When many of us hear the phrase, “signs of the times,” our minds are programmed to think of Biblical prophecy and predictions of the identity of the anti-christ, by years of end time sermons.
I just ran into that phrase in my readings, in Matthew 16, where Jesus challenged the Pharisees for totally missing the significance of His presence amongst them. He said they were able to “read” prevailing weather patterns available to their natural senses, but were missing the eternal significance of what God was doing right then.
Jesus told them, “You cannot interpret the signs of the times!”
His statement had nothing to do with end times prophecy. The Pharisees were spiritually blind to what was happening right in front of them…things that had the potential of impacting where they would spend eternity.
I thought about writing a blog on that phrase when I was reading Matthew 16, but put it off for later.
My next reading in my morning schedule “happened” to be 2 Corinthians 10. And I ran into Paul, challenging the Christians in Corinth that they were “looking only on the surface of things.”
That was the same as the Pharisee’s problem!
Maybe it’s something we need to be aware of, as we all step into 2017.
We read or watch the news about what is happening with the economy, in politics, in our culture, in the nation or global trends. We “read” our own family dynamics or relationships within our circle of friends.
But, like Samuel discovered when he had been sent by God to anoint Israel’s new king from the house of Jesse, things are not always what they seem. Samuel was ready to anoint one of David’s more handsome, more mature, more battle-ready older brothers based on a surface read of the people and situation.
But God had something totally different going on that was not visible to the naked eye.
I think this is true for every one of us.
God has something going on in each of our lives, our families, relationships, and work places, that is not visible to the naked eye.
It is going to take more than a surface read.
Do you discern it?
I am convinced He has left sign posts for you and given you the Holy Spirit so that you can discern the signs of the times in your life.
Here are my suggestions for discerning them:
1. Really believe that things are not always as they seem to a surface read of what is going on in your life.
2. Believe that God is working in your life right now.
3. Believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of them that seek Him.
4. Set aside time in your daily life to draw near to God, confident that He will draw near to you. This is where you will learn to hear His voice, just like I did before writing this blog.
5. Pay attention to His still small voice.
6. Start acting, in faith, on what you hear from Him as He reveals the “signs of the times” in your life.