These are upsetting times. Someone recently commented that a “perfect” storm is converging in the earth, fed by radical religious ideology, terrorism, global economic chaos, the progression toward a new world order and mounting fears that the end is near. We’re hearing the word “Illuminati” rise again in the throats of wary prophets. There’s been a run on guns and ammo of late, many fearing forthcoming legislation that would blockade such purchases and to arm homes for the very real possibility of protection in the face of looming depression. Bankers and CFO’s are turning to yoga and other meditative disciplines (not to mention self-medication) just to cope with the stress of a slip-and-slide market.
Indeed, millennialists who take the Scriptures concerning the end of times seriously and literally (as this writer does) know that the two kingdoms–God’s and the satan’s–must come into a monumental collision before the full expression of God’s Kingdom on earth is realized. In short, the news is sure to rattle the knees of the faint of heart: things are going to get worse.
In view of this, I’d like to share a little parable that might just flip aright any castdown sheep out there. A friend of mine recently told me of a tornado that had descended on a sleepy little town, derstroying everything in its path. Everything, that is, except for two marvels of nature. When the disaster relief people roared into town in their trucks and SUVs with flashing lights and sirens wailing, the personnel took painstaking inventory of the aftermath.
The tornado had uprooted fences, overturned homes and flipped cars. Buildings looked like matchsticks in the wake of such devastation. However, in a field glutted with debris, stood a lone oak tree having weathered the storm with amazing courage and endurance. As relief workers moved closer they were taken aback by a fragile young vine that had wrapped around its base, clinging to it for dear life.
No question that the same forceful winds that had roared through an hour earlier should have ripped to pieces such a delicate vine, but the feeble branches had learned long before to find and attach themselves to an immoveable object.
Isaiah prophesied to both of the divided kingdoms of Israel that separate roaring armies would invade and obliterate both north and south, save only the remnant who remained loyal to Yahweh. The northern kingdom–Israel–would fall prey to advancing hordes of Assyrians while their brothers to the south–Judah–would have to deal with brutish Babylonians years later. But to both he offered this enduring promise:
“They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength…”
“Wait” in Hebrew has the idea of twisting one’s self around something sure and unmoveable. Like that delicate vine wrapping itself around the massive oak tree, Isaiah is telling a people facing their own perfect storm to let go of their kingdoms and abide in the Vine of Life.
The shaking that is coming to the earth will destroy at will everything in its path, leaving in its wake homes built on sand, securities eaten through by moths and rust, and purses with holes along with everything else that draws affection away from Jesus.
Beloved, this is the time to cut ties.
This is the time to break unholy alliances.
This is the time to embed ourselves in Jesus, the Rock of Ages, the Cornerstone…
…the Tree of Life.