Reflection on Joshua's talk on Daniel 1-2 almost 2 weeks ago. Yes I know. I am slow in backlogging...
My eyes have been caught by this tiny LCD screen for the last 5 hours. I have been playing one Nintendo game that I've never played before, and after a few hours of practise, I think I am getting better at it. The game I am currently playing is called "the game of life", which somehow assembles "The Sims". The game rule is simple - you are trying to be the best in your profession. Get the best education, make the most money, drive the most luxury merc, build the biggest palace, marry the best looking girl, climb to the highest in career ladder, etc. Ain't I good at it! I am almost there - being the CEO of a booming dot com. Well, the crash (yes, they have that in the game as well) has lowered my over all score a little bit, but at least I am better off than the bloke next door, who is still working in McDonald's after 3 hours of play.
Suddenly, a line of text flashes across the screen. It spells EMERGENCY all in capital. Then the in-game music got cut off from my head phone. I then realise that I am actually on a plane. It is one of those broadcasting moment again.
"This is a call from captain Smith from this flight ZZ123 to Sydney. We are currently experiencing an emergency situation. All 4 jet engines of this Boeing 747-400 have stopped working. Our attitude has been declining, and we will soon crash into the Pacific Ocean. Please take out your life jacket and sit in bracing position...."
Hey. What's going on?! Is it a hoax or something - maybe the captain just had a habit of making fun of his passengers. The in-flight entertainment system in front of me returned to the game that I was about to win, and the fast paced techno music starts beating again through the head phone. Just to be sure, I pop my head up and look around, and saw almost everyone is still concentrating on the small LCD screen right in front of them. Some are playing fast moving action games, some are watching the latest block buster movies and some are doing their on-line shopping. No one is really paying attention to that recent announcement, and they are all too focused to give that a damn. Well, two or three ultra paranoid actually got out their life jacket and prayed at the corner. Hah hah losers! We are just fine!
So I went back to my "game of life", making the most money, marrying the best girl, and climbing to the highest in my virtual reality...
Stupid isn't it? One can concentrate so much on what is happening in front of him, and became totally ignorant to the important events that are happening around him, especially where the plane is destined to. But aren't we like that most of the time - ignoring the fact that this world is destined to destruction on the day of judgement, when Jesus Christ comes back again, and still focusing on what we can achieve everyday in our own little game of life? We have heard the warnings, but we thought that it was a just joke. "Mate, the world carries on, and we might as well eat, drink, get marry and prosper." That is stupid.
... scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. 4They will say, "Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation." 5For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, 6and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. 7But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgement and destruction of the ungodly.
2 Peter 3:3-7 (ESV)
"Okay. We got the message. But what can one do in a crashing plane?" you asked. Not much apparently. You might shudder, and then continue on with what you were doing. You might try out the life jacket. You might hope that Superman is not on vacation at the moment. You might pray that a miracle would happen.
But the miracle did happen. Jesus Christ did come, died on the cross, paid for our penalty, raised to life again after 3 days, ascended to the right hand side of God, and promised to come back again.
8But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9The Lord is not slow to fulfil his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
2 Peter 3:8-9 (ESV)
The flight might be nice and smooth at the moment, but it is destined to be destroyed. However, at the same time we know that God is faithful to his promise, and he will bring forth the salvation. In fact, he has already saved us in the person Jesus. For those who have been saved, the last day would not be an unexpected disaster, but it would be glorious.
So, what can you do? Sit back and relax. There is no need to panic, because you have understood what God has promised. Meanwhile, continue to trust in him, that he would rescue you on the last day. Is that all? No, there is more. Your whole life needs to be changed. Stop focusing on the in-flight entertainment system, but ...
14Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these...
2 Peter 3:14
Apostle Peter went on talking about how should you act, when you are waiting for the Lord to come. Here's what one ought to do as a result of understanding his/her situation.
- Be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace (3:14).
- Count the patience of our Lord as salvation (3:15).
- Take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability (3:17).
- Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (3:18).
Moreover, if you know the cure for a lethal disease, wouldn't you share it with the world? If you know that there is still a hope for this crashing flight, wouldn't you let other passengers know? When you poke your head out from your comfortable seat, looked around, and saw most people were still focusing on the small world inside the in-flight entertainment system, wouldn't you remind them their critical situation?! If you know this world is heading towards destruction, as one day God would come and judge every single individual, and you know the only way to have your life spared is to trust in what Jesus has done, wouldn't you go and tell the good news to the world, just as how the Lord has commanded?
Somehow that's the conclusion drawn from Daniel 1-2.
The first 2 chapters of Daniel talks about this young, intelligent and good looking exiled Israelite, who through his trust in God has won the favour of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, and became his top adviser. However, the implication for us is not "trust in God and prosper" - that would be misreading the passage. He is not there in the Old Testament as an example for the people to follow, but just a character in the grand plan of God.
History, it is His Story - it is God's story. When the great leader of world's super power was distressed understanding his dream, God, through Daniel as his mouth piece, unfolded what will happen in the next 500 years. Kingdom come and kingdom go, but there will be one kingdom, not made out of human hands, strike at that special moment in history, and created a heavenly nation that lasts forever. That happened at around 30 A.D., when Jesus the Nazareth walked out from his tomb. The new era has been marked, yet the old age is still to be destroyed.
But why? Why am I still in love with all the things that the people of this world chase after? Why am I still so focused on that little LCD screen in front of me? The head knowledge tells me that this flight is heading to hell, but once in a while I'll still be lured over by the sight and sound of that virtual reality. I lived as though it is the life, but my consciousness tried to tell me otherwise. Why?
I need to think more about that.