There is an air of uncertainty with many Christians today. In the United States, Christians have pretty much lived their lives with the ability to voice their opinion and worship as they choose.
Like other Americans, American Christians live their lives making choices, some good, some bad, but what you do and how you live has pretty much been your prerogative. The current uncertainty comes from believing that some level of persecution is coming and that our comfort zones are about to be shaken into something we never dreamed we would see.
There are life-changing events. Many we see coming – graduation day, marriage, retirement, to name a few. Other life-changing days take us by surprise – a house fire, hearing the word “cancer” from a doctor, and the like. With the belief of improprieties in the election, the censorship of President Trump and others by social media, and the rise of the “cancel culture,” there is fear that life-changing events are on the horizon and the free America we all love will be something for the history books. In other words, the fear today comes from a belief that the United States is on the brink of drastic, unprecedented change. Not over the next few decades, but the next few days or weeks.
This column has expressed many times over – if the rapture is coming sooner rather than later, God must prepare the world for the Antichrist who rises to power shortly after the rapture. Christians everywhere believe the rapture is soon, but few are prepared spiritually for the changes needed for the world to follow the Son of Perdition. As stated in past columns, a free and righteous America would never follow the Antichrist. Therefore, America must be morphed into something we do not recognize. If the fears are correct, we are on the precipice of the significant American change.
In Jeremiah 12:5, God asks Jeremiah two questions that He may be asking the American church of 2021, “If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?”
In the first question, God implies we are in a race. In that race, we are having trouble outrunning those running against us. What are we going to do when our opponent is no longer running but on horseback?
For the last one-hundred-twenty years or so, Christians have not done well against the footmen.
Every public school teaches the big bang theory; in principle, this theory teaches that Genesis chapter one is untrue. They may not come out and say the first chapter of the Bible is a lie, but they teach that the “truth” is entirely different. Evolution is only one example, overall, we are far behind the footmen in the teaching of our children.
In general, sin is a runner that has left many a Christian standing at the start line. Sin is considered a mistake, error, or bad decision instead of being seen as something that God hates. We will justify our actions because of our circumstances in life. We will claim that God understands. The truth is God does understand, but He never approves of sin. Understanding and approval are two different things.
Christians today believe worship is some sort of feeling — an overwhelming sense of happiness and joy. In truth, worship should often take place inside guilt, remorse, and contrition. But these emotions are absent from many churches today. God intends guilt, contrition, and remorse to bring us to a place of repentance, restoring our relationship with Christ. When the Word of God brings change to a person’s heart, that is the purest type of worship. The footman of false worship containing a momentary good feeling instead of a life-changing heart condition has run the church nearly into the ground.
In God’s next question to Jeremiah, God mentions living in the land of peace. America is precisely that. Yes, we have our problems, but overall, Christian, or not, you can believe as you wish. It is unimaginable that the government or society would silence anyone in America or treat people like second-class citizens because of their beliefs. Still, here we are, with that fear looming large.
But God asks, if in the land of peace, you could not run against the footman or the horseman, what are you going to do “in the swelling of Jordan?”
“The swelling of Jordan” comes from occasional floods along the Jordan River. Back in Jeremiah’s day, lions were common in the area. The lions would live near the banks of the Jordan River. When the river flooded, the lions would proceed away from the river, often entering towns and villages, searching for food, or killing livestock on surrounding farms.
What God is asking Jeremiah is simply this – if you cannot keep up with someone on foot, what are you going to do when someone on a horse comes by and asks, “Want to race?” Then going beyond that, if you cannot keep up with the man on horseback, then what will you do when the lions come around looking for someone to eat?
Over the last hundred plus years, Christians have done a poor job running against the footmen. Do we have the spiritual strength to run against the horsemen? Do we have the fortitude for a spiritual battle against the lions?
Are times changing, or is all the anxiety unwarranted? We will know soon enough. But God’s questions are still out there. How well can you run a spiritual race? Lastly, if you believe the rapture is soon, do not be surprised when the necessary changes come.
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With houses of worship currently closed or restricted across much of the nation, the editors of the Baltimore Post-Examiner are inviting an array of spiritual teachers to share insights from the ages along with words of comfort and encouragement. These timely messages are not exclusive to any particular faith walk and will be included in our ongoing Spirituality series.
Preacher Tim Johnson is Pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Indiana. His weekly column “Preacher’s Point” may be found at: www.preacherspoint.wordpress.com