I slept through most of the day yesterday. Not so much the night before, which was the problem. I can’t seem to sleep normal … and that is usually what happens to teachers during the summer. We think, “I’m gonna just sleep in a few days. Then I’ll get back on track and be disciplined.” But that never happens. Add to it the fact that I can’t seem to sleep unless my kids are home and safely tucked into bed, and they weren’t home … Yes, insomnia, let’s snuggle, shall we? But then, I guess it’s not insomnia when you sleep until mid-afternoon the next day …
Anyway, enough of my sleep issues. Let’s talk about my heart … Specifically, what’s on my heart. This verse in Isaiah has been stirring in my heart for over a week now and I just can’t seem to shake it:
“Watchman, what is left of the night? Watchman, what is left of the night?” The watchman replies, “Morning is coming, but also the night. (Isaiah 21:12)”
I honestly love being awake before the sunrise. I love getting up and watching morning shake off the bondage of the night and burst forth with such radiant glory. It’s absolutely breathtaking. And a daily prophetic reminder of the morning that is indeed coming. You know, the morning we all long for:
“Listen, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable and we will be changed. (1 Corinthians 15: 51-52)”
“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command and the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17)”
Of course, we have no idea when or what time of day this will be. I love to imagine Jesus breaks forth with the morning sun, but the Bible tells us that:
“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. (Mark 13:32)”
The second part of that verse in Isaiah, though, fills me with dread. The watchman says that morning is coming, but he also mentions the night. Both coming at the same time. And this verse always reminds me of that scripture in John where Jesus talks about a night that is coming in which no man may work:
“As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. (John 9:4)”
Does that scare anyone else just a little? I mean, how often to do men and women of God prophesy that we are living in the end times? That night that is quickly approaching, when no man may work. Jesus tells us to work now!
Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away; He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch … If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. (Mark 13:33-34, 36)”
How many of us are sleeping through the day? How many of us are putting off the work because we are waiting for the storms to come? How many of us are waiting for something to make us so uncomfortable we run to our Word and fill up instead of filling up now in preparation? We talk about how the church will be driven underground like it is in other nations, but we aren’t preparing ourselves to have church in that place. We are resisting the Holy Spirit’s attempts to prepare us. We are putting it off in favor of temporary distractions. Distractions that are slowly putting our spirits to sleep so that we do not discern the times properly or listen to the unction of the Holy Spirit. I’m not pointing fingers because I have slept through so much of the day, but please, church! It’s time to wake up.
“You are children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. (1 Thessalonians 5:5-6)”
Awake and sober. Fully aware. Of both the devil and the Holy Spirit. Because even though morning is coming for the church, that day will bring incredible darkness for the rest of the earth:
“Wail, for the day of the Lord is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty. Because of this all hands will go limp, every heart will melt with fear. Terror will seize them; they will writhe like a woman in labor. They will look aghast at each other, their faces aflame. See, the day of the Lord is coming – a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger – to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it. The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light. I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless … I will make the heavens tremble and the earth will shake from its place at the wrath of the Lord Almighty, in the day of his burning anger. (Isaiah 13:6-13)”
“The great day of the Lord is near – near and coming quickly. The cry on the day of the Lord is bitter; the Mighty Warrior shouts his battle cry. That day will be a day of wrath – a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness – a day of trumpet and battle cry … I will bring such distress on all people that they will grope about like those who are blind, because they have sinned against the Lord … In the fire of his jealousy, the whole earth will be consumed, for he will make a sudden end of all who live on the earth. (Zephaniah 1:14-16, 18)”
“Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming. It is close at hand – a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness. Like dawn spreading across the mountains a large and mighty army comes, such as never was in ancient times nor ever will be in ages to come. Before them fire devours, behind them a flames blazes. Before them the land is like the Garden of Eden, behind them, a desert waste – nothing escapes them … Before them the earth shakes and the heavens tremble, the sun and the moon are darkened and the stars no longer shine. The Lord thunders at the head of his army; his forces are beyond number, and mighty is the army that obeys his command. The day of the Lord is great; it is dreadful. Who can endure it? (Joel 2:1-3, 10-11)”
Do we even perceive the depth of despair coming to the earth? Do we get the anguish and dread that will fill the people left behind?
“The sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the people of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. (Matthew 25:29-31)”
We rejoice because our Savior is returning to gather us to himself, but what about the rest? So many of us are guilty of shaking our fingers at the thought, with a big fat “I told you so!” jumping out of our mouths, but how dare we? People will suffer so much, and die without Jesus.
“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near … it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man. (Luke 21:25-28, 35-36)”
We will lift up our heads and rejoice in our redemption, and rightfully so. Come, Lord Jesus, come! But that day will be so terrible, Jesus told us to pray so that we will escape it. Oh my heart hurts for people who do not know Christ because they have no idea what is coming! And those of us who do are guilty. We are guilty of self-righteous smuggery and silence.
“Woe to you who long for the day of the Lord! Why do you long for the day of the Lord? That day will be darkness and not light … Will not the day of the Lord be darkness, not light – pitch dark, without a ray of brightness? (Amos 5:18)”
“Suddenly, in an instant, the Lord Almighty will come with thunder and earthquake, and a great noise, with windstorm and tempest and flames of a devouring fire. (Isaiah 28:6)”
“It will be a unique day – a day known only to the Lord. (Zechariah 14:7)”
Woe is me! I long for Jesus so fiercely, but look at what surrounds his coming! Look at the storm fast approaching! And 2 Peter 3:9 tells us that “[The Lord] is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” We have work to do, Beloved!
“’Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the Lord, ‘and work. For I am with you.’ (Haggai 2:4)”
What does this work look like, you ask? Let me tell ya’ …
“Rend your hearts and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. Who knows? He may turn and relent and leave behind a blessing … (Joel 2:13-14)”
“Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger. (Zephaniah 2:3)”
And once you get there, friend. Into the bosom of your Father. He is going to pour into your heart a love for the lost. Don’t let it grow cold. Fan the flame! Share the Gospel! Share Jesus! For “Who of us can dwell with everlasting fire? Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning? (Isaiah 33:14)”
Wow. That’s uncomfortable, isn’t it? Like a smack in the face right when your spirit was lifting in jubilant agreeance. “Yes, I’m gonna do this thing!” And then I hit you with more uncomfortable truth and I am not apologizing. Here’s why: We all know this stuff. We’re just tired. Numb. Sleeping. Dead. Whatever. We all know that in the end, there are two destinations, there is a right and a left. And we are adamant we will be on the right. And I rejoice in it. You should too. But think of the left:
“As I looked, thrones were set in place and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. This throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him, ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated and the books were opened … In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and people of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away; and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. (Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14)”
“Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and the books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelations 20: 11-15)”
“The Son of Man will send out his angels and they will weed out his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 13:41-42)”
Look, Beloved. We are all guilty. We don’t want to speak because we might offend someone or they don’t want to hear it. But that’s what makes us Christ-like! Speaking the truth in love. I am not advocating for Bible beating people into the kingdom. I am not talking about shoving the Gospel down people’s throats. I am suggesting this: prayer and fasting. A return to truth, and a complete rejection of error in the church. We are called to be a bride without blemish, and it’s time to clean up! Our husband is coming! He has prepared a banquet and he wants people there. I am suggesting we get before the Lord and surrender to Him. Surrender to His Holy Spirit and get to know His voice. That we are obedient to the calling that tugs daily at our hearts, whatever it may be and stop sitting on the fence. Let’s let God start a fire! He promised that in the last days he would pour out His Spirit, but where are the empty vessels? How will you be filled with His Spirit if you are so full of other junk. Get rid of it, church! Let go of distractions, let go of worldly things, rebuke Satan’s attempts to draw you into temporary loves so that you forsake your First Love. He is knocking at the door! Are you dressed and properly adorned to meet your Husband? Are you being faithful with the talents your Master left you with? Are your lamps trimmed and ready? Don’t sleep through the day, church.
“Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead and Christ will shine on you. (Ephesians 5:14)”