In our New Testament reading (Luke 21:20-38), Jesus warns of the end times. The destruction of Jerusalem, that would occur just 40 years later, is a picture of the end of the world. “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies…”
Do you see “Jerusalem” surrounded by armies today? In the Old Testament, “Jerusalem” was used the way we use the word “church.” When they said, “Let’s go up to Jerusalem,” we would say, “Let’s go to church.”
Again I ask, “Do you see Jerusalem surrounded today?”
I see the New Testament Jerusalem surrounded by enemies when I see…
- The church is surrounded by “carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life” (Luke 21:34) keeping many Christians from regular worship. The Lord has blessed us with so much, that we are just too busy to worship. We get anxious because we might lose some of these wonderful things. We need to work harder and longer. We need to find protection in things rather than the Lord.
- The church is losing the battle for the next generation as fewer and fewer Gen Z’s in our nation connect to their Savior and are influenced by an increasingly unchristian society.
- The church is losing the battle as the devil uses the sins of clergy to discredit the gospel ministry (See today’s front-page article in the Milwaukee Journal “Kaul Eyes All Legal Means in Clergy Sex Abuse Probe.”)
Each is a sign announcing to our generation: “Be always on the watch and pray” (Luke 21:36). Today is the day to be ready for the judgment day. It will be a terrifying day for God’s enemies, but for all who know the love of God in Christ, it will be a day of rejoicing. “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:28).
And what shall we pray?
Today's Old Testament lesson (read Psalm 56-60 here) contains the prayers of a godly man surrounded by enemies.
Some of the words sound harsh, but they are the prayers of a warrior. Imagine you are on the front lines of the war in Ukraine today. You have seen the carnage inflicted by the enemy. You have seen your homes destroyed. Your loved ones have been killed before your eyes. Then you can more easily make David’s prayers your own.
We are on the front lines of a spiritual war. I have seen the carnage inflicted by the devil and his lies. I have seen families destroyed. I have seen loved ones ripped from the comfort of faith and lost. When I see that I’m on this front line, David’s prayers become my own.
Let us join David in these prayers… (Psalm 56-60)
- Psalm 56 “In God I trust and am not afraid. What can man do to me?”
- Psalm 57 “I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.”
- Psalm 58 “The righteous will be glad when they are avenged.”
- Psalm 59 “You are my strength, I watch for you; you, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely.”
- Psalm 60 “Give us aid against the enemy, for human help is worthless. With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies.”
Prayer: Lord, defeat all who war against your Truth and your People! Amen.