Is World War III about to break out? It certainly seems that way (depending upon where you get your news, of course), but I don't know. I only know that Jesus warned us that the signs of the end and of His coming included "wars and rumors of wars. nation rising against nation." Are food prices and gas prices going to continue to rise? I don't know. I only know that Jesus told us, "there will be famines" and the opening of the third seal tells us that a quart of wheat will sell for a day's wages" (see Matt. 24:7 and Rev. 6:6). Is the SARS-COV2 virus now fading into oblivion, with no further concern about new virus outbreaks? I don't know. I only know that the opening of the fourth seal tells us that Death and Hades are given power to kill by sword, famine, and plague and Jesus predicts that there will be "famines and pestilences in various places" (Rev. 6:8 and Luke 21:11). "So," many are asking me, "do you think that the return of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ) is SOON?" My answer is, "It certainly feels that way to me, but in truth, I don't know."
"Well, then," you might ask me, "what do you know??
I know this. I know that I wept my way through the Torah parsha this morning because it touched me so very deeply. I read about the Israelites, unwilling to wait for Moses to come down from the mountain, and crafting for themselves a statue of a cow, made of gold. When they had finished crafting this abominable idol, they proclaimed, "This is your God, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt!" They got sick and tired of waiting on the One True God of Israel who had led them across the sea onto dry land, and so they made their own god. They got sick of waiting for Moses, God's appointed leader and messenger, and took things into their own hands. Basically, they decided to stay home in their pajamas, binge-watching Netflix and gaining weight on beer and Doritos.
We are in a time of waiting, Beloved. According to Scripture, we have indeed entered the time that Yeshua called "birth pains," but we don't know how long the labor will be and how much trial and testing we will go through as we endeavor to overcome to the end. As I read in Exodus this morning, I was deeply touched by the relationship Almighty God had with Moses. While the people were indulging in vile orgies and making a calf-god out of their gold earrings, Moses was up on top of the mountain, enveloped in a dark cloud of awesome holiness, receiving God's most precious instructions for His people (read Exodus Chapter 32). The Holy One of Israel becomes enraged with His Israelite people and threatens to destroy them. He says, "Now leave Me alone so that I may destroy them. Then I will make YOU a great nation." Imagine this! God is offering to wipe out all the Israelites for their unfaithfulness and wickedness and then start over with Moses' descendents. When you think about it, that's a pretty fantastic offer! But here is where we see the humility and honor of Moses. He responds, "Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to whom you swore by your own self: 'I will make your descendents as numerous as the stars and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.'" Then the LORD relented and did not bring on His people the disaster He had threatened. (Ex. 32:13-14). Moses does not seize the opportunity to REPLACE God's Covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob - He REMINDS God of His Covenant!
Then Moses returned down to the camp and pitched a tent outside the camp, which he called the "Tent of Meeting." As Moses would enter the tent, the Pillar of Cloud would come down and stay at the entrance while the LORD spoke with Moses; and the people would stand at the entrance to their tents and worship. Scripture says "the LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend." And what do they speak about? Moses says to God, "If you have found favor with me, if you are pleased with me, TEACH ME YOUR WAYS SO THAT I MAY KNOW YOU AND CONTINUE TO FIND FAVOR WITH YOU. If Your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that You are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your pepole from all the other people on the face of the earth?" And the LORD answered Moses, "I will do the very thing you have asked because I AM pleased with you and I KNOW YOU BY NAME." (Exous 33:7-17).
So, let me sum this up by answering the rhetorical question I asked at the beginning. What DO I know, at this point? I know we are waiting for our Messiah to come for us and take us to be forever with Him. And I know that what I must be doing while I am waiting is developing a friendship, a total trust, and a deep intimacy with my God. I know that when I enter the "tent" where I worship my God, I should be looking for His Presence, seeking the manifestation of His Glory through the Holy Spirit, not looking for a social gathering of people exchanging business cards. I know that I don't want to sing three or four songs and move on, I want to WAIT ON HIM in worship, expecting to experience His Presence. I know that I can speak to him as a woman speaks to her friend - sharing all the thoughts and questions of my heart, and listening in the stillness for His answers. And I know that the greatest desire of my heart should be to KNOW HIS WAYS (His commandments) and to walk in them, for this is how I will know that I have found favor with Him. This is how we shall be distinguished from all the other people on the face of the earth!
The birth pains have begun, and the labor may be longer than we would think; but let us make the time of waiting count, so that when we stand at last before our King, He will know us by name!
Kelly Ferrari Mills