Monday, June 12, 2017
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When you think of being a tourist in Hawaii, you think about fabulous beaches, luaus, enchanted islands-fun stuff. My first visit to Hawaii was on a stopover from a mission to Singapore and I saw some of the fun stuff. But there's one thing to see in Hawaii that isn't very happy – Pearl Harbor. It was really touching for me to stand at the USS Arizona Memorial in the middle of Pearl Harbor, right over the wreckage of one of the ships sunk by Japanese bombers that awful December morning. Entombed inside that ship are hundreds of American servicemen who went down with her. How could such a total surprise attack have happened? Actually that's been debated by historians for a long time. But one reason the attack was so tragically successful was this-it came at 7:00 A.M. on a Sunday morning-in a place where everyone felt pretty safe...and at a time when everyone's guard was down.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Most Dangerous Time of All."
Which leads us to our word for today from the Word of God in Deuteronomy 6:10-12. It's a warning from God about when His people tend to be the most vulnerable to spiritual disaster. "When the Lord your God brings you into the land He swore to your fathers...to give you a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things that you did not provide, wells that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant-then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of...the land of slavery."
God says, "Look, when times are comfortable and you're doing well, look out. That's when My people forget Me." Like Pearl Harbor, we're most vulnerable to an enemy victory when it's a quiet time, a relaxing time-a time when our spiritual guard is down. So if these are basically good times right now, you could be in the most dangerous time of all.
Why? Because when things are tough, we've got no choice but to depend totally on our God. When the Jews were in the wilderness, they couldn't afford to forget what God wanted-they needed Him for the next day's manna, for water to drink, for protection from their enemies. But now they're in a season where they've got what they need...they're enjoying God's wonderful gifts to them, but they're not feeling the need for God like they did during those lean times. Good times are the times we're most likely to forget the Lord.
That doesn't necessarily mean you wander off into gross sin. It's usually more subtle than that. You just gradually stop putting Jesus first. He's still officially #1, but His Lordship is more honorary than real. In good times, we tend to become more and more self-focused-spending on ourselves rather than sacrificing for God's work, increasing the time we spend on ourselves and decreasing our involvement in the work of Christ, missing our daily time with the Lord-which was our life preserver when times were harder. It's just a general spiritual laxness, casual. And boy, your enemy has been waiting for this.
In those times when actually you're not consciously putting Jesus first like you were when it was tougher, that's when he hits you with his Pearl Harbor attack and he does damage you never could have dreamed. And when you have stopped putting Jesus first because things are going well, you know what He'll do? He'll inevitably do what it takes to make you remember how much you need Him.
So, if this is a relatively comfortable time right now, enjoy those great gifts from God. But don't ruin it by losing your Jesus-focus and trading it for your old self-focus. Seek first His Kingdom as much in the good times as you do in the bad times.
In the wilderness, God brought you out of yourself and He brought you deep into Him. Now don't forget Him when you're in the Promised Land He's given you.