Besieged. Do you feel as if you are surrounded on all sides by insane wickedness? Any believer paying attention to our “gone-crazy” culture has to sense they are hemmed in by the assault of the enemy.
- Early this morning I read the glowing prediction of a Singapore based physician, Dr. Leong Hoe Nam, that the new variant of Covid, omicron, will likely overwhelm the whole world in the next three to six months. Perhaps he is over-reacting, heaven knows no one has done any of that, but it still weighs on us to think this ugly pandemic is not giving up easily.
- Our government is steadily degrading religious freedom in the United States, hastening a day when the Bible, and those who dare to proclaim the truths found therein, will be equated with hate speech.
- Our headlines are filled with shootings, murder, greed, avarice, and heartless indifference to human life. Schools are closed in some Detroit areas because of the threat of violence and murder.
- A suspect in Wisconsin who plowed through a Christmas parade, killed six and injuring dozens more, says he is demonized and that is why he acted in such a repugnant manner.
- In fact, the temperature of our culture seems to prominently display the markings of a sick and degenerating society outlined by the Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 3:1-5.
While we lament the decline of our nation and watch with seeming helplessness as things spiral toward an implosion, you and I can draw comfort from what the Spirit-anointed Apostle stated.
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come (2 Timothy 3:1).
The words “shall come” are derived from a single Greek word which literally means “to stand in the middle of.” Amazingly, Paul described the feeling many are experiencing today when we try to describe our situation. We are besieged on all sides by the encroaching darkness of a dying age. We are confronted with inescapable developments on every side. You and I are firmly planted in an age where Godliness is scarcely witnessed in the public sector and, if put on display, is usually vilified. Add to that the misguided logic of some within our tribe who have shoved all their chips to the middle of the table with a failed utopianism which would usher in the millennium of Christ’s reign, and the result is a large swath of besieged believers who are struggling with what to expect and how to live in this present dark age.
Luckily for us, Paul did not tell us how dreadful things were going to be and how helpless we were going to feel and then sign off with “you guys be careful, see you on the other side!” No, if we take the time to look carefully, Paul speaks to besieged saints and gives us a clear pathway to victory…despite living in dark days.
It all starts with the COMPANY WE KEEP. Make no mistake, there are those from whom a believer needs to distance themselves. Read the list for yourself (2 Timothy 3:2-5), it will sound like much of what you see and hear on a daily basis in our culture. In fact, some of it will eerily resemble much of what we celebrate in America. The statement Paul makes is strong and direct. “Turn away from them (2 Timothy 3:5)! Remember, you and I are going to become like those with whom we associate (Proverbs 27:17). We harm ourselves if we allow those who despise our Master to become a prominent influence in our lives. Jesus made it clear, His saints are in this world, but not of this world (John 15:19). We must strive to keep company with those who embrace the faith and build us up while turning away from the continual palaver of a godless culture.
When besieged, we must also CONTINUE IN SOUND TEACHING (2 Timothy 3:13). We have been warned that false teachers will be a hallmark of the last days. I find it interesting that the first response of Jesus to His disciples when they inquired about the signs of the last days centered on deception and false teachers (Matthew 24:4-5). Surely, you and I are living in the fulfillment of what Jesus predicted and Paul affirmed. The only sure preventative in this case is to continually be filled with the Holy Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:15). The time has come to watch less TV and spend more time in the Word. Besieged saints need to spend less time on social media and more time in scripture. Dig deep in the Word and hide it in your heart.
A third rebellion against the besieging darkness is found in COMMUNICATING GOD’S TRUTH. Interestingly enough, Paul never tells us to hide in a cave and wait on things to get better. Instead, he calls for courageous communication of the truth (2 Timothy 4:2). Before you get hung up on the word “preach,” understand it simply means to publicly declare a message. Each of us have been called to do just that. In our dark day, even when besieged by darkness, we are to fearlessly communicate the good news of how Jesus changed our lives. In fact, our message never sounds better than when contrasted with the sorrow created by our decaying world. Make Jesus known!
Finally, when you are besieged and things seem to be spiraling out of control, CAST YOU DISSAPOINTMENTS ON JESUS. When Paul was disappointed by the utter loneliness he faced when confronted by powerful adversaries (2 Timothy 4:16, Acts 19), he somehow cast all the pain and angst of that event on the Lord and discovered the Lord was with him (2 Timothy 4:17). You and I can learn a great lesson from Paul. We are going to be disappointed. People are going to be hostile and some of our group will turn on us. When that takes place, we can find refuge in the presence of the Lord. Stay there long enough and seek Him with passion enough and you will discover, as did the Apostle, the Lord is with His people, even when others turn away (Psalm 27:10).
Those who dare to look beyond the besieging spirits of our day and live their lives as described by Paul can also share in his triumphant declaration…
The Lord will deliver me from every evil work and will preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever (2 Timothy 4:18)!