One of the things I find most fascinating about the stories in the Bible is how God uses very ordinary people to do extraordinary things. You don’t have to look very far to see just how true this is. The stories of Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joseph, David, and two of my favorite stories about women in the Old Testament, Ruth and Esther, who both have books named after them, are but just a few. There’s also Rahab, Daniel, and Solomon, who was the wisest man who ever lived and also one of the richest–he wrote the books of Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon (also known as the Song of Songs) which is one of the greatest love stories in the Bible (I also love the story of Ruth and Boaz–another great love story). And, of course, all of the major and minor Prophets who came out of nowhere to declare God’s truth to the people of their generation (and ours also). The list goes on and on . . . .
Of course, there are also many in the New Testament–Elizabeth, Anna, Joseph and Mary, the Disciples, Paul, and of course, the One who was born in obscurity and became the most famous one of all, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who also called Himself the Son of Man, whom Isaiah in a previous generation foretold about in Isaiah 9:6, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
All of these people came out of nowhere to proclaim God’s truth. Indeed, they represent the people described in I Cor. 1:26-31, “Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: ‘Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.'” As you can see from the passage, “foolish”and “weak” are not detrimental terms in God’s economy–not by a long shot. Does God still choose people like this today? Absolutely! In the not-too-distant past and even now I can think of people like Abraham Lincoln (one of our greatest Presidents), Charles Spurgeon, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Corrie ten Boom, C.S. Lewis, and many others; and in our own generation, Billy Graham, whom God has used mightily for His purposes. So, can God use people like you and me for His purposes in our generation? ABSOLUTELY!!!
The title of this post is taken from Esther 4:14, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” A brief summary of the story of Esther can be found here–essentially, she was orphaned as a child, raised by Mordecai the Jew, and came from obscurity to become queen of Persia and Media, and saved her people, the Jews, from an evil plot by Haman to destroy them (hence, the reason for the words in Esther 4:14 above spoken by Mordecai to her).
The connection between the story of Esther from yesteryear and life as we know it today is clear. Esther was raised up to be the mouthpiece that saved her people from destruction in her generation, and we (those of us who know Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior) can be the mouthpieces for our own generation to speak the truths from God’s Word to save a lost and dying generation in a world gone mad.
In Matthew 24, we find Jesus talking with His disciples about the signs of the end of the age. Some of the things he warns them about are false prophets, wars and rumors of wars, famines, and earthquakes, which are all beginning signs of the end times. He goes on to speak of a time where many will turn away from the faith and many false prophets will be on the scene to deceive multitudes; that wickedness will increase and the love of most will grow cold (verses 10-12). However, He continues that “this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (verse 14). So you see, we have a mission to our world and to our generation today and that is to see that the gospel is spread throughout the whole world. Only in our generation has this been made possible through the marvelous invention and advances in technology! However, that is not to say that we shouldn’t be sharing the great news of Jesus Christ with our neighbors, friends, and even our enemies. Our very lives should shine forth and be a witness as to what it means to follow Him.
Unfortunately, these past few decades have produced what I call the “silent generation” of Christians. We get so wrapped up in our culture–materialism, status, money, greed, power, self–that we have fallen asleep at the wheel when it comes to proclaiming the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And many times when we do talk to others, it’s about what Jesus can do for us and not about the greatest thing He has already done for us on the cross at Calvary. We want the blessings of Jesus without the sacrifice and that just doesn’t work. We are called to be “living sacrifices” (Romans 12:1): “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” When we take our eyes off of all the stuff we want and ourselves and seek Him, we will find Him waiting for us, and we will become effective witnesses for our generation.
The parable of the fig tree is also found in Matthew 24, specifically in Matt. 24:32-35: “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”
What if we are that generation? We are clearly living in the signs of the end times as described in this chapter of Matthew. If we are, that should not give us cause to fear but rather is a clarion call to follow after Jesus Christ and not ourselves. It should be a time of great excitement and anticipation as we proclaim to others the good news of Jesus Christ. Indeed, we have been born into this current generation “for such a time as this.”
So, starting today, let’s go out and change our world with the gospel of Jesus Christ! With the culture crumbling all around us, it is the very best news there is, so go out there and share it! And, if you don’t know where to start, start here:
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you” (Romans 12:1-2 MSG).
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