But God’s ways are brilliant.
Luke 12:54-59 is where Jesus is among the crowds and He says to them that they can predict rain if clouds loom in the west, and they can predict hot weather if the wind is from the south. We can all understand this bit.
But then Jesus goes on to say, ‘How is it you do not know how to interpret these times?’
I’m sure this has had you stumped too.
What do we know?
That Jesus was referring to Himself, His miracles, His teaching as being a sign.
That Jesus considered that literally everybody should have been able to decode this sign and what it predicts.
Was Jesus right? Actually, Yes.
It has to be simple, it has to have been an observable repeatable pattern, and it has to be rather obvious – and it is fruitful for predicting the outcome of future signs.
(It might help to reveal that over the past many weeks we’ve been reading 1st Samuel, 2nd Samuel, 1st Kings and we are almost through 2nd Kings.)
Is there a pattern? Yes, there is, and it isn’t confined to these parts of scripture either.
Look at why God raised up leaders, and why God raised up prophets.
God raised up Joseph. God’s purpose was to preserve the lives of Abraham’s family.
God raised up Moses. God’s purpose was to rescue His people from slavery in Egypt.
God raised up Joshua. God’s purpose was to defeat the peoples who inhabited the promised land.
These are the primary purposes for which they were raised up, other purposes came to light after the big bad’s of famine, slavery and occupiers of the promised land were dealt with.
God raised up Gideon. God’s purpose was to save Israel from the Midianites.
God raised up Deborah. God’s purpose was to save Israel from Sisera and his army.
God raised up Jephthah the Gileadite. God’s purpose was to save Israel from the Ammonites.
God raised up Samson. God’s purpose was to save Israel from the Philistines.
Are you beginning to see the pattern?
God raises up the boy Daniel to save Susannah and bring judgement to the two corrupt elders.
God raises up the boy Samuel to bring judgement to the two corrupt priestly sons of Eli.
God raises up the boy David to save Israel from the Philistines.
God had raised up Saul to do this too, but Saul only partially fulfilled the mission given to him.
Let’s look at some other prophets.
God raised up Ahijah to bring judgement on Jeroboam.
God raised up Elijah to bring judgement to Ahaz.
God raised up Elisha to bring judgement to Jezebel.
God raises up Nathan to bring judgement to David, and call David to repentance.
God raises up Esther and Mordecai to bring judgement on Haman.
God raises up the prophet Daniel to bring judgement on Belshazzar.
Jesus is quite right.
When John the Baptist arose everyone should have been asking ‘What is God about to deal with?’
When Jesus, so much greater than all the others arose, everyone should have been asking ‘What super heavy duty stuff is God about to deal with?’
The answer, of course, is sin and death and the evil one.
The greatest enemies of all creation.
God’s modus operandi did not stop with Jesus.
Whenever we see a great prophet or an especially anointed leader arise, we know that God is about to deal with something big.
In modern times you could say that God raised up St John Paul II to bring down the iron curtain.
You could also say that God raised up St Teresa of Calcutta to deal with poverty.
You could also say that He raised up St Francis of Assisi to ‘Go rebuild My Church’, and Constantine and his mother Helena to end the early cycles of persecution.
Sometimes he uses unlikely suspects to bring about relief to His people, and Jehu son of Nimshi known for driving his chariot like a mad-man was one of these; Cyrus king of Persia is another.
What does this mean for us?
It means that if we see God raising up a great prophet or an especially anointed leader, that God is about to do something big. It also means we should put whatever support we can muster behind these chosen instruments of God.
And in our own day, Donald John Trump seems to be the one God has raised up to deal with the evils of the deep state.
Now you know what to look for.
Now you know what to do when you see these anointed ones emerge.
And when you do, go help them,
and also pray assiduously that they fulfill the whole mission God has given them.