From Generation to Generation (3)

Sinful people grow impatient. They are not satisfied with the slow process of Biblical education: line upon line, precept upon precept. They are equally dissatisfied with the present rate of their institution’s growth. They refuse to accept the fact that the way of God is progressive. Progress takes time. It takes a lot of time.

But then, in a relatively brief period of time, the church can make a major breakthrough. Like an army attacking a rival army’s front, a section of the rival’s defensive line collapses. The question then is this: Will the offensive commander concentrate his forces on the breach in the enemy’s line? Second, will the rival commander have sufficient mobile reserves to throw into the breach? Will he commit his reserves in time?

The fact remains, however, that these historically rare major breakthroughs are always preceded by long periods of grinding frontal assaults. I think these periods last about 250 years, at least in Western history: the Biblical ten generations. And the closer we get to the next breakthrough, the more tired and hopeless things seem, especially for those troops in the front line. “When will it all end?” Answer: “Later.” [1]

Christians at the beginning of a new phase of growth, such as home schoolers today, need to understand something of the work of God, over generations. When explaining the parables of the kingdom of God, Jesus made it plain. He said, “The soil produces crops by itself; first the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head” (Mk.4:28). He didn’t say how long it would be from stage to stage. What if the process from beginning to end was 300 years? What if it was longer?

The Puritan Revolution in England took around 150 years to run its course, depending when you date its commencement. But what we need to realise is that patience is one of the fruits of the Spirit (Gal.5:22), so it is a very desirable fruit to possess.

The Bible says a lot about patience. The Psalmist said, “I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me and heard my cry” (Ps.40:1). We can get impatient with God, with ourselves, our spouse or with our children. We’d like change, and we want it now! But God works at His schedule not ours, and we need to rest in Him, and His good plan.

Psalm 37, which contains many promises about the security of the righteous in the land, commands us 3 times (vs.7, 9, 34) to “wait.”  What are we to wait for? We wait for the Lord to judge and deal with the wicked, because there are twice as many references in this Psalm (vs.9, 11, 18, 22, 29, 34) to the inheritance, and the fact that godly people will subsequently inherit the land.

But we are not just to wait. We are to “wait patiently” (v.7). Patience is one of the fruits of the Spirit (Gal.5:22). We cannot afford to be seething with rage at the arrogance of the wicked, because that can lead us to lose our patience, our calm, and our sense of rest. (This is what the Psalmist struggled with in Psalm 73). We might do something we regret. Furthermore, His promise to us is that “he who believes in it [the cornerstone] will not be disturbed” (Isa.28:16).

Concerning Joseph, the scripture says that “Until the time that his word came to pass, the word of the Lord tested him” (Ps.105:19). This means that our schedule may not be God’s schedule. Is He in a hurry?

Consider two other examples: It was some 4,000 years from when sin entered the world, till God’s fulfilment of His Messianic promise given in Genesis 3:15. He called this “the fullness of the time” (Gal.4:4). And in the case of an individual family, God gave Noah 120 years to prepare his ark, before the flood came (Gen.6:3).

When the children of Israel were leaving Egypt, they were in the process of being liberated, but in terms of maturity, they thought like babes, and behaved like slaves. Consequently, God avoided taking them by the shortest route saying, “The people might change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt” (Ex.13:17).[2]

We are no different. The church is not ready for dominion and authority; it hardly knows the meaning of these terms. Some things God does not want us to initiate yet, because while they need to be done at some point, the critical point is timing.

Jesus warned His disciples, that “My time is not yet here, but your time is always opportune …My time has not yet fully come” (Jn.7:6, 8). Paul commented that “at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly” (Ro.5:6). This means we will have to go about the process of quiet, steady reconstruction, which could take generations. This is what the early church did when subject to Rome, and this is what the English believers did, when they were faced with the tyrannical and murderous Henry (VIII). And in both cases, they triumphed. For

The upright will live in the land and the blameless will remain in it; but the wicked will be cut off from the land and the treacherous will be uprooted from it (Prov.2:21-22).

This begins with individuals, families and churches, steadily working out for themselves the implications and practicalities of the Dominion Mandate (Gen.1:26-28). A fundamental aspect of this is home schooling, but there is much, much more.

As a consequence,

Our goal should be to survive over the long term, developing skills that will enable us to conquer the enemy, society by society, institution by institution. We need a boot camp experience before we can achieve a dominion experience. That is the lesson of all the wilderness experiences of the people of God, from Sinai to Gethsemane.[3]

Conclusion:

Waiting is not an easily acquired attribute, because it goes against human nature. But waiting is an essential Christian virtue-a fruit of the Spirit. And if it’s God’s plan for His people that they wait for Him, they had better do so. And the scripture promises us that,

 Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for You (Ps.25:21).

 

 

 

[1] Gary North, “Torch and Compass,” Christian Reconstruction Vol.14, no.4, 1990.

[2] See Gary North, “Moses and Pharoah,” 1986, on this subject.

[3] Gary North, (Ed), “The Theology of Christian Resistance,” 1983, p.xvi.

 

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