“And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible. Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.” (Mark 10:27-31)
The last week or so the song “The Times They Are A-Changing” written by Bob Dylan has been on my mind. I think it may be because of all the extreme changes we are seeing around us today. My friend was commenting that although change has always happened with each generation, today the changes continue to get worse and I believe this is true. When Bob Dylan wrote this song at the beginning of the 1960’s a lot of changes were happening around us. Just after he recorded this song President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963. Our society quickly started to unravel. The foundations of our society started to crumble at a faster pace. The times they were a-changing! In those 55 years or so, what a change we have seen in our Israel lands. The foundations of our culture have been destroyed and we are floundering in a world of uncertainty. The dye has been cast and we appear to be sinking fast. I like the words at the end of Dylan’s song.
“The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is rapidly fadin’
And the first one now will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’”
Sounds very much like the words at the end of verse 31 in Mark 10 shown above. Those today who think they have it all right and everything going their way will soon be in for a big shock. They will be last and maybe not even that. Those who have kept the faith and stayed the course will be first, “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:” (2Peter 1:10). It is hard now because we are so few in number and things are changing so quickly. It is hard for us to understand what is happening, but Jesus said to stay close to Him and he will guide us through all that will take place. We must be willing to surrender ourselves to Him and to trust that He knows what is best for us. Sometimes it feels like we are drowning in the storm, but His Hand is always there to hold on to and we know that we can trust Him to keep us safe.
A visiting minister from England spoke at our church last Sunday and he said that as he has grown older he receives notices about the 50 great things you can do in your retirement. Of course, these things are all about the worldly idea of what makes a happy and successful life. He mentioned this because in 2014 his daughter was in an extremely bad accident and the doctors only gave her a 10% chance of survival. He said that at that moment the only thing that really matters is Jesus. Nothing in this secular world can provide the power and comfort that our Lord Jesus Christ provides. Through all their prayers, and their daughters’ strong faith as well, she survived, and he said she is pretty much back to her old self and is working in the ministry and is newly engaged.
As this world continues down the slippery slope to destruction, we must make sure we have a firm foundation so that we are not toppled over by all the world throws at us. The times they are a-changing, but we do not have to change with them. We may appear to be “last right now” but in God’s eyes we are first. He chose us from the beginning to be His people and we must remain righteous in His eyes. “In the LORD put I my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain? For, lo, the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may privily shoot at the upright in heart. If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD’s throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men. The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup. For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright.” (Psa. 11:1-7). Psalm 18 appears to me to speak of today where our enemies surround us, but God’s intervenes with earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, flooding, etc. The Lord liveth and he delivers us from a-changing world. “I will love thee, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid. The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me. In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears. Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth. There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it…. And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind. He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies. At the brightness that was before him his thick clouds passed, hail stones and coals of fire. The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave his voice; hail stones and coals of fire.…. The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted. It is God that avengeth me, and subdueth the people under me. He delivereth me from mine enemies: yea, thou liftest me up above those that rise up against me: thou hast delivered me from the violent man. Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name. Great deliverance giveth he to his king; and sheweth mercy to his anointed, to David, and to his seed for evermore.” (Psa. 18:1-8, 10-13, 46-50)
Is it not worth following Him rather than following the world??? He is the only one we can trust to deliver us from all that is happening.