make disciples of the people in your backyard, bringing them to church in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to choose bits and pieces of Christianity that sound positive, fits the current culture and is tolerable from what I have given you options for. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age to give you great things like a big house, a nice car, a club membership and a rewarding career.”

Time to wake up, the world is at war and we stand at the frontline.

The need of the hour is global wartime mentality. I say “wartime” because life is war (1 Timothy 6:12; Ephesians 6:10ff; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5). I say “global” because “the field is the world” (Matthew 13:38).
John Piper

Man of action

A garrison of the Philistines had gone out to the pass at Micmash.
Then one day Jonathan son of Saul said to his armor bearer, “Come on, lets go over to the Philistine garrison that is opposite us.” But he did not let his father know.
Now Saul was sitting under a pomegranate tree in Migron, on the outskirts of Gibeah. The army that was with him numbered about six hundred men. Now Ahijah was carrying an ephod. He was the son of Ahitub, who was the brother of Ichabod and a son of Phineas, son of Eli, the priest of the Lord in Shiloh. The army was unaware that Jonathan had left.
1 Samuel 13:23 – 14:3

When Israel saw that the Philistine army came up against them in a huge multitude (1 Samuel 13:2, 5), they went and hid in caves and pits (1 Samuel 13:6-7). Saul’s army of 3000 men was certainly no match against the tens of thousands of Philistines. Whats more, only Saul and Jonathan had swords, the rest of the army had farming equipment for weapons (1 Samuel 13:22)! The army, frightened and discouraged began to withdraw. Saul, under stress, faltered by taking over the office of the priest and was severely rebuked by Samuel and told that his kingship would not last.

Meanwhile, Jonathan saw the anxiousness and discouragement in the army and decided to take action.

We might be led to think that Jonathan was impatient and did not seek the Lord’s favour before battle, but God was with Jonathan (1 Samuel 14:13). While Saul was waiting for an answer with Ahijah, the priest, Jonathan made things happen and Saul saw the Philistine army dissolve before his eyes, so quickly and so much that he had to interrupt Ahijah to jump into battle (1 Samuel 14:18-19).

What happened to Saul, the man of action we see in 1 Samuel 11? The Philistines had already felt the wrath of God (1 Samuel 6) in plagues and the might of Israel in war (1 Samuel 7). They would have heard of the slaughter that Saul laid on the Ammonites. Saul had no reason to hold back! Perhaps he lost his confidence after Samuel’s rebuke (1 Samuel 13:14). Saul probably felt like God’s favour was no longer on him and he needed to obtain God’s favour again. Or it might be that he had learnt his lesson after being rebuked and he didn’t want to rush ahead without first seeking God appropriately. Whatever the reason, Saul was subject to what we now know as analysis paralysis.

Jonathan on the other hand was a man of practicality. He was an activist. He saw a solution to the problem and he was on it. He didn’t delay or hesitate. He made a plan and stuck with it and the Lord was with Him. He went with the ability that God had already given him (Judges 6:14) and brought victory to the Israelites.

You could say that Jonathan didn’t believe in being in the center of God’s will, there was simply no such will; there was no need to seek for a distinct immediate will of God. If the Ark of Covenant was with them, it meant that God was already with them. Victory belongs to Israel. This is Jonathan’s wisdom. If God gave us wisdom in Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30), we are responsible to use it. Proverbs is full of references to the role of wisdom in daily life. We need to be men of action as Jonathan was and not succumb to analysis paralysis. “Waiting on God” is no excuse for indecisiveness or lack of wisdom.