“Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
4 So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.
5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came (Gen. 12:1-5).
Time, coupled with wind, rain, storms, floods, frigid temperatures, tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes and other natural conditions, have a way of eroding landscape, altering the course of rivers, creating ravines and caverns and many times leaving behind no similarities of former landscapes or civilizations.
Time is something referred to by Jesus when He said, “he that endureth to the end shall be saved” (Matt. 10:22).
It is that time of enduring that presses upon every Christian.
Abram, a man who sought after the true God, lived in Ur of the Chaldees with his father and his father’s family. God spoke to Abram directing him to “Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee” (Gen. 12:1).
It appears from Stephen’s account in Acts 7:3 that God spoke two times to Abram, calling him first from Ur and later from Haran. When the call came to Abram to leave Ur, Abram’s father, Terah, went with Abram along with other members of Terah’s family to Haran where they settled for a time.
But Abram’s call was to the land of Canaan and God reaffirmed the call to Abram in Haran. While God called Abram to leave his father’s house we find many of Abram’s family traveling along. Terah died in Haran which allowed Abram to go further to the land to which God had called him.
What we see here is when a call is first given, there is much excitement. Everyone wants to be a part of what God is doing, to go to the place where God is calling. But time seems to weed out the majority of travelers.
Moses, with Israel, experienced the same effects of time upon the call of God. There was enthusiasm as the children of Israel “borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: And the Lord gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians” (Ex. 12:35-36). What an exciting time!
What confidence the people possessed of the presence and power of God! The atmosphere was electrifying! Who would not want to be a part of this mighty move of the Spirit of God? Even some Egyptians (the mixed multitudes) were caught up in the supernatural work of God and joined the parade of the Exodus.
The excitement didn’t last long, for Pharaoh once again hardened his heart and pursued the Israelites while God lead them into a corner where there was no escape from Pharaoh’s army. Moses surely had not thought through his plan of exodus. The jubilance quickly turned to fear and the shouts of praise to murmuring.
The great expectations of deliverance were dashed with acute fear and distress when they saw Pharaoh pursuing. This was only the beginning of forty long years of journeying to the promised land. Had they known the storms, the winds and floods they would encounter over the next forty years, one wonders whether they would have preferred to remain in bondage to Pharaoh.
The winds of time with all that time brings with it, severely tests our love and allegiance to God.
Centuries passed and the time finally came when the promise given to Abraham should be fulfilled, that of his “seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” (Gen. 22:18).
That Seed was born of a virgin in a little town in Judea. Multiplied prophecies had been given of the coming of Israel’s Messiah and all Israel waited in anticipation for His appearing. Every young woman hoped and prayed that she might be honored and privileged to bear this promised Seed. However, the centuries which passed and the challenges which Israel had faced had not created a people who would welcome the Prince of Peace. Israel had “slumbered and slept” through the centuries. They had proven themselves to be a wayward and rebellious people. They often had fallen into idolatry, immorality and carnality, consequently bringing God’s judgment and falling into the hands of their enemies.
The history of Israel is the account of a people who forgot the God Who delivered them from Egypt and who had given them the land promised to their father Abraham. Israel and Judah experienced years of victories and defeats, freedom and slavery, prosperity and famine, blessings and cursings, times when they sought God and times when idols filled the land.
After centuries of Israel’s waywardness and countless warnings by prophets and men of God, the time came when God sold them into the hands of Assyria and Babylon. Israel was dispersed, and although Judah was granted the privilege to return and build again Jerusalem, only a few returned and the rest remained in Babylon. Yet as merciful as God was in permitting the Jews to return and rebuild, time again created merely a religious institution, made up of self-righteous egotists who were waiting for that One who would bring back the former glory to Israel and make her once again the envy of the world. Never could they seem to rise above the sensual, the earthly, material things to comprehend that the plan of God was to create a people who would apprehend and enter into a spiritual relationship with God. They trusted in their own abilities and deceived themselves into thinking that they could serve other gods and still retain the blessings, protection and securities of God, merely because of the promise God had given to Abraham. By the time the promised Seed came, sadly, they had totally distorted the promises given and their understanding was darkened so that when He came, they were blinded to their own fallen state and hardness of heart. Iniquity abounded in Israel. Religious pride ruled supreme.
The sands of time had eroded any semblance of God’s divine plan in the hearts and minds of most in Israel.
“Jesus came unto his own and his own received him not” (John 1:11).
“The rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that (Israel’s) house and it fell and great was the fall of it.” (Matt. 7:27)
The centuries of time had erased any semblance of the glory that once was seen in Israel, such times when Godly kings ruled. Those times when Israel was the envy of the known world.
God used His faithful servant, David, a man after God’s own heart, to bring Israel to where the land promised to Abraham was fully possessed.
During Solomon’s reign, Israel had arrived at a place where God was truly the “God of Israel.” Short lived were those days of glory, for the storms, floods, adversities, deceptions of false gods, depravity of human men bent on self-service from the time of Solomon’s reign until the birth of Jesus had left Israel desolate of godliness. Israel’s spirituality was at a very low ebb when God sent His only begotten Son into the world.
So great was the impact of time upon national Israel that they not only rejected the promised Seed but hated Him, would not that He would rule over them, and finally crucified Him. They destroyed their own Deliverer. “If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness” (Matt. 6:23).
“That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpiller eaten” (Joel 1:4).
The fig tree had been thoroughly barked and its death was inevitable and certain. Dunging it another year could not save it. Israel’s only hope was the promised Seed. However, they crucified their Hope and murdered their Salvation. And yet this Seed has proven to be the One to whom all nations of the earth have been blessed.
Salvation came through Jesus Christ to a fallen world, a salvation through which sinful man can be reconciled to his Creator.
Is there any greater gift offered to mankind than this? What a treasure has been given to these earthen vessels!
It has been over 2000 years since Jesus came as the “Lamb of God” to take away the sin of the world. After Jesus was resurrected and seen of His disciples for 40 days, He was taken into heaven. He left His disciples with instructions to “tarry in Jerusalem” until they were endued with power from on high. A few days later there were about a hundred and twenty souls in an upper room in Jerusalem and “suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:2-4).
A fire was ignited and, like the forest fires in northern California which spread uncontrollably by great winds, so this fire, fanned by the immense wings of the Holy Spirit, quickly spread throughout the known world and thousands were added to the church daily. O that there would be once again, such an outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon God’s people!
Once again, like Israel of old, the enemy has barked the fig tree.
We have today a similar condition unfolding before us as that of Israel. The church of this modern era has succumbed to the erosion of time as she more and more embraces the world in her attempt to attract congregants.
Instead of the church changing the world, the world is changing the church. The world’s music has replaced worship of a holy God and entertainment has taken the place of Gospel conviction.
Psychology and philosophy has replaced soul-convicting preaching of truth, and self-esteem has replaced the cross of self-denial. The cares and pleasures of this life and the deceitfulness of riches have, and are choking the word of God from having its intended purpose in many Christians’ lives today.
The church today is too much like Israel of old; they “all slumbered and slept.” O for that soon coming midnight cry that will awaken this sleeping church! And O, God, by thy grace may we find ourselves among those who have oil in our vessels to keep the lamp burning when that cry is given.
Like Israel of old, the American church has been taken captive by Babylon. There is a cry in the Spirit to “Come out of her, MY PEOPLE, that ye might not be partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Rev. 18:4 emphasis mine).
The call today is to leave Babylon*, to leave Ur and to seek for that heavenly city, “which hath foundation, whose builder and maker is God.”
The sands of time have done its diabolical work, but God is calling and raising up a remnant, those 7000 who have not bowed their knee to Baal, to possess the kingdom. A people, not resting in their own abilities or trusting in some move of God years ago, who will be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. A people who will return to the Lord and love Him with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. A people who will resist erosion of time which the floods, the winds and the rains have produced and will build upon the solid Rock, Jesus Christ. O, God, prepare a people for Thy return, a people who long for you as a bride waits for her husband, for she is the bride of Christ and she waits with great expectation and longing to know You more intimately. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.
*Babylon is not just the Catholic Church. Catholicism is only a part of this Babylon from which the church is called out. Babylon is the whole world system, its governments, its religions, its economical institutions, and its social life.
Christians are called to enter the kingdom of God, and entering His kingdom requires one to extricate oneself from the kingdoms of this world. Satan is the god of this world and its arrangement. God is our king and ruler. Genuine Christianity is God’s religion. Those who hear God’s word and apply it to their lives are God’s society and family.
Those who follow Christ are to take no thought for their lives, what they shall wear or what they shall put on. God feeds the birds, and He is able to feed His people. He knows our needs before we ask. All these things are incorporated in the Kingdom of God.
The call is great and may seem impossible, but our God is great and is the God of the impossible!