On Saturday mornings in recent months I have taken to getting up early to watch the cheesy yet classic show called “Land of the Lost”. This particular show was originally on the air in the mid to late 1970s and focused on a father and his two children who were unexpectedly thrown back in time to a land of dinosaurs and strange aliens who popped on the scene every now and then. I am not sure if the story ended with them ever return home as I have not watched every episode. Perhaps the show lost its popularity (if it had any to begin with) before the writers could return the father and his children back to present reality.
As I have thought about events this past week and the seemingly never ending barrage of godless behavior that is being embraced all around us, it is quite evident we are living in the land of the lost. While we have not been thrown back in time as the result of a massive earthquake that forced our raft to fall down into a land dominated by dinosaurs and aliens, we have to a point returned to a point in time Scripture warned us about.
Jesus told us, “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.” (Matthew 24:37) Now what exactly took place in the days of Noah for which we should take note? If we take a look back at Genesis 6:5 we see that “The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.”
Fast forward to our present day. Does it seem like great wickedness has spread throughout the earth with the inclination of the heart of man being focused on the pursuit of evil? I would have to submit the answer is a resounding yes. Just as Noah lived in the land of the lost way back in Genesis 6, I believe today we live in a similar environment, a sort of re-run if you will of that same land of the lost. Given Scripture warned us this would happen, we should really not be taken by surprise.
What then should be our approach and focus while the land of the lost all around us runs after wickedness like a moth to a flame? Scripture once again provides us the answer.
First and foremost we are to stand firm. The Apostle Paul exhorted the Thessalonians to “The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.” (2 Thess. 2:15). Paul declared a similar message to the Church at Corinth, noting “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” (1 Cor. 16:13). In a time of history when the pressure to succumb to the allure of wickedness will be greater and greater, we cannot stand in our own strength and efforts. It is only when we stand firm on the Word of God and the promises contained therein that we can understand what is taking place around us and furthermore, know how to respond.
Second, our response to the wickedness around us is also of great importance. Paul told the Church at Phillipi “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” We are commanded to “speak the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15). This means that truth is never to be compromised and furthermore, as we stand firm on the truth of Scripture, we should not be demonstrating a spirit of hatred towards the wicked. Conversely, we should be declaring the truth of Scripture in a way that demonstrates the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Otherwise, even the best and most choice words are nothing more than a “noisy gong or clanging symbol” (1 Cor. 13:1). Warren Wiersbe saliently noted, “Truth without love is brutality, and love without truth is hypocrisy.” Such a statement notes the reality that both approaches are incorrect and by nature sinful. Truth must be presented in love and truth must never be sacrificed for love. Both go hand in hand.
Finally, be ever in a posture of prayer. In my own life, this is certainly the most neglected aspect of my own walk with God. Reading Scripture and speaking truth (mostly in love – still have to work on that one) come much easier for me than spending time in prayer. Scripture is quite clear regarding the need to pray. In fact, 1 Thessalonians 5:17 commands us to “pray without ceasing.” We often forget that our walk with God is a relationship. A healthy growing relationship is a two-way street. In a healthy relationship, there is the need for communication between both parties. Prayer is the means by which we communicate with our heavenly Father. May we be reminded of what Daniel did when he learned of ungodly decrees that had been made by the government of his day: “Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.” (Daniel 6:10) Notice the final statement – “he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.” Nothing changed in Daniel’s approach. Government gone wild? Daniel prayed. This was his normal procedure, namely spending time each day in prayer to God.
While we certainly live in the land of the lost, let us never lose heart. Stand firm, speak the truth in love, and be men and women of prayer. All around us are those who are doing what is right in their own eyes rather than following the path of righteousness noted in Scripture. May we be a light in the midst of darkness sharing the message of the gospel at every opportunity, may we be a people who demonstrate love in the face of hatred, and may we be in constant prayer for those who are lost in this land of the lost.
 Warren Wiersbe, On Being a Leader for God (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2011), 39.
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