Awake and Prepare

A prudent man foresees the evil, and hides himself [knows how to escape calamities]:  but the simple pass on, and are punished.

–Proverbs 22:3

Throughout history, the foolish have ignored warning signs; and the wise have heeded them.  Noah foresaw the flood and Joseph the years of famine because they were divinely warned by God:  and provided for the safety of their families by building an ark and storing up food.  But the simple will only listen to appealing messages—and like Noah’s neighbors, they mock those who warn of danger—and so pass on to destruction. (See 2 Chronicles 18)

If we believe Jesus, we will take His warnings to heart.

Jesus told us that the world is full of trouble (John 16:33):  and that these troubles would grow increasingly worse (Matthew 24) until the time directly prior to His return, culminating in a time of great trouble worse than anything ever before witnessed by mankind:

For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

–Matthew 24:21

Notice, God not only warns us, He also provides highly specific counsel for how to prepare for great adversity:

There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise:  The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer; the conies [field mice or rock badgers] are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks; the locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands; the spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings’ palaces.

–Proverbs 30:24-28

To prepare wisely, we must do 4 things:

  1. Like the ants, we must lay up a storehouse of food [and water] (Proverbs 6:6-8).  This is God’s way of preparing His people for difficult times (Genesis 41).  Notice, the political leaders of many nations lack the godly wisdom to prepare in this way; in fact, just the opposite is occurring [running up high debts and living on short-term inventories].  In the Old Testament, God warns Joseph in a dream of a coming drought of seven years duration, counseling him to use the seven years of abundance that will precede the drought to store up food for the time of adversity.  Because Joseph follows His counsel, the people of Egypt are spared:  and the dearth was in all the lands, but in all the land of Egypt there was bread (Genesis 41:54).
  2. Like the conies [field mice or rock badgers], we must use every natural [and godly] advantage at our disposal to secure our homes and protect our families.  Field mice are weak and timid; yet, they are safe in the rocks because they seek the protection that nature affords them.  If possible, we must seek the protection that nature affords for remoteness.  Obviously, in the event of any major catastrophe or societal breakdown, major cities will become harsh, unforgiving, merciless environments.
  3. Like the locusts, we must work together under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to magnify our strength.  Notice, the locusts all seem to move in concert, yet they have no identified leader among them.  No one man rules over them:  rather, those mature men among them who have demonstrated wisdom and right conduct over time work together to care for and provide guidance to their assembly under the direction of the Holy Scriptures.
  4. Like the spider [some say lizards], we must be industrious.  Notice, the servants of influential men do not think spiders are fit to be found in King’s palaces.  Yet, no matter how hard they work to kill them, they cannot get rid of them—for the spider takes hold with its hands [is industrious]—and makes a place for itself in the corners and niches of a great house.  If we are industrious to do all that God has commanded us to do to prepare [as a simple act of faith–for our faith must be in God–and not in any natural actions], He will sustain and comfort us in the day of adversity, preparing a table before us in the midst of our enemies when the time of trouble arises (Psalms 23:5).  Unforeseen circumstances and difficulties are a given.  Without God’s divine intervention to make provision for and guide His people, they will not survive [and some are rightly appointed to martyrdom].

We are not to live in fear:  however, once we have accepted the fact that we have a pressing need to make the natural preparations that God has commanded, the enormity of the challenges facing us can sometimes lead to feeling overwhelmed.  How do we transition into a more humble, practical, and godly lifestyle?  Through much prayer, God has given me 3 extraordinarily simple rules to follow that bring order to my efforts and keep my mind at peace:

  1. Doing something is better than doing nothing
  2. Simple beats complex (do what works for you)
  3. Do first things first [what the Spirit first reveals]; and the rest of preparations will fall into place.

Of course, scripture is clear that fulfilling God’s purpose during this time will be dependent upon sound spiritual character, as that outlined in Proverbs 30:29-31:

  1. A bold and courageous faith
  2. An endurance sustained by a love for God and an understanding of His commandments
  3. A heart-felt concern and care for the family of God
  4. An uncompromising eye and hand for that which is right, good, and proper in the eyes of God.
  5. Finally, we are to walk humbly before the Lord, seeking to be at peace with all men.

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