In this challenging time, in which we are now living, we must be ready for the meeting with the Lord. None of us know when that will happen. Whether while sleeping death, or whether at the time of the rupture.
The Word of God guides us right to this time: “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:34-36). The word of God prepared us for “that will come to pass”, for the troubles that are coming upon us right now.
Everything that is happening in the world right now is just the beginning. According to the word of God, many and great more events will come upon this world, and we the believers, already know this from our reading of His Word. But we believers need to examine ourselves and to ask ourselves today: are we really ready to stand before the Lord and meet Him face to face…?
In the book of Ezekiel verse 14 (and also 20), God mentions three people who lived right before Him: Noah, Daniel, and Job. “Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness,” says the Lord God”. The testimony of their lives is a good example for all of us today.
It is said of Noah: “…Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God“ (Gen. 6:9). It is said of Daniel: “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank…” (Dan. 1:8). It is said of Job: “…that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?” (Job 1:8). They were sincere, innocent, God-fearing and did not compromise with the world.
We must ask ourselves: are we God-fearing? Are we living a life of transparency before Him? Do we hold His truth uncompromisingly? Do we act with integrity and purity of hands toward men and before God? God knows each one of us.
The word of God guides us: “Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, Nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation” (Psalm 24:3-5). In addition we must ask ourselves: Have we done evil to our friend? Have we borne shame on our relatives? And do we honor the God-fearing? “…Who may dwell in Your holy hill? He who walks uprightly,
And works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart; He who does not backbite with his tongue, nor does evil to his neighbor, nor does he take up a reproach against his friend; In whose eyes a vile person is despised, But he honors those who fear the Lord; He who swears to his own hurt and does not change; He who does not put out his money at usury, nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved” (Psalm 15:1-5). Yes, all those who do these things will have eternal life….
We must understand that if we caused suffering or harm to a brother/sister or to any other person – we caused it to the Lord! In such a situation, we will not be able to stand before the Lord and look at Him in the eyes !!! And so it is time to confess before man and repent to God.
In the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 25-37), the Lord makes this subject very clear to us. Of course the Samaritan (Gentile) did a good deed, which came to teach us all. But what about the priest and the Levite? What can be learned from their mistake? Although they did not hurt the wounded man, they ignored him, and continued with the routine of their lives, as if nothing had happened… They did not keep the important commandment “and love your neighbor as yourself” and they are guilty as if they hurt the wounded man…
From learning about this parable, we must ask ourselves: How would we feel if brothers were to ignore us? How would we feel if brothers did not pay attention to us during our urgent need? An old saying that we heard many years ago: Do not do to your friend what is hated for you…
Sometimes the Lord examines us, sending us a brother/sister who is in mental, or financial, or spiritual need, at the most uncomfortable time for us and if we are busy and ignored, we fail. “The Lord is in His holy temple, The Lord’s throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men… For the Lord is righteous, He loves righteousness; His countenance beholds the upright” (Psalm 11:4, 7). The Lord blesses those who have mercy and care for the brothers who are in need, blesses those who give grace to others. “Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy” (Matt. 5:7). After all, we all need the grace and mercy of the Lord. But James says in his epistle: “For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy… (Jas. 2:13).
At this time of the ‘end times’, we must make a self examination more than ever. The story in Luke 11: 5-8, about the man who asked for three loaves of bread for his friend, who came from the road at night hungry, and has no bread for him, makes it clear to us that sometimes the request for help will come to us at times most inconvenient and the question: Do we ready to sacrifice our convenience to help a person in distress? Will we give him a physical or financial or mental or spiritual help during his need or suffering??? This is a test that the Lord examines us, because when we help, support, encourage and satisfy the needs of others, we actually do it in honor of God. “…whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1Co. 10:31).
On the other hand when we cause suffering to our friends, we cause suffering to the Lord. In the life story of the apostle Saul we read that when he persecuted the church of God, Yeshua rebuked him as if he had persecuted Him Himself: “Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord? Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting… (Acts 9:4-5).
The Lord wants us to be in oneness, while He is the center of our lives. He also wants us to take care of each other, because we are brothers, members of one family and God is our father. “…all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. For “He who would love life and see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good?” (1Pe. 3:8-13). When we are “zealous to do good” – that is, standing right before the Lord and doing good to people, the Lord will always be by our side and protect us. No one can harm us, “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear what can man do to me?” (Psalm 118:6). “I will greatly praise the Lord with my mouth; Yes, I will praise Him among the multitude. For He shall stand at the right hand of the poor, To save him from those who condemn him” (Psalm 109:30-31).
And finally, we all know the most important commandment of all: “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well” (Jas. 2:8). There are weak and lonely brothers among us, who need encouragement and strengthening, for release and healing from the past and we, mature believers need to take care of them under the guidance of the Lord. Unfortunately, there are also those who have left the faith because they have been rejected and not treated properly in the congregation. So, we must be alert to our surroundings, pay attention to the needy among us, those who have a real need, take care of them and not ignore them.
The apostle Paul, while speaking to the Philippians, also encourages us today to be one heart, to behave with a humble spirit and love towards the brethren and to care for them as we care for ourselves. We know that this thing especially pleases our Lord, who sees, hears and knows everything about us.
“Fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2-5).
Thanks to God for His guidance for us!