“…wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, Always do they go astray in heart, and these have not known My ways;” (Hebrews 3:10, YLT)
“Let the wicked abandon his way, And the unrighteous person his thoughts; And let him return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon. For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts. (Is. 55:7-9).
God’s ways are not our ways. His ways are just and true. “He is the Rock; his deeds are perfect. Everything he does is just and fair. He is a faithful God who does no wrong; how just and upright he is! (Deut. 32:4). Throughout scriptures we learn that God’s way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him (2 Sam. 22:31, Ps. 18:30).
These posts are born out of years of seeking, hearing the critical situation in which we live today, It often seems as if the state of the world is one of ongoing crisis. The world is currently facing life-threatening forces of destruction: global climate change, environmental degradation, accelerating inequity among the privileged and those suffering in poverty, homelessness, racial tensions, fires, extreme heat waves, increased gun violence, soaring inflation, wildfires, ‘firenado’ in California, water scarcity in some states, a growing number of failed states, the rise of authoritarian regimes, continued upheaval following the January 6 insurrection, threats of violence towards FBI agents after a search and removal of government documents from the former President’s home at Mar-a-Lago, a potential for a constitutional crisis and so forth.
In times of crisis and uncertainty, many people look to religion for guidance, comfort and peace. What does God do when there is a crisis among His people. It is important to know the heart of God in times of spiritual and physical crisis among his covenant people. In both the old and new testament crisis nearly always were seen when his people departed from their covenant relationship with him. This is why we must know his ways in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.
Moses was used to bring God’s people out of bondage to Egypt and to give them the law, their instructions for living according to God’s ways and not those of the surrounding nations. Moses’ prayer in Exo. 33:13, “Now then, if I have found favor in Your sight in any way, please let me know Your ways so that I may know You, in order that I may find favor in Your sight. Consider too, that this nation is Your people.” This should also be our prayer as covenant people. Moses was not begging or being religious. He was asking God to reveal his ways so that he could truly know God, and so that he would gain favor to lead God’s covenant people.
When we come to Christ we enter into a “covenant” relationship with him. Covenant is crucial to understanding the relationship between God and his people. God choice of making a covenant with people is initiated by him for his eternal purposes in the world and based on his love (Jn 3:16). Our allegiance should be to God first. Jesus said to the crowd on Luke 9:23 (NLT), “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me.” As covenant people we are asked to ‘obey his voice’ (Ex. 19:5; Jn. 14:15,15:9; James 1:22; 4:17:). This can clearly be seen in Deuteronomy 7:6-11 and also in 1 Peter 2:9 (NLT), “But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.” There was a time we had no identity, but now our identity as Christians we are God’s people who received the mercy of God in spite of our failures and shortcomings. Our identity is not based upon the nation or country we physically reside. We are only “temporary residents and foreigners” here. Our new life is hidden in Christ (Col. 3:3).
As I contemplate the state of the church, it is important to know and understand we are in a season of deep political polarization. We must be trained to discern good from evil, and not to “call evil good, and good evil; nor put darkness for light, and light for darkness; bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isa. 5:20; Heb. 5:14). We must set our minds and hearts to overcome evil with good; turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. (Rom. 12:21, Ps. 34:14). All of the people of Israel witnessed God’s acts–they saw him, part the Red Sea so they could cross safely, “He made known His ways to Moses, His deeds to the sons of Israel” (Ps. 103:7). Yet, they struggled to believe. The Church also has been warned in Hebrews 3:12-14 not to fall prey to unbelief. “See, brethren, lest there shall be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in the falling away from the living God, but exhort ye one another every day, while the To-day is called, that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of the sin, for partakers we have become of the Christ, if the beginning of the confidence unto the end we may hold fast..”
Although we are experiencing a great shaking on earth (Heb. 12:26), we are not to lose heart. The battle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph. 6:12). In the midst of conflict we must learn to stand until the perfect plan of God is manifest (Eph. 6:13). As long as the Spirit of God is still in the earth realm, He will use his people tp stand against the evil that attempts to rule our world.
We often think that God’s judgment will come because of the wickedness in the land. Yet, as scripture reveals judgment begins in the house of God first (1 Pet. 4:17). This makes it even more important for the body of Christ to know and understand God’s ways, and to be equipped for works of ministry to build up the body until we all reach unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ (Eph. 12-14). We must endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:3,5). The context of 1 Peter 4:17 explains more about the judgment that begins at the household of God. he believers were also struggling to separate from the former worldly sins that had once enslaved them (verses 1–4). Peter reminds them that the wicked will face God’s judgment (v. 5) but that believers in Christ must hold themselves to a higher standard than they once did. The “fiery trials” that they were facing were to help refine them like gold (verse 12).
We can establish righteousness and peace where we are, no matter where we live. We can exhibit the fruit of the Spirit in everything we are, say and do. We can bring love where there is hatred, truth where there is deception, and acceptance for all people. We can make a difference if we follow the plans and purposes of God for establishing his kingdom on earth.
My prayer is that as you read these posts your eyes will be open to the looming conflicts we are presently encountering and how we should respond as the body of Christ. “I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms (Eph. 1:18-20).
Galatians 5:22-23a: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”
Minister A. Francine Green
Notes: All scripture references are taken from the New American Standard Bible unless otherwise noted.