WE WOULD PROGNOSTICATE
Many of us have spent our lives in daily Bible study, taking moments to breathe in order to survey the world around us. We are as the prophets of old who “inquired and searched diligently … searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ who was in them did signify …” (1 Pt 1:10,11).
What a Bible-saturated mind invariably does is start one on a journey of viewing the world around us through the eyes of God and recorded Bible history. So many principles of history have been revealed throughout the Bible that the Bible student cannot but view all history through a biased understanding of how God works in the affairs of this world, which past works and affairs are recorded in the Bible. When we come to a certain saturation point of Bible history, one begins to perceive some incredible works of God in the past, which perception molds our world view of how God now works. We begin to understand that God is still working to bring about His purpose for all things, especially for the good of His people. We then begin to fully appreciate what God promised in Romans 8:28: “And we [Christians] know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
And this is our quest in our obsession with recorded Bible history. We seek to know His purpose in a world that often seems like it is out of control. And in a world that seems like it is out of control, we begin to understand through a knowledge of His word and work that actually everything is under control. He is upholding everything with the power of His word, and thus, we trust His work (Hb 1:3). We conclude:
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth is removed and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea, though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling” (Ps 46:1-3).
If there are those who would think that our world view of history is prejudiced by too much Bible, then they are right. We offer no apologies. We would believe that the Bible was laid in our hands as a gift of God, and thus, a gift that would be our road map to make our way through of this twisted world in which we live. We are thus tainted with the impressions of inspiration of the Holy Writ. Our philosophy of history is anchored in what has been recorded through the guiding hand of the Holy Spirit as He took writer after writer throughout history through His inspirational influence to map out how God has worked in the past in order that we have faith in His work in the present and in the future.
If we would affirm that “whatever things were written before were written for our learning” (Rm 15:4), then we have learned well. If there is nothing new under heaven, as Solomon eventually learned (Ec 1:9-14), then our understanding of the present, and our prognostications of the future, are seated in the words the inspired history Book. This is the encouragement that the inspired word of history offers. In one’s mental saturation with inspired history, he of necessity comes to only one conclusion: “ … all things work together for good to those who love God.” We must never forget this. This biblical world view of history is especially important to remember if we are in the depths of despair in a situation wherein there seems to be no hope. We are sure that Job eventually remembered this throughout his trials. We too must remember the promises of God: “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you. He will never suffer the righteous to be moved” (Ps 55:22). “He will not suffer your foot to be moved. He who preserves you will not slumber” (Ps 121:3).
As driven students of Bible history, we must be incurably optimistic when faced with the despair that the world dictates . If one’s world view is based on the reports of the nightly news, or the daily newspaper, then he will conclude that everything has gone and is going horribly wrong. We often lead ourselves to believe that there is no hope. And truly, we are often lost in a world of misfortune and failure. We often cry out in complaint as Gideon: “Oh my Lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this befallen us?” (Jg 6:13). Even Job had his time of complaint.
My soul is weary of my life. I will give free course to my complaint. I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. I will say to God, “Do not condemn me. Show me where You contend with me. Is it good to You that You should oppress, that You should despise the work of Your hands and shine on the counsel of the wicked?” (Jb 10:1-3)
We must not forget that the nightly news and the daily newspapers are in business to make money off the misery of our lives. They economically thrive on those who thirst after seeing and reading about doom and gloom. Christians who are led by a fickle desire to allow their environment to form their mental state of mind, must turn off the news and stop reading the newspapers. We must repent of our culture of complaint that has developed out of a Facebook circulation of immoral junk and jokes. We must turn our attention to reading from the Word that says “we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Rm 8:37). If we watch the news and read our newspapers more than we study our Bibles, then we are in trouble. If we spend countless hours every day reading circulated junk about which to complain and gripe, then we need to repent. We need to start studying our Bibles again. Satan is not dumb. After all, he has more Christians spending more time on Facebook and YouTube than in the study of their Bibles.
We would thus look past the circulated news of doom and reports of despair. We are “other-world minded,” and thus, our philosophy of history is not based on a glamorization of broadcasted sin. It is based on a Divine theme, a salvational plan that is being played out in the best of all possible environments that was created for the purpose of bringing free-moral individuals into an eternal dwelling with their Creator. We would believe that there is infinite Divine control in a world that we too often and finitely assume to be out of control. We often allow ourselves to believe that it is all wrong when it seems that all things have gone wrong. We sometimes erroneously conclude as Habakkuk questioned, “Why do You look on those who deal treacherously and hold Your tongue when the wicked devours the one who is more righteous than he? (Hk 1:13). We choose not to be thus minded. We so choose because we believe that God is in control. We choose to believe that the wrong will eventually be righted by the One who upholds all things by the power of His command (Hb 1:3).
So we cannot help ourselves from being incurably optimistic. If the “Bible tells me so,” then we have no other option but to conclude that the One who upholds all things by the word of His power will eventually bring about that for which He created all things. His “plan of salvation” is not yet complete. The cross has taken place. But the crown is yet to come.
When the Malaysian MH 350 flight was lost from the radar of humanity, there was great mourning on the part of the families of everyone who was on board the fateful flight. A placard stand was erected in the airport at Beijing. On it one could write a brief statement in reference to the rescuers’ efforts to find the lost plane. As we noticed the brief statements of the placards that were hung upon the display stand, there seemed to be two categories. There were those notes from the family members who had no world view that included God. These notes simply read, “Have hope.” And then there were the other notes that were placed there by those who had God in their world view. These notes read, “Hope and pray.”
Hope by itself may give one a sense of peace of mind, but hope without the possibilities of Divine intervention leaves one with only the abilities of the rescuers. The Christian has hope, but his hope has a foundation of faith in a God who is working all things together for good. It is this hope that we would have, not simply a fatalistic optimism that everything will somehow work itself out by chance.
And herein is the wonderful gift of having in our hands an inspired record of how God worked all things together in the past for the good of those who loved Him. We would thus walk by faith as those faithful ancients about whom the Hebrew writer inscribed the words, “These all died in faith, not having received the promises. But having seen them afar off were assured of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were foreigners and pilgrims on the earth” (Hb 11:13). We want to be so assured of what God is now doing in order to work us toward the crown, that we will confess that we too are only foreigners in this world.
In our study of Divine history, therefore, we have hope for the future because of the evidence of how our God worked in the past. Someone rightly stated it: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hb 11:1). Our God has given us evidence of how He has worked in the past in order to give us hope of how He is working now and will continue to work in the future. This is how the ancients of old functioned in their daily walk of life, and this is how we will do the same in our lives today (Hb 11:2).