Knowing the Times

Jesus rebuked the people once by saying this –

“He also said to the crowds, ‘When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, ‘A shower is coming.’ And so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat,’ and it happens. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?” Luke 12:54-56

We are not omniscient. We don’t know when Christ will return. But here Christ rebukes them for not paying attention to the times, for not understanding where they were in redemptive history.

Could the same be said of us?

There are many pivot points in Scripture, places where you realize God is doing something big, He’s moving the story in a new direction.

1 Samuel 2 is one of those pivot points I think. The spiritual state of Israel was bad, very bad. The priests of God were treating the offering with contempt and sleeping with the women who served at the tent of meeting.

But Samuel is growing in the presence of the Lord, he is growing in stature and in favor with God and man. God is moving.

In verse 27 a man of God comes to Eli. We don’t know who this man of God is. It doesn’t really matter. But he proclaims judgment on Eli’s house, on his sons, and says “Behold”. The days are coming when God will raise up for himself a faithful priest. God is moving.

After chapter 2 of 1 Samuel you realize the story of Israel is bending in a new and different direction. By chapter 9 they have their first king, Saul. The tribe of Benjamin is almost eliminated from Israel at the end of Judges (due to their sin but also the whole nation’s), but Saul is from the tribe of Benjamin. God is moving in amazing ways.

What would it have been like to live in these times, to witness this new direction? Were the people aware that God was moving in this way? How would they have been able to interpret the times, their times?

Were they just concerned about their own affairs, their own little worlds? Or were some of them discerning enough to look around, to look up?

God is consistently moving and bending history toward his purposes, to fulfill his plans. I think of Ephesians 1:7-11:

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

His will, his purpose, his plan – to unite all things in him. History is moving inexorably toward a goal, God’s goal, that all things in heaven and earth will be united in Christ.

Are we paying attention? Are we looking around and looking up, discerning the times we’re in? Or are we stuck in our own little worlds, distracted by the superficial, mired in petty debates? Do we take seriously Peter’s exhortations?

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:13

The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:7-8

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