Why Should we care?
The other day, a friend on Facebook asked a very good question. “Why is it important to us what is happening in Egypt and Brazil?” She was speaking specifically regarding the public demonstrations that have been taking place in these countries (and others by the way).
I asked if I could have some time to put together a response. These are my thoughts. Certainly not complete, or exhaustive, and others may have better answers, but perhaps here is the beginning of a discussion.
Why is it important to us what is happening in Egypt and Brazil? ( and other countries)
1.) God cares about the nations.
The Scriptures are full of the evidence of God’s heart that the nations know Him as Lord. Psalm 2:7-8 (NLT) states: The king proclaims the LORD’s decree: “The LORD said to me, ‘You are my son. Today I have become your Father. Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance, the whole earth as your possession. The condition and the destiny of nations matters to our God, and by implication, they should matter to us. God’s purpose for Israel was not isolationism, but that through them, the nations would know that He is God. As the nations observed their submission to the Lordship of God in their nation, other nations would be drawn to them, but also they were to be emissaries for Jehovah to the nations. God cares about nations because nations are made up of people, people for whom Jesus died on the cross and rose in resurrection power. We should care what happens in other countries because God cares what happens in other countries. The Old and New Testaments speak about the conditions, and activities of nations, and God’s responses. But His heart is always toward redemption and restoration to Himself. We should care about what happens in other countries because God cares enough about nations to set their boundaries (Acts 17:26). We care about nations because God continues to care about these nations.
2.) We are to understand the times in which we live.
Jesus chided the Pharisees because they were not aware of the times that they were living in… the time of the Messiah…in Matthew 16:2-3 (NLT) He replied, “You know the saying, ‘Red sky at night means fair weather tomorrow; red sky in the morning means foul weather all day.’ You know how to interpret the weather signs in the sky, but you don’t know how to interpret the signs of the times!
I am among those who believe that we are living very near to the return of the Lord Jesus. It would be unwise and even disobedient, according to Jesus admonition, for us to not try to be aware of the times in which we live. The “end times” involves the nations of the world that will be in turmoil. Or look at it from another perspective. Luke tells us about two people, Simeon and Anna (Luke 2) who were so in tune with the Spirit of God and the times in which they lived, that they were privileged to greet and pray over the young Messiah. I personally believe that we as believers need to be keenly aware of the times in which we live, and be ready at all times to share the hope of the Gospel with the world around us. And, be prepared for the imminent return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus taught us this as well in Matthew 24 and other passages. Peter asks the question in 2 Peter 3:11, as we are aware of the future of this world, what manner of people ought we to be? A question that perhaps is not asked enough in these days. And a question that is relevant to this discussion.
3.) We can make a difference through prayer.
History is replete with the accounts of how the informed intercession of God’s people has made a difference in the history of nations. There are many books that give us examples of this. One of the classics is “Shaping History Through Prayer and Fasting” by Derek Prince. One chapter in his book is entitled, “Seeing History Shaped Through Prayer.” In other words, we are not helpless victims in the stream of history. Many events in history have been turned around in answer to the prayers of God’s people. Time does not allow sharing these here, but they are plentiful. We are called to be active participants in the history of nations, and peoples. This was true in Scripture as well, Think of Abraham, Jeremiah, and Daniel only to name a few who through prayer changed the course of nations. This is not triumphalism, but it is realizing the power of prayer and intercession that God has placed in our hands to bring glory to His Name, and people into His Kingdom. The many stories of transformation and healing of the land that The Sentinel Group have documented are further evidence that God calls us to be agents of transformation through prayer, intercession and our lives in the world in which we live. Passivity is not a virtue in the Kingdom of God.
4.) It allows us to be touched by the heart of God for people.
To watch the people on the streets, whether in Brazil, Egypt or the many other countries that are in this time in chaos, reminds me of the words of Joel 3:14 (NKJV) Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. I earnestly believe that the heart of God aches and is broken for those who are in that valley of decision… believing there is no hope, or believing that the only hope is in a political figure, or institution, or in the power of the state, or any other of a number of false gods that people are grasping for in these days. If we are truly in touch with the heart of God, our hearts too will be broken for the lostness of men in our day, and that will motivate us toward taking the Gospel of Hope in our Lord Jesus Christ to them by any means possible. The promise of the Lord Jesus in Matthew 24:14 (NLT) is, And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come. We are to go into all the world with the Gospel and reach every nation and hasten the coming of the King of Kings. If we are in touch with the heart of God as we see those scenes from this current turmoil, our hearts will be moved to pray, and give and go for the sake of the commission He has given to us, and the sake of His Kingdom.
These thoughts are surely not exhaustive, but I trust they will stimulate our thought about how we view the images that confront us of the world and times in which we live. These are indeed challenging days. It would be easy for us to want to isolate ourselves from the nonsense, violence, chaos, and confusion that is all around us, yet we are called to be salt and light in this world, not to hide our light under a cover. There are two verses that I find very interesting, especially in these days. This is not to say I believe we are in the Tribulation period, I do not, but Revelation 13:10 and 14:12 describes that in that time of trouble the saints will be characterized by patience and faith.
I believe we are approaching those days, and we are also called to exhibit those same characteristics in our world… patience and faith. Placing ourselves in the Hands of God and believing Him to carry us and direct us how to live in our present world. May God grant us each one, His patience and faith by the power of His Holy Spirit. AMEN.
Even so, Come, Lord Jesus…