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From Dust to Stars
FIRST QUARTER 2020
SABBATH SCHOOL INSIGHT #13
MARCH 28, 2020
“FROM DUST TO STARS”
‘Sheltered in Place— Social Distanced No More’
When last contributing to the study on Daniel I had just returned from a trip to the William Miller farm—life was good—comparatively speaking. Subsequent to that blog three months ago both of my mentors have died and an unsettling diagnosis has come closer to home, but God remains good.
It is not news to you that right now most of the United States and the world are “sheltered in place” with “social distancing”. All sports events are cancelled across the world, most restaurants are closed, many doctors’ offices are shut or only addressing urgent cases; the General Conference gathering in Indianapolis postponed, the Olympics on the brink of being cancelled, and oh yes—people are beginning to hoard.
By the time this post is read the world could have changed even beyond cameras recording a skeleton pastoral team at your local Adventist church. If human nature has remained unchanged, which it has, we could see escalation as spelled out by history below. We are in portentous times. A seriousness has settled over us all. Our fondest hopes are either coming into focus or are being blurred by our possessions or feelings of wasted opportunity. Here is the bottom line. Michael is about to stand and we have no time to dillydally. He is touched with the feelings of our infirmities (Hebrews 4:15)—including Corona virus or the fear that is being generated by it. What a precious truth for the world in light of the Corona reality.
The year was 1893—the World Columbia fair was followed by financial depression that lasted until 1897 but there were a series of events that frames the following reference, but is present truth today. The financial depression of that year instigated riots in the streets in Ohio in March of 1894—the most significant protest march that ends in Washington on May 1st. Cleveland, Ohio was catapulted into the “May Day Riots”. Ten days late was the Pullman Strike where three thousand union workers went on strike to protest lower wages. By July the news cycle is flooded with a fire at the site of the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago that destroys the remaining buildings.
It is in this context that A.T. Jones pens:
“ALL men see the way that things are going, and they know that the times are perilous, and they resort to combinations of different sorts by which, if possible, to save themselves from results which they see must certainly follow, even viewed from the standpoint of the world. The laborers combine in unions, leagues, etc., to save themselves from what seems to them must certainly come. The farmers do the same, and the capitalists do the same.
NOW, in the eighth chapter of Isaiah, this course of things is described, and the word says: “Associate yourselves, O ye people, and ye shall be broken in pieces; and give ear, all ye of far countries: gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces; gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces. Take counsel together, and it shall come to nought; speak the word, and it shall not stand: for God is with us. For the Lord spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying, [that is, the Lord says to us], Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. Sanctify the Lord of hosts Himself; and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread.... And I will wait upon the Lord, that hideth His face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for Him.” Isaiah 8:9-17.
THUS it is clearly shown that in the time of waiting and watching for the coming of the Lord, there will be this time of general distress and fear, in view of what is coming; and also this time of association and combination and confederation of many together to save themselves from that which they fear. It shows also that none of these associations, combinations, or confederacies will help those who enter into them. But the word which they speak “shall not stand;” the counsel which they take together will “come to nought;” and the combinations which they make, and even they, themselves, in those confederations, “shall be broken in pieces.”
NO, no. Confederation or association of men will not save them in this time. Every effort made in that way will only increase the trouble and the danger which they hoped to escape. This also is apparent to everyone who looks at these things as they are today; for never was there a time in the world when there were such vast combinations of capital, and never was there a time when capital was so insecure. Never were there such vast organizations and combinations of labor, and never was labor in a worse plight. Unions, federations, combinations, will not help matters. These evils will grow worse and worse. Men themselves will grow worse and worse. 2 Timothy 3:1-5, 13. And by no combination or invention can men save themselves from themselves.
NONE but the Lord can save, even temporally, in this time. Therefore, in the presence of these things, when men are in fear in dread, their hearts moved as the trees of the woods are moved with the wind, He counsels us, “Stablish your hearts,” let your hearts be fixed, so that you shall be safe and unmoved when others are in fear and in dread. “Sanctify the Lord of hosts Himself; and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread. And He shall be for a sanctuary,” that is, for a refuge, a place of safety and security, a dwelling place, a shelter in the time of storm. For, “he that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty;” and in the shadow of His wings can we make our refuge till these calamities be over past.” American Sentinel, July 26, 1894 p. 233
Our daughter had almost concluded her year abroad when it was abruptly announced last week that she could not stay in Argentina where she was studying and had to return home. WhatsApp was her lifeline to conference with her mom and me to lay out and execute the game-plan to return her to the United States. She arrived three days later in Seattle to the warm hug of her mother and tearful embrace of her brother—separated no longer. No social distancing here. Now she is sheltered in place at our home. God the Father and Jesus are working on the details of our return to our heavenly home. What we are witnessing are the final details to that grand reunion. There is healing that needs to be sped up.
Your infirmities could be the corona virus itself, or maybe financial stresses, emotional scarring, social isolation, physical abuse or diagnosis, or maybe spiritual apathy. Michael right now is in the gap for you—as you—to heal and restore you. His name means “Who Is Like God”. This is where your acceptance is. We are accepted in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:6). We have a complete Savior Who is the Savior of all men—especially of those who believe
(1 Timothy 4:10). Jesus Christ is able to save to the uttermost all them that come unto God by Him (Hebrews 7:25) , but more important—our Heavenly Father is on our side. “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself” (2 Corinthians 5:18-19).
The world might be falling to pieces, but our refuge is “in Christ”—our High Priest. It is not just on the ephod as a precious stone, but His life flows out to us. We receive His life to live. There is no ‘social distancing’ with Him. May your life be hidden with God in Him.
Are you dwelling in the secret place of the MOST HIGH? There is no other refuge. Let us be “Sheltered in Place—in Him. The grand reunion is just before us.
Sing with me:
1 O safe to the Rock that is higher than I,
My soul in its conflicts and sorrows would fly.
So sinful, so weary, Thine, Thine would I be;
Thou blest Rock of Ages, I'm hiding in Thee.
Hiding in Thee, Hiding in Thee,
Thou blest Rock of Ages, I'm hiding in Thee.
2 In the calm of the noontide, in sorrow's lone hour,
In times when temptation casts o'er me its power,
In the tempests of life, on its wide, heaving sea
Thou blest Rock of Ages, I'm hiding in Thee. [Chorus]
3 How oft in the conflict, when pressed by the foe,
I have fled to my Refuge and breathed out my woe.
How often when trials like sea billows roll
Have I hidden in Thee, O Thou Rock of my soul. [Chorus]
W. O. Cushing (1876)
In tribute to Fred Bischoff we encourage the series: The Truth Versus the Lie.