Be Alert, Be Watchful and Be Prepared
By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. (Hebrews 11:7)
When my daughter was small, I worked for the American Red Cross. One of the areas I worked in was disaster services. Whenever the military moved us, I would seek out Red Cross and volunteer or work there. The locations we lived in happened to be areas where tornadoes and rough storms occurred. Due to this job, I learned some valuable lessons. I learned to:
- always be prepared for storms whether they hit or not
- keep alert on the weather
- watch for the signs of the storm
- never assume it’s not going to happen
- keep an emergency to go bag for us just in case
- keep emergency numbers of important people and places on hand
- have an emergency family action plan
As my daughter got older and we moved to a home with a basement, I would make sure to have her gather her emergency bag, games/books and our pets and have her go to the basement when an alert came in that a tornado was close by. I then would have both my home phone and cell phone in my hand or close by in case I was called in, and periodically I would walk from the front porch to the back porch to keep an eye on the sky (I noticed several of my neighbors were doing the same thing). I would keep the weather channel on the tv or radio to continue listening for reports. All of these things were in preparation of an impending storm. If the storm didn’t hit, then we’d breathe a sigh of relief and continue on with life, always being watchful for the next storm and always being prepared. Although many of the storms never hit and either turn in another direction or dissipate, I knew it would be that one storm that I decided not to plan for, that would actually hit and we would be unprepared. So I knew we had to be diligent in the area of emergency preparedness.
The Bible is full of scriptures that warns us to “be alert”, “be ready”, “be watchful”. God graciously warns and prepares His people for impending storms, giving them time to prepare. We see this with Noah and his family when God instructed Noah to build an ark to save his family concerning “events as yet unseen”. Noah went day after day building this ark and later supplying it, for an impending flood which many didn’t believe would happen. I’m sure Noah was mocked for continuing to prepare for a flood that was considered impossible. Yet by faith he continued, while living his day to day life like normal.
God informs us of the wisdom of the ant in working hard and preparing for harsh weather: Proverbs 6:6-8
Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.
God warned His prophets of things to come and what to tell His people:
“For the Lord God does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets…” Amos 3:7
God warns us of the dangers of sin and what we need to look for and be prepared for. He instructs us to what we must do in order to not fall into the trap of the enemy and warns us of the consequences if we do not heed those instructions.
5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Colossians 3:5-10
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7
1Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. Hebrews 2:1
Jesus warns us what to look for when He returns:
4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains. Matthew 24:4-8
36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Matthew 24:36-39
42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. Matthew 24:42-44
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. Matthew 25:1-5
13 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. Matthew 25:13
Jesus even told the disciples to watch and pray:
38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Matthew 26:38
45 When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow. 46 Then He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.” Luke 22:45-46
It’s safe to say, that God gives us instructions and warnings for many different situations. The problem is that when we do not see it happen, we become tired of watching and preparing for it and tend to fall asleep, becoming undiscerning, such as with the 5 virgins that fell asleep and the disciples. It’s quite easy to do. We may become overloaded with our day to day life or overwhelmed with sorrow over a situation we are in and allow ourselves to fall into the momentary comfort of rest and sleep as a few of the disciples had. When asked to stay awake and pray, the disciples instead fell asleep due to fatigue and sorrow as it had been a busy day both physically and emotionally. They were overwhelmed with sorrow at seeing Jesus in great distress and over what He was about to go through. Christ needed them to keep watch and pray that they did not fall into temptation. They weren’t aware that the time for the events to begin was at hand, that they were in danger of falling into temptation surrounding the events and that their faith was about to be tested. Jesus knew how easy it would be for them to doubt Him and to deny Him when confronted in knowing Him at this crucial time. He knew fear would enter into their hearts for a time, causing them to disperse. It happens to all of us at one time or another when faced with a belief that goes against the majority. This is why we must continue to pray and prepare ourselves for the second coming of Christ as though it was going to happen tomorrow. We must pray for God to keep our spirit strengthened to face anything that comes our way so we can be prepared and ready and not fall into temptation.
When I stopped working for Red Cross, though I kept preparing to a degree, I stopped being as alert as I once had. I didn’t always keep up with the news and weather and sometimes didn’t find out there was a storm coming until a day or so prior when my husband mentioned it or until it was upon us, which by then was too late if I needed some supplies. Because I wasn’t in a position any longer that required me to remain “alert” and to “keep watch”, I dozed off. Once we moved back to an area where tornadoes were more scarce (so I assumed) and snow storms didn’t seem as harsh as they used to be, I became comfortable…until I realized that weather patterns had changed some and tornadoes could pop up at any time where we were.
We must remain alert, be watchful and be prepared in every area of our lives be it in weather, world events, our recovery or in watching for the Lord’s return. We can’t allow ourselves to fall asleep during moments of peace and rest because that is when the enemy will slip in and trap us. Christ is a perfect example of this. He knew a storm was coming that would impact the world but the outcome of it would be the greatest gift to us…salvation. He knew His purpose…to preach the kingdom of God to the people, and that nothing must stop Him from doing so.
But He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose.” Luke 4:43
He also knew that Satan would try to stop Him through temptations:
The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the desert. There the devil tempted him. Matthew 4:1
Yet Jesus was prepared with His sword, the Word of God, as we see in Matthew 4:4, 7, & 10.
We must always remain alert, watchful and prepared for the storms have not ended and the battle continues.
14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Hebrews 5:14