I suspect that God’s hope was that we would utterly exhaust ourselves here on earth, and eventually turn in exhaustion to Jesus Christ as our Saviour.
There can be no doubt that the world’s ecology is in danger, the seas, the ice in the arctic and at the ant-arctic, the air, rainfall, crops, countries in a state of war and our economy – all of these are in increasing danger. We frantically search and research more and more of the wrong kind of knowledge, but the problems are not resolve, they simply move and evolve and grow.
For example, we grandly announce that we have solved the problem of emissions from coal power stations by inventing zero emissions nuclear power stations. Oh really? Zero emissions? We conveniently ignore the fact that the emissions create during the preparation of all the ingredients (nuclear rods and water) and the emissions created in the management of the resulting nuclear waste… these emission are FAR greater than the total emissions of the coal power stations which are being replaced.
So the problems simply shift and remain unresolved. Not only that, they become more and more dangerous as each generation eats more of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. For example, nuclear power stations are far more dangerous than coal. Nuclear weapons are far more dangerous than what we used to fight with.
What strategies did we hatch to try and deal with these things?
One of our strategies was frantically trying to undo the damage to the earth and to each other by eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. That is the wrong kind of knowledge, eating from the wrong tree. Why? Because the more we eat, the more we have to eat… and so on. A never ending cycle of greater and greater consumption, greater and greater knowledge, greater and greater risks to ourselves and each other.
Another strategy is for spiritual people to strive to keep God’s laws. Extensive efforts are put into studying the bible to work out the “spiritual keys” to master some problem. Then we teach each other to apply those keys. But the state of the world continues to decline. We have endless teaching seminars on everything, trying to gain spiritual control over the world around us. This is also a never ending cycle of learning. It is the wrong kind of knowledge.
Surely, with a greater divorce rate in the church than outside it, with the world in such disrepair, surely we must have learned learned that the tree of knowledge was as fruitless for us as it was for anyone in any of the stories of the Old Testament? It’s been 6000 years of wars and failure… it’s obviously not working… when will we learn and turn?
What is it we need to learn? That no amount of the wrong kind of spiritual knowledge and no amount of law-keeping will ever cause us to be a friend of God. We can only be a friend of God (in right standing with Him) and in the same way that Abraham was, not by mastering spiritual laws, nor by cutting off hands nor plucking out eyes.
Isaiah wrote “listen to me you who pursue righteousness… look to your father Abraham”
Isa 51:1-2 “Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness, you who seek the LORD: look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug. Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who bore you; for he was but one when I called him, that I might bless him and multiply him.
The reason that we who “pursue the Lord” (yehôvâh) must “look to Abraham”, is because Abraham achieved intimacy with the Lord through faith. Abraham believed the words of God and it was counted to him as righteousness…
Gen 15:6 And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.
And we also can believe the Word of God (Jesus Christ) and we become righteous just as Abraham was, because of our faith.
Noah is a good example of a man believing God’s words over and above the evidence that surrounded him at the time. God says there will be a flood and he should build a boat. Can you imagine the leap of faith required to do this? But Noah believed God and his family was saved as a result of his faithfulness.
What am I asking you to believe? These are my own words… I believe we must strive to believe that Jesus Christ is the one that was spoken of by the prophets, the Christ
Mark 8:27-29 And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.”
What does it mean to believe that Jesus is the Christ? It means to know what the prophets said the Christ would do (defeat sin and death) and then to believe that Jesus is that Person and that He did do it.
Yes, it’s a leap of faith where we have to believe God’s words over and above the evidence that we see around us. We see a world in decay don’t we? I believe the word is only in this state because we Christians – the light and salt of the world – have not taken our position, we left our post, we didn’t realise Who He was (and is) and therefore our inheritance has been left unfufilled. The world is poorer and sicker as a result of our inaction.
Jesus Christ is the tree of life. He is the river of life. The river that flows from His throne has trees (of life) and their leaves are for the healing of the nations. Let us Christians begin to drink deeply from His river, and let us eat heartily from His trees – for the healing of the nations, not just for ourselves…
Rev 22:1-2 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
You may have noticed that in this scripture we eat from the tree, for the healing of the nations. In 2Ch 7:14 (“if My people who are called by My name”) the purpose is to heal their whole land. Isaiah frequently associates the results of the arrival of the Christ as bringing complete peace and reconciliation to the whole world. In the key verses that I use in this book the consistent theme is that the actions of Jesus Christ was that He resolved sin (the noun) and destroyed death and disarmed principalities and powers and destroyed the devil.
Time and again the consequences of us having faith is the healing of the whole world. That world “world” in Greek is kosmos. It means “everything”, including believers and unbelievers and even including the heavenly hosts. You see, our faith is what overcomes evil in this “kosmos”. Can you see to what extent that Jesus Christ intended for our faith in Him to have a massively transformative effect on this world?
Book: If My people (v24!) (670KB) – A free daily devotional which is under development. <100 pages.