Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.” (Revelation 21:1-2, NIV).
The beginning of Chapter 21 reveals the conclusion of the book of Revelation. God has accomplished His purpose in saving his people and this is the fitting consummation to the story of redemption: God has brought His people home and He will dwell with them. “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God” (Revelation 21:3, NIV).
We have now arrived at the cosmic event that divides time and eternity–the point in time where heaven and earth conjoin to bind the future to the present.
“Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.'” (Luke 22:34, NIV).
At the Last Supper Jesus warned His disciples that He was going to be taken into custody and killed and that some of His followers would lose faith in Him. Impetuous Peter declared to Jesus that He would never be disloyal.
Then Jesus notified Peter that a few hours in the future–before the day was over–he would deny being a follower of Jesus not just once but three times!
You know the rest of the story. Jesus’ prediction of Peter’s future happened just as Jesus foretold.
What’s significant about this story for this discussion is that it reveals to us something very important about the character or nature of God: God knows the future!
If God knows what would happen six hours in the future, then why wouldn’t He know what will happen six days or six months or six years or even 6,000 years in the future?
“Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came!” (John 12:27, NLT).
Recently, I’ve been reading Simon Sinek’s book, Start With Why. The premise of the book is that successful leaders influence loyalty to a product, movement or idea because they communicate why their organizations exist. According to Sinek, knowing your why is more important than knowing what you do or how you do it. And, knowing your why will help you know what to do and how to do it.
So, apply this on a personal level. What’s your why? Why do you exist? Why do you do what you do?
In a conversation in John 12 that Jesus had with some of His disciples concerning His impending death, He seemed to be very aware of His Why. He knew exactly why He existed and why He did what He did.
“They asked, ‘What must we do in order to accomplish what God requires?’ Jesus replied, ‘This is what God requires, that you believe in him whom God sent'” (John 6:28-29, CEB).
Most Christians are trying to find and do God’s will in their lives. In fact, a lot of our personal prayer and Bible study efforts are focused on knowing and doing God’s will.
As we attempt to find and do God’s will, we have a tendency to gauge whether a thing is God’s will by our circumstances. If things are going our way and we’re successful, then we must be doing God’s will. But if we’re facing difficulties and things aren’t going as planned, then we must be missing God’s will.
“He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will, to the praise of His glorious grace that He favored us with in the Beloved. We have redemption in Him through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:5-7, HCSB).
I have two brothers and a sister. Growing up, my mother sometimes told me that I was her smartest and best-looking son and that I was her favorite. I must have believed her because I still think I’m smarter and better looking than my two brothers!
“And I have been chosen as a preacher and apostle to teach the Gentiles this message about faith and truth. I’m not exaggerating—just telling the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:7, NLT).
The Apostle Paul was certain about his calling from God and the message he was supposed to teach and preach.
Paul understood that all his efforts were a part of God’s plans and purposes and so he did it because God called him.
“Consider the work of God. For who is able to straighten what He has bent!” (Ecclesiastes, 7:13, NASB).
If your carpentry skills leave much to be desired, like mine, then you have had the experience of not hitting a nail squarely on the head and it sets and bends. And then it is difficult, if not impossible, to straighten the nail out and hammer it in. Yet, I still spend a lot of time and effort trying to straighten out that nail so I can hammer it in.
“But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?” (Isaiah 43:18-19, NLT).
In these verses God assures Israel of its coming restoration from Babylon’s rule.
While Israel’s deliverance from Babylonian captivity would be similar to its deliverance from Egyptian bondage, God was going to do a much greater thing.
“Have you not heard that I determined it long ago? I planned from days of old what now I bring to pass, that you should turn fortified cities into heaps of ruins.” Isaiah prophecied against Sennacherib, king of Assyria, at the request of Hezekiah, king of Judah. The Assyrians had already conquered Israel and its capital city of Samaria and now they were trying to conquer Judah. (They will fail in their attempt.) Sennacherib’s great mistake, however, was to imagine that what he had accomplished in all his military campaigns had been achieved in his own strength and not by the providence of God. In reality God had determined it long ago. God planned for Sennacherib to conquer fortified cities so his pride in his mighty accomplishments is only vanity. In fact, Assyria is merely the means to pronounce judgment on Israel for its disobedience. Similarly, God has determined plans and a purpose for your life–your destiny. Find out from God what it is and let Him use you to accomplish His will through your life.