1 Thessalonians 5:1-3 ESV
“Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, ‘There is peace and security,’ then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.”
A Warning Heeded
I have a very odd sleeping schedule because the Lord has me writing all different times of the day and night. I assume he does it this way since my readers are from countries all over the world who do not all live in the same time zone as me. I am also 72 years old so I do get up periodically in the night to use the bathroom, and sometimes I do then go back to sleep. So, when I awoke at 3 a.m., after using the bathroom, I crawled back under the covers for about 10 minutes and then I knew it was time to get up.
It occurred to me just as I was about to get up that I should put on my slippers just in case I might encounter a cockroach. We do get them periodically, but not more than maybe one a week, usually. So, I turned on the light next to my bed and I got out of bed, but there were no slippers to be found. And then I looked to my path ahead to the bathroom and I saw something black on the carpet. I could not make it out exactly, so I got out my flashlight and I shined the light in that spot and it was a cockroach.
The cockroach was positioned right where my chair normally sits at my desk when I am up and writing. I push the chair underneath the desk at night so that I do not run into it on my way to the bathroom. So, I looked for something to kill him with but there was nothing between me and him. So, I kept the light shining on him while I found something to use to strike him, and I did, and then I used my grabber to squeeze him, and then I took him into the bathroom and I flushed him away.
Exposing and Extinguishing the Lies
Well, as I have shared before, sometimes the Lord uses real life situations as parables in my life to illustrate a biblical truth or a specific message the Lord is wanting me to receive and/or to share. And “cockroach” is a term used to describe a person who is a liar, a deceiver, a manipulator, someone not trustworthy, someone who is an opportunist and egocentric. So it also represents someone who is spiritually unclean.
The cockroach was not only positioned where my chair normally sits when I am writing out my devotions to post on the internet, but he was also in my path to the bathroom. And, symbolically speaking, the bathroom represents the gospel, for it is the place where we rid our lives of sin (our waste material, dung) and where we are cleansed (bathed or showered with soap and water) and made new by the grace of God, by God’s Spirit.
So, what I believe the Lord is showing me this morning is that this cockroach symbolizes false teachers of the Scriptures who are in the position of teaching the Word of God but who are liars and deceivers. The fact that this cockroach was in my way to the bathroom suggests that these liars and deceivers are also preventing people from getting rid of the sin in their lives and from being spiritually cleansed of their sins, by the Spirit.
Literally I believe it was the Lord who put it in my head this morning to be on the lookout for a cockroach and to cover my feet to protect them from stepping (walking in conduct) on the cockroach. And my feet represent me taking the gospel of Jesus Christ to the people of the world via writing out my devotions and posting them on the internet (beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news).
So, the warning given was also to be on the lookout for cockroaches (liars and deceivers) who are in positions of teaching the Scriptures but who are spiritually unclean and who manipulate the Scriptures to their advantage and who, by their lies, prevent their adherents from getting rid of the sin in their lives and from being cleansed spiritually and made new by God’s Spirit. And I was to shine a light on this cockroach, to expose these liars and deceivers and their deceptions and to put to death their lies.
While People are Saying
So, these cockroaches (liars, deceivers, and manipulators), who are in positions of teachers of the Scriptures, are saying to the people, “Peace, Peace,” when there is no peace, and then the people who follow them are also repeating the same messages. For they are teaching lies which are blocking people from ridding their lives of sin and from being truly born anew of the Spirit of God to now live in freedom from slavery to sin and to live godly, holy, and morally pure lives in the power of God’s Spirit.
For they are telling them that all they have to do is “believe” in Jesus Christ (not defined), that all their sins are forgiven (past, present, and future), and that heaven is now guaranteed them when they die regardless of how they live while they are still on this earth. And many of them are even discouraging their adherents from repenting of (turning away from) their sins and from being transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God to where they now walk no longer according to the flesh but now according to the Spirit in righteousness and holiness, in walks of obedience to their Lord.
So, the “peace, peace” message they are giving them is telling them that they can continue in deliberate and habitual sin and still have salvation from sin and eternal life with God guaranteed. They can ignore God and his commands, refuse to honor him as Lord, walk in disobedience to his commands, and keep on in their sinful practices, and they are being promised that God will not judge them and heaven is secured for them.
But the Scriptures teach that if we walk (in conduct, in practice) in sin, according to the flesh, and not according to the Spirit, and not in obedience to our Lord’s commands (New Covenant) that we will NOT inherit eternal life with God no matter what we profess with our lips. For Jesus said that not everyone saying to him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter into the kingdom of heaven but only the one DOING the will of God the Father in heaven (Matt 7:21-23).
So, if we want to have salvation from sin and eternal life with God, we need to reject the lies and flush them away and we need to be doers of the Word of God and not hearers only, and we need to walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit in obedience to our Lord. But we must first of all humble ourselves and turn from our sins, and then daily we must continue to die to sin and live to God and to his righteousness in his power.
Under His Wings
By William Orcutt Cushing and Ira David Sankey
Under His wings I am safely abiding;
Though the night deepens and tempests are wild,
Still I can trust Him, I know He will keep me;
He has redeemed me, and I am His child.
Under His wings—what a refuge in sorrow!
How the heart yearningly turns to His rest!
Often when earth has no balm for my healing,
There I find comfort, and there I am blest.
Under His wings—oh, what precious enjoyment!
There will I hide till life’s trials are o’er;
Sheltered, protected, no evil can harm me;
Resting in Jesus I’m safe evermore.
Under His wings, under His wings,
Who from His love can sever?
Under His wings my soul shall abide,
Safely abide forever.
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[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:21-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-10; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Ac 26:18; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]