The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

It’s Personal: Understanding How God Communicates with Humans

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When God is talking to Americans, He talks like an American—using terms, slang, and metaphors that Americans understand.  When He’s talking to Russians, He talks like a Russian.  When He’s talking to Italians, He talks like an Italian.  Because God gave us all of the language tools we use today, and because He understands us better than we understand ourselves, it’s a very simple thing for Him to communicate to us in ways that we will understand.  It’s also a very simple thing for Him to stonewall us, confuse us, and prevent us from pondering certain questions and possibilities.  The point is that if God wants you to understand something, there’s no way that you can stop yourself from receiving that information.  At the same time, if God wants to withhold information from you, there’s no way that you can pry that information out of Him.  

Once you understand what a skilled communicator God is, you can understand why it’s so nonsensical for Christians to fret over souls ending up in Hell because they never understood God’s salvation requirements.  There’s no such thing as souls not understanding something that God wants them to understand, because if God wants someone to understand something, He educates them, and once God educates someone, that person understands what God told them, even though they might claim to be ignorant with their lips.  Among humans, it is very common for people to boldface lie about the true state of their souls.  In the world today, many souls are claiming not to know who the real Gods are when the truth is that they know exactly who those Gods are and they are actively rebelling against them.  It’s human nature to try and get out of taking responsibility for our choices, and we do this in spiritual matters all the time.  We pretend not to be convicted when we are.  We pretend not to understand things that we perfectly understand.  We claim to not have options and resources which we know we have, because we don’t want to take responsibility for refusing to use them.

It’s a simple matter to deceive other humans, and today many souls who are entrenched in a state of willful rebellion have a grand time running Christians ragged in circular arguments about salvation.  If you are currently feeling frustrated by how ineffective your witnessing efforts seem to be, then it’s time to take a hard look at why you’re spending so much energy trying to illuminate people in the first place.  Educating souls about truth is God’s job, not yours, and He’s the only One who can do it effectively.  A website like ours isn’t going to help anyone unless God wants it to, and even then it will only help people to the degree that He wants them to be helped.  You can’t force people to see truth, and God isn’t going to follow your advice on how He should manage the human race, so if you’re in a habit of praying for the lost, stop wasting your breath (see Improving Our Treatment of God: Why We Shouldn’t Pray for the Lost).  For starters, many of the souls who you’re labeling as “lost” aren’t lost at all because they’ve already received a ton of illumination from God.  In the second place, God doesn’t lose people.  God is not like a man who got separated from his friends in a forest and now He’s trying to find them again.  Because Christians today view God as being plagued with limitations, ignorance, and incompetence, they’re always trying to shove their advice and assistance on Him.  Happily for all of us, God doesn’t ever mistake our foolish fussing for real wisdom, and He disregards all of the criticism we heap onto Him about what He’s doing wrong and how He ought to do better.

As an individual Christian who wants to progress in your own relationship with God, you need to ask Him to help you improve your personal treatment of Him.  Constantly finding fault with what God’s doing in your life and in the lives of others isn’t going to help you move closer to Him.  Trying to control the way He interacts with others by praying for the lost or telling Him who to comfort, heal, and help is only going to erode your submission to Him.  God is not a bumbling mortal, He’s an Almighty Creator.  He doesn’t make mistakes.  He doesn’t do it wrong.  He doesn’t make bad choices.  The more you talk to God as if He actually is God and not just some kind of superhuman, the better off you’ll be (see Treating God Like God: Simple Steps to Improving the Way that We Pray).

A JEWISH BIBLE

If you examine all of the passages from Genesis to Revelation in which Yahweh and Jesus are talking to humans, you’ll find that most of the time They are addressing ethnic Jews.  This shouldn’t come as a surprise once you realize that all of the documents which we include in our Bibles today were written by ethnic Jews.  Today, you would expect an American reporter to be more interested in what’s happening in America than he is in what’s going on in other parts of the world.  When big events happen in other parts of the world, naturally the American will be interested, and he might even write some articles about those events.  But when he does, he’ll be thinking about how those world events might affect his own country, because he cares far more about his own country than he does about any other.  It was the same with the Jews who wrote the documents in the Old and New Testaments.  They cared far more about Israel and their own countrymen than they did about other countries and other people groups.  Because Yahweh and Jesus understood what was important to ethnic Jews, They focused on those issues when They were speaking to ethnic Jews.

Go through Jesus’ parables and you’ll find that many of them are metaphors about Jewish society.  He invents many stories in which characters who represent Israel’s spiritual leaders are painted in a bad light, while the lowlifes in Jewish society are depicted as being accepted by God because of their right soul attitudes.  Lazarus and the rich man is a story of the rich Jew versus the poor Jew.  The Good Samaritan is a parable which plays on the Jewish hatred of folks who were of non-Jewish ethnicities.  Jesus’ speeches are packed with references to Jewish cultural traditions, values, and norms.  It’s the same with Yahweh’s speeches in the Old Testament.  You won’t find Yahweh talking about cell phones and laptops, because those things weren’t concepts for the Jews He was talking to. But you will find Him talking a lot about farming, hand-to-hand combat, fortresses, and kings, because those things were key elements in Jewish society.

USING REPETITION:  IF IT’S IMPORTANT, SAY IT AGAIN

So aside from talking about things that Jews could relate to, how else does God mimic Jews in the biblical records? There are four common tactics He uses which you should be aware of.  The first is repetition.

Repetition is used as a form of emphasis in many cultures, but the Jews really got into it.  Ever wonder why John sees creatures in Revelation that are singing “holy, holy, holy”?  Wouldn’t just one holy get the point across?  Sure, but one holy is like plain text that doesn’t have any emphasis.  Suppose you want to add emphasis to what you’re typing to your friend.  What do you do?  You might put your letters in all caps.  Well, the ancient Jewish verbal equivalent to your all caps text is to repeat something.  So if you say that God is holy, holy, then that’s like saying God is HOLY.  And as satisfying as that is, this is God we’re talking about.  Everything about God is extremely intense.  So how do you communicate super-awesome-holiness?  In America, we raise the volume of our voices to really emphasize something.  For us, shouting is like putting something in all caps and adding a bunch of exclamation points at the end.  Well, the ancient Jews were a very dramatic people, so they were always finding reasons to raise their voices.  Once you’re shouting all the time about many different things, shouting becomes the new normal, and now you need a different way to really underscore what you’re saying.  Here’s where the Jews turned to repetition to give them that extra edge.  To repeat something twice was to really emphasize it.  But to repeat it three times in a row, well, that’s was like highlighting it, underlining it, circling it, and adding fifty exclamation points after it.  This is why Yahweh shows ancient Jews heavenly visions in which supernatural beings are crying out that Yahweh is holy, holy, holy. Yahweh is a triple-holy kinda Guy, and to an ancient Jew, that means God is super-awesome-holy.

Now in the Bible, triple repetition of a single word is saved for very special occasions.  Far more often we find Yahweh using a more toned down form of repetition which still packs a strong punch.  The common style of repetition that you’ll find Him using in the Old Testament prophetic books is one in which He makes the same point several times in a row, but He just changes the wording a little.  Once you understand that He does this, start looking for themes that are being repeated over and over in passages when God is talking.  For example, in Jeremiah 8, Yahweh is emphasizing how willfully the Jews have turned away from Him.  Listen to how He keeps repeating the concept of turning away:

“Do people fall and not get up again? If they turn away, do they not return?
Why have these people turned away? Why is Jerusalem always turning away?
They take hold of deceit; they refuse to return.” (Jer. 8:4-5)

Turn to the next chapter and you’ll find Him hammering the theme of the Jews reveling in deception.

“Everyone has to be on guard against his friend.
Don’t trust any brother, for every brother will certainly deceive,
and every friend spread slander.
Each one betrays his friend; no one tells the truth.
They have taught their tongues to speak lies;
they wear themselves out doing wrong.
You live in a world of deception.
In their deception they refuse to know Me.” (Jer. 9:4-6)

Yahweh keeps changing the words a bit, but He’s really just saying the same thing over and over again: these rebellious Jews are chronic liars.  It is because repetition was such a common means of emphasizing a point for ancient Jews that you’ll find it being used throughout the Bible.  Revelation is packed with repetition.  So are the Psalms.  God isn’t talking in the Psalms, but Jewish men are, and ancient Jews loved to repeat themselves, so whenever Jews are making long speeches, repetition abounds.  In Psalm 146 we find a Jewish man writing:

I will praise Yahweh all my life;
I will sing to my God as long as I live. (Ps. 146:2)

Well, yeah, if you praise God all of your life, you’re obviously praising Him for as long as you live.  In America, we feel like someone is talking down to us when they keep saying the same thing over and over.  We get annoyed and say, “Yeah, right, I got it the first time!  Do you think I’m stupid or something?”  And yet for the Jews, repetition was a critical way of helping their audiences focus on what they felt was important.

RHETORICAL QUESTIONS

Just because you ask a question doesn’t mean you really want an answer.  Asking rhetorical questions was another very common practice among Jews, and we find Yahweh and Jesus peppering Their Jewish audiences with rhetorical questions throughout the Bible.  Today many English translations of the Bible turn a lot of these questions into statements as a way of helping you understand the meaning.  But if you look at translations which are trying to give you a more accurate understanding of what the original manuscripts say, you’ll find rhetorical questions popping up all over the place.  In Jeremiah 13, Yahweh is emphasizing what hardened rebels His chosen people are as He throws out these rhetorical questions:

“Can a Cushite change the color of his skin? Can a leopard take away its spots?
Neither can you start doing good, for you have always done evil!” (Jer. 13:23)

Rhetorical questions are ones that have obvious answers.  People from Cush were dark-skinned, and we all know that humans can’t just decide to change their skin color any more than a leopard can make his spots go away.  By asking these two rhetorical questions, Yahweh is making people think of impossible situations, then He says the idea of rebellious Jews repenting is yet another impossibility.  Does He really mean that these people are incapable of repenting? No, He’s exaggerating to make a point.  He’s saying “You Jews have been rebelling against Me so long and hard that it’s become all you know how to do.”

In Mark 4, Jesus is in the middle of firing off metaphors for Divine judgment and spiritual illumination.  When He wants to use a lamp as an example, He asks:

“Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? Everything that is hidden will be made clear and every secret thing will be made known.” (Mk. 4:21-22)

These rhetorical questions are meant to get people thinking, to focus them on the idea that there are a lot of if-then relationships in life: things you do which lead to other things.  If you buy a lamp, then it’s obvious that you put it on a stand so its light will shine around.  What are some other obvious if-then relationships in life? The prophet Amos fires off a whole list in Amos 3.

“Do two people walk together unless they have agreed to do so?
Does a lion roar in the thicket when he has no prey?
Does he growl in his den when he has caught nothing?
Does a bird swoop down to a trap on the ground when no bait is there?
Does a trap spring up from the ground if it has not caught anything?
When a trumpet sounds in a city, do not the people tremble?
When disaster comes to a city, has not Yahweh caused it?” (Amos 3:3-6)

Amos is prophesying the future destruction of Israel, and here he is emphasizing the point that Yahweh is the One doling out the disasters in the world.  Bad things don’t happen by some fluke.  Bad things happen because God makes them happen, and Amos is saying that Yahweh’s involvement in disasters should be as obvious to the Jews as all of the other scenarios that he has listed.  In Amos’ day, lookouts blared trumpets to signal that serious danger was coming, so of course everyone trembled in fear when those scary alarms were heard.  Does a trap spring closed if nothing triggers it?  Of course not.  Does a bird fly into a trap if there’s no bait to tempt him in?  Of course not.  Do two humans stroll along together by accident?  No, they walk together intentionally.  Well, it’s supposed to be just as obvious that cities aren’t destroyed without Yahweh causing that destruction to happen.  After all, Yahweh’s control over His own Creation is absolute, not partial.  This is the point Amos is making—and it’s one which Christians have totally lost sight of today with all of their guff about God not being involved in evil.

PLAYING ON WORDS

So far we’ve talked about repetition and rhetorical questions.  What’s another way that God talks like a Jew in the Bible?  A third thing to look out for is word plays.  These are hard to spot in our modern day translations, because unless you’re using a study Bible which is intentionally pointing these tricky games out to you, you’ll miss just how clever Yahweh is being.  All throughout the Old testament prophetic books, word play abounds as Yahweh plays games with the Hebrew language.  Why would He do this?  Because the Jews did it, and He’s talking to them within the context of their cultural style.  Let’s now look at some examples of how creative Yahweh gets.

One of the best passages to spot this word playing business is found in Micah 1.  Here the word play is so frequent that Bibles which don’t normally note these things often put footnotes on Micah 1.  In this passage, Yahweh plays around with the names of many cities and towns.  The Jews attached a lot of significance to names, and the names of their towns often had meanings which everyone understood.  This created a nice set up for word games, and one word game that Yahweh really likes to play is using words that sound alike.  A modern day parallel would be if we said, “Everyone in France will soon want to dance.”  France and dance are rhyming words, and by intentionally rhyming, we can create a phrase that sticks in your memory longer.  Another way to do this is to play on the meaning of a word.  In English, the word china can either refer to a type of dish or a country.  Since many people have heard of china dishes, we could do a word play by saying, “In China, every fancy dish will break.”  The term china makes you think of a fancy dish, and if we want to prophecy doom for all fancy dishes in the country of China, this would be a clever way of doing it.  We might play a similar game by saying, “In Chile, things will soon be heating up.”  Chiles are vegetables which are famous for their zing, and here we’re playing games by connecting the country of Chile with a vegetable that goes by the same name.  What’s the value in these verbal antics?  It causes phrases to be more memorable.

In Micah 1, the prophet Micah is predicting disaster for the northern kingdom of Israel.  The destruction will be epic, and Yahweh now starts playing all kinds of word games as He talks about how various cities will respond. The cities He lists will all be in the path of the invading army.  The city name of Gath sounds like the Hebrew word for tell. The name Acco sounds like the Hebrew word for cry, so Yahweh says:

“Don’t tell it in Gath. Don’t cry in Acco.” (Mic. 1:10)

The name Beth-Ophrah means house of dust. The name Shaphir means beautiful or pleasant. So Yahweh says:

“Roll in the dust at Beth-Ophrah.
Pass on your way, naked and ashamed, you who live in Shaphir.” (Mic. 1:10-11)

Zaanan sounds like the Hebrew word for come out.  The name Beth-Ezel means house of nearness. So Yahweh says:

“Those who live in Zaanan won’t come out.
The people in Beth-Ezel will cry, but they will not give you any support.” (Mic. 1:11)

The folks living in the house of nearness won’t be near in the time of disaster—the folks living in come out won’t come out.  Isn’t Yahweh being clever?  In Micah 1, He keeps going with His list of town names, but now let’s look at another kind of word play that Yahweh uses.

Using two words that sound alike is a common word game to play, but you can also go visual with this kind of game.  Sometimes Yahweh likes to play word games with the visions He gives to His prophets.  A good example of this is found in Jeremiah 1.  In this passage we find Yahweh dropping a major bomb onto Jeremiah: God wants Jeremiah to serve as His prophet.  This is not Jeremiah’s idea of good news.  It’s actually a horrifying idea, and Jeremiah is totally freaking out.  So Yahweh pep talks him, and in the midst of that pep talk, we find Him playing word games.  At one point, He shows Jeremiah a vision of a branch from an almond tree.

Then Yahweh said to me, “Look, Jeremiah! What do you see?”

And I replied, “I see a branch from an almond tree.”

And Yahweh said, “That’s right, and it means that I am watching, and I will certainly carry out all My plans.” (Jer. 1:11-12)

If you don’t speak ancient Hebrew, this almond tree moment seems totally random and nonsensical. But if you’re Jeremiah, then the word you use for almond tree is shoqued.  And the word you use for watch is shaquad.  So Yahweh is showing you a shoqued to remind you of how He is shaquad-ing.  See how clever God is being?  And now it’s time for another clever image.

Then Yahweh spoke to me again and asked, “What do you see now?”

And I replied, “I see a pot of boiling water, spilling from the north.”

“Yes,” Yahweh said, “for terror from the north will boil out on the people of this land. Listen! I am calling the armies of the kingdoms of the north to come to Jerusalem. I, Yahweh, have spoken!” (Jer. 1:13-14)

Yahweh didn’t just save His word plays for prophecies about Israel—He used them when speaking about other nations as well.  When He was prophesying about the downfall of Israel’s neighbor Philistia, Yahweh played games with the Hebrew language and the names of key Philistine cities.  The city name of Gaza sounded like the Hebrew word for abandoned. The city name of Ekron sounded like the Hebrew word for uprooted.  So when Yahweh gives a message through His Hebrew speaking prophet Zephaniah, He says:

“For Gaza will be abandoned, and Ashkelon will become a ruin.
Ashdod will be driven out at noon, and Ekron will be uprooted.” (Zeph. 2:4)

So how did so many towns end up with such strange names in the first place?  Well, in the case of Jewish towns, the Jews loved their word games, and they were always looking for opportunities to be clever.  Back when Joshua was getting ready to start his military takeover of the Promised Land, Yahweh told him to make sure all the males in the Israelite community were circumcised.  Because the Jews had spent forty years rebelling in the wilderness, no one was paying attention to Yahweh’s command that all males be circumcised as infants.  In those times, blowing off circumcision was a real act of defiance towards Yahweh.  So when Joshua’s group finally got back on track with respecting Yahweh’s instructions, Yahweh was pleased and He said:

“Today I have rolled away the shame of your slavery in Egypt  from you.” So the place has been called Gilgal to this day. (Josh. 5:9)

Why did the Jews name this spot Gilgal?  Because Gilgal sounds like the Hebrew term for rolled away. So you see, the Jews played their word games on things God said, then God played word games on things they said.  By talking like a Jew to Jews, Yahweh made Himself seem very accessible to them.  Today He continues to do the same with us.  What a fabulous God.

EXAGGERATION

A fourth way that Yahweh acts very Jewish in the Bible is by using very exaggeratory language.  Because they loved drama, the Jews were always going way over the top with their reactions in life.  When things were bad, Jewish adults literally wailed as loudly as they could in public.  If something really great happened, then Jewish adults busted out in public songs and dances.  While Americans would feel very uncomfortable around someone who suddenly starts dancing around in a public setting, in ancient Jewish society, this was the norm.  The Jews had no use for keeping their emotions private: instead, they were all about broadcasting their feelings to the world.  If something really bad happened to you in your personal life, then people expected you to draw attention to yourself by groaning loudly in public, throwing dirt on yourself, tearing your clothes, putting on a tunic made out of scratchy material, or perhaps even shaving your head.  Such theatrics were considered acceptable ways to provoke others into asking why you were so upset.  And in Jewish society, it was acceptable to want everyone to focus on you in these moments.  After all, humans are already wired to think they are the center of the universe—why stifle it?  The ancient Jews found it freeing to run wild with many of their natural impulses.  When you wanted everyone to pay attention to you, you just made a ruckus until they did.  Adult tantrums were all the rage in Jewish society—so much so that people found it quite bizarre when any adult showed reservation.

Now because Yahweh understood the way Jews thought, He used their love of drama to His advantage all the time.  When you’re working with ancient Jews, there are two basic ways to make drama shocking: either surprise them with your lack of drama, or wow them by how overly-dramatic you can be.  We find Yahweh using both of these strategies with His prophets.

When Ezekiel first began to function as a prophet for Yahweh, he was a married man.  But when we come to Ezekiel 24, Yahweh suddenly announces that He’s going to kill Ezekiel’s wife.  She will die suddenly—unexpectedly, and this will of course be a terrible grief to Ezekiel. What’s the right way to handle the death of a spouse when you’re a Jewish man?  Freak out in public.  Go bananas.  Scream, run around, and make everyone come ask you what’s wrong.  When this is how you’re used to processing your emotions, it’s more than a little stressful to stay quiet.  And yet staying quiet is exactly what Yahweh commands Ezekiel to do, because He has another motive in mind.  Yahweh will soon be destroying His glorious Temple in Jerusalem.  Imagining the Temple being destroyed was as upsetting to the ancient Jews as seeing the White House leveled would be to Americans today.  Just as the White House is a powerful symbol of national security to Americans, the Temple in Jerusalem was a powerful symbol of Israel’s strength to the Jews.  Because the Temple was this kind of symbol, Yahweh says that when He levels the thing, the Jews will be so traumatized, they won’t even make their usual emotional ruckus.  They’ll be too traumatized to throw tantrums—and that is quite a shocking notion for dramatic Jews.  This is why Yahweh has Ezekiel hide his mourning about his wife—to get the Jews’ attention, and then to draw a parallel for how horrified they will feel when the Temple goes down.

The word of Yahweh came to me: “Son of man, with one blow I am about to take away from you the delight of your eyes. Yet do not lament or weep or shed any tears. Groan quietly; do not mourn for the dead. Keep your turban fastened and your sandals on your feet; do not cover your mustache and beard or eat the customary food of mourners.”

So I spoke to the people in the morning, and in the evening my wife died. The next morning I did as I had been commanded.

Then the people asked me, “Won’t you tell us what these things have to do with us? Why are you acting like this?”

So I said to them, “The word of Yahweh came to me: Say to the people of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign Yahweh says: I am about to desecrate My sanctuary—the stronghold in which you take pride, the delight of your eyes, the object of your affection. The sons and daughters you left behind will fall by the sword. And you will do as I have done. You will not cover your mustache and beard or eat the customary food of mourners. You will keep your turbans on your heads and your sandals on your feet. You will not mourn or weep but will waste away because of your sins and groan among yourselves. Ezekiel will be a sign to you; you will do just as he has done. When this happens, you will know that I am the Sovereign Yahweh.’” (Eze. 24:15-24)

Anytime you go against your culture’s rules for normal behavior, it gets people’s attention.  With Ezekiel, Yahweh effectively shocked the Jews with a lack of drama.  Plenty of other times, He spikes the drama in order to get people’s attention.  A serious and yet rather hilarious example of this was when Yahweh commanded the prophet Isaiah to walk around butt-naked in public for three years.  Sure, the Jews were into their drama—but even they had lines.  Nudity was way across the line.  No one stripped down in public voluntarily—instead, ancient peoples used public nudity as a way of trying to demoralize each other.  For example, when a woman was caught as a prostitute, one of the ways she was punished was to have her clothes pulled up in public so that everyone got an eyeful of her private parts.  It was because this was the cultural custom that Yahweh uses the following metaphorical language for His punishment of Jews who were always spiritually making out with idol gods.

“I will scatter you like chaff driven by the desert wind. This is your lot, the portion I have decreed for you,” declares Yahweh, “because you have forgotten Me and trusted in false gods. I will pull up your skirts over your face that your shame may be seen— your adulteries and lustful neighing, your shameless prostitution! I have seen your detestable acts on the hills and in the fields. Woe to you, Jerusalem! How long will you be unclean?”  (Jer. 13:24-27)

Punishment for prostitution was one way that women got stripped, but what about the men?  Well, when armies took over territory, a common practice was to take a bunch of prisoners, strip those prisoners, chain them up, and make them march for miles to foreign lands where they would be forced to resettle.  These naked marches were meant to psychologically demoralize people so that they would enter their conqueror’s territory in a humiliated, defeated state of mind.  In order to get the attention of, well, everyone, Yahweh once commanded Isaiah to strip on down as if he was playing the part of a freshly defrocked captive of war.  In Isaiah’s case, he was functioning as a visual warning of what was about to happen to folks living in the nations of Egypt and Cush when the Assyrian Empire attacked those lands.

Yahweh said to Isaiah, “Take off the sackcloth from your body and the sandals from your feet.” And Isaiah did so, going around stripped and barefoot.

Then Yahweh said, “Just as My servant Isaiah has gone stripped and barefoot for three years, as a sign and portent against Egypt and Cush, so the king of Assyria will lead away stripped and barefoot the Egyptian captives and Cushite exiles, young and old, with buttocks bared—to Egypt’s shame. Those who trusted in Cush and boasted in Egypt will be dismayed and put to shame. In that day the people who live on this coast will say, ‘See what has happened to those we relied on, those we fled to for help and deliverance from the king of Assyria! How then can we escape?’” (Isa. 20:2-6)

Isaiah doesn’t spend a lot of time talking about his nude days because, seriously, how embarrassing is that?  This is an example of Yahweh out-performing dramatic Jews, and using an excess of theatrics to grab people’s attention.  We find many more examples of this kind of behavior in the prophetic books as Yahweh commands His prophets to go through all sorts of embarrassing, gross, and painful theatrics.

APPLICATION

So what can we learn from all of this?  What’s our modern day application?  Well, when the end times begin, the same Gods who we find being so clever and creative with the ancient Jews will be just as clever and creative with us. Only in our case, it won’t be naked prophets, farming parables, and word plays that God uses to get our attention.  The things that shock and distress modern day Americans are different from the things that grabbed the attention of ancient Jews.  In America, we don’t live in fear of foot soldiers marching into our cities with swords swinging.  We aren’t impressed by grown men wailing warnings in the street.  It’s the movies we crank out that provide the best insights into what our values and fears are.  Today we are totally dependent on our technology—large scale blackouts are what freak us out, and blackouts are what we’ll have.  Today many Americans are trying to use dogs as a substitute for human relationships.  Suppose we were to wake up one morning to discover that all of our furry friends had died in the night?  When a whole country’s worth of pets croak overnight, and their corpses are decaying at an unprecedented rate, that would certainly get our attention.  What else?  What other buttons do modern Americans have?  Like every country, we have our key cities and our treasured landmarks—those would certainly be easy for God to wipe out.  We are also obsessed with demons in this country.  We love heroes who dabble in dark magic.  We can’t get enough of horror films that play on themes of sorcery, witchcraft, and demonic curses.  How quickly we forget that God taught demons everything they know, so if we really want to experience the effects of supernatural power being turned against us, well, He can do things to us that demons haven’t even contemplated.

The end times will drag on for years.  The entire world will be impacted by this season of distress, but the chaos will begin in America with God doing things to this country which are designed to effectively cause modern day Americans to suddenly get in touch with what fragile, powerless beings they really are.  When God is talking to Americans, He talks like an American.  When He wants to get the attention of Americans, He knows exactly which buttons to push.  We don’t stand a chance trying to resist an all-powerful God who knows us inside and out.  So if you’re wise, you’ll be asking God to help you stay in alignment with Him during the end times.  You’ll also realize that when God gets around to your country, you should expect Him to do things and say things that hit home with people from your culture.  God knows how to communicate with each of us in ways that ensure we won’t miss His message.  When God says something to you during the end times, make sure you give Him the answer He wants.  If instead you act like the ancient Jews by mocking God’s messages and scoffing at His warning signs, well, He’s just not going to be as patient with us as He was with them.

FURTHER READING:
Distinguishing Between the Real End Times & the Day of Yahweh
The End Time Prophet: Driving Us Closer to God

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