GOD’S GOT THIS
Lord, my trust is in You when things begin to unravel.
Read MATTHEW 24:15–25
15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.
22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.
New International Version (NIV)
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“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear” (Psa. 46:1,2a).
The Olivet Discourse continues, referring to Daniel’s “abomination that causes desolation” (15). What is this? Perhaps from Daniel 11:31, it probably refers to the desecration of the temple by the Seleucid King Antiochus IV (167 B.C.). Other citations of this idea in Daniel seem to foretell a future event or events. In Mark, it refers to the Roman destruction of the temple. This may be what Matthew has in mind, but a double meaning may also lurk, pointing to some future desecration. Who? What? When? As mentioned in yesterday’s reading, it is futile to speculate; we must focus on our task of giving witness to Christ.
Whatever is under consideration, it will be horrific and worse than anything since creation. As Lot’s family fled Sodom, the people of Judea should flee without hesitation. False Christs and prophets are to be rejected. This all sounds quite scary, especially if this points to some terrifying future climactic event! Yet, we comfort ourselves in God’s redemptive hand, which will cut short those days for the sake of his chosen people (22). Further, he has warned us beforehand (25).
When this world starts to come apart, as in the two world wars, apocalyptic speculation typically grows. Indeed, this is happening presently, as aggressive countries are asserting themselves and the earth is racked with conflict. It is easy to think that the end is nigh. It is also tempting to read history into this passage. We must resist doing so. Rather, we are to focus on our call as God’s people. We are to be salt and light in a flavorless and dark world. We will be dismayed, and we may have to flee. However, we also know that, while things can look bleak, our God is on top of all this!
Read Psalm 46. Consider the world. Use this psalm to pray for our globe and particularly those nations in tumult. Thank God that he is in control.
Lord, Your people rest in the knowledge that Your control of tumultuous events is perfect and complete and that we have nothing to fear.
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