Nothing seems stable. How can a person plan in times like these? Our governor may open things wide open based on the data or she may close everything back down next week based on the same data. There are charts and graphs that support every opinion and course of action.
And I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the rhetoric seems to be heating up. And it is heating up in part because the stakes are always higher in world that has built upon the shifting sands of circumstances. If we only have hope for this life, then plunging investments, fear of viruses that could end it all, or even political results, become everything.
But God forbid that those who are called by the name of His Son, would exhibit this same frantic and frenetic fear. There are three passages that describe the unshakable nature of those who belong to Him. Our hope has never been placed in this world. Our treasure is in heaven.
Each of these three texts stand as good reminders that my attachments to this world are to be light. I am not tethered to this world by thick chains. I am tethered to this world by thin strings. None of these passages indicate that we should evacuate or even disengage when storms and turmoil swirl. We instead are called to be the stable ones. We are the ones with a foundation so much deeper, so much more solid. These passages are a call to be a stabilizing influence in a world that is shifting every which way.
1. “God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: ‘The Lord knows those who are His,’ and, ‘Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.’” – 2 Timothy 2:19
In context, Paul is correcting some issues of false teaching in a church being led by Timothy. Some have swerved away from the faith, even unsettling some other believers in that church. Paul brings them back to stable ground. And what is that stable ground? A firm foundation established by God, a foundation consisting of two truths.
First, God knows those who belong to Him. All who have faith in Christ have a firm foundation of hope that they belong to the Almighty God! Nothing can be more freeing than knowing that I belong to God.
The second truth Paul explains is that everyone who claims the name of Christ is called to depart from sin! Our stability at all times is a call to trust in the God who loved us . . . But it is also a call to live a holy life.
We have this two-fold calling that extends to any and all circumstances. Hope in God . . . And Walk in His ways. And this is a calling in any and all circumstances.
2. “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” – Hebrews 12:28-29
This passage is quite the same as the previous in many ways. I just include it because I love the terminology of “a kingdom that cannot be shaken”. This passage also adds a gratitude for the stability of hope we HAVE RECEIVED. This unshakable kingdom is already ours in Christ. The hope is secured through His death, burial, and resurrection.
And in similar fashion to 2 Timothy, our unshakeable hope comes with marching orders. Thus, because of this hope, let us worship God with reverence and awe! The one who has saved us and brought us to this unshakable kingdom is a consuming fire. He is awesome to behold. And he could melt us in His glory. How much more should we be moved to rejoice in gratitude and thanksgiving and worship and praise that HE has saved us!
We find a second task to add to the “departing from iniquity” of 2 Timothy. We are also called to worship Him with gratitude. We are a singing and rejoicing people. And should COVID take from us our final breath . . . May it be a breath of praise to our God who makes sure that COVID will not get the final word.
3. “Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.” – Luke 6:47-48
This last passage is quite direct to the point of the unshakeable nature of the life of one who is build up on the life of Jesus and his words. The context is Jesus encouraging people to base their life on his teaching – which includes coming into His kingdom through humility and dependence upon God.
A person who has come to Jesus, listens to his teaching and follows, is like a man who digs down to bedrock and lays the foundation of his life on that rock. And when viruses, and riots, and mask orders, and quarantines, and economic woes, and scary political figures, and floods and storms and any other terrible circumstances strike . . . He cannot be shaken. What causes us to quake? What knocks our knees together? It depends on how deep our foundations go. Are we building our hope on 401k’s? Political hopes? Vaccines and cures?
I am not at all suggesting that Christian are to respond to our world as a robotic emotionless influence in our culture. Instead, I believe that Scripture is suggesting that we move among our world with a stabilizing love and hope. We are those who continue to hope while continuing to walk in holiness. We are those who worship God out of a deep and abiding gratitude that we have a promise of an unshakable kingdom awaiting us. And we are those dug down so deep, that when the sands around us shift and twist under every wind of change, we remain stable.
And to be clear and honest, I don’t like the idea of getting COVID and being placed on a ventilator. I think the same thoughts you have. But I can also testify, that my hope is not here. I truly, honestly, and sincerely have an untouchable, unshakeable, and firm foundation in Jesus Christ. On THAT Rock, my life has been built!