Ok, so maybe I’ve been spending too much time in the prophets lately. I read Proverbs 24:11-12 this morning and can only read it one way. Oh God, please help me to act on Your Word!
Prov. 24:11 Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter.
Prov. 24:12 If you say, ‚ÄúBut we knew nothing about this,‚Äù does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?
All over the world we can see people being led away to death. Whether they are being led by political-greed motivated hunger as in many parts of Africa; or being led by oppressive social structures that decided their fate before birth as in parts of India, Bangladesh, and Myanmar; or being led by a false religion that is the only one they’ve ever known, there are more than 2 billion opportunities for us to obey Proverbs 24:11. But what are we doing? Do we see the nightly news as a prayer guide or let the enemy win by letting it discourage us? Do we believe the news is how things are and forget how they should be where the Kingdom of Heaven is?
Look at the aspects of God in Proverbs 24:12 that should motivate us to scramble all of our efforts in a high-speed come-together for a global search and rescue
1. God weighs our hearts.
The heart is the seat of motives, emotions, desires, etc. God knows where each of those are. He knows what we desire more than Him, what we fear more than Him, what we love more than Him. Throughout almost all of time men have been judging people for all different reasons by all different criteria, but only God can look all of the way in to who we really are. Before Him we are as visible as the noonday sun. 1 Samuel 16:7 “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.‚Äù
2. God guards your life.
Isaiah 49:15-16 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;” Every day we trust God to protect us, to provide for us, to guard us. What is crazy, is that many times we’re almost like a soldier on home furlough wearing his armor around. God gave us these precious promises of His might and strength so that we would not be afraid in war. Yes, we need protection and guidance and His care in our every day lives of delivering newspapers and passing out recruiting information, but Our God is the Living God. If we only trusted His protection to keep us safe while we play frisbee, we would have totally wasted the majority of His work.
I think that’s why after Jesus says “Go” in Matthew 28:19, He then says “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.‚Äù He wants us to really let Him guard us. When I was a kid I played soccer for one year. I was a rear guard, which meant I was back by the goalie. Well we had some really really good soccer players on our team, so our goal never needed a rear guard, much less a goalie. If you are never in a situation where you’re getting attacked, then you never really need your guard! If you think your house or your job or your 401k is keeping you safe, be careful, because God wants to be your one true guard, and He is able to do it.
3. God will repay each person according to what he/she as done
Sometimes it seems that we protestants have become so drunk on grace that we aren’t in a hurry to do good works. We decide what we will do according to our convenience or comfort rather than the need. This is how 2000 years into the great commission there are entire countries left unreached. Here we are, the fat cows of Bashan (Amos 4:1), sitting on our couches writing worship songs to fill iPods while those being led to death in China are hearing the gospel and saying “how long have you known about this?”
To those who risked obedience and rescued those that were dying, God will give a reward. To those that had what they thought were higher priorities or responsibilities, He will also repay.
May we read Matthew 25 and move to action, rather than to our contemplative couches of death.
Matt. 25:1 ¬¶ ‚ÄúAt that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
Matt. 25:2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise.
Matt. 25:3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them.
Matt. 25:4 The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps.
Matt. 25:5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
Matt. 25:6 ¬¶ ‚ÄúAt midnight the cry rang out: ‚ÄòHere‚Äôs the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!‚Äô
Matt. 25:7 ¬¶ ‚ÄúThen all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps.
Matt. 25:8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‚ÄòGive us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.‚Äô
Matt. 25:9 ¬¶ ‚Äú‚ÄòNo,‚Äô they replied, ‚Äòthere may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.‚Äô
Matt. 25:10 ¬¶ ‚ÄúBut while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
Matt. 25:11 ¬¶ ‚ÄúLater the others also came. ‚ÄòSir! Sir!‚Äô they said. ‚ÄòOpen the door for us!‚Äô
Matt. 25:12 ¬¶ ‚ÄúBut he replied, ‚ÄòI tell you the truth, I don‚Äôt know you.‚Äô
Matt. 25:13 ¬¶ ‚ÄúTherefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
Matt. 25:14 ¬¶ ‚ÄúAgain, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them.
Matt. 25:15 To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey.
Matt. 25:16 The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more.
Matt. 25:17 So also, the one with the two talents gained two more.
Matt. 25:18 But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master‚Äôs money.
Matt. 25:19 ¬¶ ‚ÄúAfter a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them.
Matt. 25:20 The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‚ÄòMaster,‚Äô he said, ‚Äòyou entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.‚Äô
Matt. 25:21 ¬¶ ‚ÄúHis master replied, ‚ÄòWell done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master‚Äôs happiness!‚Äô
Matt. 25:22 ¬¶ ‚ÄúThe man with the two talents also came. ‚ÄòMaster,‚Äô he said, ‚Äòyou entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.‚Äô
Matt. 25:23 ¬¶ ‚ÄúHis master replied, ‚ÄòWell done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master‚Äôs happiness!‚Äô
Matt. 25:24 ¬¶ ‚ÄúThen the man who had received the one talent came. ‚ÄòMaster,‚Äô he said, ‚ÄòI knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed.
Matt. 25:25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.‚Äô
Matt. 25:26 ¬¶ ‚ÄúHis master replied, ‚ÄòYou wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed?
Matt. 25:27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
Matt. 25:28 ¬¶ ‚Äú‚ÄòTake the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents.
Matt. 25:29 For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.
Matt. 25:30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.‚Äô
Matt. 25:31 ¬¶ ‚ÄúWhen the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory.
Matt. 25:32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
Matt. 25:33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Matt. 25:34 ¬¶ ‚ÄúThen the King will say to those on his right, ‚ÄòCome, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.
Matt. 25:35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,
Matt. 25:36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.‚Äô
Matt. 25:37 ¬¶ ‚ÄúThen the righteous will answer him, ‚ÄòLord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?
Matt. 25:38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?
Matt. 25:39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?‚Äô
Matt. 25:40 ¬¶ ‚ÄúThe King will reply, ‚ÄòI tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.‚Äô
Matt. 25:41 ¬¶ ‚ÄúThen he will say to those on his left, ‚ÄòDepart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
Matt. 25:42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,
Matt. 25:43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.‚Äô
Matt. 25:44 ¬¶ ‚ÄúThey also will answer, ‚ÄòLord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?‚Äô
Matt. 25:45 ¬¶ ‚ÄúHe will reply, ‚ÄòI tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.‚Äô
Matt. 25:46 ¬¶ ‚ÄúThen they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.‚Äù