From Generation to Generation (14)

The future is a glorious one because it is in the hands of God, not in the hands of men. Man proposes, but God disposes… God has confounded every plan of man to establish his humanistic world order, and His power is unchanged still.[1]

In human history, there have been many occasions when the future of God’s people looked very wobbly, and bleak indeed. But in all of these, God has saved and delivered His people, bringing them out of seemingly impossible circumstances.

This doesn’t give us some sort of licence to justify passivity, or 2nd rate Christianity. On the contrary, it should challenge us to seek to be ever faithful and true to the gospel of our Lord. And if we conclude we have foolishly submitted to some form of bondage, we as God’s people should make every possible effort to extricate ourselves. Getting out of Egypt (in its many manifestations) should always be the goal of the Christian, so we can set a course for the promised land.

For it is only the free person who can lead others to freedom, and surely those in bondage need liberation, just as Israel in Egypt needed Moses to lead them forth. And in this, we must understand the necessity for optimism in the propagation of the gospel. For there will be many who will be saying, “It can’t be done.”

But the Bible encourages us,

Who has despised the day of small things? (Zech.4:10)

The fact is, days of small things are despised by nearly everyone. Most people simply want results, but it is the more responsible people who care about the how and the why. For how can you have a fruit cake without the necessary ingredients?

Who understood or cared when Moses fled the first time from Egypt, other than perhaps his family? What mattered to the rest of Israel was that Moses had gone, and it seems some of them were glad.

When the servant of Elijah told him,

Behold, a cloud as small as a man’s hand is coming up from the sea… (I Kings 18:44),

Elijah knew this signified a work of God was beginning, and it was time for action.

Optimism is necessary in all human endeavours. We cannot do without it, and the best of leaders will utilise it responsibly in their actions. The promises of God in Joshua 1 are dripping with optimism, as is the Great Commission that Jesus gave His church (Mat.28:18-20).

A problem free life?  No, that was never God’s promise. Anyone who thinks theirs can or should be a problem or pain-free life hasn’t taken the Bible seriously.

But it was Wesley who wrote,

When He first the work begun,

small and feeble was His day:

now the word does swiftly run,

now it wins its widening way;

more and more it spreads and grows,

ever mighty to prevail;

sin’s strongholds it now o’erthrows,

shaking the trembling gates of hell.

A good leader must be able to dispel despondency, and it has to be through more than words. Optimism has to be based firmly in scripture, so that the actions of God’s people are based in scriptural facts, not merely in the whims and dreams of people.

It is the godly who don’t wait for all the problems to be resolved, before they act in faithfulness to God and His people.

Did Nehemiah wait till everything was just fine and dandy, before he set off for Jerusalem to set about rebuilding the walls? No. He found out what the problem was, grieved and prayed about it, then petitioned the king to let him go and fix the problem. And when he got there, there were lots more problems!

Conclusion:

North puts it well:

…Eschatological optimism is a Christian imperative. We must regain our faith in the promise of God’s restoration after the period of captivity. If we can shake off the intellectual shackles of our secular captors, and regain hope, then we can begin to recapture the positions of leadership which were once ours as Christians.[2]

Is that what you’d like to do?

 

 

 

[1] Rousas Rushdoony, “Roots of Reconstruction,” 1991, p.583.

[2] Gary North (www.garynorth.com), “The Paralysis of Pessimism,” 2/5/2016.

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