"When it is evening, you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.' 3 And in the morning, 'It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.' You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.
Matt 16:2-3 (ESV)
The landscape is littered with them; directional signs, information signs, stop signs, speed limit signs, historical markers, no turn on red, left turn only, no U-turn. Signs abound in all shapes, sizes, colors, and styles.
In addition to all the permanent road signs there are those occasional signs that appear during special events like election season, construction zones, bridge out and temporary road closures.
Some signs are bigger than others, like the huge billboards advertising attractions and accommodations along the highway. Eat here, stay here, fuel up here, buy here, go to see this, visit with us, all endlessly barraging our travel time with one message after another.
Full color, larger than life sized signs can be found even in the most deserted parts of the country, along what would appear to be endless miles of nothingness.
With all these signs it would seem to be virtually impossible for anyone to actually get lost and not know where they are.
Signs abound along the highways of life as well. Though these signs may not be as in your face as the road side sign posts, they are still very prominent and frequent. Jesus chided the disciples for being able to tell what the weather would be like by looking at the moon but yet unable to tell the climate of the times in which they lived.
He pointed out to them white fields for harvest and the signs of His returning. He reminded them of the signs of His soon departure and of the trials they would have to endure in order to continue His ministry.
Jesus pointed out to the disciples all the prophecies proclaiming in what manner He would be born and die, and for what purpose He was to come. Yet with all these signs many still missed Him. There was no shortage of indicators during the time of the prophets therefore the Jews were without excuse as to the coming of the promised One.
WHEN A DANGEROUS blizzard hit Colorado Springs in late October 2006, residents had plenty of warning...
Weather forecasters began predicting the storm 36 hours before it arrived. On a warm, sunny afternoon people swarmed into grocery stores to buy supplies, while tire shops worked overtime to meet the demand for winter treads. Everyone was talking about the coming storm. Even before the snow began, schools and businesses announced they would be closed for the day. When the storm hit with blowing snow and freezing temperatures, most people were safe at home, not trying to get to work or school.
When we believe a warning, it affects our behavior. Itís true in every area of life, including our walk of faith. Paul wrote to the Christians in Thessalonica, reminding them that the day of the Lord would come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night (1 Thess. 5:2). His call to action urged them to avoid spiritual lethargy but remain alert and self-controlled (v.6).
Paulís challenge echoed Jesusí own words urging His followers to be watchful and ready, "for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect" (Matt. 24:44).
If we believe our Lordís word about His coming, how will it affect our thoughts and actions today? (David C. McCasland)
How many times do we go through our towns driving right past a huge billboard advertising the latest and greatest new car or some other item and not even notice the message? How many times have we passed up the exit on the interstate because we were not paying attention to the road signs? How many times have we missed a sale at the local department store because we did not notice the sale flyer in the mail? How many times did we get caught up in rush hour traffic because we did not tune into the traffic report before heading out the door for work?
Just because the message is out there does not mean we have heard it, seen it, or read it. Advertisers do all they can to get their message noticed but they can not force anyone to read it or obey it. Tickets aplenty are written each and every day because a motorist disobeyed a particular road sign.
Signs are only as good to those who heed them. To those who are discerning they offer guidelines to those who are indifferent no help at all.
Thus it was with the prophets of old. Although they cried day and night to proclaim the word of the Lord still many refused to listen. Some even attempted to silence the messengers. Today our airwaves are filled with preachers and Bible teachers from many areas of our society and yet for the most part the message seems to go unheeded by the multitudes. Although many are tuned in to the station they have tuned out the actual message. Even though the signs are erected is anyone stopping to heed them?
Mt 24:3 (NKJV) Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" 4 And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. 9 Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:3-14 (NKJV)