September 25, 2012
Then I Saw A New Heaven and A New Earth
" 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.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God." --Revelation 21:1-3. (Image from calvarybaptist.org)
Much of what we call "Christian service" involves struggle, challenge, and delayed gratification. For what and why are we delaying gratification?
We do this because we are waiting for "a new heaven and a new earth." Scripture doesn't give a lot of details about this place, and the information we are given in the Book of Revelation is sometimes complex, coded, and difficult for many to understand. Why is this? Why doesn't God simply make heaven so clear that we could not doubt its reality?
Perhaps we are unable to fully grasp what a new heaven and earth will be and what they will mean. How often, in our human perspective, do we reject or delay something "new" simply because it is unfamiliar or uncomfortable? God will change everything! How many of us welcome the disappearance or re-design of everything known and familiar to us? This is almost unimaginable, and perhaps this is also why Old and New Testament believers are urged to walk by faith, not by sight.
A.W. Tozer wrote a classic devotional titled Man: The Dwelling Place of God. How deeply do we really desire ourselves to become God's dwelling place? How often do we run away from prayer, from quiet time, from almost anything that removes the earthly haze and opens the clear light of God's presence? Do you and I truly embrace the idea of ourselves as dwelling places of God? Are we ready for that? Do we want to be ready?
"God himself will be with them" says the passage from Revelation 21:3.
It may be we all need more work before we are ready to embrace God with us at all times, and ourselves fully aware of and enjoying this Presence. We need to be made over and made new before we are really ready for the Presence to abide in and with us in the fullest, clearest way.
A new heaven and and a new earth...the unlimited, unrestrained presence of God in us and in the world. This is the destination of our redemption and this should motivate us to share the Word with anyone who wants to listen. Feeling limited and frustrated? Know that you and I were created to be the dwelling place of God. It is His will, and will be accomplished in His time.