The outcome of an election is very often unclear to us, including this one, until the very last moment. And as I write this article, the final outcome of the current election is still not clear. And this lack of clarity is causing great anxiety and despondency among many. But what is clear is the continuing need for the followers of Jesus Christ to keep their focus on Him and on His coming kingdom.
The Book of Hebrews was written to Jewish believers who were facing some very real persecutions as well as the diabolical hatred from their culture. These tough times were tempting them to “hide”. The counsel of the writer was for them to adjust their focus. The need of the moment for them was to “fix their attention” (Heb. 3:1) on Jesus as the Apostle and High Priest. “The Apostle” communicated the important fact that Jesus was THE One sent with authority from the Father to do His will in this world. Jesus is in charge, not the government or the culture. And Jesus as High Priest emphasizes the fact that He can give us all the grace and mercy needed in difficult times, when we come to Him. These realities were to be their focus.
Our Need to Check Our Focus. We recall that infamous moment when Peter rebuked Jesus for talking about His coming death (Matt. 16:21-23). Jesus’ response of “get behind Me, Satan” is well known. But equally important is what Jesus said next. He pointed out to Peter that you are not “setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.” And that has always been a challenge to believers and it is certainly the case in this present moment. And while it is legitimate to be involved in “man’s interests”, these must always be a distant second to “God’s interests.”
God has an absolutely perfect plan for His people, for His Messiah as well as for the entire world. And the Almighty God has let us know about many of those plans. And that, according to Jesus, is to be where our attention is fixed. Is it perhaps time to refocus?
Our Need to Remember His Revelatory Truth. Several months ago, in our Scofield article, we took a look at the wonderfully powerful Psalm 2. There are several points that would be good for us to recall as we try and focus our thinking. (1) While the kings of the earth, and the people of the earth as well, rage against God, He is neither threatened nor intimidated by their threats and anger (note also Isaiah 40). In fact, He laughs. (2) The focus of their hatred is the Anointed One. It has always been true, no matter how it is disguised, that the people of this world (culture) have an abiding hatred of Jesus. Jesus is rather clear on the matter in John 15:18-20. These have the attitude of their “spiritual father” Satan (note John 8:44). These simply do not want Jesus and His righteousness to dictate how they live. (3) The Father has already set Jesus as King, ruling over the entire world from Mt. Zion. Now, this is a future event but it is put in the past tense to emphasize the point that this is a “done deal.” The nations of the earth are the inheritance of Messiah Jesus. There is simply no way possible for God’s plan to be thwarted by anyone. (4) Before the wrath of God is poured out (and it will be), there is an appeal from God for the people of the earth to turn to Him and be saved. Ezekiel 33:11 reminds us that God desires to save men, rather than judge them: “I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked…turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die?” But those hardened in sin and unbelief will face God’s wrath which will terrify them (Psa. 2:5). And (5) we must focus on the great truth that the day is coming when all of creation will bow before Jesus and acknowledge that He is Lord of all (Phil. 2:9-11).
Our Need to Remember the Coming Plan. For most readers of this article, the coming plan is pretty well understood and I would not attempt to detail all of that here. There is but One Sovereign Lord who raises kings up and pulls them down (Daniel 2:21) according to His own purposes. And He has clear, detailed plan that He will accomplish which ultimately is going to restore, and enhance, all that was lost in Eden. By His own path and in His own time, He will bring us into Messiah’s kingdom. But there are some signs along that path which give us some idea of where we might be. (1) First and foremost is the reality that national, ethnic Israel has come back from almost 100 nations in the world to the Land given by covenant to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. With Israel in the land and living “confidently” (Ezek. 38:8: better than “securely), the basic stage is set for the final end time events. Israel’s presence in the Land was required, and they are there. (2) The nations of the coming Gog/Magog battle are pretty well aligned as Ezekiel sees them; especially noting the activities of Iran, Russian and now Turkey. This significant end times battle is that which begins bringing Israel back into a believing relationship with the Lord their God (Ezek. 39:22). And this repentance of Israel, as well as the salvation of millions of gentiles, is the grand purpose of Daniel’s 70th Week (the “tribulation”). And it is the one requirement before Jesus can return at His Second Coming (Matt. 23:39). (3) There is no question about the fate of the wicked kings and people who will not turn from their evil and come to the Lord Jesus for His magnificent salvation. According to Jesus and the prophets this coming tribulation time is unlike anything that mankind has ever experienced. The time ahead for this world is simply the worst of times. (4) The growing apostasy within the church itself. Paul spoke of this end times apostasy in 2 Thessalonians 2. And while there will always be believers who remain faithful to the Lord and to His Word, the defection from God’s truth within those claiming to be the church will be unprecedented. What we witness in so very many places in the world is a wholesale turning from Truth. And there are, of course, other signs which give us some idea where we are on this path of God.
What do Do? Jesus addressed this matter in Luke 19. He informed His men that He was going away into a far country (heaven), but that He would indeed return and would do so with great authority. He would come back. Their task was not to try and figure out what day on the calendar that would happen, but their task was to do “His business” until that time. And that is really where our focus today must be. We are in this culture at this time and “doing His business” is what we are to do. That will look a bit different for each of us, but it is “His business” that we are to be about. As Jesus told Peter, your focus and mine must be on “God’s interests.”