Standing on the Promises

The prophets in Old Testament Israel and Judah who preached prior to their respective captivities knew that nobody would believe them. They made their case, not because they expected to persuade the masses, but because they wanted to make clear what the case against the masses was. After the return from captivity, the people began to pay attention retroactively. I think this is the way to plan for any comprehensive reform movement.[1]

Its 40 years since I began to attend Bible School as a new Christian, in 1975. A lot of water has gone under the bridge since then. I’ve got married, Sue and I have had three children, and we’ve lived and worked in 4 states of Australia. In 2007, one of our sons married and he and his wife now have 4 children.

In 2008 I started this website, and soon after published a couple of books.

And since that time? Australia has continued to decline. The things we would like to happen in the nation in terms of the growth of the fear of God, are rarely seen. There is a lot wrong.

But so what? That’s the way it’s generally been, ever since Cain killed Abel. We spend our life contending with challenges that are around us, in the hope that there will be change in the nation, and in the world.

You cannot wait around for things to improve, before you say, “Oh, it’s getting better now. Now I can take some optimistic steps. Now I can do something.” The Bible never tells us to do that.

A Biblical attitude goes like this: “There could be a lot wrong. So what? What are you doing about it? Will it get any better while you are doing nothing, standing around?”

It’s not faith for a farmer to wait for rain, before he sows his crops. He should sow his crop, and then hope and pray for rain to come. The Bible actually says, “He who watches the wind will not sow and he who looks at the clouds will not reap” (Eccles.11:4).

I don’t know when conditions will get better in Australia; in some ways today they are worsening. But here’s the challenge for me: what am I doing to contribute to healthy change? And if I don’t contribute, who will? Could my contribution be one of millions of straws that break the back of humanism in this country? If so, it is evil to withhold something I can easily and legitimately do. Inaction in the face of adversity or crisis is never an option for the Christian.

When God called men and women in the Bible, they weren’t supposed to sit around and complain. Think of Moses, Nehemiah, John the Baptist, Jesus, Paul. Yet all of them had to deal with challenging, difficult circumstances that one of us would enjoy.

Every one of these was thrust by God into the midst of challenge and conflict, but none of them retreated from what they were called to do, even if it could lead to their death. Moses initially vacillated. He wanted God to find someone else. But God would have nothing of it.

They had a job to do. They were all confronting the same things we confront today: unbelief, religious compromise and the idolatries of their era. Some things never change.

The Puritan Revolution in England that reached its peak in the first half of the 1600’s, had really begun a century earlier.

Under which tyrant?

Henry VIII. Yes, Henry had good men like William Tyndale and Thomas More executed in the 1530’s, but that didn’t stop godly people going about the business of reform, even if it meant it was initially just local, in families and churches. But it proved to be more than that. The Bible began to be translated into English. In 1611 when England was ruled by a pagan, bi-sexual tyrant in the person of James I, the Authorised Translation was completed, and the Puritan Revolution changed gear.

The Chinese Revolution saw the shedding of blood of countless Christians, and Mao was possibly the worst tyrant in human history. But what do we witness in China today? It’s being steadily changed from the inside, through the conversion of millions, annually. Communism in China cannot last.

Every great work of God has to begin with someone, somewhere, and the Bible warns us, “Who has despised the day of small things?” (Zech.4:10).

Conclusion:                                                                                                                            

No master wants to see his workers standing around, complaining about their circumstances. God knows our circumstances, and He wants us to get busy at whatever He’s called us to, always ensuring we’re putting the kingdom of God first. The devil will give us 101 reasons why it’s all too hard to do anything.

What has God called you to? Are you busy about the Master’s business, standing on His promises? Are you confident about the future, whether in this life or the next?

Standing on the promises, or sitting on the sidelines? Get in and play your part. That way, you’ll be a blessing to others, and be able to give a good account to our Lord on your day of judgment, when all will be revealed.

Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near (James 5:7, 8).

[1] Gary North (www.garynorth.com), “Planning Way Ahead for Victory,” 22/4/2015