. . . but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. `(Hebrews 12:26b-27)
Do you live with a sense that things are falling apart, unraveling? I tend to attribute the world’s deterioration to our arch enemy, the devil, but it is good to remember that our Sovereign God is at work on the other side of the proverbial coin. He is shaking to jolt us out of complacency, to grind away impurities, and to blast idols off their pedestals. When things fall apart, God is sifting our faith.
I recently read an old sermon by Derek Prince copyrighted in 1993. It is astounding how relevant it sounds today:
See, God’s purpose in permitting a worldwide shaking of everything is to demonstrate the things that cannot be shaken. And then the writer [of Hebrews] goes on:
“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.” (Hebrews 12:28)
There’s only one kingdom that cannot be shaken. It’s not the kingdom of Great Britain or Northern Ireland. It is no earthly kingdom, it’s the kingdom of God, it’s the kingdom that’s founded on Jesus Christ. Jesus said if you build on this foundation, no storm will overthrow what you build.
But, everything else that can be shaken will be shaken—and most of it is being shaken. Ask yourself what are some of the things that can be shaken? Well, first of all, governments. There’s scarcely a government on earth that isn’t being shaken or hasn’t been shaken at the moment. Then what about banks? Can banks be shaken? They certainly can and some of them are being shaken. What about church denominations? Can they be shaken? . . . Can families be shaken? They can and they are being shaken . . . God is sorting out everything into one or other of two categories: those things that can be shaken and those things that cannot be shaken. You and I need to know where we are. Are we truly in the kingdom that cannot be shaken? If not, we are going to suffer. There will be a shaking of everything, but the kingdom of God will pass through the shaking unmoved.
Believe me, we will not be exempt from the shaking, but the result will be different in our lives. We shall stand when everything else collapses all around us.
What great encouragement! So here are a couple things I want to remember when I get shook up or disoriented by how our world is changing:
First, I want to remember that the state of the world reflects the earth’s birth pangs. We feel the pressures, the squeezing and the pain, but we must remember that God is birthing a new heaven and a new earth. A mother in labor clings to the anticipation of a new life coming. We need that joyous perspective too.
Second, I want to remember that even as the world’s birth pangs increase in frequency and intensity, God is still in control, and he is still good. We will be knocked off our sure foundation if we begin to doubt this.
Who will stand in the end? I John 2:17 says, “The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” That person will be like the wise man who built his house upon the rock. (Matthew 7:24)
No hurricane, tsunami or flood—not even the shaking of an earthquake—can budge the immoveable rock of God.
Prayer: Lord, lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe (Psalm 61:2). Amen.