“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord…” 1 Cor.15:58 (KJV)
In other articles I have referred to this age as the “Jello Era” of human history. In the last twenty or thirty years we have seen many things shake and tremble before our eyes. These are things we used to trust in, like banks, jobs, companies, governments, family values, etc. In all these areas, and in many more, our world is beginning to look about as stable as a big bowl of Jello.
Indeed, the prophets and biblical writers speak a great deal about these times. Isaiah describes this era for us. He says: “The earth reels like a drunkard, it sways like a hut in the wind; so heavy upon it is the guilt of its rebellion….” (Isa. 24:20). The Bible says in Hebrews 12:26-27: “…now he has promised, ‘Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.’ The words ‘once more’ indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.” And then the beloved John assures us: “The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” (1 Jn. 2:17).
Let us try to make some observations concerning both instability and stability, and how the latter can be gained and preserved.
ALL OF SATAN’S WORK CREATES INSTABILITY
Satan is like a giant low pressure center on a weather map. His negative force creates storms and disturbances in all of nature and in our lives. We might simply say that Satan equals instability. We can also say the same thing about sin, whether the sin be great or small. We may think that a tiny sin like a “little white lie” is of small consequence. However, we know today that even a little lie creates enough instability in our bodies that the changes can be scientifically measured with a lie detector.
All other sins likewise create instability in our lives, and the shock waves of these sins also create instability in the lives of those around us. There is great instability in sins like slander, gossip, wrath, double-mindedness, etc. For instance, the Bible tells us that the double-minded man is unstable in all his ways (Jas. 1:8). Absolutely everything the double-minded person does brings instability into his own life and into the lives of those around him.
Let us consider some of the sins of the so-called “sexual revolution” which has been so touted for years on TV, in films and elsewhere. In the last twenty years or so, many of the precepts of the Bible, as well as age-old traditions concerning the sacredness of marriage and family life have been tossed out in favor of this “new morality.” We are constantly sold concepts like “free love,” “meaningful relationships,” “alternate
Now we are beginning to realize the enormous instability these things have brought to our world. They have generated emotional, psychological, physiological, financial, spiritual, and many other forms of instability in their participants. These abuses have also cruelly touched the lives of untold millions who were not even participants.
Today our world is being wracked with new and strange sexually-transmitted diseases. The number of those infected with the AIDS virus alone is now reaching apocalyptic proportions of some forty million in our world. The divorce courts are jammed with broken marriages. In the US, marriages now have only a 50% chance of survival. It has been estimated that half of American children who were born since the 1980s will spend part of their childhood with only one of their natural parents.* All over the world unwanted children are simply aborted, most often with little remorse. In the US, the abortion figure has already reached 1.5 million per year. In tiny Israel, where the Law of God was first established, there is an extremely high abortion rate, running at last count around 50,000 each year.
We are in a world-wide mess! The glib preachers of this new “gospel” continue to hawk their wares, but already we can barely pay the financial cost of all the instability and ruin that has been caused, much less the emotional, psychological, and other costs.
Sin literally creates such instability in the sinners that their lives come crashing down around them. Indeed, their lives almost self-destruct. Jesus illustrates this truth in his parable of the house on the sand in Matthew 7:24-27. The house built upon the sand may appear strong and lovely in the bright sunlight, but in the coming hurricane its foundation will literally melt away and the house will collapse into smithereens. A world filled with sin, suffers much the same fate as the house.
The clear message of both the Tanakh (Old Testament) and the New Testament is that God will increase the pressure on the wicked of this world. They will be cut off and rooted from the earth (Psa. 37:9-10). This will happen in God’s fiery end day judgments (cf. Mal. 4:1-2).
There is surely no stability in evil. The wicked are like the troubled sea (Isa. 57:20). The wicked are “… like chaff that the wind blows away.” (Psa. 1:4). They will be shaken to pieces because of their sin, and because of the voice of the Lord which is about to shake all nations. Not only will they not stand in the world to come – they will not even stand in this world.
GOD’S WORK CREATES STABILITY
What a contrast the Bible makes between the wicked and the righteous! While the wicked are pictured in Psalm 1 as chaff which the wind drives away, the righteous are pictured as trees planted by streams of water. While the wicked are shaken out of the world and forgotten, the Bible says of the righteous: “Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever. He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD” (Psa. 112:6-7). The Bible also says that those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion which cannot be removed forever (Psa. 125:1).
Now, how can we gain this stability in our lives? We surely cannot gain it from the philosophers of this age. They are all passing away just like the world system of which they are so much a part. They are like the grass and flowers of the field that all wither in the heat of day. Where can we turn? We can turn only to the Word of God that lives and abides forever (1 Pet. 1:24-25).
First and foremost the Word of God instructs us to build our lives upon the Rock. As Christians, we are assured that this Rock is none other than Jesus, and we believe that those who trust in him will never be disappointed (Rom. 9:33). Those who build upon him and his word will be kept safe in the coming storms. Perhaps the Psalmist was looking forward and speaking of him when he uttered these words: “If you make the Most High your dwelling – even the Lord, who is my refuge – then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent” (Psa. 91:9-10).
Those great men of faith in the past knew that by trusting God they could be kept secure. Psalm 46 reads like a Psalm for the Great Tribulation. The Psalmist says: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging…. “ (Psa. 46:1-3). O for such a faith which would not tremble even when this world begins to come apart at the seams! Regardless of our end-time theology, we can all surely agree that the fabric of this world is already starting to tear. We must now begin to cope with this reality.
The Word of God assures us also that the unshakable faith of our fathers in days gone by was not just some glib confession. It was a whole way of life that touched every fiber of their beings. It affected the way they lived every moment of their lives. The Psalmist said, “I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken” (Psa. 16:8).
To have God at our right hand is to consult him in everything and to depend upon him at all times. The faith of the Tanakh dealt with the way a man walked, the way he talked, the way he rose up and sat down, the way he wore his clothes, the way he married and raised children, the way he built his house, the way he farmed, the way he cared for his animals, etc. It touched and regulated his whole life. Today our faith in Jesus must be exactly this same kind of faith. It absolutely MUST be a way of life.
God’s Word further instructs us to be completely obedient to God and his will. In Psalm 37:28-31, we are told that the righteous will be protected forever, while the wicked will be cut off. We are told that the righteous will inherit the earth and dwell in it forever. In verses 30-31, we learn what it means to be righteous: “The mouth of the righteous man utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks what is just. The law of his God is in his heart; his feet do not slip.” The righteous person is thoroughly steeped in the will and ways of his God. He is a doer of God’s word and not a hearer only.
Christians commonly object at this point, saying that we live by faith and not by the law. This is certainly true, yet when we take a look at the final judgments in Revelation we see a New Testament people who have somehow managed to put God’s laws into practice. In Revelation 12:17 we read of a group of Christians who have managed to “…obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.” Remember, Jesus said in Matthew 5:17 that he didn’t come to destroy the Law but to fulfill it. Just because we live under grace it does not give us license to break God’s laws. Paul responds with “God forbid!” to such a thought (Rom. 6:15).
Last of all, the Word of God teaches us to have a certain mind-set. The righteous has his mind set upon God and upon God’s ways (Isa. 26:3). He meditates in those ways day and night. It is interesting that in the book of Revelation we also see a whole company of people who have been sealed in their foreheads (7:3). I personally believe this is a reference to the sealing of minds. They are kept secure in the midst of God’s fire storm of judgment because they have set their minds upon God and him only. We must begin to do that today, even if the world mightily seeks to distract and allure us.
Fortunately God’s Word has some wonderful promises for us in regard to all these things. While Hebrews 12:28 speaks of the world and its systems being shaken by God’s Word, it also tells us that we believers are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken. We need to fix our eyes firmly upon this eternal and unshakable kingdom. We need to remember that the scepter of this kingdom is a scepter of righteousness (Heb. 1:8). For all eternity, there will never be even a hint of scandal in this kingdom. We need to remember that in this kingdom, the government will be upon the shoulders of Jesus (Isa. 9:6). We must remember also that of the increase of this government, there will be no end (Isa. 9:7). The kingdom of God has never suffered a bad day and it never will. Neither will there be an end to its peace, for its peace will not be the peace of this world, or of its “peace plans,” but of God.
We need to remember these things and speak about them often to one another. We need to meditate upon them constantly lest the sights that we are beginning to see drive
– Jim Gerrish
*A Jewish Conservative Looks at Pagan America, by Don Feder, 1993, Huntington House Publishers, Lafayette, LA. p 20.
This updated article is presented courtesy of Bridges For Peace, Jerusalem. Original publication date, 1993.
Picture credit: Wikimedia Commons, USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory 1980-07-22, photo by Mike Doukas