12/07/17 - Pastor Young
Last week, while at LF8R (Suburban's youth camp), I got to participate in waking campers up by helping read out a children's book.
It's hard to imagine something worse to hear first thing in the morning than my poor rendition of a down-and-out moose, but I was drafted in to provide the voice of the character anyway. Pillows must have been held over ears as campers attempted desperately to wring a few more minutes of sleep from those first hours of the day. Still, I tried my best to make the morning wake-up call as pleasant as possible.
My alarms in the morning were much harsher. Because there was only one wall socket in the room, I would leave my phone charging on the ground. The alarm would ring, I would wake up and be hit by air that felt significantly colder than the night before, and I would cautiously lower myself from the top bunk, trying my best not to step on any of my roommates. The cold from the stone floor felt as though it was transferring through my feet and seeping into my brain. No funny animal voices welcomed me -- only the cold.
Either way, the alarms weren't the most welcome of sounds. They were reminders that we should have slept earlier the night before, and they committed the unforgivable crime of interrupting sweet sleep.
I think the reason alarms hold a negative connotation in our heads is because they often feel like they're interrupting something. We're forced to put down our books, turn away from our televisions, or otherwise detach ourselves from what we were doing in order to attend to the sound. We even feel as though we know better than the alarms. When we cook and find ourselves in the vicinity of a smoke detector that keeps going off, we don't say, "Good thing it's so sensitive, it'll definitely pick up the first trace of a fire and save my life." We think, "What an annoying sound. I'm taking the batteries out."
This past Sunday at Suburban, Andrew mentioned that prophets throughout the Bible played the role of a sort of an alarm clock for the people of God. Were the people being disobedient? Had they taken their eyes off of God? The prophets were there as loud reminders of the covenant that they had entered into with Him. When they failed to be vigilant, the prophets raised the alarm and told the people to wake up from their spiritual slumber.
The people responded in the way you may wish to deal with alarms. Jesus calls Jerusalem "the city that kills prophets and stones those who are sent to it". They refused to listen, and they even killed those who raised the alarm. They continued on in their spiritual slumber, refusing to wake up to truly seek God, and refusing to acknowledge Jesus's identity as the true Messiah.
For us today, what can we learn from the people's rejection of Jesus, and the prophetic message of Jesus?
If the prophet's main function was to represent God by bringing His word to His people, then we can seek to listen first. What is God saying to us? What message is being brought to us?
I encourage you to read through the passage from Sunday again (Luke 12:49-14:11), and to ask some questions. What did God want from His people at this time, and what does God want from me now? What promises does God make to His people then, and what does that tell me about His unchanging character? How was God saving people then, and how is God saving me now?
May we be vigilant in our lives, seeking to awaken to the truth of Jesus Christ, and what His life, death, and resurrection mean.