We live in extraordinary times. Many of us have witnessed good changes and bad changes in our lifetime. The Preacher said:
“The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9
Who knows what the world was like in Noah’s day?
Sin is certainly abounding in our time, but, thank God, grace is abounding more (Romans 5:20.) Dr. McLain used to always say in closing, whether vocally or in print, “Keep looking up.” He was referring to Luke’s statement:
“And when these things begin to come to pass, then LOOK UP, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” Luke 21:28 (caps mine)
How we long for that time when Christ returns for His own. As things get worse, the moment gets nearer for our complete redemption. The only way to stay abreast with God’s movements is to study God’s Book. That is the only way to know when to “look up.”
I wondered if that was the only time that men were told to “look up” and found some interesting statements. The first appearance in scripture is:
“ And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift UP now thine eyes, and LOOK from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward.” Genesis 13:14 (caps mine)
What a coincidence that the same piece of property Abraham “looked up” to see is the same property where all the nations will be defeated some 4000 years later (Zechariah 14:2-3.)
The next reference is found spoken by David, the man “after God’s own heart.”
“My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will LOOK UP.” Psalm 5:3 (caps mine)
David started his day talking with the Lord. Most of us wait until we need Him before talking with Him. Maybe if we started out with Him we would not run into the problems we encounter. David seems to bear this out in Psalm 40:12:
“For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to LOOK UP; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me.” (caps mine)
David, though a man after God’s own heart (Psalms 89:20; Acts 13:22,) had to bear the results of his actions. Christians, even the best ones, are not exempt to pain, heartaches and sufferings. My sins have not only caused me to miss blessings, but they have caused me to suffer anguish. For that reason, David said he could not “look up.”
The last reference to looking up is found in the episode of Christ and the woman at the well. The disciples had gone to town to get food while Christ rested at a well. The Samarian woman arrived and in the midst of a conversation that involved a difference in culture, nationality and worship, the woman receives Christ as her Saviour. Her reaction is to get others to see and trust Him also, so she heads to town to spread the news. In the meantime, the disciples returned with food, but Christ’s appetite had been satisfied by the conversion of the Samaritan woman.
His address to the disciples was as follows:
“Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift UP your eyes, and LOOK on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. John 4:35 (caps mine)
The exhortation to “look up” is connected to all aspects of the Christian life:
- To study in order to know what God is doing. (2 Timothy 2:15) That’s God talking to us.
- To talk with the Father. (Psalms 5:3; Luke 18:1) That’s us talking to God.
- To tell others about His saving grace. (Matthew 9:37; John 4:35) That’s us talking to others about Him: personal soul winning.
Satan has not stopped saying “Yea, hath God said…” (Genesis 3:1) since the beginning. It seems the modern church has more Bible critics than Bible believers. We have more Bible correctors than Bible preachers. We have finite sinful men who have taken it upon themselves to correct our infinite, holy God.
I recently received an invitation to a meeting of Christian leaders (?) which announced:
“This is a year of accelerated change in how God is doing business. He is transforming His church. One area of transformation is in Biblical church government. He has also revealed a strategy that will enable the church to return America to its destiny. This timely conference will address these “cutting edge” issues.”
Pardon me! I was under the impression that God said that He does not change (Malachi 3:6.) Did not Paul say of Christ that He was the same yesterday, today and forever? (Hebrews 13:8)
“I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.” Ecclesiastes 3:14
What is this strategy God has revealed and to whom did He reveal it? God revealed America’s destiny in Jeremiah 30:11; Zephaniah 3:8; Zechariah 14:2-3, etc. I would really be afraid to blame what is happening to the church on God. The church is certainly changing, no doubt about that, but it is changing from what God instructed it to be to man’s ideas about it.
Some may call this “cutting edge,” but scripture calls it “sin!”
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” 1 Corinthians 1:18-21
Keep Looking Up!