Discerning the Signs

Luke 12: 54-59
Rom 7: 18-25a / Psa 119

You understand the signs of the earth and the sky, but you don’t understand the present times.
(Luke 12:56)

If we read the Bible all our days
We will learn to judge what is right
It will lead us in subtle ways
To discern God’s will in our life.

Jesus said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once: ‘Rain is coming,’ and so it happens. And when the wind blows from the south, you say: ‘It will be hot,’ and so it is. You hypocrites! You understand the signs of the earth and the sky, but you don’t understand the present times. And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? When you go with your accuser before the court, try to settle the case on the way, lest he drag you before the judge and the judge deliver you to the jailer, and the jailer throw you in prison. I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the very last penny.” (Luke 12:54-59)


Ever since man began to cultivate the land and grow his own food, he had become adept in anticipating the forces of nature. Modern technology has enabled man to forecast climatic changes and weather turbulences, like the El Niño, and typhoons that periodically come to ravage coastal areas. But despite the advances that we have achieved in predicting natural phenomena, we have remained as inadequate as the Jews were during the time of our Lord in interpreting the vital signs that affect the more important considerations in our lives. For instance, in the matter of health: the high incidence of cancer even among many in the prime of their lives, and other avoidable diseases, such as bronchial disorders like emphysema and tubercolosis, strokes and cardio-vascular ailments are all symptoms of a careless, lavish lifestyle, where excesses and waste have become the norm. The specter of AIDS alone should be enough of an omen to convince mankind of the need to overhaul our moral values. On a larger scale, internecine conflicts in many countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, and many countries in Africa are vivid illustrations of the deterioration of civil and social values, and in their stead reigns the pervading delusion that only might is right.

The freakish disorders that we observe in our world today, whether natural or man-made, are symptomatic of what our Lord had been warning us time and again in Holy Scriptures. Why can’t we “interpret the present time?” It is because we have turned our attention from the Word of God, and have instead put our confidence and trust in our own abilities, in the modern gizmos that the present age now offers, in the instant, warp-speed knowledge that we can access at the touch of our fingertip, or the click of a mouse. With all the modern distractions around us, we no longer have time to meditate and pray, to contemplate on God’s messages in the Bible, or even open an email message that invites us to read the Word of God for that day.

Is it any wonder that we fail to see where our life is heading? Stop for a moment and look at the signs. Are they the right directions that will lead us to our final and rightful destination? Jesus said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God…” and all will be well for you. Let us not take the time “to settle the case on the way” to the Judge and the Jailer. Let us not wait until the final hour before we begin to prepare for the ultimate journey, because once we have seen the signs it may already be too late.

He shall receive a blessing from the Lord, a reward from God his Savior. Such is the race that seeks for Him, that seeks the face of the God of Jacob. (Psa 24:5-6) Amen.

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