Knowing the Future
I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning. Isaiah 46:9-10
Last fall Business Insider ran an article on books that have predicted the future. For example, Gulliver’s Travels described a planet with two moons, and 150 years later astronomers noticed Mars had two moons. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea anticipated the invention of the submarine. H. G. Wells predicted the atomic bomb in his 1914 novel The World Set Free. Martin Caidin’s Cyborg envisioned bionic limbs. Science fiction writers use their imaginations to create scenarios that may later match reality.
But only one book predicts the future unfailingly, far in advance, and with a proven track record of total accuracy. God’s quality of omniscience (He is all-knowing) includes every future contingency and event. And He has revealed those future events for our preparation and anticipation. God has foretold the future because He knows it—and He controls it.
We have hope because God is in control of the future, and His every promise anticipates a fulfillment that will eventually culminate in His glorious return. Our hearts should overflow with gladness.
God, the architect of the ages, has seen fit to take us into His confidence concerning His plan for the future and has revealed His purpose and program in detail in the Word. J. Dwight Pentecost
My God Is… Sovereign | Isaiah 46:9-10
I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Isaiah 44:22
When he invented the pencil eraser, British engineer Edward Nairne was reaching instead for a piece of bread. Crusts of bread were used then, in 1770, to erase marks on paper. Picking up a piece of latex rubber by mistake, Nairne found it erased his error, leaving rubberized “crumbs” easily swept away by hand.
With us too the worst errors of our lives can be swept away. It’s the Lord—the Bread of Life—who cleans them with His own life, promising never to remember our sins. “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake,” says Isaiah 43:25, “and remembers your sins no more.”
This can seem to be a remarkable fix—and not deserved. For many, it’s hard to believe our past sins can be swept away by God “like the morning mist.” Does God, who knows everything, forget them so easily?
That’s exactly what God does when we accept Jesus as our Savior. Choosing to forgive our sins and to “[remember them] no more,” our heavenly Father frees us to move forward. No longer dragged down by past wrongs, we’re free of debris and cleaned up to serve, now and forever.
Yes, consequences may remain. But God sweeps sin itself away, inviting us to return to Him for our clean new life. There’s no better way to be swept away.
What things from your past do you have trouble forgetting? Ask God to help you take Him at His word.
If you grew up attending Sunday school, you know the story of Joshua and Jericho. But we must be careful not to file this story away in our minds as something amazing the Lord did a long time ago. The same God still guides us today, and by studying this account, we gain insight into living obediently.
Joshua heard God’s directive, “You shall march around the city” (Josh. 6:3). In order for us to obey, we likewise need to hear what the Lord is telling us to do. This means we must be reading and meditating on His Word, confessing sin, praying, and spending time with Him.
Joshua obeyed, telling the people, “Go forward, and march around the city” (Josh. 6:7). Joshua did as instructed, despite three potential stumbling blocks:
1. He could have questioned God’s directive. After all, marching around the city didn’t seem like a practical battle strategy for overpowering a fortified city.
2. He could have felt pressured to explain himself to his men in order to gain their approval and agreement.
3. He could have let fear of failure keep him from obeying.
But Joshua did none of these. Upon hearing God’s voice, he followed instructions to the letter—and without hesitation. The result was that God honored his obedience: “The wall fell down … and they took the city” (Josh. 6:20).
Are you willing to do what God says, regardless of your feelings or misgivings? Joshua was confident because the Lord had promised to give Jericho into his hand. And God’s promises to us are also the reason we can trust and obey Him.
“When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.” (John 6:5-6)
Word began to get out about the Lord Jesus healing all who came to Him, and a “great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased” (John 6:2). An exasperated Philip noted that “two hundred pennyworth of bread” would not be enough so that “every one of them may take a little” (John 6:7).
Andrew found a “lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes, but what are they among so many?” (John 6:9). Jesus calmly told the disciples to seat the crowd, gave thanks, and distributed the food to the disciples, who then dispersed the food until the crowd was filled (John 6:11). Twelve baskets were collected of leftover bread “that nothing be lost” (John 6:12-13).
What actually happened? New matter was created—instantly! Since “all things were created by him, and for him” (Colossians 1:16), the Lord Jesus not only demonstrated His power to create, but also the design to conserve that which is created. Remember the first law of thermodynamics: Matter can neither be created nor destroyed.
Those who insist that the structure of the universe must have taken eons to develop are going against the evidence given by the Creator Himself when He was on Earth. The incarnate Son of God openly demonstrated His power over all creation by miracles like this event. Jesus later said, “If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him” (John 10:37-38). HMM III
But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
—2 Timothy 4:5
A number of factors contribute to bad spiritual leadership….
The economic squeeze. The Protestant ministry is notoriously underpaid and the pastor’s family is often large. Put these two facts together and you have a situation ready-made to bring trouble and temptation to the man of God. The ability of the congregation to turn off the flow of money to the church when the man in the pulpit gets on their toes is well known. The average pastor lives from year to year barely making ends meet. To give vigorous moral leadership to the church is often to invite economic strangulation, so such leadership is withheld. But the evil thing is that leadership withheld is in fact a kind of inverted leadership. The man who will not lead his flock up the mountainside leads it down without knowing it. GTM061-062
Lord, again I pray for any pastor who may be facing this “economic squeeze” today. Help him to be faithful and give strong leadership no matter the cost. Then, Lord, I pray that even today You would grant one of Your special, generous provisions as a powerful reminder of Your great faithfulness. Amen.
Thou, therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.—2 Timothy 2:1.
I Would arise in all Thy strength
My place on earth to fill,
To work out all my time of war
With love’s unflinching will.
Firm against every doubt of Thee
For all my future way—
To walk in Heaven’s eternal light
Throughout the changing day.
Anna L. Waring.
Every trouble is an opportunity to win the grace of strength. Whatever else trouble is in the world for, it is here for this good purpose: to develop strength, For a trouble is a moral and spiritual task. It is something which is hard to do. And it is in the spiritual world as in the physical, strength is increased by encounter with the difficult. A world without any trouble in it would be, to people of our kind, a place of spiritual enervation and moral laziness. Fortunately, every day is crowded with care. Every day to every one of us brings its questions, its worries, and its tasks, brings its sufficiency of trouble. Thus we get our daily spiritual exercise. Every day we are blessed with new opportunities for the development of strength of Him.
“And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands.” 1Sam. 17:47
Let this point be settled, that the battle is the Lord’s, and we may be quite sure of the victory, and of the victory in such a way as will best of all display the power of God. The Lord is too much forgotten by all men, yea, even by the assemblies of Israel; and when there is an opportunity to make men see that the Great First Cause can achieve His purposes without the power of man, it is a priceless occasion which should be well employed. Even Israel looks too much to sword and spear. It is a grand thing to have no sword in the hand of David, and yet for David to know that his God will overthrow a whole army of aliens.
If we are indeed contending for truth and righteousness, let us not tarry till we have talent, or wealth, or any other form of visible power at our disposal; but with such stones as we find in the brook, and with our own usual sling, let us run to meet the enemy. If it were our own battle we might not be confident; but if we are standing up for Jesus, and warring in His strength alone, who can withstand us? Without a trace of hesitancy let us face the Philistines; for the Lord of Hosts is with us, and who can be against us?