Today's Bible Verse...

Now is the Time

In the evening the two men (angels sent from God) arrive in Sodom. [See previous day, His Call Keeps Ringing.] Lot is sitting in the gateway (the entrance) of the city. Welcoming the men, Lot invites them to come to his house as his guests.

“Oh no,” they reply. “We’ll just spend the night out here in the city square” (Genesis 19:2.)

But the two men yield to Lot's insistence, and go with him to his house, where Lot prepares for them a feast.

Shortly before they settle down for the night, a noisy clamor rises outside. Stepping outside, Lot notices the men of Sodom surrounding the house.

“Where are the men who came to spend the night with you?” they shout. “Bring them out to us so we can have sex with them!” (Genesis 19:5.)

“Please, my brothers,” Lot begs, “don’t do such a wicked thing. Look, I have two virgin daughters. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do with them as you wish…” (Genesis 19:7, 8.)

But the men of Sodom won't hear it. Pressing hard against Lot, they attempt to break down the door. Lot's guests pull Lot back inside the house and strike the men of Sodom with blindness. Wearily, they stumble about trying to find the door.

The next morning, having heeded the angels' warning, Lot, his wife, and his two daughters flee Sodom, escaping to the city of Zoar – the angels having granted Lot’s request to spare that little village. (Genesis 19:21.)

(A thought to ponder: For the righteous remnant, the LORD is merciful.)

The Destruction of Sodom and GomorrahJohn Martin, 1852
In Zoar, Lot and his family find refuge from the fire and brimstone the LORD rains on Sodom and Gomorrah. “He utterly destroyed them, along with the other cities and villages of the plain...”  (Genesis 19:25.)

“But Lot’s wife looked back [to where she had come from], and she turned into a pillar of salt” (Genesis 19:26; cf. Matthew 6:24.)

Rising early, Abraham “hurried out to the place where he had stood in the Lord’s presence.” Looking toward those cities of the plain he saw the smoke ascending “like smoke from a furnace.” (Genesis 19:27, 28.) Granting Abraham’s request (See Genesis 18:23-32), the LORD “kept Lot safe, removing him from the disaster that engulfed the cities on the plain” (Genesis 19:29.)

We now flash ahead through time to the New Testament era, just in time to hear Jesus answering the Pharisees' question, “When will the Kingdom of God come?”

“The Kingdom of God can’t be detected by visible signs,” Jesus answers. “For the Kingdom of God is already among you” (Luke 17:20-21).

(“The kingdom of God is not like an earthly kingdom with geographical boundaries,” as noted in the Life Application Study Bible – LASB. “Instead, it begins with the work of God's Spirit in people's lives...”)

Later, with His disciples, Jesus speaks again of this, and of His return.

It will happen quickly – when we least expect it. And many will not be aware of it. For as in the days of Noah, many will be buying, selling, planting – going about their earthly business and pleasure as usual. As in the days of Noah, when he entered the ark, the flood came and destroyed them all. And when Lot went out from Sodom “…fire and burning sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all” (Luke 17:29).

Jesus concludes with a warning, as the LASB notes, “against false security. We are to abandon the values and attachments of this world to be ready, for Christ's return...” seeking first Christ's Kingdom on earth, (See Matthew 6:33.) in peoples’ lives.

“Remember what happened to Lot’s wife!” Jesus declares, “If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go [for the cause of Christ], you will save it” (Luke 17:32, 33).

We zoom ahead once again in time, to the closing days of the 19th Century. We arrive in China to find Jonathan and Rosalind Goforth fleeing for their lives, escaping the ravages of the Boxer Rebellion– in brief, according to, “a … movement by the 'Righteous Harmony Society' … opposing foreign imperialism and Christianity...”

Jonathan Goforth
Born in western Ontario, Canada, in 1859 Jonathan Goforth had given his life to the cause of Christ after reading the Memoirs ofRobert Murray M’Cheyne. Then, hearing a missionary powerfully appealing for workers in China, Goforth had sensed his call to missions.

“As I listened to these words,” Goforth would later say, “I was overwhelmed with shame…. From that hour I became a missionary.”

Graduating from Knox College, Goforth had worked for a while in city missions in Toronto where he had met Rosalind Smith, who later had become his wife.

Rosalind Goforth
Presbyterian students from Knox College had raised funds, and the Goforths had set sail for China in 1888. Answering the call, the Goforths had labored for Christ’s Kingdom in China’s Honan province, sharing their eternal hope with the Chinese via “open-house” evangelism.

That is to say, the European interior design of the Goforth’s home had aroused the curiosity of the Chinese, who all wanted to see it. Before giving a tour of the house, however, Jonathan would share the Good News of Jesus Christ with his guests.

Until forced to flee.

But the Boxer Rebellion ends, and as peace returns, the Goforths are able to return to China.

Jonathan relates his new plan to propagate the Gospel. “[It] is,” he says to his wife, “To … rent a suitable place in a large center for us to live … [we] stay a month … [and] carry on intensive evangelism…”

Jonathan, with his men, shares in villages or on the street, while Rosalind ministers to the women in the courtyard of their home. At month’s end they move to another place, leaving behind one who is able to teach the new believers.

In later years, new missionaries arrive on the field, steeped in “higher criticism” arousing confrontations and friction. Yet, relentlessly committed to the clear Gospel message, Jonathan continues to “preach … salvation through the cross of Calvary and demonstrate its power.”

God continues His search today for other “Jonathan and Rosalind Goforths,” who will realize that the time is now, as never before, to answer the call, and send the Good News of God’s eternal hope to all peoples.

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