2/16/2023 0 Comments
Getting Ahead of the Plan
Subtitle: What to Do When the Plan Doesn’t Seem to be Working?
At the risk of stating the obvious, becoming a father of a multitude requires being a father. Abram knew God’s plan, but many years had passed by without the promised son being born. It’s tempting when we don’t see things unfold as we expect to either let go of the promise or hatch our own plan to bring it to pass. Abram and his wife opted for the latter choice. And like all choices, it had consequences.
Sarai, Abram’s wife, conceived a plan—pun intended—whereby her Egyptian maid (Hagar) would be offered to Abram. Those kinds of arrangements were common in the world at that time. But remember, God’s plan required a godly lineage to bring forth the Seed. Sarai’s plan may have sounded good at the time, but good is not God’s best.
Not surprisingly, as soon as the maid conceived a son, Hagar immediately despised Sarai. The Hebrew wording actually means to curse. Later, after the promised son (Isaac) was miraculously born to Abram and Sarai, the stand-in son (Ishmael) likewise cursed and ridiculed the promised son.
Needless to say, the two sons could not co-exist in the same household. So God had to step in, sending the illegitimate son and his mother to Beersheba. Because of human choices, God had to allow something less than His best. Still, God did not forget Hagar. He promised that her son would also become a nation. Ishmael became the father of the Arabs. Sometimes our choices have epic consequences!
Deuteronomy 30:19-20 repeats the two choices presented by the two trees in the Garden of Eden. “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live, that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days…”
When the people choose to reject God, He must give them what they have chosen, the cursed consequences. In some passages, it sounds as if God is the active agent that is causing it to happen. But because God is just, He has no choice but to allow it to happen. Some theologians refer to this as His permissive will. Without consequences, evil-doers think they can get away with murder—literally. The proliferation of lawlessness in our own time is a vivid reminder of this principle. In short, the people bring the consequences on themselves through their choices, which God must allow.
The Chronos Lesson: Even today we witness the consequence of Abram and Sarai’s choice to get ahead of God. It produced an in-bred hatred between the Jews and the Arabs. That hatred will erupt again with an end-time invasion of Israel by a coalition of Arab nations under the leadership of the Antichrist. That invasion comes just before the sixth and final sign of this present age that signals Christ’s return.
The final sign will be unmistakable. The whole world will be thrust into darkness at the same time. Needless to say, the invasion will come to a screeching halt. Scripture records that the heavens will recede like a scroll being rolled up. All the people of the earth will see Jesus seated at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. They will see Him stand and then come to gather His Church at the rapture. He will take His Bride back to Father’s House as promised, where we shall remain with Him to reign over the earth during the final 1,000 years of God’s great Week. To state the obvious, His coming will not be a secret coming!
Once seated as the heavenly, immortal court, we will execute God’s vengeance against evil. “And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great Day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?’ ” (Rev. 6:15-17).
In case you’re wondering who is able to stand, the answer is given in the next chapter (Rev. 7:14-15). It is the ones who come out of the 2,000 years of tribulation that characterizes the Church Age. Jesus taught that the tribulation would begin immediately after the destruction of the Temple (70 AD). It continues until we see the final sign of total darkness over the whole earth.
Revelation 7 adds that the ones who are able to stand are those who chose to wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. That’s us, folks!
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